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June 30, 2024

Phillies quick hits: Sunday comeback saves Fightins from embarrassing series loss

It was a mixed series for the Phillies' elite rotation against Miami, with Cristopher Sánchez turning in his best performance of the season and Ranger Suárez having his worst.

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Nick Castellanos Phillies Marlins Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Nick Castellanos has struggled mightily in 2024, but was instrumental in the Phillies' comeback win on Sunday.

The Phillies' vibes were in shambles until a switch flipped. The Fightins merely split a four-game set against Miami, but it appeared they were in for an embarrassing series loss on Sunday afternoon.

Ranger Suárez was off, not resembling his elite self and the Phils were in a 6-2 hole entering the bottom of the fifth. A lineup that was lacking a pulse due to the absence of three All-Stars found its footing.

Splitting against a bottom-feeding Marlins team isn't ideal in a vacuum, but given how destitute this offense was entering Sunday and the big injuries the roster is enduring, the Phils ended the weekend on a good note.

Here are a few choice cuts of what transpired in the Miami series...

Phillies come up clutch

The bats awoke late on Sunday afternoon. Three RBI from Nick Castellanos across two innings cut the team's deficit to just one. Then a two-run base knock from Trea Turner put the Phils ahead of Miami. He pulled that off on his birthday no less!

Turner is the highest paid player in the Phils' lineup. This is exactly what he needs to be when the likes of Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto are out with injuries.

Ranger Suárez looks human

Ranger Suárez has been spectacular in 2024, the No. 1 pitcher in the majors statistically. He'll be in the All-Star Game in a few weeks, perhaps even starting in the Midsummer Classic.

On Sunday, however, Suárez just wasn't himself. He did not look like the pitcher who entered the day with an ERA under 2.00. His stat line of six earned runs in under five innings of work is far from the pitcher he's been this spring and summer.

Even more uncharacteristic is an error he made in the field, a rarity for him as arguably the best fielding pitcher in the entire sport.

He'll need to shake it off ahead of next weekend's series against Atlanta when he takes the mound.

Cristopher Sánchez shines

Cristopher Sánchez probably would've benefited from waiting a bit longer to sign his new contract extension, as he pitched an absolute gem on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. In a complete game shutout, the first of his career, Sánchez struck out nine batters while allowing just three hits and zero walks.

Sánchez is the first Phillie to put up that stat line (or better) since Aaron Nola in 2021 (via Stathead). He's just the 15th Phillies pitcher ever to do so, joining the likes of franchise legends Steve Carlton and Roy Halladay. 

He should be considered a lock for the upcoming All-Star Game along with fellow starters Ranger Suárez and Zack Wheeler. 

Phillies putrid with runners in scoring position

The lack of Harper, Schwarber and Realmuto in the lineup hurts. The Phillies were 3-for-25 with runners in scoring position during the first three games of this series. That simply isn't a formula for winning baseball. The bases were left loaded in back-to-back innings with no runs scored on Sunday, infuriating the Delaware Valley before the late comeback as well.

Harper and Schwarber won't be gone long, but the Phillies could still use a little more pop in their lineup. An upgrade with a platooning right-handed corner outfielder needs to be on the table ahead of the July 30 trade deadline. How much longer can Phillies fans watch the team trot out Whit Merrifield and his sub-.600 OPS?

It's time for Dave Dombrowski to take a swing in the doldrums of the summer.

Next up for the Phillies: Wrigley Field

Any chance to share this video from the seminal '90s baseball film "Rookie of the Year" is a good one, as the Phillies head to the Windy City to face the Cubs on Tuesday:

Chicago entered Sunday with a record of 30-45, as they are in last place in the NL Central. 

MORE: Cristopher Sánchez's breakout year continues 

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