August 10, 2022

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Looking like old self, Realmuto wraps torrid July

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PITTSBURGH — J.T. Realmuto is having a solid year, with a .264 batting average and 10 home runs. Yet he has had better seasons, as evidenced by his three career All-Star appearances and two National League Silver Slugger awards.

However, as the calendar gets ready to flip to August, Realmuto is heating up.

He continued to swing a hot bat Sunday, going 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored in helping the Phillies beat the Pirates 8-2 at PNC Park to sweep the four-game series.

It was the Phillies’ first four-game sweep in Pittsburgh since July 11-13, 1968. Dick Allen led the way then, going 9-for-19 in the series.

Realmuto looked like Allen, whose No. 15 is retired by the Phillies, the last two days. Realmuto went 2-for-2 with a home run and two walks Saturday night in a 2-1 win in 10 innings, then had the three-hit game Sunday.

Realmuto has reached base in 13 straight games since July 10. He is 19 for 46 (.413) during that stretch, with four doubles, three home runs and seven walks. After finishing June with a .239/.317/.360 line, Realmuto batted .358/.423/.642 in July.

“It’s definitely no secret that I wasn’t myself the first two or three months of the year,” Realmuto said. “I just feel like I’ve gotten back to what I did in the past, stayed with a more consistent approach. I just have more confidence now than I had early in the year, and I’m just trying to ride the wave, because it’s such an up-and-down thing. I feel good at the plate right now.”

Almost everyone in the lineup was riding the wave Sunday, as the Phillies pounded out 18 hits to run their winning streak to five games.

Alec Bohm and Nick Castellanos both went 4-for-5. Bohm doubled and hit a solo home run, while Castellanos finished with two RBIs.

Rookies Bryson Stott and Matt Vierling each had two hits. Kyle Schwarber tried to break Statcast with a 441-foot home run to the opposite field in left during a five-run fifth inning that pushed the Phillies’ lead to 7-1.

It was the longest Phillies oppo homer since Statcast began tracking home run distances in 2015.

That was plenty of run support for Aaron Nola (7-8), who allowed one run in six innings for the win.

“I think they were just getting good pitches to hit and landing good swings,” interim manager Rob Thomson said of his lineup’s 18-hit outburst. “They were using the whole field and playing with a lot of confidence. It’s great to see J.T. starting to hit, and it’s great to see [Castellanos] starting to swing the bat better. He hit the ball with a lot of authority. We got good production up and down the lineup.”

No Phillies hitter is hotter than Bohm. He batted .434 in July, going 33 for 76 in 20 games with four doubles, one triple and three home runs.

That is quite a difference from the beginning of the season, when Bohm struggled mightily. Included was a three-error game on April 11 against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

“It’s been incredible, on both sides of the ball,” Thomson said of Bohm’s improvement. “It’s a credit to Alec and also a credit to the coaching staff. [Infield coach] Bobby Dickerson, [hitting coach] Kevin Long, [assistant hitting coach] Jason Camilli — those guys have put a lot of hours into him.

“Not only have the physical aspects of the game improved for Alec, but the mental and emotional side of it, too. He’s grown up. Right now, he’s a heck of a player.”

Bohm is proud of how he has turned his season around.

His batting average is now up to .299 through 94 games. It was .246 going into play June 14.

“All the time,” Bohm said when asked if he thinks about how much he has improved. “I believe if there was no bad, there wouldn’t be any good. That’s the polarity of a baseball season. You’re going to have good stretches and you’re going to have bad stretches. Mostly, the bad stretches are what make the good stretches really good.”

In his third season in the big leagues, Bohm is also starting to figure it out.

“I think I have found some things and continue to find some things that work for me, and help me bounce back from a bad game or a bad week or a bad month and not let it affect the rest of the season,” he said.

With the calendar set to flip to August and the pennant races starting to get more intense, Bohm is confident the Phillies will reach the postseason for the first time since 2011.

“We’ve got a good team,” Bohm said. “I look around this clubhouse and there is a lot of talent. We’ve got arms, bats, gloves. We’ve got everything you could ask for right now. It’s a matter of getting hot at the right time now.”

The Phillies couldn’t have been any hotter Sunday.

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