July 17, 2023
There was a lot of hype down at Citizens Bank Park, including a couple sellouts as the Padres returned to Philly for the first time since the NLCS last October.
And after the Phillies sleepwalked through the series opener on Friday, a pair of walk-off wins and a blowout in between gave them a 3-1 series victory and has the team feeling confident heading into the next one against the NL Central-leading Brewers later this week.
Whose stock is up and whose is down right now?
Kyle Schwarber (3 HR, 7 RBI, .278)
After a whimpering end to the month of June, Schwarber was basically the hero of the series against the Padres. The slugging leadoff man hit a game-tying homer in Game 2 and then a game-tying RBI single. A day later, his three-run homer broke things open in a laugher of a win in Game 3. Then on Sunday, he added a walk-off sac fly to an earlier home run. That's the offense the Phillies expect from the soon-to-be everyday DH.
Bryce Harper (.462)
Harper ended his homer-less streak this weekend, which was a big step for him as he tries to round back into MVP form following his offseason elbow surgery. He beat out an important infield single as a pinch hitter in one of the Phillies' two comeback wins and led all Phils hitters with six hits in the series despite starting in just three games.
Bryson Stott (.357)
The everyday second baseman continues to do everything right for the Phillies, playing solid defense and getting on base night after night. He improved his season average to .303 thanks to a 5-for-14 performance against San Diego, scoring a team-leading six runs in the series.
Craig Kimbrel (0 ER)
Kimbrel continues to be stellar in the late innings for Philadelphia. He earned a save on Saturday and tossed a scoreless ninth in a tie game Sunday, both outings helping to lift the Phillies to victories.
Everyone but Aaron Nola started against the Padres from the rotation and the results were fine — but not impressive. The staff combined for a 4.30 ERA, with Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez and Cristopher Sánchez each allowing three runs in their respective starts, and Taijuan Walker allowing two. The hurlers kept the Phillies in each of the four games, and an offense like Philadelphia's should be able to win with this kind of average pitching support. They did against San Diego, out-scoring them 25-22 (even after losing 8-3 in the series opener).
Nick Castellanos (.063)
The All-Star has come back to earth since returning from Seattle. He was just 1-for-16 in the four-game set, though he did hit the ball hard a few times. Everyone has down weeks. We'll see if this starts a slump or was just a bad few games.
J.T. Realmuto (.167)
Realmuto had just two hits and struck out four times in 12 at-bats against the Padres this past weekend. He's had a very inconsistent season, but he did blast a home run in the series win.
Darick Hall (.000)
Hall was given a chance to play first after he played well in Triple-A following his early-season injury, but it seems apparent he is about to lose the job to Harper, who is expected to play first base in the Milwaukee series. Hall went hitless in the series. Whether the Phillies will keep Hall as a bench player with some pop or he'll be returned to the minors will be determined in a few days.
Gregory Soto, Andrew Vasquez, Dylan Covey (7 ER)
The aforementioned trio had a 12.35 combined ERA in their 5.1 innings of work, which is frustrating enough, but their struggles were costly for the Phillies in what was ultimately an otherwise successful series. Vasquez and Covey each were unable to keep the Padres in check in the Friday night loss, putting the game out of hand for even the Phillies' talented offense. Covey in particular might see his MLB stint at risk of ending sometime soon, with his ERA now at 6.00 for the year.
And then there is Soto, who should be turning things around by now. After giving up a meaningless run in Game 3 of the series, he blew Wheeler's 5-3 lead in the 8th inning, loading the bases with two walks and then surrendering a bases-clearing double. Thankfully, he was bailed out in extra innings, but his struggles have been costly for the Phillies who need him to be lights out right now with José Alvarado currently hurt.
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