Kyle Schwarber helps Phillies snap six-game skid

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PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Schwarber entered Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Red Sox after going nearly a week without a hit. He had gone over two weeks without a multi-hit game – and over a month without a multi-RBI effort.

He ended all those streaks – and helped the Phillies end their own six-game skid – in a 6-1 win at Citizens Bank Park.

Dropped back to fifth in the order, Schwarber struck out in the second inning to extend his slump to 0 for 21 with nine strikeouts. He returned to the dugout of first base to a handful of boos from the sold-out crowd.

Those boos turned into cheers two innings later when Schwarber curled a 98.3 mph RBI single into right field to tackle Bryce Harper. Those cheers then turned loud two more innings later when Schwarber welcomed left-handed reliever Richard Bleier into the game by smashing a 110.8 mph, 434-foot homer to the second deck in right field.

“It feels good,” Schwarber said. “There’s definitely a level of frustration whenever you go through stuff like that.”

Schwarber entered the series finale slashing .176/.295/.376 (.671 OPS), but the frustration had certainly been building over the past few weeks, especially.

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His two hits on Sunday marked his first multi-hit game since April 21 against the Rockies. The three RBI was a season high, with his only other multi-RBI game this season coming on April 4 at Yankee Stadium.

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And it all happened on a day when Schwarber was knocking outside the top three spots in the roster for the first time since May 27, 2022.

“Maybe it revives them both,” manager Rob Thomson said ahead of Schwarber and Bryson Stott’s trade match, which went 1 for 4 on his return to the top spot.

Thomson later joked after the match, “He feels really comfortable in the five-hole.”

Schwarber, however, feels really comfortable just about anywhere in the range.

Although he mostly started last season, Schwarber has more than 100 career plate appearances in every spot from first to sixth. He has more than 300 plate appearances at first, second, fourth, fifth or sixth — and at least 20 homers in each of those five spots in the lineup.

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“A place is a place, for me,” Schwarber said. “I’m going to hit where they want me to hit.”

Given Schwarber’s recent downfall, Thomson had faced many questions over the past week about using the two-time All-Star in the top spot. It was reminiscent of last year’s playoffs, when Schwarber went 1 for 20 (.050) with eight strikeouts at the top of the order in the club’s first six playoff games.

In Game 7, Schwarber went 2-for-3 with a home run, walk and strikeout in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series in San Diego – the same exact line he has. Sunday tour in Philadelphia.

Schwarber’s NLCS deciding game kicked off a streak in which he went 11-for-35 (.314) with six homers in the last 11 games of the 2022 playoffs.

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The Phillies will be hoping Sunday will trigger a similar turnaround.

“Confidence is a huge thing for all these guys,” Thomson said. “You start to cut your time, see the ball a little better, keep your head still – things can turn quickly.”

Schwarber is no stranger to fast turnarounds after slow starts. Entering Sunday, he had a career batting average of .204 and .736 OPS heading into June. Since June 1, he’s been a career .244 hitter to go along with an .873 OPS. His home run rate also goes from 4.9% in those first two months to 6.7% the rest of the year.

“I hate it. I wish I didn’t (start slow). But it is what it is,” Schwarber said. “I can promise you guys that every time I set foot there -down, I’m taking my best step forward – and so is everyone in this clubhouse every time we step onto this pitch.”

Schwarber’s best game to date backed up what was also Taijuan Walker’s best start to date with Philadelphia. The right-hander allowed just one run on three hits in six innings to go with six strikeouts and no walks to earn his first home win as a Phillie.

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It was just what the Phillies needed to clinch a six-game skid before Monday’s rest day ahead of a two-game series against another American League East opponent at the Blue Jays.

“It’s nice to have won. Obviously I think it’s more important,” Schwarber said. next series.”

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