Realmuto will never hit a HR like this again

Phillies take opener vs. Nationals behind 12 hits, solid pitching

August 26th, 2020

Everything is breaking and bouncing 's way in 2020.

Realmuto helped the Phillies to an 8-3 victory over the Nationals on Tuesday night at Nationals Park, where he struck a 1-1 fastball from right-hander Erick Fedde toward the right-field wall in the third. Realmuto thought he flied out to the warning track to end the inning, but right fielder Adam Eaton misjudged his jump and the ball hit the front edge of the padding atop the fence. The ball bounced straight into the air. Eaton jumped again, but the ball had enough backspin to carry over the wall for a three-run homer to give the Phillies a three-run lead.

“When I hit it I knew I was just a couple inches short,” Realmuto said. “That’s why I was upset, but I got lucky enough. I honestly just thought I got under the ball. I didn’t think I got all of it. I was lucky enough that it carried enough and pretty relieved when it went over the fence. I kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye. I saw it hit the top of the fence, and then I didn’t know if it came back in or over the fence, so I was ready to keep running to third.”

Eaton could not believe it. After the ball popped into the air and fell over the fence, he rested his arms and stared through the chain-link fence into the Nationals’ bullpen.

"It didn’t look like he hit it that good, honestly,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I thought it was actually going to be a fly ball.”

According to Statcast, the ball left Realmuto’s bat at 99.3 mph. It had an expected batting average of just .260.

“This is definitely the most unique homer that I’ve ever hit,” said Realmuto, who went deep for the first time since Aug. 14.

Realmuto is batting .289 (26-for-90) with three doubles, nine home runs, 25 RBIs and a .962 OPS. His on-base percentage (.340) and slugging percentage (.622) are career highs. He entered the game tied for 18th in the Majors with a 1.1 WAR, according to FanGraphs. He is playing the best baseball of his career at the right time. He will be a free agent after the season, and he might be the best position player available.

“That’s where you maybe feel like you got a little bit of a break,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said about the home run. “We took advantage of it.”

The Phillies have not gotten many breaks on this four-city, 10-game road trip through Boston, Buffalo, N.Y., Atlanta and Washington. Tuesday’s win improved them to 3-5 on the trip and 11-14 overall. The Phillies needed more than Realmuto’s bounce to win Tuesday. They needed five strong innings from right-hander , the speed of and four solid innings from the team’s maligned bullpen.

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Arrieta allowed one run in five innings. He threw only 54 pitches. He would have pitched longer except a one-hour, 12-minute rain delay ended his night. Arrieta credited a recent bullpen session for his improved performance. He allowed eight runs in nine innings in his previous two starts.

“The action was late on the sinker, the cutter was moving really good,” Arrieta said. “I threw some good changeups.”

Quinn scored an important insurance run in the seventh. He reached on an infield single, stole second base, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a close play at the plate to make it 5-2. and knocked in three more runs, and the bullpen took care of the rest.

Yes, that bullpen. , , , and allowed one earned run.

“When you make additions and guys start to get on a roll, I think it can turn quickly,” Girardi said. “You just have to build off it.”

If the Phillies continue to build with a win Wednesday, they would put themselves in position to finish the trip with a .500 record, something unimaginable just a few days ago.