Phillies

Rhys Hoskins gets that 5th at-bat, becomes Phillies' hero

Rhys Hoskins gets that 5th at-bat, becomes Phillies' hero

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ATLANTA — Rhys Hoskins flung his bat to the ground in a rare show of frustration and disgust after striking out in the eighth inning. An hour later, he had a smile on his face and beams of colored light bouncing off his face.

Ah, the redemptive ways of baseball.

Hoskins struck out three times and grounded into one of four Phillies’ double plays in his first four at-bats Tuesday night. But when the 10th inning rolled around, Hoskins got another chance to do some damage and he did plenty. He stroked a tie-breaking, two-run double to right field with two outs to start a four-run rally and help lift the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park (see first take).

“I think I learned from an early age that you have to want that fifth at-bat,” Hoskins said amid the bouncing lights and blaring music that fill the Phillies’ clubhouse (home and away) after wins. “Somehow the baseball gods always seem to put that guy into a situation to try to win the game. It happened today. That’s what we dream of as hitters, to be in that situation in extra innings.”

Hoskins hit a 2-2 pitch, a 95-mph fastball from right-hander Jose Ramirez, to score Scott Kingery and Cesar Hernandez, who both shined in setting the table. 

“Rhys’ first couple of at-bats weren’t his best of the season,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “So to see him dig in and get a knock against a guy with some velocity was pretty awesome. The entire dugout erupted on his behalf. Pretty awesome.

“He’s a strong-minded individual. There are so many guys who fold in that situation. The night starts off bad, they’re 0 for 3, they’ve punched out several times and, boom, they’re licked mentally. He just has a different level of grind. He’s just very strong mentally.”

Nick Pivetta pitched five innings of one-run ball and the bullpen delivered five scoreless. Odubel Herrera drove in a run and made a nice catch at the wall.

Kingery, who came off the bench in the seventh, drew a walk to open the 10th. With Hernandez at the plate, Kapler gave Kingery the green light and the rookie swiped second on the second pitch that Ramirez threw to Hernandez. It was a gutsy call and a gutsy play by Kingery but the Phillies had good intel on Ramirez’s move and time to the plate. Kingery slid hard and held the base with a fingertip.

“You’ve got to get a runner in scoring position somehow,” he said. “We had good information, so I felt confident.”

Kingery moved to third on a nice base-hit bunt by Hernandez, who then stole second. After struggling Carlos Santana (he’s hitting .136) struck out and Herrera popped out, Hoskins came up with two outs.

“He had a little bit of a rough day and you knew he wanted to come up big,” Kingery said. “I had a feeling he was going to get the job done there. That was just a good at-bat by a good player. It was just another example of this team getting big hits in big situations and kind of fighting until the end.”

The Phils are 10-6. They have won nine of their last 11.

Will Phillies be in the mix for Nate Eovaldi?

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Will Phillies be in the mix for Nate Eovaldi?

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in MLB.

Monday was Bryce Harper, Tuesday was Michael Brantley and Wednesday was Manny MachadoThursday is dedicated to right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

Nathan Eovaldi has been a bit of a journeyman in his career.

He won’t be for much longer.
 
Eovaldi built a strong free-agent case in helping the Boston Red Sox win the World Series last month. Over 22⅓ postseason innings as both a starter and reliever, he allowed just 15 hits and four earned runs (1.61 ERA) while striking out 16 and walking just three. His work in the World Series was epic as he answered the call out of the bullpen in an 18-inning Game 3 marathon against the Dodgers and picked up six innings. He took the loss when he allowed a solo homer in his seventh inning of work, but his performance inspired the Red Sox and they won the next two games for their fourth World Series title in 15 years.

Eovaldi, who will pitch at 29 next season, is a hard-throwing right-hander and we mean hard. His fastball regularly sits in the high-90s and it can reach triple-digits. Clearly, he is healthy after having Tommy John surgery twice on his right elbow.

The Red Sox acquired Eovaldi in a July trade from Tampa Bay. The Sox became his fifth team in seven years and he went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts, for that club.

Eovaldi appears to be on the threshold of a big breakthrough. He will have a brisk free-agent market as he seeks to put down some roots after bouncing around for a few seasons.

It is not clear whether the Phillies, who are in the market for starting pitching, will be among Eovaldi’s suitors. Oh, they like him, and certainly wouldn’t push him out of their rotation. But the Phillies are right-handed-heavy in their rotation and they would like to add a lefty either through a trade or free-agent signing. Lefties like Robbie Ray and James Paxton are trade possibilities while J.A. Happ, Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel are free-agent possibilities.

“In a perfect world, we would like to have a more balanced rotation,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said last week. “We’re not going to swap out a good righty for a less-good lefty. We’re not going to do that to have a lefty. But if we can make the rotation better and also add balance to our pitching staff, I think that’s something worth exploring.”

Eovaldi is a good one and surely the Phillies will perform their due diligence and have conversations with his representatives. But we see him landing with someone else as the Phillies focus on adding a lefty.

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Why Phillies placed Justin Bour on waivers

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Why Phillies placed Justin Bour on waivers

Looking to trim their 40-man roster ahead of next week’s deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies have placed slugging first baseman Justin Bour on waivers, according to a major-league source.

The move essentially means Bour will soon be moving on. He can be claimed by any other club or elect free agency if he clears waivers.
 
In need of power off the bench, the Phillies acquired Bour from Miami for minor-league pitcher McKenzie Mills in August. With the Phils, he had 54 plate appearances and hit .224 with a homer and five RBIs. He was hampered during part of his stay with the club by a hamstring injury that landed him on the disabled list.
 
Bour has averaged 21 homers and 66 RBIs the last four seasons and could be attractive to clubs looking for a left-handed platoon bat at first base. The Phillies are not in need of that type of player as they are committed to using Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana at first base. If Santana were to be traded, Hoskins would play at first base full-time.
 
Bour would have been eligible for salary arbitration with the Phillies and will remain so if a team claims him on waivers. He projects to have an arbitration salary of over $5 million.
 
The Phillies’ 40-man roster is at 34. Several spots will be filled by young prospects on Tuesday, which is the deadline for shielding eligible players from being selected in December’s Rule 5 draft.

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