Phillies

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

BOX SCORE

Yes, Rhys Hoskins hit another home run.
 
Moving on ... the Phillies routed the Miami Marlins for the second straight night Thursday, scoring a 10-0 win on the strength of three home runs in the second inning and a solid pitching performance from Jake Thompson.
 
The Phillies swept the reeling Marlins and outscored them, 18-1, these last two nights.
 
Miami has lost 15 of 17.
 
• Hoskins clubbed his 18th homer in 34 games and it was noteworthy because it was his first to the opposite field (see video). All of his previous 17 homers were from dead center to left field.
 
• We haven't seen a player work counts like Hoskins since Chase Utley and Jayson Werth. Ten of Hoskins' homers have come with two strikes.
 
• More Hoskins-mania: He has 130 RBIs between the minors and the majors this season, the most among all professional players. His combined total of 47 homers is second only to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton (54). Hoskins is slashing .314/.442/.805 (see story).
 
• The Marlins have been a frequent opponent of the Phillies during Hoskins' time in the majors. He already qualifies as a Marlins killer. In 10 games, he has eight homers and 19 RBIs against them.
 
• Freddy Galvis singled and belted a two-run homer. He is hitting .256 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He does not have a great on-base percentage (.308) but it is much improved from last year's mark of .274. He plays Gold Glove caliber defense. The Phillies front office wants to build a lineup around players with high on-base marks and that points to J.P. Crawford being the shortstop possibly as soon as opening day 2018 and Galvis being shopped for pitching this winter. Surely, the Phillies should be able to get value for a player like Galvis.
 
• The Phillies had 14 hits, including four homers. Every one of their starting position players collected a hit before the game was two innings old.
 
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro clubbed the first of three Phillies' homers in the second inning, a mammoth, 459-foot shot into the second deck above left field. It came off the bat at 109 mph. Alfaro's game needs work, particularly behind the plate, but he's got two big power tools in his bat and his arm. If he can ever add around those ...
 
• Marlins manager Don Mattingly started a watered-down lineup that did not include regular outfielders Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Together that group has hit 104 home runs this season. Mattingly decided to give the trio a rest after the Marlins lost, 8-1, Wednesday night. Mattingly, a longtime player, coach and manager, said that was the worst he'd ever felt after a game and he wanted to give his stud outfielders a chance to reset. Thursday night's pounding could not have made him feel any better.
 
• Mattingly also made a day-of-game change in his starting pitcher, replacing Jose Urena with Vance Worley. The change was made because the Marlins wanted to give their rotation an extra day of rest. Worley, who entered the game with a 6.58 ERA, hadn't started since Aug. 29 and had pitched just 1 1/3 innings of relief since then. It's tough to be sharp pitching that little. Predictably, Worley was not. He gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 inning. Worley surrendered 1,264 feet worth of homers in the second inning.
 
• The Phillies gave Thompson a 9-0 lead after two innings.
 
• Cameron Perkins' first big-league homer was a pinch-hit shot in the eighth. He went to the same Indianapolis high school as Phillies Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, a fact that Matt Breen does not give a hoot about because he thinks the world began on the day he graduated from high school.
 
• The Phillies entered the game with the second-worst record in the majors, percentage points ahead of San Francisco. The Phils have to win at least six of their final 16 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961.
 
• The A's return to Philadelphia on Friday night. Pitching matchups for the interleague series against Oakland:
 
Friday night — RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) vs. RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07)
 
Saturday night — RHP Ben Lively (3-6, 3.86) vs. RHP Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.48)
 
Sunday afternoon — RHP Henderson Alvarez (season debut) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65)

Jake Arrieta looks like a $75 million man in domination of Pirates

Jake Arrieta looks like a $75 million man in domination of Pirates

BOX SCORE

Jorge Alfaro looked and sounded like a kid who had just visited an amusement park for the first time. Wide eyes. Big smile. Let’s-do-it-again amazement in his voice.

“That was fun,” he said. “Just put a finger down and he hit the glove.”

Alfaro, the Phillies’ 24-year-old rookie catcher, was on the receiving end of a vintage Jake Arrieta performance Thursday night. In his third start with the Phillies, Arrieta, the 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner, dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates, the NL’s highest-scoring team coming in, with seven innings of one-hit, 10-strikeout ball to lead the Phillies to a 7-0 win at wintery Citizens Bank Park (see first take).

