Phillies: Didi Gregorius makes team history with grand slam
By Matt Rappa
Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius made franchise history
Catcher J.T. Realmuto is not the only Philadelphia Phillies star player set to enter free agency this offseason following the shortened 2020 season. There is also longtime former New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, who reunited with manager Joe Girardi in Philadelphia this past offseason on a one-year, prove-it deal following Tommy John surgery.
Entering the Phillies’ fourth of seven games opposite the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on Saturday, the Netherlands native had already put up solid numbers in red pinstripes with just 18 games to play in regular season action.
With the team on the brink of clinching a postseason spot for the first time in nine years, Gregorius came through in a big way early on in Saturday’s action, opposite Marlins right-handed veteran starter Jose Urena.
RELATED | Phillies: Didi Gregorius just as valuable as J.T. Realmuto
With the bases loaded and one out, down 0-2 in the count, Gregorius crushed a 366-foot home run to right field, giving the Phillies a much-welcomed 4-0 lead with rookie Spencer Howard on the mound.
The blast, according to Ryan Spaeder, made Gregorius the first shortstop in Phillies franchise history to record two grand slams in a single season. His other grand slam in red pinstripes came on August 10, home against the division-rival Atlanta Braves’ since-designated LHP Robbie Erlin.
Gregorius has not only been successful as a Phillie with the bases loaded; his seven grand slams since the start of the 2017 season — not including his 2019 ALDS grand slam against the Minnesota Twins — is tied with Manny Machado for the most in baseball.
Through Gregorius’ nine seasons overall in his career, he now has exactly 100 plate appearances with the bases loaded, and is batting an impressive 31-for-86 (.360) with 93 RBI (and the seven grand slams).
His grand slam on Saturday also marked the Phillies’ seventh such blast on an 0-2 count since 2000, notes Bob Vetrone Jr. It was also just the seventh Phillies road grand slam in the first inning since 1962, Spaeder reports. The most recent had been Ryan Howard in late September 2016, which followed fellow 2008 World Series champion Pat Burrell in mid-September 2006.
Gregorius now has 10 RBI over his last 37 plate appearances. If he continues on a hot streak, it can only help the Phils in their chase for Red October.