Phillies Lineup

Thomson explains dropping Castellanos to 8th in Phillies' lineup

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Nick Castellanos came to the plate Friday night with the bases loaded, two outs and the Phillies down a run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Bryce Harper had just walked on four pitches and Miami kept left-hander Andrew Nardi in the game to face Castellanos.

One pitch later, the threat was over. Castellanos chased a fastball inside off the plate and tapped out softly to shortstop.

Manager Rob Thomson was asked after the game whether he'd move the slumping right fielder down in the order. He offered no comment because he hadn't spoken yet to Castellanos. He did a few minutes later.

When the Phillies' lineup came out Saturday afternoon, Castellanos was dropped four spots, from cleanup to eighth.

It is the lowest he's hit in any game he's started since 2015, his second full season as a major-leaguer.

"Totally professional," Thomson said of how Castellanos handled the news. "I'm sure he's not exactly happy and I don't blame him for that but he's an experienced guy and he's, for the most part, been our most consistent hitter, especially in the first half. The one thing about Casty, he posts every day. And he never complains, ever. He's a pro."

Castellanos is 3-for-29 with 11 strikeouts in September. He entered Saturday night hitting .268, his lowest batting average since April 9, the ninth game of the season.

When he's gone cold this season or last, plate selection has been the culprit. Castellanos has acknowledged as much, saying earlier this summer that when he gets into that mode, he retires himself and pitchers feel no need to throw him anything in the zone.

"He doesn't really look tired, it's just his mechanics are off right now and causing him to chase," Thomson said. "He's jumping out a little bit."

Castellanos has the second-highest chase rate in the National League since the All-Star break. He's swung at 47.8% of pitches outside the zone. Only Colorado's Ezequiel Tovar has chased more.

A month ago, Thomson dropped a slumping Trea Turner to eighth in the lineup. He lasted three games in that spot, hitting a grand slam in the third game. He's been the most productive hitter in the National League ever since.

The Phillies are hoping the move provides a similar reset for Castellanos. He won't have to be a focal point of the offense for a little while.

"Let him get back to his game where he's taking a few more pitches and being a little more selective, using the entire field, staying back and not trying to do too much," Thomson said.

"I think it's a longer lineup now this year, and to create balance throughout the lineup, some guys are going to have to hit down there. You look at (Brandon) Marsh's numbers, is he really a seven-hole hitter? Putting Casty eighth, you figure that ahead of him, (Bryson) Stott is going to get on base, Marsh is going to get on base, so he's going to have ample opportunity to produce.

"I'm confident he's going to start hitting again, and when he does, we'll move him again."

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