For the second year in a row, the Phillies are battling for a Wild Card spot, and it looks like it might go down to the wire. Last year, a handful of players stepped up down the stretch and pushed us into the postseason, including Aaron Nola, Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper and others.
This season, we’ve managed to stay in the hunt despite injuries and underperformance by several key players. If we want to make it back to the postseason, several guys need to pick up the slack and play their best when it matters most.
Who’s going to be the hero this year? Here are three Phillies players who need to improve down the stretch.
3 Phillies Who Need to Play Better
1. Trea Turner
This one goes without saying, but we really need Turner to be better, at least at the plate. His baserunning and defense have been strong as always, but the hitting just hasn’t been there.
When you’re making $27 million, you can’t afford to be a No. 8 hitter. We need Turner back at the top of the lineup where he belongs, especially with Kyle Schwarber struggling out of the leadoff spot.
The big thing for Turner is that he needs to stop pressing and cut down on his strikeouts. You can tell he’s trying to do too much, and it’s resulting in the second-highest whiff rate of his career. He’s trying to erase four months of mediocrity with every swing rather than just letting the game come to him.
If he can do that and get his slash line up to around .250/.300/.400, we’d take it. At this point we just need league-average production from him, even though he’s getting paid for All-Star / MVP-level performance.
If Turner gets back on track, that will go a long way toward lengthening the lineup and elevating our offense, which currently rates in the middle of the pack.