Realmuto propels offense in Phillies win over Cubs

Realmuto lifts offense as Phillies beat Cubs in opener
Before Tuesday's series opener with the Cubs, the top storyline involving the Phillies centered around the return of Charlie Manuel to the dugout as the club's new hitting coach. As if the 100-plus games weren't enough of an indication that a change was necessary, the Phils whiffed 15 times and finished Tuesday night 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

J.T. Realmuto provided just enough offense though, with a solo shot in the fifth and a go-ahead run-scoring double in the seventh, to propel the Phils to a much needed 4-2 victory over the Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.

Jason Vargas surrendered two runs over six frames in the win while Blake Parker, Mike Morin, and Hector Neris combined to toss three scoreless innings in relief to secure the victory.

The win kept the Phillies to within two games of the final National League Wild Card spot with 43 games remaining on the schedule.



“I'll say that we need contributions from every corner of the organization and every portion of our Major League team,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said (see video). “At the same time, if we are going to make the kind of run that we think we're capable of, it's going to be because we score runs. We have a chance to limit damage. We have a chance to stay in baseball games. But the strength of our team right now is our offense. It hasn't been where it's needed to be thus far this season. But we certainly have the talent, and guys with the track record and a bench that's deeper now than it has been.

“Of course, we can get some strong performances from starting pitching. And we saw our bullpen take good care of us tonight. At the same time, the reason that we're going to get there is because we're going to swing the bats well.”

That's where, ideally, Manuel can help. Entering play last night the Phillies ranked in the bottom half of all of baseball in most meaningful offensive categories.

Manuel wasn't in town last night, but he'll be in the dugout tonight - exactly six years since he was relieved of his duties as manager back in 2013.

Adding to the hoopla surrounding Manuel's return to the dugout, former Phillies' ace Cole Hamels will be on the mound for the Cubs. The Phillies counter with their current ace in Aaron Nola.

The start will mark Hamels' first in Philly since he was traded by the club in 2015.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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