Phillies vs. Marlins: Good vibes from Ranger Suarez, J.T. Realmuto in rout of Miami

MIAMI — If the Phillies are going to stay in contention and make a serious run at breaking their 10-year postseason drought, they’re going to need their injured players to come back healthy and productive in the coming weeks.

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They’re also going to need to get more from proven veterans JT Realmuto and Nick Castellanos.

A little help from the front office at the Aug. 2 trade deadline would also come in handy.

On the final Saturday before the All-Star break, the Phillies were happy to get some of what they’ll need for the long Haul in the form of a promising start from Ranger Suarez and a big day at the plate from Realmuto.

Suarez came off the injured list and pitched five scoreless innings and Realmuto continued to swing a warming bat as the Phillies made it two in a row over the often-problematic Miami Marlins with a 10-0 win under the big top in South Florida.

The win improved the Phillies to 48-43 heading into the final game before the All-Star break. They are a half-game behind St. Louis for control of the third and final NL wild-card playoff spot.

Eight games into their three-city, nine-game road trip, the Phils are 4-4 with a chance to sweep the Marlins on Sunday. Aaron Nola will pitch against Lefty Trevor Rogers.

The Phillies hope to get pitcher Zach Eflin (sore right knee), second baseman Jean Segura (broken right index finger) and slugger Bryce Harper (broken left thumb) back in the coming weeks.

Suarez had been on the injured list for just 16 days after a bout with back spasms. He had been inconsistent, especially with his command, before the injury. If his work Saturday was a preview of things to come, the Phillies will be very happy. The left-hander scattered four hits, walked none and struck out four. He was economical with his pitches and needed just 65 to get through five innings. Given Suarez’s time off, the team had him on a pitch limit.

“Huge,” manager Rob Thomson said of the potential lift that Suarez could give the team after the break. “We saw what he did last year in the starting rotation. They really picked us up. It looks like he’s close to being back where he was.”

Suarez is aware of how important he will be to the Phils down the stretch.

“Si, si,” they said in Spanish then through interpreter Diego Ettedgui. “Mourn. But not only me. Everyone has to do their part for us to make the playoffs.”

The bullpen has been excellent recently and it was again behind Suarez. It followed up Friday night’s three shutout innings with four more to lock down the win.

Realmuto has come back from three days off — he did not make the two-game trip to Toronto before Thursday’s scheduled off day — and had two big games in Miami, his former place of employment. They had three hits and knocked in the go-ahead run in Friday night’s 2-1 win.

On Saturday, Realmuto gave the Phils a 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth. Two innings later, he doubled and scored a run as the Phillies rallied for three runs to close the book on rookie Max Meyer’s big-league debut.

After the game, Realmuto said he felt fresh after the time off.

“It’s not often, if ever, you get three days off in the middle of the season without being injured,” he said. “My body feels better than if I played those three days.”

Could this convince Thomson to give Realmuto a little more rest in the second half? You know, a snip here and a snip there can make the rose stand taller.

“You always take it into consideration,” Thomson said. “(Backup Garrett) Stubbs is playing so well. Every time he goes out there, he gives us a chance to win.

“So, possibly, yeah. We’ll monitor his workload.”

Realmuto was quick to point out that he started to swing the bat well before his three-day break.

“I don’t know,” he said on the subject of getting a little more time off. “I don’t necessarily think the last couple of games are because of rest. I felt good at the plate that last game in St. Louis. I just had two days to think about those swings in St. Louis and carry it into this series.”

Realmuto is 11 for 30 with four RBIs in eight games against the Marlins this season.

With five hits these first two games in Miami, his batting average is up to .251, the highest it has been since June 5. His OPS is .717, the highest it has been since June 4.

Once the Phillies rallied for three runs in the sixth, they were going to be tough to beat. They are 39-16 when scoring four or more runs this season.

In addition to Realmuto, three other Phillies hit homers. Rhys Hoskins (No. 19) and Kyle Schwarber (No. 29) had solo shots. Didi Gregorius smacked his first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth.

The Phils finished the day with 15 hits on their way to double-digit runs. They averaged just two runs over the first seven games of the trip.

Now they look to go into the All-Star break with a sweep.

“My goal every day is for each one of these guys to leave the building feeling good about themselves,” Thomson said. “It’s the same goal for the All-Star break. Leave feeling good, get some rest, get after it again.”


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