Phillies mount impressive comeback in a sloppy series finale against the Marlins

Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos, left, and Bryson Stott, right, celebrate after scoring against the Detroit Tigers on a single by Brandon Marsh during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 26, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Citizens Bank Park was the scene of a classic bout between division rivals on Sunday afternoon. There was iffy pitching and defense on both sides during the scorching hot game, but the Phillies and Marlins offenses traded shots all game. Philadelphia chipped away and eventually climbed all the way back from a 6-2 deficit to avoid the series loss and beat the Marlins by a score of 7-to-6.

There were great plays, a few errors, plenty of hits, and the birthday boy got to celebrate in style with a big game and a clutch hit. Let’s see how we got there.

The Comeback Kids

Philadelphia had a rough go of it offensively in the first two games since losing Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, recording 12 hits and scoring four runs combined Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, they out did both of those numbers, and the bats heated up quicker than the seats did baking in the afternoon sun.

After going down 1-0 in the top of the first, birthday boy Trea Turner hit a single and would score on a blast from Alec Bohm. That was home run No. 10 for the Phillies third baseman, and he reclaimed the National League lead in RBIs in the process. Philly would leave the bases loaded in the bottom of the opening frame, but that would not deter them.

Turner Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner follows through after hitting a run-scoring single against Chicago White Sox pitcher Nick Nastrini during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Neither would a 6-2 deficit entering the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back doubles from Brandon Marsh and Nick Castellanos would bring the Phillies one step closer. The following inning, they continued to get production from up-and-down the lineup as Rafael Marchán and Bryson Stott both got on to start the frame. They would eventually both score on the bat of Castellanos, his second straight inning with a RBI.

The seventh inning is where the magic happened. Whit Merrifield and David Dahl drew back-to-back walks to start the inning, Marchán moved them over with a sac bunt, and Trea celebrated his birthday in style with his third single of the game. This time, there were two RBIs to go along with it.

Overall, the Phillies finished with 14 hits and 7 runs, almost matching their output from the first three games combined. Rob Thomson said during his post game press conference, “that was a big one today. I think we all needed it, the clubhouse needed it. They fought like hell the entire game”

Phillies manager Rob Thomson
Philadelphia Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson walks to exchange line ups before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Why did they need it? Thomson responded:

Just cause there’s all the talk, right? ‘The three guys are out, how are you going to score runs?’ all that stuff. Well, we’re going to score runs. These guys are capable, I’ve said that. We just have to keep grinding and maybe we have to create some stuff too. Hit-and-run, steal some bases, Marchan gets a big sac bunt down tonight. Those are the little things you have to do.”

Rob Thomson post game, June 30, 2024

Thomson added that he learned “nothing” about his team today, because he knows who they are. “I know they fight, and I know they’re resilient, and I know that they never quit. It proves it right there.” And prove it they did.

Ranger’s Rough Outing

Bad outings are a rarity when it comes to the Phillies rotation this season. Unfortunately, Ranger Suárez had one of the worse starts of his career today. Outside of the game on June 1 where he was removed after being struck by a line drive, it’s the only time he failed to complete five full innings this season. The last time he had an outing without finishing at least five frames in the regular season was his final start of the 2023 campaign on September 27. That game was also a 7-6 comeback victory for the Phillies.

His command was not there from the jump. Thomson said post game he thought it was just one of those days: “I thought the command was short today, shorter than it normally is…but he fought, and he gave us what he could.

Suárez likes to pitch to contact, he said so himself after the game, but his ability to miss bats has been almost non-existent over his last two starts. Marlin hitters only swung-and-missed three times all game. His 6.4% whiff rate is the worst of his career.

It was also the first time in 83 career starts that Ranger did not record a strikeout. The last time he failed to record a strikeout in any regular season outing was way back on July 23, 2021 – a one-inning relief appearance against the Atlanta Braves.

Ranger’s ERA raised more than half-a-run after today’s outing, jumping from 1.83 all the way up to 2.27. Post game, he and Thomson both credited the bullpen for the stellar job they did to keep the team in the game after Suárez’s untimely exit. José Ruiz, Seranthony Domínguez, Gregory Soto, and Jeff Hoffman combined for 4.1 innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out six.

Other Phillies notes

Trea Turner turned 31 today and like many superstars, he excels on the date of his birth. After his three hits performance, Turner now has a career slash line of .400/.423/.640 with a double, triple, a homer, and three RBIs on June 30 in his big league career. Turner said yesterday he felt he might have been trying to do too much in a big spot yesterday, but he settled in and got the job done today. Thomson said postgame “I think it’s huge (for him). I think it’s huge for the ball club, too.”

Castellanos had a huge game for the Phillies as well. He was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and a stolen base. Nick has looked more and more like himself throughout the month of June. After today, his final numbers for the month are in line with his career averages. Castellanos slashed .276/.325/.486 with 13 extra-base hits – matching his total from the first two months of the season. He added 18 RBIs and 11 runs. Stellar month from a guy who the Phillies will be leaning on heavily for the next few weeks.

The Phillies recorded five errors this afternoon – FIVE! If that seems like a lot, that’s because it is. Philadelphia hasn’t had that many errors in a game since 2005, per Paul Casella of Thomson was not concerned about the errors post game, calling them “all kind of weird” when speaking with the media.

Ranger makes that play a thousand times, Nick bobbles the ball off the wall which can happen, the throw from Turner is really a designed throw – it just popped out of Bohm’s glove. Bohm makes a heck of a play on the dive play, so they were kind of weird. It’s not like five balls went through infielders legs or anything like that.”

Rob Thomson post game, June 30, 2024

The plan of attack today seemed to be to get on Miami pitchers early in their at-bats. 11 of Philly’s 14 hits came within the first two pitches of a plate appearance, and two outs were recorded that quickly as well. Phillies hitters swung at the first pitch a total of 13 times in the game. A trend worth watching to see if it was just today, or part of the game plan for the near future.

In Conclusion

The Phillies can take a big sigh of relief. With today’s win, they avoided losing the series and the bats got going in their new-look lineup. They’ll have an off day tomorrow while they travel to Chicago for a series with the Cubs. That kicks off a six game road trip. Tuesday will see the rookie Michael Mercado (1 appearance, 1 inning, 1 K) make his first career start after making his major league debut this past week. He will be opposed by Hayden Wesneski (2-4, 3.60 ERA).

AP Photo/Duane Burleson