Series Six Pack of Notes/Highlights:
1. Johan Rojas was called up from AA in place of an injured Cristian Pache and came out with a bang. Starting in center field in game one of the double header, the ball found him right away. Following a leadoff single, Tatis Jr. put a charge into one and Rojas made a leaping catch at the wall and had the awareness to nail the running at first base for a double play. In game two of the double header Rojas recorded his first hit, RBI, and run. He ended game two with three hits and two rbi. Marsh and Stott welcomed him to the Day Care and the team with the post game water dousing they’ve come to be known for. Finally, in the series finale, he scored the game tying run in the 10th inning and had a key sac bunt to get the runner to third base in the 12th to set up the game winning sac fly. Overall, pretty successful debut for Rojas.
2. Bryce Harper hit his first home run in 166 plate appearances and 38 games, by far the longest the drought of his career. It had been such a long time since he homered, he forgot to acknowledge the bullpen on his trot around the bases and called the bullpen when he got back into the dugout. Harper’s original date to get back on the field from Tommy John surgery was Friday so the mere fact to have had him for 57 games before that is quite the feat.
3. Nick Castellanos has consistently been the best bat in the Phillies lineup in 2023 which is an incredible turnaround from last year. He was one of two representatives for the Phillies at this years All-Star game and he’s clearly carrying himself with a confidence we’ve come to know from in the past. However, this was not a great start for him out of the break. In three games started and one as a pinch hitter this weekend he hit a combined 1-16 and swung at pitches way out of the zone. Thomson gave him the day off on Sunday seemingly to regroup. His batting average dropped .301 to .292 in just three games. He had multiple swings on pitches that bounced before home plate. Castellanos will look to bounce back from a tough series at the plate.
4. The roller coaster season continues for Trea Turner. He was 0-5 with three strikeouts in the first game of the series and he had a crucial mental mistake in the first game of the double header as he tried to flip the ball behind his back to Sosa at second base rather than get the way out at first and end the inning. The next batter hit a three run homerun to put the Phillies in a hole. But he bounced back at the plate in a big way and went a combined 4-8 with 2 rbi and 2 walks in the two Saturday games. Then Sunday he went 1-5 with a run and a couple key defensive plays that saved the Phillies. Hopefully there’s more ups than downs as the season continues.
5. The Phillies dug themselves a hole in every game of the series. The Padres scored first in each game and held 3-0 leads in three of the four games and 1-0 in the other. The Phillies did a good job fighting back in the last three games coming back and winning each of those three games. Though it worked out this series, It will be difficult for the Phillies to make a run to the playoffs if they continue to start these games behind the 8-ball.
6. Kyle Schwarber has come out hot from the All Star break. He went 5-20 with three homeruns, seven RBIs, three runs and the walk-off sacrifice fly in the final game of the series. Schwarber now has 25 homers on the year and 12 since being inserted at the top of the lineup. Phillies will need the big power hitter to continue hitting in the leadoff spot if they want to make a run.
Next up: Three game set against the first-place Milwaukee Brewers at home starting on Tuesday night.