Jean Segura freaked out his teammates on Monday morning at Citi Field.
Segura got to the ballpark early and decided to dress in full uniform 90 minutes before first pitch. Baseball players are creatures of habit, and Segura typically dresses 30 to 45 minutes before a game. Teammates noticed. Rhys Hoskins saw Segura at his locker ready to play and asked him how many hits he planned to get.
Segura said he needed five.
He got four, but he had a career-high five RBIs, including a game-winning, two-out two-run home run in the 10th inning in a 9-8 victory over the Mets.
The victory gave the Phillies a series split as they begin the most grueling portion of their 60-game schedule, with five seven-inning doubleheaders in 15 days beginning on Tuesday with a twin bill against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park.
“Tomorrow I’ll dress two hours before the game,” Segura joked.
If it helps, it helps.
The Phillies carried a six-run lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. Segura doubled with the bases loaded in the first and Hoskins smashed a two-run home run to left field in the second to make it 5-0. Hoskins is now batting .309 with eight home runs, 15 RBIs and a 1.205 OPS in his last 13 games.
J.T. Realmuto’s opposite-field homer in the fifth made it 6-0, a lead that seemed like plenty for right-hander Zack Wheeler, who cruised through four innings. But after the Mets doubled four times in the fifth and Wheeler hit two batters in the sixth, manager Joe Girardi turned to his bullpen.
Wheeler, who had thrown only 83 pitches, asked why he could not continue. Girardi told him that he felt he'd lost his sharpness.
“He wanted to stay in,” Girardi said. “I’ve told these guys all along, there are going to be some things I do that you don’t like. That’s the bottom line. But he was respectful. I love that he wants to stay in, though. That’s the best thing about it.”
The bullpen then allowed four runs in the seventh to hand the Mets a 7-6 lead. Alec Bohm had a huge at-bat in the eighth, tying the score with an opposite-field two-out single that plated Segura, who had reached on a one-out single to center for his third hit of the game.
Segura said afterward that he kept bringing up his pregame prediction with Hoskins throughout the afternoon.
“I’m going to get five hits,” Segura kept telling him.
Segura batted .206 with three home runs, four RBIs and a .684 OPS in his first 20 games this season, but he is batting .333 with two home runs, 13 RBIs and a .903 OPS in 13 games since. The Phillies’ offense has been one of the best in baseball this season, because every week or so, it seems like another couple of hitters get hot. Earlier this season, Bryce Harper and Realmuto carried the team. Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen heated up at one point.
Now Segura is hitting the ball hard.
“If everybody isn’t hitting on the right foot, at least somebody is,” Wheeler said. “We’ve been doing something right lately.”
In the 10th, Segura hit a 1-1 fastball from Miguel Castro deep to left-center. The ball left his bat at 109.3 mph, according to Statcast, for his hardest-hit ball since Aug. 14, 2019, when he hit a ball 113.1 mph for a single.
“It’s been a stressful year for everybody with the pandemic,” Segura said. “We’re not playing with any fans [at the ballpark]. I just kept myself motivated going into this game today because we lost the last two. It’s one of those games where you bring it. Today I was able to do a lot of damage.”
After Monday, the Phillies have 23 games to play in 20 days. They are 20-17, which would qualify them for the postseason for the first time since 2011, as they would be fifth in the National League in the expanded eight-team playoffs. Segura, who has been in the big leagues since 2012, has never played in the postseason.
October baseball is a motivator.
“I’m waiting for that moment,” Segura said. “I think it’s time to go there.”