Rhys Hoskins achieves Phillies history and Gabe Kapler sends message to fans

Rhys Hoskins achieves Phillies history and Gabe Kapler sends message to fans

The Phillies needed a couple of big performances to stop the powerful New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

Zach Eflin provided one (see story).

Rhys Hoskins provided the other.

Hoskins’ three-run homer to the opposite field against Luis Cessa with two outs in the second inning accounted for all the scoring.

It was a rather typical home run for Hoskins. In other words, it had great meaning. He has 12 homers on the season and 11 of them have given the Phillies a lead.

This one also had some franchise significance. It was the 30th homer of Hoskins’ career and it came in his 119th game. No Phillie has gotten to 30 long balls faster. Hall of Famer Chuck Klein reached 30 homers in his 132nd game. MVP Ryan Howard did it in his 134th game.

“My first thought was, ‘Wow,’” Hoskins said. “Anytime you get mentioned in a sentence with either of those guys or anyone of their caliber, it’s pretty humbling. So it’s definitely a cool thing.”

Hoskins actually spent some time with Howard at a function in Center City on Tuesday.

The Big Piece offered the Big Rhys some advice.

“Just be yourself,” Hoskins said. “He said just be yourself and you’ll be just fine, in a game, after the game, and especially in the city.

“Obviously, a great dude. He knows his stuff.”

Hoskins has been on fire since returning to the lineup after suffering a broken jaw. He is 20 for 66 (.303) with six homers and 18 RBIs in 17 games since coming off the disabled list. The Phillies are 10-7 in those games.

Hoskins’ home run Wednesday night helped the Phillies snap a three-game losing streak and salvage one game from the Yankees. The Yanks had won the first two games by a combined score of 10-2 and their fans had taken over Citizens Bank Park. Wednesday night’s crowd was just under a sellout at 42,048. Eflin and Hoskins made sure the Yankees fans didn’t have a lot to hoot about.

“Rhys had a huge home run for us,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

“And our fans … I don't think it's unreasonable to say that when some of the Yankees chants started, they were drowned out by Phillies fans. The Phillies fans were electric tonight. They came out in big numbers and they supported us in a major way. We felt that support in the dugout. I think there are some thank yous that are deserving there.”

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Bryce Harper's headband collection continues to grow with latest design for his son

Bryce Harper's headband collection continues to grow with latest design for his son

Since his time in Philadelphia began just shy of one year ago, Bryce Harper has embraced the city with open arms from the moment he arrived.

One thing that Harper is known for, outside of crushing dingers and having a monster arm in right field, is his vast headband collection that was seen throughout the season.

It’s something that he carried over from his time in Washington, but let’s be honest — the ones that he has worn here have been way cooler.

Who can forget the iconic Phanatic one, that had just about every fan running to the closest team store or taking to their phones to place an order for their own.

(Image credit: USA Today Images)

Harper truly took a liking to the Phanatic (who wouldn’t?) and even embraced the mascot via socks and cleats. Notice the details in the laces? They’re fuzzy. Seriously, who designed those? Give that person a raise.

(Credit for Images: USA Today Images)

And let’s just hope the whole Phanatic ordeal gets settled before the start of the season, so Harper can continue repping his biggest supporter.

Let’s get back to the main reason for this post — headbands.

There were many other ways he sported his new team last season, including a headband in army green, one to match the Phillies’ home uniforms and even one with stars.

(Credit for images: USA Today Images)

His latest one though, looks to be a custom design from It’s personalized with Harper’s number but more importantly, his son’s name, Krew.

(Image credit: John Clark/Twitter)

We’re not sure how Harper is going to top last year’s lineup … but he’s off to a pretty great start.

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2020 Phillies spring training pitching probables: Battle for 5th starter begins this weekend

2020 Phillies spring training pitching probables: Battle for 5th starter begins this weekend

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The battle for the Phillies' fifth starter's job will get off to a quick start.

Manager Joe Girardi on Tuesday announced his starting pitchers for the first three Grapefruit League games.

Nick Pivetta will start the exhibition opener against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday in Lakeland.

Presumed opening day starter Aaron Nola will get the ball Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Clearwater.

Vince Velasquez will get the nod Monday against the Baltimore Orioles in Clearwater.

Girardi was not ready to announce any other pitching plans.

On paper, the top four spots in the Phillies' rotation appear set with Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin. Pivetta and Velasquez will vie for the fifth spot with pitchers like Ranger Suarez, Cole Irvin and prospect Damon Jones also getting a look.

"I think it's important that all these guys that are competing for the last spots get a ton of looks and we can afford to do that," Girardi said. "We have a number of games, we have split-squad games. We'll look at people. I think it's important that we do that, that we're fair to everyone because it's fair to the team that way.

"As we go forward, each start gets a little bit more important, but I think it's not fair to evaluate start 1 and start 2. That's the buildup stage."

Girardi, his staff and the front office will use a couple of factors in picking a fifth starter. Obviously, there is performance in spring training. In addition, Girardi said, the team will consider who might profile best in the bullpen. Suarez opened eyes in the bullpen last year. Velasquez and Pivetta both spent time in the rotation and the bullpen last year. One of them appears to be ticketed for the rotation and the other for the bullpen.

"The bottom line is we're going to want our 13 best pitchers to go with us and we have to kind of put that puzzle together," Girardi said.

New pitching coach Bryan Price has mentioned that a starter transitioning to the bullpen can benefit from some adjustment time because relieving is "a learned craft." In a perfect world, the Phils will identify who starts and who goes to the bullpen before the Grapefruit League schedule ends so the adjustment period can commence.

"We would like to do that," Girardi said. "That doesn't mean it will happen. If they make our job really difficult, it might get drawn out longer. And you can make it difficult two different ways — they're all pitching good or they're all scuffling."

Girardi hopes they're all pitching good.

In Price's view, a starter transitioning to the bullpen should not view the move as a slight.

"There's an emotional hurdle of not starting that has to be cleared," he said. "Some guys look at it as a demotion when it can really be something that stimulates a career and greatly impact the ballclub."

No team gets through a season with five starters. So today's reliever might be tomorrow's starter. 

"Just because we pick a fifth starter at the end of March doesn't mean things couldn't change," Girardi said.

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