By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer
Trea Turner laughed as he pointed out that, no, his mom had not booed him again as she did from home during a game last month even as his numbers dipped more into uh-oh than All-Star territory.
Turner stuck with his process even as some Phillies fans grumbled they might have been stuck with a free-agent bust only two months into a $300-million, 11-year free-agent contract.
Turner might just be getting started — just as the Phillies are warming up again in June as they did last season when they burst out of an early-season funk and rode the hot streak all the way to the World Series.
Turner homered twice for the first time with the Phillies, singled twice and knocked in three runs to lead the Phillies to an 8-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night. The Phillies were slated to again face the Tigers on Tuesday night, after Metro went to press.
“When he’s getting his pitches, and he’s not missing, it’s pretty fun to watch,” said winner Aaron Nola.
Turner bumped his average to .243 — his OPS was 130th in baseball at .684 — and isn’t yet ready to stake one breakout game as the turning point of his season.
Yet, there are signs Turner is hitting his way back into elite form.
“I think it’s physical,” Turner said. “I think my swing wasn’t where it needed to be.”
He came to that conclusion a few days ago after the team’s analytics department and hitting coach Kevin Long “found something” that was out of whack in the shortstop’s swing.
Like so many changes in a baseball stance, the changes weren’t necessarily noticeable to the naked eye.
The results? Well, Turner’s first multi-homer game since July 2022 caught every baseball fan’s eye.
“Just something to do with kind of my back hip and knee,” Turner said. “It’s hard to visually see things. But with the technology now, they can tell you to a degree what things are positioned. It’s kind of something I thought in the past but maybe overlooked because on video it looks the same. When you use technology, you can kind of break it down a little better.”
Turner delivered his first highlight-reel hit for the Phillies in the final game of their last homestand when his two-run homer tied the game in the ninth inning of a win against Arizona.
The good vibes didn’t stick in a 4-6 road trip against three NL East teams. Turner hit .143 (6-for-42) with three RBIs and no home runs.
Even stuck in his struggles, manager Rob Thomson moved Turner to the cleanup spot on Saturday and he’s hit there the last three games.
The two-time All-Star hit .300 with 192 steals in six-plus seasons with the Nationals, winning the World Series in 2019. He won a batting title after he was traded to the Dodgers in 2021 and hit .298 with 21 homers, 101 runs and a career-high 100 RBIs last year in Los Angeles.
The Phillies hope they start to see that type of production blossom headed into the summer stretch.
“I’m not scared to try anything,” Turner said. “I’ll go stand on my head up there. I don’t care what it looks like. It’s just about getting the job done.”
The Phillies have won three straight, an early spark reminiscent of their 19-8 June last season that was paced by Kyle Schwarber’s home run hot streak.
Maybe this June, Turner can carry the load. He’s up to six homers and all four hits went to left field.
“I know I can do it,” Turner said. “It’s a matter of getting the job done.”