Friday, August 25, 2017

Philadelphia Phillies set to host the defending champs for weekend set

Philadelphia welcomes the defending champions to Citizens Bank Park
The Philadelphia Phillies welcome the defending champion Chicago Cubs for a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park beginning tonight. The Cubs had a five-game winning streak snapped yesterday in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

The story as of late for Philadelphia is the emergence of rookie Rhys Hoskins who has eight home runs and 19 RBIs in his first 15 major league games. No other player in major league history has had more than eight homers in his first 15 games; only two others have equaled the feat.

He's also found a home hitting in the cleanup spot, a rarity for a rookie with less than a month of experience at the big league level.

“It’s good to see, I like him in the middle of that lineup,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's a mature hitter and he's done an outstanding job since joining us. He's been as advertised."

Hoskins, along with Nick Williams and Tommy Joseph combined for seven hits, four runs and eight RBIs on Thursday as the Phillies dropped the finale of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins, 9-8.

The Phillies are the first major league team to hit the 80-loss mark and are projected to lose 100 games for the first time since 1961.

"Things are tough, but we're focusing instead on the bright spots and what some of these kids can do," Mackanin said.

One of those kids is tonight's starter Jerad Eickhoff. The righty lasted only 4 2/3 innings Saturday against the San Francisco Giants, giving up eight hits and four runs. That snapped a stretch in which he went 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA over five starts.

Eickhoff last faced Chicago on May 3, giving up four runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

The Cubs counter tonight with veteran Jose Quintana who is 4-2 with a 3.73 ERA in his first seven starts with the club since joining via trade last month.

It's Players Weekend
Players Weekend is a first-of-its kind opportunity for players to show their individual flair and allows fans to get to know them better. Established in conjunction between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, all 30 clubs will be participating through all games running Friday through Sunday, and every team will be in action each of those three days.

All clubs will wear non-traditional alternate uniforms, and each player is allowed to wear his nickname of choice on the back of his jersey, and a patch on his sleeve to pay tribute to a person or persons who aided their career.

Tonight's Lineup
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Pedro Florimon, CF
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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