June 23, 2024

Phillies Alec Bohm celebrates with his teammates after getting the game winning extra innings RBI hit to beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Philadelphia.

Several factors contributed to the Philadelphia Phillies’ downfall in the last two games of the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. While the bullpen’s performance and starting pitching were part of the issue, the offense also played a significant role. Specifically, the hitters’ overly aggressive approach hindered their success. To make another successful postseason run, the Phillies must exhibit discipline at the plate and refrain from chasing pitches outside the strike zone. However, implementing this strategy is easier said than done.

“It’s more about taking the borderline ones,” second baseman Bryson Stott explained to Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I know I can hit them and put them in play. (Hitting coach) Kevin Long emphasized that now is the time to work on it during spring training. If you go down looking, you go down looking. Some of those borderline pitches I’ve been taking have been called balls and some have been called strikes. It’s about focusing on that even more and recognizing which one was a strike and which was a ball. Obviously, I’ll get some balls that are called strikes.”

“Just being more selective on the borderline ones that could go either way is something I’ve been doing in spring. Obviously if I’m punching out every at-bat, I’m going to scrap that and move on. But I think my chase rate has been good.”

Seidman tracked the overaggressiveness at the plate and reported that Nick Castellanos swung at 20 pitches in the final five games. He swung through 13, fouled off three, and hit into four outs.

“The biggest thing for me is just getting back to a relaxed place in the box,” Castellanos told Seidman. “It doesn’t matter how good your swing is, if you’re not getting anything to hit, you’re not going to hit the ball hard. Being able to get in good counts, swinging at the pitches I want to swing at, and taking first when they give it to me is everything that I’m focused on.”

There’s a fine line between being patient and being aggressive. Players shouldn’t become passive. Philadelphia reached the postseason again with an aggressive style at the plate. But if they can learn to scratch runs across when the bats aren’t all in sync, it will make them even stronger.

Philadelphia Phillies beat New York Mets in extra innings

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