Phils' new lineup with Harper's return

May 3rd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The Phillies tweeted Tuesday night’s lineup four hours before Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías threw his first pitch to at Dodger Stadium.

It was the most highly anticipated lineup of the season, other than Opening Day. Phillies fans not only wanted to see ’s name in there, they wanted to see where he hit in his return from Tommy John surgery. But they also wanted to see where everybody else hit with Harper back. Because, you know, everybody has strong feelings about the lineup.

Here is how it looked:

1. Schwarber, LF (.782 OPS entering Tuesday)
2. Trea Turner, SS (.669 OPS)
3. Harper, DH
4. Nick Castellanos, RF (.882 OPS)
5. Bryson Stott, 2B (.763 OPS)
6. J.T. Realmuto, C (.782 OPS)
7. Alec Bohm, 1B (.749 OPS)
8.Brandon Marsh, CF (1.062 OPS)
9. Edmundo Sosa, 3B (.834 OPS)

It was not a surprise that Phillies manager Rob Thomson went lefty-righty through the first six spots, before Realmuto and Bohm hit back-to-back in the No. 6-7 holes. Thomson likes balance in his lineup, as do most managers.

It would not have been a surprise, either, to see Thomson hit Stott first and Schwarber fifth, but Thomson flipped them instead. Stott entered the game batting .315 with a .347 on-base percentage. Schwarber, meanwhile, batted .208 with a .339 on-base percentage. In the end, Thomson liked Schwarber’s power at the top, acknowledging that Schwarber has put up some of his best numbers hitting first.

“I bounced back and forth about 100 times between him and Stott,” Thomson said. “But, at the end of the day, I just kind of figured it was the formula we used last year. Schwarber had his most success hitting either in the first or second spot, and I think Stott will perform in the middle because he makes contact. When he’s got runners on base, he makes contact. We’ll go with it for now and see how it works.”

In other words, nothing is permanent.

Harper's return just shows the depth of the Phillies' lineup. Thomson touted Marsh, who hit eighth, as a candidate for NL Player of the Month for April before the game.

“When you see the lineup, you’re going to see some pretty good hitters way down there because he is back,” Thomson said of Harper. “Once he gets hot, we’re going to be a handful.”