Series Preview: Phillies’ trouble in the desert, red hot Trea Turner and Nick Castellanos and a cry for help to JT Realmuto and Alec Bohm
The Philadelphia Phillies will begin an important road trip tonight in the desert against the National League West first place team in the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Narrative: Phillies can’t win in the desert
The narrative every time the Phillies head to Arizona is that they struggle to win baseball games.
Fact Check: True
The Phillies haven’t won a road series against the Snakes since 2016 and are 4-12 against them since the 2017 season. Over. the past two seasons, the Phillies have posted a 1-5 record at Chase Field
All time, the Phillies have a 34-35 record against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road.
- In 2021, the Phillies went 0-3 at Arizona.
- In 2022, the Phillies went 1-2 in Arizona.
Earlier this season, the Phillies hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks and dropped 2-of-3 at Citizens Bank Park. In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3, Trea Turner hit a game-tying two-run home run to send the game into extras where Alec Bohm hit a walk-off single to avoid getting swept by the D-Backs.
Obviously, we’re all hoping things are different this time around and the and after taking 2-of-3 from the Dodgers, the “B Word” is starting to make its rounds across social media.
Are the Phillies BACK?!
The Phillies, they are clearly playing their best baseball of the season and now sit just a game under .500 at 32-33. The next seven games for the Philly will be on the road with four in Arizona before heading to the slums of Oakland for three agains the A’s.
Note: The Athletics are HOT and winners of six straight games. They just swept the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend but still are just 17-50 on the year.
The Phillies are 7-3 in the month of June and again, are traveling west after taking 2 of 3 games from the Los Angeles over the weekend. Coincidentally, the Dodgers are in second place, 3.5 games behind the NL West leading D-Backs.
If all is right in the world (lol) the Phillies will have a winning road trip before coming home to host the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, the first four in Arizona may not be easy, starting with a bullpen game tonight and Matt Strahm on the mound.
Projected Starters: Phillies @ Diamondbacks
- Monday: Matt Strahm vs. Tommy Henry
- Tuesday: Zack Wheeler vs. Zach Davies
- Wednesday: Ranger Suárez vs. Merrill Kelly
- Thursday: Aaron Nola vs. Ryne Nelson
Strahm opening the series in Arizona is somewhat puzzling but at this point, the Phillies are out of options. Rob Thomson pulled Taijuan Walker yesterday after he threw just 83 pitches over five innings .
Walker’s pitch count was definitely low but Thomson’s reasoning was the fact that Walker typically runs into trouble the third time around a batting order.
That’s fine reasoning, whatever.
The issue is that Thomson knew he would have a bullpen game the following night on the road, and instead of conserving his best arms in Gregory Soto, Seranthony Dominguez, and Jose Alvarado, he had to burn each of them yesterday instead of taking the other route in having Walker pitch deeper into the game.
It’s a mute point now, obviously, but for a team trying to keep pace with the Marlins and Braves in the NL East, while already eight games behind Atlanta and 4.5 behind Miami, the little things will continue to matter more and more as we enter the summer months.
Anyways, Strahm will take the mound against Tommy Henry for the D-Backs. Henry has pitched well this season, posting a 3-1 record with a 4.37 ERA over eight starts.
The Phillies offense will need to remain consistent out in the desert and if things can carry over from the weekend series against the Dodgers, they should be in pretty decent shape.
Trea Turner in June: .317 BA / .349 OBP / .537 SLG | 3 2B / 2 HR / 5 RBI / 2 SB
Trea Turner during 5-1 Phillies Homestand: 10-for-24 (.417 BA) with a 1.148 OPS
Nick Castellanos in June: .436 with 17 hits, 3 homers, 10 RBIs and 5 runs scored.
Don’t look now (definitely look) but it appears Nick Castellanos finally has his power back.
Kyle Schwarber, while his batting average still stinks out loud, has been hitting home runs and has four of them with eight RBI over his last seven games.
Bryson Stott has eight hits and 2 RBI over his last seven, while Kody Clemens continues to exceed expectations at the plate, batting .289 with four home runs and 12 RBI over his last 30 games.
We Need a JT Realmuto and Alec Bohm Awakening
What the Phillies desperately need is JT Realmuto and Alec Bohm to return to form. Realmuto had the day off yesterday but has quietly struggled over his last 30 games, batting a miserable .210 with two home runs and 8 RBI.
Looking back to last year, Realmuto was cold to start the season before turning it on over the final two months to raise his average to .276 with 22 home runs and 84 RBI.
In late June last year, Realmuto was ice cold, batting .236 with just four home runs over 64 games. He then hit .310 with 18 home runs over his final 75 games.
The Phillies will need something similar to happen again this year and ideally, sooner than later.
Without Rhys Hoskins, they need JT Realmuto to not only be hitting the baseball, but hitting home runs to provide some additional power from the right side of the plate.
You have to assume Realmuto will return to form. Law of averages people. The time is now.
DraftKings Sportsbook: Bet $5, Win $200 INSTANTLY
• Sign up for a new DraftKings account
• Make Your First Deposit
• Bet $5+ On Any Sport
• Get $200 In Free Bets Instantly
Prediction: Tonight is going to suck
With a bullpen game tonight, the Phillies are obviously dogs on the road in Game 1. If we are being totally honest with each other, it will be hard to bet in the Phillies favor against the Snakes tonight.
Sorry, I just don’t trust Dylan Covey in the middle-innings AT ALL and Arizona is just too good this season to rely on poor, bullpen efforts to win ball games.
Tonight’s Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks ML
Folks, we’re looking at a series split in the desert. From there, I think we’ll sweep in Oakland and return home two games over .500 with a pivotal series against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.