Phillies-Athletics thoughts: No longer the worst team in baseball


Phillies-Athletics thoughts: No longer the worst team in baseball

Another night, another homer and two more walks from Rhys Hoskins. This has to stop at some point, right? 

Hoskins is 34 games into his major-league career and is hitting .314/.442/.805 with 18 homers and 39 RBIs. At no point has he gone into a slump, aside from his 0-for-12 start.

Hoskins has reached base 17 times in his last six games, going 8 for 20 with six homers, 12 RBIs, nine runs and nine walks. His 1.346 OPS since the 0-for-12 start is right in line with Barry Bonds' in his 73-homer season.

The Marlins couldn't solve Hoskins. Over these last 31 games, few pitchers have — the guy has 24 walks and 23 strikeouts while hitting for ridiculous power over that stretch.

Now, the Phillies welcome the Oakland Athletics to Citizens Bank Park for their final interleague series of 2017.

• Hoskins' 39 RBIs are the most ever for a player in his first 34 games. Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Albert Pujols previously held that record with 37.

• At 57-89, the Phillies no longer have the worst record in the majors — the Giants do at 57-91. To avoid 100 losses, the Phils will have to go 6-10 or better the rest of the way.

• The Phils hit .344 with eight homers and 11 doubles in the three-game sweep of Miami.

• The Phils are a combined 23-12 against the Braves and Marlins this season.

• At 4-13, the Phillies have the worst interleague record in the majors in 2017.

• Four hits from Cesar Hernandez in his return to the lineup last night. He's hitting .293 with a .365 OBP after hitting .294 with a .371 OBP last season. 

Among players who have as many plate appearances as Hernandez the last two seasons, only nine can match his BA and OBP: Charlie Blackmon, Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve, Corey Seager, Christian Yelich, Buster Posey and D.J. LeMahieu. 

• The Phillies have scored at least eight runs in three straight games for the first time since June 2015. Prior to that, they hadn't done it since 2010.

• Not ready yet to say Jake Thompson has turned a corner; he did allow 10 baserunners in 5⅓ innings last night despite not allowing a run. But two of his last three starts have been pretty good, which should at least give him a bit of confidence heading into the offseason.

• Pitching matchups for this weekend's series against the A's:

Friday: Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) vs. Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07)

Saturday: Ben Lively (3-6, 3.86) vs. Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.48)

Sunday: Henderson Alvarez (Phillies debut) vs. Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65)

Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

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Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

Saturday night’s Phillies-San Diego Padres game has been postponed because of rain.

The game will be made up Sunday as part of a separate admission doubleheader.

The start of Sunday’s regularly scheduled game (game 50 ticket) will be moved from 1:30 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:05 a.m.

The makeup game (game 49 ticket) will start at 6:05 p.m. According to the team, fans holding tickets for Saturday night's game may use them for Sunday night’s 6:05 p.m. game. Fans unable to attend that game may exchange them for any remaining home game this season.

Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will be the Phillies’ starting pitchers in Sunday’s doubleheader. Pivetta will start Game 1 and Velasquez will take the mound for Game 2.

The Phillies returned from the All-Star break and posted an 11-5 win over the Padres on Friday night. That game began a stretch of 19 of 29 games against non-contending teams for the Phillies.

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It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis' defense to wow the Padres

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It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis' defense to wow the Padres

It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis to open the eyes of his new teammates.

"I can think of maybe two balls all year long where he did not make a play," Padres manager Andy Green told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the end of June.

"It's the most accurate arm I've ever seen from a shortstop," first baseman Eric Hosmer said in the same piece.

The Phils obviously didn't move on from Galvis because of his defense. They moved on from him because he never reached a higher level with his bat and because they had two young infielders — Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford — they were ready to move forward with.

The Galvis trade was a good one for the Phillies. In exchange for one year of his services, they got a solid young pitcher with upside in Enyel De Los Santos.

It was a move they had to make because Galvis will be a free agent after the season and this gave them the extended look they needed at Kingery and Crawford.

There's no question, though, that the 2018 Phils have missed Galvis' defense. Phillies shortstops have committed 13 errors, seventh most in baseball. Padres shortstops have committed five errors, fewest in the National League and second fewest in the majors.

At the beginning of Galvis' major-league career, his flashy plays stood out but he wasn't as effective with routine plays as Jimmy Rollins was. That changed after Galvis made 17 errors in 2015. In the three seasons since, he's committed just 20 errors combined.

Galvis can make the flashy play, but he also makes almost every single routine play. He knows where to position himself for every hitter, how quickly to release the ball to throw out a speedy runner. 

Over the years, more than a few teammates have commended Galvis' baseball instincts as some of the best they've ever seen. You can't quantify baseball instincts the way you can quantify offensive stats, so there's a portion of fans that will always scoff when Galvis' value is brought up.

"His internal clock, as far when he releases the ball, how much times he has, he just knows all that stuff beforehand," Hosmer told the Union-Tribune. "He's about as fundamentally sound as any infielder I've ever seen."

The Phillies have not gotten the look at Crawford they wanted in 2018. Injuries have limited him to just 34 games, 112 plate appearances and 93 defensive chances at shortstop.

As for Kingery, he should benefit from the everyday playing at shortstop. He's improved defensively as the season has worn on. In a few years, he'll likely be even better with the glove — and, equally important, a more selective hitter.

Galvis has hit .234/.294/.331 this season. Phillies shortstops have hit .238/.286/.352 and played worse defense. 

If this ends up being the worst offensive year of Kingery's career, then his worst numbers would fall in line with Galvis' career averages (.244/.288/.367).

It will be interesting to see where Galvis ends up this offseason. A team with a powerful and deep lineup — the Brewers, the Diamondbacks — can win with Galvis and effectively hide him in the 8-spot. If the Phillies had better offenses all those years, the weak aspects of his game wouldn't have been as pronounced.

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