Joe Girardi kept J.T. Realmuto out of the lineup on Wednesday, saying before a wild 12-6 win that it would be his last chance to rest the catcher this season.
“But if I need him, he’ll be in there,” Girardi said.
Well, he needed him in the sixth inning, and Realmuto delivered with a pinch-hit leadoff single to start the rally that completed the comeback from a six-run deficit. Realmuto went 3 for 3 and drove in four runs despite not being in the starting lineup. He scored on Ronald Torreyes’ three-run homer in the sixth and hit a two-run homer in the seventh to put the Phillies ahead by four.
“I was trying to rest him a little bit,” Girardi said. “I did. I rested him for five innings. So there’s his rest.”
Realmuto entered the final homestand of the season batting just .236 with a .703 OPS in his last 35 games as a shoulder injury seemed to slow him at the plate. But he now has seven RBIs and seven hits in four games.
Bryce Harper pushed the Phillies into playoff contention, but they’ll need more than just Harper to push them into October. Realmuto might be getting hot at the right time.
“J.T. is obviously a big player for us, and when he’s hot it’s pretty special,” Aaron Nola said. “I’ll think you’ll see guys who haven’t been as hot, become hot. That’s how baseball goes.”
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Joe Girardi said Schmidt’s praise of Harper is “fantastic” and “probably means a ton to Harp coming from Mike Schmidt.”
Tonight: Kyle Gibson starts against the Pirates, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Ranger Suárez faces the Buccos, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: Phillies finish the series with a bullpen game, 1:05 p.m.
Monday: The Phillies are off.
Tuesday: Phils open three-game series in Atlanta, 7:20 p.m.
Stat of the day
The Phillies are the first team in the modern era to win by six or more runs after trailing by six or more runs twice in the same season, per STATS. The games were separated by just a week as the Phillies rallied last Thursday to beat the Cubs, 17-8, after trailing by 7-0. Friday’s win was the fourth time this year the Phillies won after falling behind 6-0 or worse, which ties the 1987 Reds for the most in the modern era. And it was the third time this month that they came back to win after trailing by six or more runs, which is the most by any team in any month in the modern era, per STATS.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: “Why are the Braves playing a doubleheader on Friday?” — Chrissy N. via email
Answer: Thanks, Chrissy. The first game on Friday is the resumption of a seven-inning game that was suspended by rain in July in Atlanta. The game, which was part of a doubleheader, is in the bottom of the fifth with San Diego ahead, 5-4. The Braves will be the home team on Friday for the remainder of that game in San Diego. They will then play their regularly scheduled game with the Padres as the home team in San Diego. If the Braves lose twice on Friday and the Phillies win, the Phils will be just a half-game out of first place. But if the Braves win both and the Phils lose, the Phils will be 3½ games out.