Rob Thomson’s rare team talk lifts Phillies. Now, club seeks another jolt at trade deadline


Share post:

MIAMI — Rob Thomson does not believe in team meetings or loud speeches because, in his mind, it’s eyewash. A manager has to pick his moments; Thomson thinks one-on-one talks have a greater effect. He’ll tell a player if something does not meet his standards. He’s more of a disapproving father than an emotional boss. His players have come to like that measured criticism.

But, sometimes, the situation calls for more. The Phillies were so careless Sunday in Pittsburgh that Thomson addressed everyone together in the clubhouse immediately after the team’s 10-inning loss. He does not do this. “No,” Zack Wheeler said. “Maybe twice since he’s taken over.” The message was clear. The timing was right.

“Perfect,” Alec Bohm said. “I mean, that’s all he’s been around is winning baseball. So you know when he’s taking time to speak up and bring some stuff to our attention, he’s right.”

The Phillies played better Monday night in a 4-2 win against a pesky Marlins team. They caught the ball. They were patient; they drew a season-high 10 walks and three of those runners scored. They were not flawless.

But they were better.

“He pretty much said what we all knew,” Wheeler said. “It was received well. We know what we need to do. We need to play better. Play more consistent. Play fundamental baseball. The rest will take care of itself.”

“It’s still the same tone,” Bohm said. “But you can just tell, it’s like, ‘Hey, this isn’t who we are.’ Sometimes, it’s better (to hear it) now than in September. You know? We can get woken up a little bit. Realize that, yeah, we have to show up and play every day.”

Neither the players nor Thomson wanted to elaborate. “We had a chat, yeah,” Thomson said. It was not a long chat.

“Real quick,” Bohm said. “We earned it.”

Why did Thomson do it at that moment?

“I thought,” Thomson said, “it was time.”

Kyle Schwarber high-fives Alec Bohm, who went 2-for-3 with two walks. (Jim Rassol / USA Today)

Timing is everything, and Tuesday is one of the most consequential days of the baseball season. The trade deadline is at 6 p.m. ET. Across baseball, contenders have added pieces. One outfielder that interested the Phillies, Randal Grichuk, went to the Angels in a Sunday night deal. The Mets shipped Mark Canha, another potential Phillies target, to the Brewers. Tommy Pham is still on the Mets, although he might not be the best fit for the Phillies. Teoscar Hernández has disappointed in Seattle and leads the majors in strikeouts, but he has a track record as a quality power hitter.

The club scouted Boston’s Adam Duvall over the weekend in San Francisco. Duvall, 34, is a known commodity. He is battle-tested and considered a solid outfield defender. He tormented the Phillies for years while playing for the Braves and has always hit well at Citizens Bank Park.

Duvall had an enormous first 10 days of the season, hitting .455/.514/1.030, then fractured his left wrist while diving for a ball. Since returning June 9, he’s hit only .208/.279/.408 in 136 plate appearances, although he has performed better since the All-Star break. Duvall was not in Boston’s lineup Monday night.

USATSI 21106561 scaled

Adam Duvall is among the right-handed hitters who could make sense for the Phillies in a trade. (D. Ross Cameron / USA Today)

The Phillies, according to major-league sources, have not limited their search to a righty-hitting outfielder. They continue to prod for potential pitching upgrades in the rotation and the bullpen. Maybe there’s a match with the Cardinals, who are looking to package righty starter Jack Flaherty with a hitter. Dylan Carlson would cost more than a rental and he’s not as proven, but he is intriguing.

Inside the clubhouse, the players have followed the transactions and expect president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to do something. It might not be a significant trade, but the edges of the roster can be better, and it’s worth trying.

“It’s been kind of quiet,” starter Taijuan Walker said. “But we know we have a good team with what we have right now. If we add, we’re just going to be even better.”

“We’ll see what happens,” Bohm said. “But we’re focused on what we’ve got here right now.”

Thomson has removed himself from the process. Last week, the Phillies front office had a summit with the coaches to hear their opinions. Thomson offered his thoughts then. He’s not involved now.

What are his expectations?

“Really, to be honest, none,” Thomson said. “I don’t know whether they’re going to do something or not. I know they’re trying. But if we did nothing, in my mind, we’re good enough. We really are.”

This factored into the timing of Thomson’s clubhouse message. Maybe the Phillies will surprise and make a bigger trade than anticipated. But the likeliest scenario is one or two smaller additions, with a clear implication: The onus is on the current roster to perform better.

So, Thomson wanted to reinforce his belief in his players while emphasizing how things must improve. The Phillies were focused again Monday. Walker did not pitch with his best stuff and he allowed a two-run homer to the second batter he faced. Still, he lasted 6 2/3 innings.

USATSI 21119682 scaled

Taijuan Walker held Miami scoreless after being hit hard in the first inning. (Jim Rassol / USA Today)

The Phillies stranded two runners on base in each of the first three innings. In the second, Jake Cave swung at the first pitch after two teammates walked before him and grounded into a double play. But Cave bunted two runners over in the fourth and rookie Johan Rojas delivered a two-run double. Bohm, hitting second for the first time since May 12, drew two walks and drove the ball to the opposite field.

“I thought we really played well,” Thomson said. “After the first two hitters, it didn’t look too good. But our guys kept after it. Ten walks again tonight. I think that’s 31 walks in the last four games. Some discipline in there, but we have to take advantage of that too.”

They do. The Phillies have played too many close games. Their star hitters have slumped. But a little more patience from the entire lineup is an encouraging sign because the Phillies have often chased bad pitches.

“You have to let them throw you something to hit,” Bohm said. “We have an aggressive team. A lot of really good hitters. Sometimes, that can also work against you. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of being disciplined and making pitchers come to us lately.”

Another bat, even a complementary one, would help turn the runners into more runs. The Phillies know what it takes after they soared to a National League pennant last year. Thomson just thought it was worthwhile to issue a reminder. His exact words won’t be shared.

“That,” Thomson said, “stays in the clubhouse.”

(Top photo: Charles LeClaire / USA Today)

Source link

Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

Recent posts

Related articles

Khan: Undefeated Texas isn’t perfect, but its championship potential is as clear as ever

AUSTIN, Texas — When Texas went into the locker room leading Kansas by only six points at...

Iowa QB Cade McNamara suffers apparent leg injury vs. Michigan State

Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara was carried off the field with a lower-body injury midway through the first...

Can Penn State learn from slow start at Northwestern? Offense has plenty of issues to work on

EVANSTON, Ill. — As Penn State headed to the locker room at halftime against Northwestern with the...

The Ryder Cup was turned on its head Saturday. Here’s what it looked like

ROME — Members of the United States Ryder Cup team sat upon a crowded hillside late Saturday...

Warriors’ Draymond Green sprains left ankle, expected to miss start of training camp: Source

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green sprained his left ankle in a pickup game at Chase Center...

Raiders releasing DE Chandler Jones following arrest: Sources

The Las Vegas Raiders are releasing defensive end Chandler Jones, team sources confirmed Saturday. ESPN first reported...

Ducks’ Alex Killorn expected to miss 4-6 weeks after fracturing finger in preseason game

Anaheim Ducks forward Alex Killorn fractured his finger on Wednesday in a preseason game against the San...

Rob Edwards ‘expected’ Luton’s win at Everton; fans ‘deserve’ it

Luton Town head coach Rob Edwards says he “expected” his side’s 2-1 win at Everton — and...