Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins aims to continue power surge vs. Giants

MLB

Rhys Hoskins was mired in a maddening 0-for-33 slump as recently as Wednesday.

Now, he’s seemingly one of the hottest hitters in Major League Baseball.

Hoskins belted a home run off Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Three days later, Hoskins went deep twice and added a double to highlight his career-best six-RBI performance in Philadelphia’s 13-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

The Phillies will look to win the rubber match of the three-game series against the Giants on Sunday afternoon.

“We saw it at the end of our trip to L.A. that his swing was back,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “He was making solid contact all the time and it’s what he’s been doing. We had a tough night last night and then he has a big game, gets us going right away again. It was great to see.”

During the 0-for-33 skid, Hoskins hit a number of balls right at the fielders. He simply kept battling and the hard work has paid off.

“Sometimes you just need a reminder that it’s still in there,” Hoskins said on a postgame interview on Peacock.

Even in a 13-run outburst, the Phillies were far from perfect. They continue to make defensive miscues which must be corrected if they wish to entertain postseason aspirations.

“I thought we’ve played good baseball the last two weeks or so,” Bryce Harper said. “We can’t make the little mistakes. If you make the little mistakes, they’re going to haunt you. You guys know that. We need to be better at doing that.”

The Phillies scratched scheduled starter Spencer Howard and will instead send Zach Eflin (2-5, 3.99 ERA) to the mound on Sunday for his 14th start. Eflin is 1-1 with a 3.82 ERA in seven career games (five starts) against the Giants.

The Giants had won five in a row before falling on Saturday. They’re still 19 games above .500 and off to their best start since 1993.

“I think we’re united, we’re happy and we’re having fun,” said Johnny Cueto, the winning pitcher on Friday. “I know it’s a long season, but hopefully we’ll keep this up and have more happy days ahead.”

The Giants’ defense as a whole has been terrific the entire season.

“I think we continue to improve on defense,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Last year that was one of our major challenges and this year I think we’ve really shored it up.”

San Francisco will hand the ball to left-hander Sammy Long for his first career start on Sunday. Long (0-0, 5.00 ERA) has tossed nine innings in two relief appearances this season.

Long, 25, has yet to face the Phillies.

“We feel like Long has really earned the opportunity to start for us and see what he can give us,” Kapler said.

Mike Yastrzemski homered, singled and drove in three runs and Brandon Belt went deep in Saturday’s loss. LaMonte Wade Jr. added two hits and two RBIs and has been one of the pleasant surprises on the Giants.

“LaMonte continues to have high-quality at-bats and go after pitches that he can drive, so he’s especially aggressive on those,” Kapler said. “He’s also working deep counts and drawing walks along the way, which is kind of why we feel so comfortable with him in the leadoff spot.”

–Field Level Media

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