Phillies’ hottest bat returns; rotation plans next 2 series

Phillies’ hottest bat returns; rotation plans next 2 series originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies got their hottest hitter back for a big weekend series against the Marlins.

Trea Turner was reinstated from the paternity list. His wife, Kristen, gave birth this week to their second child, a baby boy named Tatum Trea.

Turner missed the Phillies’ final two games in San Diego, which the team split.

He was the National League Player of the Week the prior week and has hit .375/.408/.795 since August 5 with 12 homers, nine doubles, a triple, 32 RBI and 26 runs scored in 27 games. His 1.203 OPS over that span is second in the National League to Mookie Betts.

“Everything went well with his family and the baby and it’s good to have him back,” manager Rob Thomson said.

Turner was back in the two-hole, where he’s been the last 15 games he’s played. The Phillies (77-62) led the Cubs by 2½ games for the top NL wild-card spot going into Friday night’s action. They led the visiting Marlins (72-68) by 5½.

Rotation plans

Cristopher Sanchez, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez will start this weekend against the Marlins, in that order.

The Phillies have a doubleheader at home Monday against the Braves and the games will be started by Taijuan Walker and Michael Lorenzen. The Phillies haven’t said yet who will pitch the first game.

Zack Wheeler will start Tuesday against Atlanta and Sanchez will close out the series next Wednesday.

The Phillies are off next Thursday and will reassess their rotation afterward. They could go back to a five-man rotation at that point to put pitchers like Wheeler and Nola into a more normal routine leading into the playoffs, when they won’t have extended rest.

They could end up piggybacking Lorenzen with Sanchez. Lorenzen is more than 30 innings past his prior career high and is just as likely to help the Phillies in October in relief as he is as a starter. After Friday night, Sanchez will also be more than 30 innings past his career high.

Sanchez allowed five runs (three earned) over 4⅔ innings to the Angels his last time out to snap a string of three consecutive quality starts. He still has allowed more than three earned runs only once in 14 starts this season.

“I thought he really had trouble finding his changeup,” Thomson said. “Usually, early in the game he doesn’t have his changeup, it takes him once through the order and he gets it. I didn’t think he got it. He threw a couple good ones but not the amount that he normally does.

“It’s his pitch. When he has it, he’s really effective.”

Sanchez’ opponents are 20-for-124 this season in at-bats ending in a changeup, a .161 batting average.

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