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July 01, 2024

Phillies stock watch: Brandon Marsh a true cleanup hitter? Alec Bohm on the slump bus

The Phillies lineup has been shuffled and adapting with three superstars on the shelf right now.

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Brandon-Marsh-Phillies-Dbacks-6.23.24-MLB.jpg Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Marsh has come up big for the Phillies in recent games.

It's a crucial stretch for the Phillies right now.

Yes, they have a big eight-game lead in the NL East, but they are missing three very important offensive contributors in Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto, and will travel to Chicago to face the feisty Cubs before going to Atlanta to face their rivals the Braves without this trio.

The timing isn't great, and the Phillies will need some non-superstar contributions to keep their division lead bloated for when they do get their big hitters back later this month.

Last week, the Phillies played without a day off, scraping by to a 4-3 record against two much lesser opponents in the Tigers and Marlins. Here's a look at who was red hot in those series, and who is trending in the wrong direction with some important games ahead:

Who's hot

Brandon Marsh (.467, 4 RBI last week)

With the Phillies missing the core of their power, finding a fill-in cleanup hitter was a tough task, especially with Alec Bohm perfectly suited to hit third in Harper's place. Calling on Marsh, the Phillies have put the outfielder in the 4-hole three games in a row and he hasn't disappointed. Over the last seven games, Marsh is hitting .467, with seven hits in the last five games. He's started in each of the three different outfield spots in the last three games as well. If the Phils are able to weather this storm without their top sluggers, it'll be partially thanks to Marsh.

Cristopher Sánchez (shutout last week)

Getting a complete game shutout from your fourth starter is rare. The Phillies got just that from Sánchez, who tossed the gem of his career last week, allowing three hits and striking out nine. Quietly Sánchez has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season.

Trea Turner (.320, game-winning hit)

Turner returned from the IL recently — in the nick of time — and has been hitting like a true All-Star. He led the Phillies with eight hits last week, three of them doubles, and most importantly drove in the winning two runs on his birthday to salvage a series split with the Marlins Sunday. 

Nick Castellanos (.304, two stolen bases)

Castellanos, like Marsh, has a bigger role in the offense now due to injuries and the oft-slumping outfielder has been playing well at the just right time. He has started 11 games in a row as the fifth hitter in the batting order, showing he's also earned Rob Thomson's confidence in that spot.

Who's not

Ranger Suárez (6.75 ERA last week)

Nobody's perfect. Ranger Suárez fell a bit back down to earth last week, battling through two of his uglier starts this season. The Cy Young contender allowed 10 runs, eight of them earned, on 17 hits over 10.2 innings. His next start will be against the Braves in Atlanta next weekend. Is it the most important of his career?

Alec Bohm (.130 last week)

Bohm has proven to be a streaky hitter who has short slumps and longer hot stretches. He still leads the NL in runs batted in, but he's in a mini rough patch right now. In his last seven games, he is just 3-for-23, though he did hit a homer and drove in four runs against Detroit and Miami.

The Phillies' bench hitters

In the wake of the recent injury shakeup, the Phillies bench has never been more important. It's also been immensely frustrating and hard to rely on. Here's a look at some Phillies reserve hitters from last week:

Cristian Pache.125, 7 SO (3 gm)
Whit Merrifield
.154 (5 gm)
Edmundo Sosa.154 (4 gm)
Kody Clemens.222 (3 gm)

Matt Strahm (10.80 ERA last week)

It would be crazy to expect Strahm to pitch the entire season without a blemish. He had a big one against the Marlins Thursday, facing four hitters and allowing two runs while retiring just one batter. He got the blown save and saw his ERA balloon to 1.43 on the year.

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