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Game 7 of NLCS still "hurts," but Philadelphia Phillies determined to finish the job in 2024

Trea Turner has never been on a team like this Philadelphia Phillies squad
Trea Turner has never been on a team like this Philadelphia Phillies squad 04:33

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Trea Turner couldn't watch the World Series last year. 

As the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the franchise's first World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop didn't watch the Fall Classic after the Fightins blew a 3-2 series lead in the National League Championship Series last season.

"Do I think we could've, should've won and this and that? For sure. I think we had a really good team and you could argue we had the best team," Turner said. "But that's not how the game works. You got to win. You got to execute. I tip my cap to the Diamondbacks because they played well, but yeah, we're not over it. We want to have another opportunity this year to finish it off. It kind of hurts a little bit."

Turner and the Phillies are five months removed from the series that ended their season and prevented a second straight World Series appearance, something the team hasn't done since 2008-09.

Turner's "been on really good teams," but not one like this one

For this upcoming season, finishing the job for the Phillies will be with essentially the same team from last year.

The team's top hitters – Turner, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos – are all back, along with their two aces – Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola – after the Phils locked both up this offseason.

Turner, who's entering his 10th season in the majors, said he's never been on a team that's returned so many players after one season.

"I've been on really good teams where the core is back and maybe 60% of the team is back, but it feels like 100% of the team is back and I think that's a good thing, that's what you want," Turner said. "You want that chemistry and those same faces in the clubhouse and I think we got a great group – not only just baseball players but great people."

Ryan Howard on similarities between Nick Castellanos' and Trea Turner's first seasons with Phillies 02:03

Meanwhile, the Phillies' main competition in the National League – the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves — reshuffled the deck this offseason.

The Braves have their core players, including Ronald Acuña Jr., Austin Riley and Matt Olson, returning, but they made plenty of trades this offseason with hopes of bolstering their pitching staff.

The Dodgers were the winners of free agency by nabbing two of the top names on the market in two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Turner's standing ovation and fixing bad habits

Last season, Turner was in his first year of an 11-year, $300 million contract. Expectations were massive and Turner struggled, similar to how Castellanos did during his first season in Philly.

Turner's numbers were down until his late-season turnaround entering the postseason.

In August, Phillies fans led a push on social media to give Turner a standing ovation against the Kansas City Royals to support him while he struggled, and it worked out in their favor.

In that game, the Phillies lost but Turner responded by hitting a home run, which sparked his resurgence. Entering that game, he was hitting .235 with 10 homers and even got dropped in the Phillies batting order by manager Rob Thomson.

Turner said bad habits and getting comfortable in Philly led to his slow start.

During his time with the Dodgers, Turner said he developed some bad hitting habits at the plate, which carried over into the 2023 season in Philly after he got away with them in 2022.

Royals Phillies Baseball
Philadelphia Phillies' Trea Turner acknowledges the crowd after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. Matt Slocum / AP

But after the standing ovation, the fans saw the Turner the Phillies were hoping for when signing him to a $300 million contract.

In the five games after the ovation, Turner hit .368/.400/.737 with a 1.137 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) and five of seven hits went for extra bases.

Turner thanked Phillies fans on billboards following the ovation, but he's hoping to get back to his normal self in the 2024 season following an up-and-down first year in Philly.

"The fans obviously helped me kind of relax and settle in and kind of clicked at the same time and kind of took off from there," Turner said. "Just looking forward to being myself and trying to be that consistent player that I had been for the prior four or five years and getting back to that."

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