SAN DIEGO – When Bryce Harper lost a few games in mid-May at the end of the Dodgers series in Los Angeles after receiving an injection to treat a torn ligament in his right elbow, Kyle Schwarber noticed something. Phillies was pressing. The hitters were trying to be someone they weren’t – Bryce Harper – and they were failing.
After winning the first three games in Los Angeles, the Phillies lost five of their next six games. Harper returned on May 21, but Schwarber felt the conversation was necessary.
“We saw some reach,” he said. “We all talked about it. Let’s take care of what is in front of us. ”
Now the Phillies find themselves in a familiar situation, but this time they are rallying nicely. Harper’s left thumb has been fractured by a 97-mph fastball that has hit Harper’s hand in just 14 innings, but the Phillies have made the most of it. The offense has scored 12 runs in that period. Bullpen has only allowed one runner to go to base.
Since losing to Harper indefinitely, the Phillies have won two straight games against a tough opponent in the Padres. In their 8-5 win on Sunday, they all contributed from the lineup. Nick Castellanos took 4-5 in all singles. Schwarber did what Schwarber did in June – caused the Titanic to explode – and young players like Bryson Stott, Garrett Stubbs, Alec Bohm and Matt Whirling – all scored.
According to Schwarber, the difference is that players don’t try to be Harper. They’re trying to be themselves, which, according to Schwarber, is good enough.
“Bryce is his own man,” he said. “[Injured second baseman Jean] Segura is his own man. It can’t be anyone. We just have to make the best versions of ourselves and I think we’re trying to spread this message, especially for some young kids who haven’t seen kids go down before. They don’t have to go there and do it all in a single swing or in a defensive game. We must take one step at a time and focus on what is in front of us at a given moment rather than gaining more.
He added, “We’ve harp-down some games before. “We had a little taste of it. That’s not to say it’s a good thing, of course we all want it in the lineup, but we’ve put it down before. We’re all in a place where he’s not in the lineup and we want to go out and win a baseball game. “
The next few series will be a difficult test for Schwarber’s theory. The Phillies will face defending World Series champions Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. After the series against Washington, they will move to St. Louis and then Toronto. But for now, while they are satisfying, not bitter, enjoying winning the series by taking three of the four games in San Diego, hopefully it could be a haven for things to come.
Castellanos having a good day on DH
After Harper was diagnosed with a corner injury, he was pulled out of the right area and began using Phillies’ DH spot full-time. Prior to that, former manager Joe Girardi was touring with various hitters, including Castellanoos, who had served as Phillies DH seven times before Harper’s corner.
Now that Harper is out indefinitely with a second injury, the DH spot has opened up for interim manager Rob Thomson. Thomson said he would rotate the heater just like Girardi, and on Sunday he pencilled in Castellanos at DH.
He went well. Castellanoos, who batted in Sunday’s match for this road trip, scored .175, going 4-5-4 in all singles. It was his first multihit game since June 17 and his first four-hit game since August 21, 2019. None of that was a special hit, but it was a hopeful sign from a late losing player.
Gibson struggles with his command, getting out early
Phillies starter Kyle Gibson entered Sunday’s game without making a move or hitting the bat in his last two starts. Early on Sunday, he hit three runs and hit two in just 2⅔ innings. He allowed five runs he earned during that period. Nearly half of his 61 pitches were off the ball (27).
Gibson’s start as Philly was his youngest. Three of the four hits he allowed on Sunday were hit at speeds of 100 mph or more.
“I was talking to Caleb [Kotham] a little bit about it,” Gibson said of the pitching coach. “I have to go back and see it. What I don’t know is that I have so many persistent jerks … It wasn’t like the side of the hand was missing, the side of the glove was missing. He was missing the glove side every time. So, go back and watch the video and try to find out if something is going on mechanically. Because physically I felt so good.