Nothing is given in professional sports. And the Philadelphia Phillies are certainly learning of this unfortunate reality. After coming off a Cinderella run during the 2022 postseason that heartbreakingly came up short against the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros, the Phillies have sputtered in 2023. Through the first two months of the season, they have been treading water, perhaps even reaching rock bottom after they were on the wrong end of a sweep against division rival New York Mets.
And Nick Castellanos, the Phillies' everyday right fielder, has had enough.
Speaking with Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Castellanos implored his Phillies teammates to dig deep and conjure up whatever fire they could from within to spark their midseason turnaround, especially as they come to acknowledge that being able to repeat what they did last year is far from a guarantee.
“We have to figure something out fast. We can’t go about it that baseball owes us something because we had a magical run down the stretch last year,” Castellanos said. “Whatever fire we have as a group, I think it’s about time it shows.”
Of course, a three-game sweep at Citi Field in June isn't the end of the world. There are 106 more games left in the Phillies' season after all. In fact, through 56 games, the Phillies were barely better in 2022, posting a 27-29 record at the 56-game mark.
Nick Castellanos, to his credit, is doing his part. Overlooking his less-than-stellar defense in the outfield, he has been one of the Phillies' more consistent batters. For qualified Phillies batters, Castellanos only trails Brandon Marsh in overall WAR for the season, per FanGraphs.
Trea Turner, the Phillies' big money signing this past offseason, should be due for a regression to his career averages as well. After a stellar showing at the World Baseball Classic, Turner has proceeded to struggle, slashing an uncharacteristic .236/.279/.369 at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, Aaron Nola should also be on his way to pitching better, although his pitching peripherals have been trending the wrong direction.
Whatever the case may be, time remains on the Phillies' side. The hope now for Nick Castellanos is that they figure it out before it becomes their enemy.