PHILADELPHIA — In a concession to the left-handed pitching excellence of Max Fried, among other reasons, Rob Thomson chose Tuesday to give Bryson Stott an early rest.
The payoff was almost immediate.
Though Stott was not in the starting lineup for a 10-inning, 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves, he did enter as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and go 1-for-3, including a two-run eighth-inning home run that brought the Phillies within a run. He grounded to first to lead off the 10th, moving Nick Castellanos to third as the potential tying run.
As recently as Aug. 8 a .302 hitter, Stott had been in a 2-for-22 slide that shaved his average to .287. His swing recently may have been affected after being hit in the torso Saturday night with a fastball from the Marlins’ Xavier Edwards.
“Yeah, could have,” Thomson said. “It’s a good point. I’ve been thinking about that. Anything like that – or if you foul a ball off your lead foot or your good hitting hand – always concerns me.”
Edmundo Sosa started at second, with Thomson going with a more right-handed look against Fried, who entered with a 7-1 record and a 2.70 ERA. Brandon Marsh was also rested, with Cristian Pache in left and Johan Rojas in center. Marsh struck out in the eighth as a pinch-hitter.
Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, the designated hitter, were the only left-handed hitters in the starting lineup.
“It’s just because it’s Max Fried pitching,” Thomson said. “Give the lefties a day off. That’s all that goes into it.”
With Stott, at least, the rest proved therapeutic.
“I think so,” said Thomson, when asked if Stott just needed some time off. “And I think against Max Fried, it’s a good time to do it.”
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Cristopher Sanchez (2-3, 3.26) and right-hander Spencer Strider (16-5, 3.83) will start Wednesday at 6:40. The Phillies will be off Thursday, then begin a six-game road trip Friday in St. Louis.
Depending on how Michael Lorenzen came out of the Monday doubleheader, Thomson may have to make some adjustments to the starting rotation.
“We’ll know more after Sanchez pitches,” he said. “And we’ll know more about Lorenzen after tomorrow. It’s usually the second day after he pitches that we know how a starter feels. But so far, so good. And he feels good today.”
When he was acquired at the trade deadline, Lorenzen was touted for his ability to both start and relieve. So the veteran right-hander could soon be shifted to the bullpen to add an arm, an option and some potential steadiness.
“We haven’t even talked about it with him,” Thomson said. “But the thought has crossed my mind. Same thing with Sanchez.”
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Nick Castellanos, who had not homered since Aug. 26, belted a second-inning home run Tuesday.
Thomson was not surprised.
“He’s taking a few more pitches and he is not chasing quite as much,” he said. “So it’s getting better. I know he is going to get back to where he was in the beginning of the season. It’s just taking time and taking a little pressure off.”
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NOTES >> Recently struggling Seranthony Dominguez provided 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. … The belated Cy Young Award candidacy of Zack Wheeler took a hit when the Braves touched him for three home runs, six earned runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out three. … Trea Turner, whose ninth-inning home run created a 6-6 tie, has a team-high 22-game on-base streak. … Harper’s eighth-inning homer was the 1,500th hit of his career.
Source: Berkshire mont