Oakland A's

Rhys Hoskins scuffles as Phillies drop series to Athletics

Rhys Hoskins scuffles as Phillies drop series to Athletics

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Turns out, Rhys Hoskins is human after all. 

After a torrid series against Miami that prompted teammate Nick Williams to declare the rookie sensation “an alien,” Hoskins showed he’s susceptible to the bad stretches that all major league hitters go through. 

A weekend that matched two of the hottest rookie sluggers in the game ended up one-sided, as Oakland’s Matt Olson homered for the third straight day and the Athletics took the rubber game of the three-game series, 6-3, Sunday with the help of former West Chester University star Joey Wendle’s grand slam (see observations)

The game at Citizens Bank Park ended when Blake Treinen fanned Hoskins with a runner on. Hoskins went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. He struck out six times and went 0 for 11 in the three-game series. 

“I think he just expanded the zone,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “I think up until the past few days, and this is just my perspective on it, I think he was just letting it happen. And I think in the last few days he was trying to make it happen.” 

Hoskins had 18 homers in 34 games entering Friday night, with six homers in the previous six games. He spent the weekend mostly flailing away and showed his frustration when he flung his bat after flying out to right in the fifth inning. 

“I think he got a little bit overanxious,” Hoskins said. “But every hitter goes through periods like that.”

Maikel Franco went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs for the Phillies, who led 3-2 when Henderson Alvarez left with no outs in the sixth inning after what was a successful return to the big leagues following a two-year injury absence. 

But Wendle later crushed a first-pitch mistake slider from Edubray Ramos into the right-field seats. It was the Avon Grove High School product’s second career home run. 

Alvarez gave up four runs and four hits with two walks and four strikeouts, using a fastball that topped out at 93. Besides back-to-back homers by Chad Pinder and Olson in the fourth, Alvarez was pleased with his performance. 

“I was a little nervous, I have to admit,” he said through an interpreter. “It was almost like my first time in the big leagues.”

It was a milestone in a difficult journey for the 2014 NL All-Star who threw a no-hitter for the Marlins in 2013. Multiple shoulder surgeries kept him out of the majors for two years. He was playing with the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League when the Phillies signed him to a minor league deal last month.  

“A lot of people didn’t believe in me. A lot of people thought that my career was over,” Alvarez said. “It’s great to be here and I’m grateful to the Phillies for giving me the opportunity to show not only them but everyone, that I’m still good, that I can still pitch. Even after my surgeries, I feel fine and I want to keep showing everyone I’m ready to go and can still pitch.”

Alvarez could get two more starts as he hopes to land a spot in the 2018 rotation. 

“That’s the point,” Alvarez said. “I’m working hard to at least give them a reason to think about me.”

Today's Lineup: Aaron Altherr in clean-up spot; J.P. Crawford moves to 2-hole

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CSN

Today's Lineup: Aaron Altherr in clean-up spot; J.P. Crawford moves to 2-hole

Before Rhys Hoskins burst onto the scene and started smashing baseballs over fences at an astronomical rate, Aaron Altherr was the Phillies' most consistent hitter this season.

This afternoon, in the series finale against the Athletics at Citizens Bank Park, Altherr slides back into the clean-up spot for just the third time this season.

Altherr, who didn't start in last night's rain-soaked victory but did come in at the start of the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, is batting .278 on the season with 16 homers and 51 RBIs. In his seven plate appearances from the clean-up spot this season, Altherr has two homers and five RBIs. He'll start in center today.

Hoskins, who's called the clean-up spot home in recent weeks, slides up to third in order today. Hoskins, who's batting .298 with 18 homers and 39 RBIs in 36 games this season, has been held hitless so far in this series by Oakland pitching. He's reached base just once in the last two games as he was intentionally walked last night. He'll start in left field this afternoon.

J.P. Crawford moves up into the two-hole for the first time today for manager Pete Mackanin. It's a big move up the lineup for Crawford, who has yet to bat above seventh in the order. And the move is deserved for Crawford, who came through with two hits and two RBIs last night. He's now riding a six-game hitting streak and has hit .381 with three doubles in that span. He's hit safely in eight of his 11 games with the Phils. He'll start at short today as Freddy Galvis gets the day off.

Both teams' full lineups can be found below:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. J.P. Crawford, SS
3. Rhys Hoskins, LF
4. Aaron Altherr, CF
5. Nick Williams, RF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Henderson Alvarez, SP

Athletics
1. Marcus Semien, SS
2. Matt Joyce, LF
3. Chad Pinder, RF
4. Matt Olson, 1B
5. Matt Chapman, 3B
6. Mark Canha, CF
7. Joey Wendle, 2B
8. Josh Phegley, C
9. Sean Manaea, SP

Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph returns; J.P. Crawford at third

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Tonight's lineup: Tommy Joseph returns; J.P. Crawford at third

The Phillies will look to bounce back after getting shut out by Oakland A’s starting pitcher Daniel Mengden in Game One of its series against the A’s Friday.

This is the only series all season for the Phillies in which they are playing the A’s, their City Series rival from 1903 to 1955, when both the Phillies and the Athletics were located in Philadelphia.
For the Phillies, Freddy Galvis is back in the lineup after sitting Friday night. J.P. Crawford shifts from shortstop to third base, and Tommy Joseph returns to the lineup at first.

Rhys Hoskins is back in left field and Jorge Alfaro takes over the catching duties for Andrew Knapp, who gets the night off.

Here's the Phillies lineup that will oppose Kendall Graveman:

1. César Hérnandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Odúbel Herrera, CF
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. J.P. Crawford, 3B
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Ben Lively, P

And for Oakland:

1. Matt Joyce, LF
2. Marcus Semien, SS
3. Jed Lowrie, 2B
4. Matt Olson, 1B
5. Mark Canha, RF
6. Bruce Maxwell, C
7. Matt Chapman, 3B
8. Boog Powell, CF
9. Kendall Graveman, P