Red-hot Rhys Hoskins' double key in Phillies' latest win over Braves

Red-hot Rhys Hoskins' double key in Phillies' latest win over Braves


Rhys Hoskins has set a very high standard for himself in three weeks in the major leagues. So his teammates didn't feel the need to break out the top-shelf atta-boys when all he did was double home the go-ahead run in the Phillies' 6-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night (see Instant Replay).

"I didn't even want to give him a high five," Cameron Rupp deadpanned. "I said, 'Dude, that's not good enough.' I mean, look what he's been doing the last 10 days."

Rupp had a point. Hoskins had slugged himself into the game's national spotlight by smacking 11 homers in his first 64 big-league at-bats, faster than anyone in major-league history. Hoskins' home run streak ended at five straight games Monday night, but he still managed the game's biggest hit. His first-pitch double down the left-field line with one out in the sixth inning gave the Phils a 2-1 lead.

"I told him I’m not mad at him," manager Pete Mackanin said. "The double was OK. If you’re not going to hit a home run, I’ll take a double."

The double left Hoskins with a 10-game hitting streak and 25 RBIs in his first 19 games.

Not too shabby.

"He's fun to watch," winning pitcher Aaron Nola said.

Hoskins' sixth-inning double scored Nick Williams, another rookie who's swinging it pretty well. Williams preceded Hoskins' double with a double of his own, a line drive off the left-field wall. Williams has 18 extra-base hits in 40 games since the All-Star break. 

Rupp's solo homer in the seventh provided the Phillies with some insurance as they beat Atlanta for the 12th time in 14 games this season.

Nola bounced back from two shaky outings to pitch seven innings of one-run, walk-free ball. He struck out six. He was backed by good defense, particularly from Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco and Williams.

"He threw all his pitches for strikes," Mackanin said. "He did a great job locating. It sounds like a broken record but location, location, location. That’s what it’s all about. He had good movement on his fastball. Good breaking ball, good changeup."

Said Nola: "I think first-pitch strikes and getting the leadoff hitter out was a big key for me tonight."

Nola also came through at the plate. He singled with one out in the third to drive home Pedro Florimon with the Phillies' first run after Florimon had tripled.

The RBI was just the second of Nola's career and first since 2015, his rookie season. The hit was his second of the season, breaking an 0-for-35 drought, dating to his first start of the season.

"I was trying to put the ball in play there," Nola said. "Guy on third, one out — I didn't want to strike out."

On the mound, Nola picked up his 10th win of the season. The right-hander has beaten Atlanta twice this season, holding the Braves to two runs in 15 innings. He has walked just one batter over that span and struck out 12.

Nola's success against the Braves has mirrored his team's success against that club. Nearly a quarter of the Phillies' wins have come against he Braves. The Phils are 49-81 overall and 12-2 against the Braves.

"It’s hard to say," said Mackanin, searching for a reason for his team's dominance of Atlanta. "Sometimes that just happens and other times, there’s certain teams that you just can’t beat and nothing seems to go your way. I can’t figure it out."

Rupp had a simple explanation for the Phillies' mastery of Atlanta.

"We've got their number, you know," he said. "We've played well against them. We've played good baseball. I don’t think our mentality is any different than when anybody else comes to town. It just seems like we have their number this year.

"I wish we played them every night."

That's not going to happen. But the Phils do play them two more times this week.

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

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Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

Gabe Kapler on Friday added to his coaching staff by naming Jim Gott the Phillies' bullpen coach.

Gott was the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Angels the last five seasons and the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels the three years prior to that role.

He played for the Blue Jays, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers over 14 major-league seasons as a starter and reliever. Gott, now 58 years old, compiled a 3.87 ERA while making 96 starts and converting 91 saves.

Kapler and the Phillies still need to name a pitching coach and first-base coach. Last week, they named Dusty Wathan third-base coach and hired John Mallee as hitting coach, while retaining Rick Kranitz, who was the assistant pitching coach last season (see story). He could fill the main pitching coach vacancy, although his role is currently to be determined.

In 2017, Bob McClure served the Phillies as pitching coach and Mickey Morandini was first-base coach.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.