Phillies drop opener to Jays; Hoskins continues to struggle

Rhys Hoskins and Phillies fall
Things have not been going well as of late for Rhys Hoskins. The streak of bad luck continued Friday night as he was called out on strikes in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the Phillies trailing by a run.

It's the situation we all put ourselves in as children in the backyard. The spot where we can be a hero. That didn't happen last night for Hoskins as the Phillies fell to the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park, 6-5.

"I leaned over to [bench coach Rob Thomson] at one point late and I said, 'If Rhys comes to the plate, we're going to win this game,'" Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said afterward (see video). "I really felt confident in that. He is just the guy that we want up in that situation going forward for so many reasons. We were in the spot that we wanted. It just didn't work out in our favor tonight."

The called third strike appeared to be a scooch outside, but it was far too close to take with the game on the line. Hoskins shook his head in disbelief at the moment and looked back at umpire Joe West, but later admitted he should have taken the bat off his shoulder.

“It’s too close to take in that situation,” Hoskins told reporters. “It’s unacceptable. You’ve got to put the ball in play and give yourself a chance.”



Hoskins is in the midst of his worst slump at the big league level. He's hitting just .134 over the last 25 games with just two homers and nine RBIs. He's shown glimpses over the past few days of breaking out but has little to show.

“If you go back four or five games, Rhys has been swinging the bat pretty good,” Kapler said. “I’m not talking about a lot of hits. I’m talking about swings with bat speed, I’m talking about attacking the baseball, I’m talking about getting the ball in the air. There have been some very good things happening for Rhys. He’s very close to taking off for us.”



The Phillies battled back from a 6-1 deficit to make things interesting, scoring two runs in the sixth inning and one each in the eighth and ninth.

Zach Eflin helped his cause in the third, hitting a solo-shot into the Phillies bullpen. He struggled on the mound though, surrendering six runs - five earned - over 4 2/3 innings. He surrendered nine hits.

The Braves lost in Boston, so the Phillies deficit in the NL East remains a half-game.

Aaron Nola will take the mound for the Phillies on Saturday. The Blue Jays counter with left-hander Jaime Garcia.
_____________________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: