As Kyle Schwarber leads the Phillies attack to the NLCS, the Red Sox must feel remorse

There’s a lot the Red Sox will look back on and regret about the 2022 season, and there’s probably no bigger decision than letting Kyle Schwarber walk in free agency.

As the Philadelphia Phillies begin their National League Championship Series Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres, they will put a pencil in their lineup with one of baseball’s most outstanding hitters: Schwarber.

He did little to help the Phillies surprise them by overtaking the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series or bypassing the St. Being in the squad did not go unnoticed.

Look no further than what happened in Match 3 against the Braves, when the Braves decided to walk on Schwarber deliberately to get to Rhys Hoskins, whose three-run Homer lead led the Phillies to a 9-1 win that fueled the home crowd and gave the Phillies all the momentum.

Walking with Schwarber on purpose was the catalyst that propelled Hoskins to a home win.

“I’m human,” Hoskins told reporters. “I am a competitor. They obviously tell me something right away even before I step into the box.”

The Braves did not walk Schwarber because of what he did in the playoffs, but because of what he did in the regular season.

Schwarber led the National League with 46 home runs in an impressive season in which he surpassed anyone other than his name Aaron Judge, who reached 62 players in a historic season for the Yankees.

The Red Sox would never say they regretted letting Schwarber go to the Phillies after Dave Dombrowski paid him for four years, $79 million to become a Philadelphia player at the top. It’s possible that they could point to a league-leading 200 attacking strike and an understated defense from a left-field athlete, plus Triston Casas’ impressive recent month that has made him look like the future first baseman.

But let’s not forget what happened last fall, when Schwarber finally joined the Sox lineup on August 13, 2021, after being picked up on the trade deadline while on the injured list.

Before Schwarber joined the Red Sox lineup, they had 322 on a percentage basis. When he joined the squad, manager Alex Cora immediately noticed a difference.

Cora kept saying that Schwarber’s painting approach was contagious. Sox began to show more discipline. And from August 13 through the end of the season, they posted 347 OBP which was better than all but two other teams in baseball.

Schwarber pushed a seemingly dead team in July and early August to a team that flipped the Yankees and Rice in the post-season and came in two games off the World Championship berth.

Sox was afraid to pay him for several reasons, including his poor first base defense. He’s a trained hunter who’s been moderate in left field, but the Sox knew they had Casas coming, they still thought Bobby Dalbec would be useful and wanted to keep a modest budget.

Well, Al Feliz had no problem with that decision.

They went from being a mediocre offense to an elite one, while the Red Sox saw their total home runs from 219 to 155 and their runs per game dropped from 5.12 to 4.54.

That’s not all on Schwarber, of course, but watching Dalbec and Franchy Cordero struggle hard all year while the Red Sox couldn’t make it to base or hit home was a stark contrast to what this team looked like a year ago.

Not to mention that the Sox couldn’t find an advanced hitter, Schwarber has worked perfectly in the past year.

And remember what Schwarber said at the end of last season?

“This is definitely a club I can see myself wanting to stay at,” Schwarber said. “These guys are amazing…this is a world championship club, and I hope to see if this opportunity comes back.”

The Red Sox decided against it.

Now Schwarber is preparing the table for one of the last four teams.

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