Realmuto's HR ends Phils' 40-yr ASG drought

Wheeler strikes out lone batter he faces on 3 pitches in All-Star debut

July 14th, 2021

snapped a 40-year home run drought for the Phillies on Tuesday night.

He smashed a solo home run to right-center field in the fifth inning of the All-Star Game at Coors Field. It was the first homer by a Phillies player in an All-Star Game since Mike Schmidt hit one against Rollie Fingers at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland in 1981. Greg Luzinski (1977), Dick Allen (1967) and Johnny Callison (1964) have also homered for Philadelphia in the All-Star Game.

Callison’s remains the most famous. He hit a two-out walk-off home run in the ninth inning against Dick Radatz to beat the American League at Shea Stadium.

Realmuto went 1-for-2 with a homer and a strikeout in his third All-Star appearance. He hit a 1-1 sinker from Tigers left-hander Gregory Soto over the right-center-field fence in the NL's 5-2 loss against the AL. The ball left his bat at 104 mph and traveled 430 feet, according to Statcast.

“It’s been a blast,” Realmuto said. “Just being able to come here and get to see the fans in the stands and see my new teammates for the day, it was a blast.”

Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler struck out Matt Olson to end the top of the ninth in his first All-Star appearance. It was the only batter he faced. Wheeler started the at-bat with a pair of 100 mph fastballs for strikes before getting Olson to swing and miss at a slider.

“I’m just trying to soak it in right now, just enjoy it,” Wheeler said before the game. “Who knows if you’ll ever be back here?”

Realmuto and Wheeler will be key pieces in the Phillies’ second-half run at their first postseason berth since 2011. But they will need help to get there. It could come in the form of trades. Or it could come in the form of a free-agent signing.

The Phillies will attend Cole Hamels’ showcase on Friday in Texas, as MLB Network insider Jon Heyman first reported.

“Yeah, I mean, that’d be great,” Realmuto said. “He’s a Philly legend, so if they see something they like in the showcase, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be an option.”

Hamels is 37 and pitched just 3 1/3 innings last season with Atlanta because of triceps and shoulder issues. If Hamels has anything left in the tank, he could help a Philadelphia rotation that sorely needs it. The Phillies' rotation has a 4.15 ERA, which ranks ninth in the National League, and a 3.95 FIP, which ranks seventh. Wheeler (2.26 ERA) has been brilliant, and Zach Eflin (3.88 ERA) has been solid, but Aaron Nola (4.53 ERA) is struggling, and Vince Velasquez (5.35 ERA) and Matt Moore (5.40 ERA) have been unable to pitch deep into games, putting more pressure on the bullpen.

The Phillies made a midseason move like this in the past. They signed free-agent right-hander Pedro Martinez following a workout in the Dominican Republic in July 2009. Martinez solidified the Phils' rotation and helped them make the World Series.

Hamels pitched with Martinez in the `09 World Series. He spent the first 10 years of his career with Philadelphia, winning the `08 World Series and NLCS MVP Awards. He also pitched a no-hitter in his final start for the Phillies in July 2015, before they traded him to the Rangers. The Phillies got Jorge Alfaro in that deal. They later traded Alfaro to the Marlins to get Realmuto.

It would be something if Hamels is throwing to Realmuto sometime next month at Citizens Bank Park.