This time, the Phillies made a bad team look like a bad team.
After losing series this month to the lowly White Sox, Marlins and Padres, the Phillies manhandled the Pirates Wednesday night to claim a series win.
Here are the top five takeaways from the Phillies' 12-3 win over Pittsburgh:
1. Good signs from Hoskins
Batting fourth for the first time since Aug. 4, Hoskins hit an opposite-field triple in his first at-bat. He missed a home run by about two feet when the ball clanged off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center.
It was the second straight night that Hoskins has driven a ball to the opposite field. It is a baseball cliché that a hitter is "going best" when he's using the opposite field, but it's especially true of Hoskins, who pulls the ball as frequently as any right-handed hitter in the majors.
In his second AB, Hoskins hit an RBI double down the left-field line to score Bryce Harper.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler considered sitting Hoskins Wednesday but opted against it after having a conversation with his first baseman. It paid dividends in the series finale against Pittsburgh.
Surprisingly, it was Hoskins' fifth triple of the season, five more than he had in 2017 and 2018 combined.
It was his first game with multiple extra-base hits since July 24 in Detroit.
2. Beating bad teams
About time the Phillies won a series against an inferior opponent. After missing opportunities in series losses to the White Sox, Padres and Marlins this month, the Phillies took two of three from the Pirates, who are 12-32 since the All-Star break.
The Phillies are just 29-26 this season against teams with losing records. They haven't had nearly enough laughers like Wednesday night's where they overpower bad pitching and just pound a team into the ground.
From now until the end of the season, the Phillies have only two series remaining against teams currently under .500: Sept. 2-5 in Cincinnati and the final series of the regular season at home against the Marlins.
3. Vinny does enough
Unlike last Friday in Miami when he blew a seven-run lead, Vince Velasquez made an early advantage stand up. He allowed two runs over five innings — which the Phillies will happily take from him every single time — on a two-run shot by Josh Bell.
Velasquez was finished after just 75 pitches because the Phillies did not want him going through the heart of Pittsburgh's order a third time. Given the massive difference in production from Bell vs. lefties compared to his work against righties, it was a pretty straightforward decision for Kapler.
Velasquez had a 3.21 ERA in the five starts preceding his Miami meltdown. He's kept the Phillies in the game six of the last seven times he's taken the mound.
4. The real deal
J.T. Realmuto homered, tripled and singled Wednesday and is bearing down on a number of new career-highs.
His 32 doubles are a career-high.
His 34 runners caught stealing are a career-high.
His 20 home runs are one shy of his career-high.
His 69 RBI are five shy of his career-high.
His 37 walks are one shy of his career-high.
His .821 OPS is four points lower than his career-high.
Yeah ... worthwhile trade.
5. Dickerson's damage
Corey Dickerson's solo home run began a five-run fifth inning and gave him 23 RBI in 21 games as a Phillie. Of his 23 hits with the Phils, 13 have gone for extra bases.
He has been a massive offensive addition for the Phillies. He can hit anywhere in the lineup, be a run producer because of his power and a table-setter because of his .300 batting average, and he can move on the basepaths.
Jay Bruce saved the Phillies from further despair in June and Dickerson has done so in August. The Phillies acquired them while giving up barely anything in return.
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