Phils know slumps will end: 'Every storm only has so much rain'

June 23rd, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Everything comes to an end eventually, including losing streaks and Nick Castellanos’ struggles.

Castellanos believes that much.

“Every storm only has so much rain,” he said following Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Field.

The Phillies have lost three consecutive games for the first time since a five-game losing streak at the end of May that preceded former manager Joe Girardi’s dismissal. The Phils started 14-2 under interim manager Rob Thomson. They got contributions from different players almost every night, big hits from Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, Bryson Stott, Matt Vierling, Alec Bohm and Garrett Stubbs. But those moments have not come this week. The Phillies flew to San Diego while facing adversity for the first time under Thomson.

“You’ve got to take the same approach we took in the first 16 games,” Thomson said. “Just prepare and compete and bring energy every day and lay it out there. Because this is a good ballclub.”

The Phillies will try to snap their skid and get back on track against the Padres, who entered Wednesday tied with the Dodgers for first place in the NL West. San Diego has one of baseball’s best pitching staffs, ranking fifth in baseball in ERA (3.44) and fourth in WAR (9.5), according to FanGraphs.

It is not ideal timing for a struggling Phillies offense.

Schwarber, Hoskins and Harper have been leading the way at the top of the lineup this month, but the middle and bottom of the lineup has struggled. Castellanos (0-for-11), Didi Gregorius (1-for-12), J.T. Realmuto (3-for-11), Bohm (3-for-12), Odúbel Herrera (0-for-8) and Stott (1-for-6) batted a combined .133 (8-for-60) with no extra-base hits in the past three games.

“You’re right with those three guys being the main contributors every day,” Castellanos said.

Castellanos is batting .245 with seven homers, 36 RBIs and a .692 OPS this season. He is batting .203 with a .525 OPS this month. He is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.

“The funny part is I was telling K Long [hitting coach Kevin Long] when I feel good, I don’t get results,” Castellanos said. “But when I feel like I’m up there battling is when I flip a line drive or I’ll get something. But baseball just goes like that sometimes.”

Realmuto is batting .240 with three homers, 24 RBIs and a .666 OPS this season. He is batting .224 with a .602 OPS this month. Gregorius is searching for his first homer of the year. Bohm is batting .256 with four homers, 25 RBIs and a .642 OPS this season. He is batting .228 with a .560 OPS this month. Herrera is batting .188 with a .563 OPS this month. Stott is batting .036 (1-for-28) in his last nine games. He had a stretch of four homers in eight games earlier this month. He crushed a ball to center field in the fourth inning on Wednesday, but somehow it stayed in the park.

“They’ve been playing the game for a long time,” Harper said. “You expect [success] out of those guys each night that they go out there. Sometimes players have slow starts, especially being in a new place and understanding a new place, figuring out a new place, figuring out baseball and things away from the field as well. It’s all part of it. I think it’s just a matter of time before all those guys end up doing what they do.”

The Phillies lost on Wednesday in part because it is impossible for Zack Wheeler to dominate every time he pitches. He allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings, although only two runs were earned as two defensive mistakes in the second cost him.

Wheeler said he felt “a little off.” He will be fine.

The Phillies believe the offense will be, too.

“I’m all about the next one,” Harper said. “I feel like if you harp on something, if you look at the past three games … we didn’t play our best baseball. I think we really need to turn the page and get going and be excited to be in San Diego. It’s a great team, there’s going to be a playoff atmosphere there.”