Bryson Stott comes up big in a pinch to help Phillies take down Cubs
Stott comes up big in a pinch to help Phillies take down Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Bryson Stott wasn’t in his accustomed spot at second base for the Phillies when Sunday’s game against the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park started. He wasn’t surprised, either. Like most managers, Rob Thomson gives his players ample advance notice when they will or won’t be in the lineup.
Stott didn’t get a day off, though. In the seventh inning he was summoned to pinch-hit for Josh Harrison with one out and Edmundo Sosa on second base. That didn’t catch him off guard, either. Again, the bench players are always clued in when they might be needed.
But what Stott did next for a team that’s struggled in clutch situations recently landed like a thunderbolt. He drilled a 1-2 pitch from Cubs reliever Adbert Alzolay into the rightfield seats, bringing the sellout crowd to its feet. It was the first pinch-hit home run of his career.
It was the only hit with a runner in scoring position the Phillies got all afternoon. It was all they needed edge the Cubs, 2-1, and take the series with their second straight win.
“You never know what’s going to happen in a game, when you’re going to go in and whatnot,” Stott said. “Just kind of staying ready in the cage. Probably every other inning I was taking live BP off (coach Jason Camilli) and flips and stuff like that. Just trying to stay as ready as I can.”
Even with that, and even with scoring a dozen runs on Saturday, the Phillies are still 7-for-61 (.115) with runners in scoring position in their last seven games.
Said Thomson: “All those guys, we give them a heads up about what’s going on. We give them plenty of time. (Camilli) is in the cage and he gets them prepared. He does a great job with that. Talks about approach and what they throw, velocities and things like that.”
Stott is 21-for-61 (.344) when he has two strikes on him this year. He said the key is not to expand your strike zone.
Sitting Stott wasn’t the only lineup change Thomson made Sunday. Centerfielder Brandon Marsh also was out of the lineup, although he entered the game as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in the eighth.
Stott and Marsh may also sit Monday night against the Diamondbacks against lefty starter Tommy Henry as Thomson balances the production he can get from the two lefty-swinging starters against the need to get righthanded bench players Josh Harrison and Dalton Guthrie some plate appearances.
Slumping Trea Turner led off for just the third time since April 11. He doubled today and is now batting .200 in his last 26 games with 37 strikeouts in 110 at bats.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto, on the other hand, started his seventh straight game. Thomson didn’t totally dismiss the idea that, with the speed-up rules leading to quicker games, catchers might be able to get by with fewer days off than in previous years.
“It’s interesting because he (Realmuto) had mentioned that he feels a lot fresher since the pitch clock was put in,” Thomson said. “So maybe there’s something to that. Now everybody’s a one-knee guy, too, so that takes a lot of pressure off your legs and eliminates a lot of fatigue. Just being able to go down on your knee all the time.