street. LOUIS – JT Realmuto provided some of the Phillies’ biggest postseason moments last October, hitting a home run within the park in Game 4 of the NLDS and a 10th-run home run in Game 1 of the World Series.
He hopes to create more moments like that next month.
But Realmuto hasn’t been on top this season, including Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. He’s batting .248 with 18 home runs, 56 RBIs and a .755 OPS in 2023. He hasn’t finished a season hitting .259 or lower since his first full season in the major leagues in 2015. He hasn’t finished a season with a .771 OPS or lower since 2016.
“I couldn’t find a groove for a consistent period of time like I usually do,” Realmuto said. “I’m battling things back and forth. I haven’t had real success, batting is a mindset and confidence thing like anything else, and I haven’t been able to find my confidence for a consistent period of time this year.
“Confidence comes when you’re taking hits and hitting the ball. I feel like even when I was feeling good at the plate, I had a lot of struggles. I just couldn’t build on that.”
The Phillies are in position to clinch the No. 1 NL Wild Card, even without Realmuto swinging his best. They have a three-game lead over the Cubs with 13 games to play. Even if the Phils eventually stumble to 6-7, they will still have 87 wins. The Cubs would then need to finish 10-3 to pass them in the standings because the Phils own the tiebreaker.
Realmuto hopes the Phillies finish much stronger, so they can enter the postseason with momentum.
He hopes the same for himself as well.
“I have to be more consistent and put the barrel on the ball more often,” he said.
Realmuto has a great leg kick, which always seems to get mentioned when he’s in a funk.
“It’s never like that,” he said. “When I was at my best, my leg kick was at its highest. My leg kick changes from bat to bat, from swing to swing. It’s more of a rhythm thing than anything else for me. That’s not the issue.”
While he digs offensively, Realmuto will try to take care of a struggling pitching staff. On Sunday, he caught right-hander Taijuan Walker, who allowed five runs in seven innings. Walker’s velocity was below his season average, but he threw more strikes, which everyone saw as a positive development.
Walker entered Sunday throwing 60.3 percent of strikes on the first pitch, which ranked 41st out of 51 qualifying pitchers. In his past six starts before Sunday, that rose slightly to 60.4 percent of first-pitch strikeouts with a 5.73 ERA.
Walker threw 22 of 30 (73.3 percent) strikes on the first pitch on Sunday.
“That was the game plan,” Walker said. “JT sat in the middle and just attacked the area. I tried to get as forward as possible. I got 0-2, 1-2, and I tried to give myself a chance to shoot and shoot, and if not, just put the ball in play. Obviously The numbers don’t look good, but I feel like I did better than I showed.
“Most of his problems this year came from walking and getting behind in the count, so we tried to attack the zone a little more, and I thought he did a good job of that,” Realmuto said.
The Phillies tied the game in the eighth only to allow Ceranthony Dominguez to get a go-ahead home run off Jordan Walker in the bottom of the inning. It was the third time Dominguez had allowed a homer in his past five games.
“It wasn’t one of Ser’s best submarines,” Realmuto said. “I think his stuff has gotten better. Definitely his slider because his last outing was the best I’ve seen in a couple of months.
The Phillies still have a chance at No. 9. They had runners on first and second with one out, but Realmuto swung on three pitches. Johan Rojas flew out to center to finish it off.
Realmuto is hitting .190 with runners in scoring position this season. He has hit .279 at those positions over the past two years.
“If I had the answer, I would probably fix it,” Realmuto said. “I don’t know, maybe I try to do too much in those situations, widen the area a little bit. I don’t know. I don’t really have an answer for that.”
(tags for translation) MLB