Arrieta’s fastball had sink, tail, run, whatever you want to call that Greg Madduxian downward, left-to-right darting action that makes it so tough to hit when it moves like that. He got 11 swing and misses on the pitch, 14 in all. In his previous outing Saturday at Tampa Bay, he struck out just one in 6 2/3 innings and got only four swing and misses.

Arrieta’s improvement might be as simple as this: He signed with the Phillies (for three years and $75 million) just five weeks ago. Though he’s made three starts with the Phillies, he’s really just finishing his spring training.

“I’m caught up now,” he said. “Other than being able to locate the changeup a little better, this was about as good as I’ve been.

“I knew I was going to be pretty crisp today in the bullpen when I had my sinker, glove side, going early. My timing was pretty much right where it needs to be. When I’m on time, when I get my foot down and I’m able to drive the ball downhill to my glove side, I know it’s going to be a pretty good day. Three starts in, to be able to do that as well as I did tonight is a good sign.”

Manager Gabe Kapler loved Arrieta’s sinker.

“It was moving all over the place,” he said. “Very impressive outing for him and a big emotional lift for our team.”

Arrieta came out in attack mode, striking out the first two batters of the game on fastballs that registered 94 and 93 mph, respectively. He kept on attacking after the Phils lit up Jameson Taillon for five runs in the second inning. Rhys Hoskins homered and Cesar Hernandez cleared the bases with a three-run single. Trailing runner J.P. Crawford got a great jump from first on a 3-2 pitch and followed third base coach Dusty Wathan’s wave home.

Kapler said it took “big stones,” on Wathan’s part to send Crawford and that the dugout was “fired up” after Hernandez cleared the bases.

With the way Arrieta was dealing, it was game over after that.

“Any time I get a multiple-run lead, I’m going to be aggressive,” he said.

The Phillies are 11-7 thanks largely to their starting pitchers. They’ve recorded a 2.40 ERA in their last nine starts. At home, the Phils are 6-1 and have outscored opposing clubs by 35 runs. There are nine more games to play on this homestand. It's off to a good start.

Jake Arrieta delivers gem as Phillies roll Pirates to kick off homestand

Jake Arrieta delivers gem as Phillies roll Pirates to kick off homestand

BOX SCORE

This was the Jake Arrieta that the Phillies expected when they shelled out $75 million for his services five weeks ago.

Arrieta was dominant over seven innings and enjoyed the best of his three starts with his new club as he backboned a 7-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night.

The 32-year-old right-hander gave up just one hit. He walked two and struck out 10.

The win improved the Phillies to 11-7 overall and 6-1 at home. The Phils have a plus-35 run differential at home with nine more games to play on this homestand.

Pittsburgh is 12-7, tops in the National League Central. The Pirates entered the game leading the NL in runs scored and OPS, but Arrieta and relievers Yacksel Rios and Victor Arano cooled them off on just two hits.

The Pirates and Arrieta know each other well. This was Arrieta’s 21st career regular-season start against them. Things had not gone that well for Arrieta against the Pirates recently. He was 2-6 with a 6.48 ERA and 11 homers allowed in his previous eight regular-season starts against Pittsburgh, dating to July 2016.

But Arrieta (2-0) owned the Pirates in this one. He had excellent movement on his sinking fastball. The pitch produced 11 swinging strikes. Overall, Arrieta had 14 swinging strikes, notable because he had just nine in his previous two starts. Arrieta struck out just one batter in 6 2/3 innings Saturday at Tampa Bay. His first two outs of this game were strikeouts and he had three in the third inning. So, clearly his stuff was a lot better. His average fastball was 92.7 mph and he touched 95.

The Phillies gave Arrieta all the run support he needed in the second inning when they erupted for five runs.

Rhys Hoskins started the rally with a line-drive solo homer into the left-field seats. Cesar Hernandez smacked a bases-loaded single on a full-count pitch with two outs and the runners moving. All three runners scored. Odubel Herrera capped the rally with the first of his two RBI singles.

All of the runs came against Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon, who needed 40 pitches to get just two outs in the second inning.

Taillon had been off to a terrific start. He gave up just two runs in 20 1/3 innings over his first three starts.

Notes
• Carlos Santana returned to the Phillies’ starting lineup. He walked twice, singled and struck out.

• Herrera has reached base safely in 20 straight games, dating to last season.

• Reliever Tommy Hunter will get some work in a minor-league game at Reading on Friday night. Hunter is recovering from a hamstring strain. If all continues to go well, he should be activated sometime during this homestand.

• Right-hander Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87) pitches against right-hander Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.88) on Friday night.