Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos was having a rough go of it when he stepped up to the plate against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday. The 32-year-old came into the game hitting just .160, which is not what the Phillies had in mind when they signed him to a five-year, $100 million in 2022.

Luckily, Castellanos showed why Philadelphia gave him that payday, hitting a walk-off single with the bases loaded, raising his average to .182. The two-time All-Star claimed that he didn't have a strategy at the plate, choosing to keep it simple, via ESPN.

“I didn't have an approach,” Castellanos said. “I was just ready to hit. I just wanted to win the game, bro. See the ball, hit the ball. I had an opportunity to win the game, and it made me get back to that simplicity.”

More importantly, will that simplicity help Castellanos keep his momentum up going forward?

Phillies need Nick Castellanos at his best in order to achieve greatness

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos (8) is douse with water by designated hitter Kyle Schwarber (12) after hitting a walk off RBI single during the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Castellanos played well in his first two seasons in Philadelphia, especially last year. While he missed 26 games in 2022, he still made his mark, posting a slash line of .263/.305/.389 with 13 homers and 62 RBI. The former Tiger then followed that up with an even better 2023 campaign. He played in 157 games, hitting .272/.311/.476 with 29 home runs and 106 RBI.

If the Phillies hope to get back to the World Series, they'll need Castellanos to have another season like that. Nothing would help wash the taste of the 2022 championship loss to the Houston Astros out of their mouths than another magical October run.

Castellanos himself was the last out of that series, flying out to Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker to end Game 6. While the 2021 Silver Slugger Award winner can't always put his hero cape on, Philadelphia needs at least one of their many stars to put it on when the lights get bright.

While it's still early, the Phillies haven't exactly been lighting it up at the plate. For example, superstar first baseman Bryce Harper is hitting .204, and the team as a whole is hitting just .232. That won't cut it long-term, especially with the star-studded Atlanta Braves in their division. Winning the NL East would help Philadelphia immensely, as it'd be able to avoid the new Wild Card format that includes a best-of-three series, rather than a one-off game.

Castellanos' efforts did not go unnoticed in the clubhouse, via Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“He’s been grinding,” said manager Rob Thomson. “That was a big hit. I’m happy for him, I really am. He’s been working hard. Working on his swing, and hopefully he’s finding something.”

The Phillies better hope so, as they can't let too much more time pass without starting to slug more consistently. However, there's reason for hope, as Castellanos has posted a slugging percentage over .400 in 10 seasons. If the veteran finds his form over the long run, look for them to continue making noise in a competitive NL race.