Take a day off, Garrett Stubbs, you earned it


Take a day off, Garrett Stubbs, you earned it originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It had been almost two weeks since Garrett Stubbs got a start, but that’s just the way it is when you’re the backup to the man often referred to as the BCIB

When JT Realmuto, who leads all big-league catchers in starts and innings squatted here in the early season, got the night off Wednesday, Stubbs was charged with handling Ranger Suarez and holding down the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

He did both jobs well in helping the Phillies pull off a 7-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on a wintery night at Citizens Bank Park.

It was the Phillies’ third straight win, all against Colorado. The Phils have banged out 32 hits and scored 25 runs so far in the series. They are 9-10 on the season and will go for a sweep Thursday afternoon with Zack Wheeler on the mound.

Realmuto will be back behind the plate for the game and Stubbs will get a rest. He might need it because he was in all the action Wednesday night.

Slightly built at 5-10 and 170 pounds, Stubbs had two of the Phillies’ 12 hits, a second-inning single that helped set up a sacrifice fly and a sixth-inning triple that drove home a run.

Stubbs was acquired on an offseason trade with Houston, where he played in 51 games and had just 77 at-bats over three seasons. The triple was the first of his big-league career. Two innings later, he lifted a fly ball to right that on a warm night might have cleared the wall for his first big-league homer. On a cold night, it ended up as an out.

That’s life.

“I thought I got it,” the personable, 28-year-old Southern Californian said after the game. “I’ll have to hit the weight room before my next start and try to get that over the fence next time.”

Behind the plate, Stubbs helped Suarez go six innings and hold the Rockies to three runs.

Over the last four games, Phillies starting pitchers Aaron Nola, Kyle Gibson, Zach Eflin and Suarez have allowed just six runs over 24 2/3 innings.

Later in the game, Stubbs was right there for two huge moments.

First, Seranthony Dominguez came into a two-run game with two men on base and one out in the seventh and got dangerous Connor Joe to bounce into a double play.

Then, Brad Hand came on and struck out Ryan McMahon looking at a slider to end a bases-loaded threat in the top of the eighth.

It ain’t easy sitting around for three hours with the temperature in the mid-40s then having to come in and get a big out, but Dominguez and Hand both did it.

“It was pretty tough conditions,” tonight manager Joe Girardi said. “(Colorado) could have tied it in both innings. Those were really big outs.”

Like Suarez, Hand pitched in his shirtsleeves.

“Nah,” he said when asked if it was difficult to sit for three hours then have to go to work on a cold night. “It’s what we do. We’re used to it. It’s cold. It’s freezing. But I grew up in Minnesota. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or hot, you have to be ready to pitch and get a big out when they need you.”

With all the hand wringing about the Phillies’ slow start, they could be .500 in just a few hours.

“We knew we had a good team going into the season,” Hand said. “Sometimes it just takes a minute to get things going. As of now, we’re playing good ball and it’s fun.”

In addition to Realmuto, Jean Segura got the night off. Odubel Herrera moved to the leadoff spot and drove in a pair of runs with a homer and a sacrifice fly. Didi Gregorius drove in a pair of runs. Bryce Harper had three hits, including a triple that might have been a homer on a warm, windless night.

After the game, Harper revealed that he hates triples.

“I like homers and doubles,” he said. “I thought I got it enough but with the wind it didn’t even get to the wall. But I got to third for (Nick) Castellanos to get an RBI.”

Harper’s right elbow strain is still bugging him. He won’t throw again until next week. Until then, he will keep swinging as the DH. He has done it 10 straight games and has 15 hits, including four doubles, a triple and two homers, in that span.

“As a lineup these last three days, I think we’ve done a great job getting on starters early, making it tough on bullpen guys, as well,” Harper said. “Huge bonus game tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the sweep before we head to New York.”

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