Phillies All-Star Recap: How did Castellano and Kimbrel perform in the 2023 Midsummer Classic?

Phillies all-star Nick Castellanos
National League’s Elias Díaz, of the Colorado Rockies (35), celebrates his two run home run with Nick Castellanos (8), of the Philadelphia Phillies, in the eighth inning during the MLB All-Star baseball game in Seattle, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

The Phillies sent two of their own to the MLB All-Star game, which always features some of the league’s brightest stars.

Nick Castellanos earned his second all-star appearance back when reserves were selected a couple of weeks ago. Craig Kimbrel got named as a replacement later on.

The All-Star game ended with the National League on top with a final score of 3-2. Both of the Phillies selections contributed to the NL’s first win since 2012.

How the Phillies performed

Nick Castellanos

On the season thus far, Castellanos has been a crucial bat in the Phillies lineup. He finished with a .301 batting average in the first half, despite going hitless in his final game before the break.

The Phillies right fielder would check into the game to kick off the bottom of the fifth inning, replacing Mookie Betts. He would quickly get into some action after Orioles star catcher Adley Rutschman hit a line drive single to him as the second batter of the half inning.

MLB Phillies Nick Castellanos, who is playing in the 2023 MLB All Star Game
ATLANTA, GA Ð OCTOBER 12: Philadelphia right fielder Nick Castellanos (8) runs to first base during game 2 of the NLDS between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves on October 12th, 2022 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

After this play, the NL would get out of the inning pretty quickly. Casty was due up second in the inning, and would ultimately strikeout on four pitches to Baltimore’s Yennier Cano.

Castellanos would fly under the radar until his next at-bat in the top of the eighth inning. Here, he would face-off against another Oriole in the hard-throwing Félix Bautista. Nick would quickly go up 2-0 in the count, but after Bautista settled in, he fought back to get the Phillies slugger to a 3-2 count. On the ninth total pitch, Casty would win the battle and walk.

After a wild pitch in the next at-bat, Castellanos eyed up Elias Diaz’s at-bat from second base. Diaz ended up getting all of Bautista’s breaking ball, sending it into the left-field bleachers. Due to Castellanos getting on base, it made it a two-run shot, giving the NL the lead in the eighth.

At the top of the ninth, the right-handed bat got one last chance, and singled to left-center on the first pitch he saw from Twins bullpen arm Pablo López. Elias Diaz struck out right after, leaving Nick on first to end the inning.

Phillies Closer Craig Kimbrel

Rob Thomson would wait until the bottom of the ninth to turn the game over to his All-Star closer.

Craig Kimbrel took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with the opportunity to close out the first National League win at the Midsummer Classic since 2012.

Phillies Craig Kimbrel
Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel, delivers in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Friday, May 26, 2023, in Atlanta. Kimbrel celebrated his 400th career save. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Kimbrel had a tall mountain to climb to close this game out, as Wander Franco, Vlad Gurriero Jr., and Kyle Tucker were due up to start the game’s final frame.

However, the nine-time All-Star showed the first two younger guys that he’s been there and done that. Kimbrel started by getting Franco to fly out to Juan Soto at the warning track in right field after a nine-pitch battle. The Home Run Derby champ came to the plate next and struck out to the Phillies closer.

Despite picking up two outs, Kimbrel would walk Kyle Tucker. This brought hometown hero Julio Rodriguez up to the plate, who Kimbrel also walked.

Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez followed up the back-to-back walks, and would strike out to end the game. Kimbrel closed the game out successfully for the National League.

Now, it’s time to turn the page, and hope that these two guys continue their success into the second half of the Phillies season.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson