July 5, 2022

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Castellanos, Phils focus on marathon, not sprint

3 min read
Club's early stumbles magnified in frustrating 4-7 start to season

Most of his Phillies teammates had returned to the visitors’ clubhouse following Monday night’s 4-1 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field. Castellanos, however, sat for a spell on the bench in front of the green-padded railing in the dugout. He took a long look at the field where the Phillies had lost for the sixth time in seven games to fall to 4-7.

He is frustrated, just like everybody else.

“Yeah, man, it sucks,” he said. “There’s no way around that. Our lineup obviously is much better than what we’re doing. We just haven’t been able to really get anything rolling.”

The Phillies have scored one or fewer runs in three of their last six losses. They avoided their fourth shutout loss in Coors Field history when they scored their only run in the eighth. They threatened to score more — they had runners on second and third with one out — but J.T. Realmuto lined into an inning-ending double play.

That is how things are going.

Because it is early, everything is magnified. A 4-7 stretch is not as noticeable in the summer. A 1-for-18 slump is easier to hide, too.

But there is no hiding from another poor start for the Phillies.

“I mean to say I’m not frustrated would be lying,” Castellanos said. “Every game that we lose, I’m frustrated. Especially to teams that I feel like we’re better than. But it is 162 games. All we can do is stay the course and continue to put the work in. Continue to get used to playing with each other. When the dust settles, hopefully, we’ll be where we need to be.

“J.T. and I were talking about it in the training room. It just kind of feels like we really haven’t had that inning where we’re compounding baserunners — whether it’s through singles or walks — instead of everybody hunting the long ball. You know? Just spitting out thoughts and ideas. We’re brainstorming as well.”

Adjustments will need to be made. The Phillies entered Monday batting .325 against fastballs, which was the best mark in baseball. But here is the problem: they are seeing fastballs only 50.8 percent of the time, which ranks 27th in the Majors.

Conversely, they are batting .175 against offspeed and breaking balls, which ranks 22nd. They have seen those pitches 49.2 percent of the time, which ranks fourth.

“Well, I do know that every single batter in our lineup has the potential to pretty much hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Castellanos said. “So, we do get pitched to pretty carefully, you know. We also have a good amount of balls that have been hit hard that are just not finding holes. Definitely not make excuses. But it’s part of baseball.”

But it means Aaron Nola’s homer to Charlie Blackmon in the sixth stands out more. It means José Alvarado’s two wild pitches in the sixth, which forced home the Rockies’ second run, stand out more.

It makes that inning-ending double play in the eighth a killer.

“It’s still early,” Nola said. “These guys are going to turn it around. There’s no doubt in my mind. Once they all get hot it’s going to be crazy. … Luckily there’s 162 baseball games in a regular season. So we’ve got a lot of baseball left. “

“The only thing we can do is be ready to win a baseball game tomorrow,” Castellanos said.

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