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Phillies Notebook: His players scratching for runs, Thomson thinks they’re trying too hard

PHILADELPHIA — With three perennial All-Star level talents on the injured list, Phillies games might look a little different over the next couple of weeks.

The challenge for the unhobbled members of the clubhouse is to make sure the approach remains the same.

The Phillies had only eight baserunners Saturday, squandering a lead in the seventh inning of a 3-2 loss to Miami. Sans J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, the margin for error is greatly diminished.

It’s entirely human for the Phillies filling in to try to pick up the slack, but they might be trying too hard.

“I think guys may be trying to do a little bit too much right now,” manager Rob Thomson assessed. “So they’ve just kind of got to relax and be themselves and have good at bats.”

Two runs on seven hits Friday was enough, thanks to Cristopher Sanchez’s shutout. Two runs on eight hits wasn’t enough on Saturday, despite a quality start from Aaron Nola, who was an out from finishing the Phillies’ 27th outing of seven innings or more this season. But Marlins eight-hitter Otto Lopez doubled with two outs in the seventh, Nick Fortes tied the game with a two-bagger to chase Nola and Jazz Chisholm greeted Matt Strahm with an RBI single that proved to be the game-winner.

No matter who is in the lineup backing him, Nola said his approach on the mound is “the same no matter what.” The Phillies’ hitters profess the same, but have noticed in Games 1 and 2 without Schwarber and Harper that it hasn’t always been the case.

“You want to do the same thing, right?” said Trea Turner, who went 0-for-4. “But I think sometimes guys try a little bit harder in situations. I know today that was probably the case for me, just trying to do too much and missing some good pitches to hit and sort of chasing. I think it’s really easy to look at from afar, but then when you’re out there, it’s hard not to try a little bit harder without those guys.”

The answer, known in theory, is rooted in clubhouse trust, which has gotten the Phillies to the top of the National League.

“I think you just play good baseball,” Turner said. “We were in the game today. We had plenty of opportunities to win the game. That’s the positive, but obviously we came up short. … We’re in each and every game. We just know we’re one hit away.”

• • •

Luis Ortiz will undergo Tommy John surgery July 11, Thomson said.

Ortiz left his season debut March 30 against Atlanta with an ankle sprain. A rehab assignment in April was halted by shoulder soreness. He returned June 11 and 14 for Reading and June 18 for Lehigh Valley before being pulled due to forearm tightness. The ligament repair procedure will end his season and likely keep the 28-year-old out of action in 2025.

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A third of the Phillies’ opening day lineup has suffered hamstring injuries this year, Harper the latest, Schwarber adding a groin strain. Those, plus a long-term hamstring issue for Turner and a shorter one for Brandon Marsh, has caused the Phillies to evaluate what may have contributed.

While Thomson is short on causes, he will use their absences to proactively use the DH spot as a preventative measure.

“I think it’s huge,” Thomson said. “Get them off their feet, give them half a day. Let them rest up a bit.”

Nick Castellanos was the DH on Friday. Saturday it was Alec Bohm’s turn. Turner could even get a half-day from time to time.

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NOTES >> The Phillies are 0-5 this year when they try to reach 27 games over .500. Nola is the fifth different starter to bid to get them over that hump. … Andrew Painter (Tommy John) is throwing 25-pitch bullpens twice a week as part of his rehab, only fastballs and changeups with no breaking balls yet. Thomson said the hope is for him to throw simulated games by September, but actual games are not on the table this year. … Ranger Suarez (10-2, 2.01 ERA) takes on Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 2.70) in Sunday’s series finale. Michael Mercado is in line to start Tuesday’s series opener at Wrigley Field, his first big league start. That gives an extra day’s rest for Zack Wheeler, who threw 115 pitches in his last outing, and Sanchez.

Source: Berkshire mont

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