Phillies' promising signs for future on full display in rout of Marlins


Pete Mackanin provided an interesting little observation after watching Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins combine to dominate the Miami Marlins in an 8-1 Phillies' victory Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park (see observations).
"That game reminded me of when I was here in '09, '10, '11 — good pitching, good hitting, power, good defense," Mackanin said. "Very reminiscent of when I first arrived."
Those Phillies teams that Mackanin mentioned were some of the best in franchise history. They were all division winners. One of them was a World Series team. Another won a club record 102 games.
Clearly, Mackanin was not saying that this Phillies team was like those Phillies teams. This Phillies team is on a rebuild and will have its hands full avoiding 100 losses.
But out of the rubble of this difficult season rises some hopeful signs for the future and they were on display in this game:
• Nola has put together a solid season. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball and struck out a career-high 11 to notch the win. His ERA in 25 starts is 3.60.
• Odubel Herrera had three hits in the game, including a booming, 424-foot home run to right field. He is batting .371 since June 28.
• Nick Williams came up from Triple A on June 30. He had a pair of hits and an RBI, giving him 48 in 66 games with the big club.
And then there's that Hoskins guy. He has seemingly provided a highlight every day and he did it again in this game with his third homer in two games. He added a sacrifice fly, a walk and a single.
Hoskins, Williams and Nola are all 24. Herrera is 25. Maybe one day they will make up the core of the next championship Phillies team.
"Nola had an outstanding performance," Mackanin said. "I was really happy to see Hoskins come out of his two or three at-bat slump of not hitting a home run. Odubel's home run reminded of a grand slam that Ryan Howard hit to the third deck. These guys are really swinging the bats well. It's good to see Williams and Hoskins solidify the middle of the lineup."
Hoskins has 17 homers in 33 games in the majors. Before coming up, he hit 29 in 115 games at Triple A. That's 46 on the season.
After the game, Hoskins was asked if he ever reaches the point where he surprises himself.
"Yeah, I think so," he said. "I had to give a little look into the dugout and just kind of shrug. I don’t know, it’s fun, especially to win a couple in a row the way that we have. It feels good in the clubhouse, it does.
"Like I've said before, I’m confident in the ability that I have, I really am. And the work that I’m doing before games is putting me in a situation to be successful once the game starts. I know this is not going to last forever. This is baseball, it’s not going to last forever. I’ve just been lucky enough that I’m able to kind of ride this natural wave for what, almost a month now. I’m just going to try to keep riding it as much as I can."
Everybody is talking about Hoskins. Everybody in baseball knows what he's doing. He is hitting .310 with an on-base percentage of .434 and a slugging percentage of .784. He has walked 24 times.
"It's pretty amazing," Nola said. "His approach is so good. If he doesn't hit a home run, he gets a hit. If he doesn't get a hit, he walks. He's definitely sparked this offense.
"I get texts every now and then like, 'Hoskins is unbelievable.' I'm thinking like, 'Yeah, we all know.' The guy is awesome."
Hoskins has even caught the eye of Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' slugger who leads the majors with 54 home runs. They chatted around the first base bag Tuesday night.
Did Stanton tell Hoskins to stop stealing his thunder?
"No, not at all," Hoskins said with a laugh. "He's got all the thunder in baseball right now. He's chasing history."
So what did Stanton tell Hoskins?
“Just kind of keep going," Hoskins said. "Obviously the work is going to need to be there for your whole career. He just kind of reiterated that.
“It was pretty cool. That guy is obviously a star in this game. Especially with the year that he’s having, to be able to share that with him is pretty cool.”
Everyone is sharing in Hoskins' success. The attendance at Citizens Bank Park was just 16,745 on Wednesday night, but the fans loved the show he put on.
The manager liked it, too.
"Actually, I'm going to get his autograph on a ball today," Mackanin said. "It's really outstanding. It's fun to watch."