We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag.  We take your Phillies questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill each and every Tuesday afternoon.  As your questions at any time to @FrankKlose on X.

Will Bryson Stott at short and Whit Merrifield at second be the more common while Turner is out?

If you asked me just a day ago, I might say, "I'm not sure."  But we learned on Monday afternoon that the Phillies were willing to consider it.  For the first time, Bryson Stott started at shortstop, and Whit Merrifield started at second base.

Shortstop might be the one position other than pitcher or catcher that Merrifield would not be a candidate to start.  When the Phillies signed him, they envisioned him jumping in for an injured starter, wherever that may be.  In this case, it requires a second move.

When Stott was drafted by the Phillies, scouts saw him being a better fit at second base for the long term.  He certainly held his own at second base, taking the role over from Didi Gregorius during the 2022 season.  He was the starting shortstop for a World Series team.

I thought that the Phillies might give Edmundo Sosa a look first before making this change, while giving Stott some pregame work at shortstop.  But in his first day back at shortstop, he made a nice play.

So as long as it is going well, we might see more of it.  I like the idea of Merrifield's bat in the lineup over Sosa's.  But late in the game I might go Sosa at short and move Stott to second base if there is a lead.

What do you think Seranthony Dominguez’s role is going forward as he continues his (extended) struggles?

The Phillies have largely been able to withstand the struggles of Seranthony Dominguez despite having a shorter bullpen.  Once Taijuan Walker returned to the starting rotation, Spencer Turnbull was at first held out of the bullpen.  That left one less arm available in games.

So the Phillies have at times had to go to the struggling Dominguez.  Dominguez has his velocity but he does not have his command.  That gives me encouragement that he will be able to work out his mechanics along the way.

I think that the Phillies will give the back end of the game to the more reliable relievers first: Jose Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, and Matt Strahm.   The next right-handed pitcher up might be Orion Kerkering. 

However, there will be days that one of those arms is unavailable and they will have to roll the dice on Dominguez.  But maybe he will figure things out.  After all, his last two outings (both in the San Francisco series) included one hit, no walks, and two scoreless innings.

How exactly does Turnbull fit in now?

There's very little more that the Phillies could have gotten out of Spencer Turnbull.  After six starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA.  What more could you ask for from him?  Yet, Turnbull is headed to the bullpen.

Turnbull got one extra start after the return of Taijuan Walker.  But that is not a sustainable plan, because one extra starter, that means one less reliever.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson addressed this, via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:

“He can do a lot of different things, because he gives you length, obviously,” Thomson said of Turnbull. “But he gives us another guy to get on right-handed hitters because we’ve struggled a little bit with that. I have the confidence in him to put him in leverage [spots], so I think for the time being, that’s the way to go.”

Thomson says that Turnbull is willing to do anything to help the Phillies win.

It's not as if there is not help to be had in the Phillies bullpen.  As we just noted with the struggles of Seranthony Dominguez, the Phillies could use some help.  Thomson said he is willing to use Turnbull in high-leverage spots.

So this will play out.  The Phillies have not needed long relievers much.  But maybe an extra back-end arm would be nice.

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