PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson declined to change his lineup for Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against Arizona on Tuesday night despite the struggles of hitters in key spots.
Thomson has stuck with the same lineup for all seven games of the series, and the Diamondbacks limiting Philadelphia to one run in Arizona’s Game 6 win intensified calls from fans for Thomson to shift cleanup hitter Alec Bohm and No. 5 hitter Bryson Stott down in the order.
“To move people around at this point just doesn’t make much sense to me,” Thomson said, citing the Phillies’ postseason record (8-4), their run differential (+31) and Bohm and Stott’s batting averages with runners in scoring position this postseason (.267 and .333, good for fourth and second on the team, respectively).
Philadelphia, batting .242/.324/.463 in the series, has clearly outhit the Diamondbacks and outscored them by 11 runs despite the series being tied. Still, Bohm and Stott batting ahead of catcher J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos and Brandon Marsh prompted questions about whether Thomson should consider making a move.
The prospect of him doing so before Game 7 was unlikely, as Thomson has preached tranquility in the Phillies’ clubhouse all October — and has stuck with this lineup, which he used five times in the regular season, for 10 of the 13 games this October, including nine in a row. In the NLCS, Bohm is hitting .273/.333/.318 with one extra-base hit, a double, and three RBIs in 24 at-bats. Stott’s line is worse: .238/.304/.238 without an extra-base hit and just one run driven in. Castellanos, who hit cleanup in the regular season more than any other Phillies player but has been in the No. 7 hole, is 1-for-20 in the series and has gone hitless for more than a week.
“The biggest part of it is making sure that people don’t panic and they stay relaxed and they stay calm and keep their poise,” Thomson said. “Our guys do a really good job of that on their own. There’s really not much myself or our coaching staff has to do. I think at times on an individual basis you’ve got to get guys’ confidence level up if they’re struggling a little bit. But our guys are really good. They rally around each other, and they pull each other in when they’re struggling. I really don’t have too much worry about that.”
In Game 7, the Phillies will face Diamondbacks rookie Brandon Pfaadt, who shut them out over 5⅔ innings in a 2-1 Game 3 loss. He struck out nine, including Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia’s hottest hitter, twice. Even so, Thomson will run up the same lineup as that day, while Arizona manager Torey Lovullo has been more liberal in tweaking his order.
“We have a good lineup,” Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said. “I think sometimes you can make adjustments and sometimes you can overreact, but I believe in all our guys, one through nine, whoever is in there. I think they do as well. That’s a good thing.”