Home News Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto snap slumps in win vs. Rays

Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto snap slumps in win vs. Rays

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Many Phillies fans have probably expressed such a sentiment during the 2023 season. On Wednesday night against the Rays, there was another glimpse of the damage Philadelphia’s lineup can do when everything is going as planned.

The Phillies pounded out 17 hits — most of which came screaming off the bat — in an 8-4 victory at Tropicana Field. In the process, they handed the Rays just their second series loss at home this year and improved their road winning streak to 11 games, the third longest in franchise history.

“Every inning, you’ve got guys on base, putting pressure on,” Turner said. “There’s never an easy out, and I think today, that’s what allowed us to win this game. We just kept grinding them out, one through nine.”

Turner’s first season in Philadelphia has left much to be desired. He’s already made 10 errors, putting him on pace to surpass his career high of 16, while his offensive numbers are down across the board, leading to an uncharacteristic 86 OPS+ entering Wednesday.

Manager Rob Thomson said prior to the game that he didn’t sense any panic from his star shortstop, but instead definite frustration as Turner has struggled to get on track.

“I’m hoping that all evens out and we see who he really is. … And my gut is that that’s what we’re going to see,” Thomson said. “The good Trea Turner.”

That’s the guy who showed up a few hours later. Turner recorded two hits, including a fifth-inning home run off a slider that clanged more than halfway up the left-field foul pole. It was Turner’s second home run over the past 25 games — and his first away from Citizens Bank Park since May 2 at Dodger Stadium.

“I was glad I was able to keep it fair. I feel like I’ve hit a lot of foul home runs this year,” Turner said. “ … Getting a breaking ball and keeping it fair was a good sign for me. This game is pretty hard, and I know I’m not always going to be perfect, but I’m definitely going to try to be.”

Realmuto entered the evening mired in a 4-for-37 (.108) slide over his past 10 games, which had lowered his season average (.241) and on-base percentage (.300) to at least 30 points below his career levels. He snapped out of that funk in a loud way, smashing three balls in his first three at-bats at an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. All three went for a hit, including an RBI single in the second inning.

It was the first time this season that Realmuto recorded three hits in a game with a triple-digit exit velocity.

“He went through a stretch where his timing was off a little bit. Tonight, his timing was on,” Thomson emphasized about his catcher. “He goes through some stretches like that, especially with his leg kick. But right now, he’s swinging the bat well and he’s making solid contact.”

Nearly every Phillie made solid contact against the Rays; the club registered a season-high 14 hard-hit base hits (exit velocity of at least 95 mph) against the team with the best record in the American League. Second baseman Bryson Stott led the way with his second career four-hit performance. He has 28 multihit games this season.

“I thought he should have had a chance at that All-Star Game, because he’s been really, really good for us,” Turner said of his double-play partner.

All-Star Nick Castellanos crushed a 437-foot solo homer in the sixth inning, the first of his career against the Rays. That made him the 72nd player to go deep against all 30 active teams in the regular season.

Alec Bohm picked up three hits and his team-leading 56th RBI with a single that got the Phillies on the board in the second. Bryce Harper had two hits, including a ringing 113-mph double in the third.

“It was a good night all around,” Thomson said.

The offense backed starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who battled through seven innings despite not having his typically sharp command. Over his past five starts, Walker had allowed only three runs and seven walks accross 32 innings. On Wednesday, he gave up four runs and walked five in what Thomson termed as an “effectively wild” outing.

But when the Phillies’ offensive stars are playing up to expectations, their pitchers have plenty of room for error.

“Right now, it’s as deep as it’s been,” Stott said of the team’s lineup. “I just think everybody is finding their groove.”

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