On Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies will play their first home playoff game in 11 years. They head into Citizens Bank Park having split the first two games of the NLDS against the 101-win Braves.
Many fans think the team should actually be walking into this first home game 2-0 in the series.
Their reason being one Rhys Hoskins. During Wednesday’s game 2, Hoskins could come up with a reasonably easy play to get Wheeler out of a jam.
That ball in play had a .280 expected batting average according to Statcast.
Zack Wheeler would allow two more singles, putting the Phillies in a 3-0 hole. They couldn’t climb out of it and had just three hits in the game.
Although the entire offense couldn’t get it done, the fanbase turned its blame to Hoskins.
Yes. The play was bad. But you can’t blame the entirety of the loss on his shoulders.
The Phillies Offense
The Phillies had 4 total baserunners the entire game. They were 0-for-3 with RISP.
Hoskins didn’t contribute but also didn’t leave anyone on base.
The same fans criticizing Hoskins have seemed to forget about Kyle Schwarber. The National League home run leader has yet to record a postseason hit as a Phillie. In the NLDS, he is 0-9 with 4 strikeouts.
No player went better than 1-3 in game 2.
Some are calling for Hoskins to be replaced by Darick Hall or just plain replaced in the offseason. Hoskins was one of 12 NL players with 30 or more homers this season. With RISP this season, Hoskins slashed .292/.378/.536. He has a career 125 OPS+ and had a 122 OPS+ this season.
Let’s just ignore that when he’s 1-18 to start the postseason. Except there’s a way to explain that
The Phillies have been on the road since September 25th. Rhys Hoskins is a completely different hitter in Citizens Bank Park than he is on the road. Hoskins slashed .262/.350/.529 at home this season with 18 homers in 79 games. Against the Braves in Philly, he’s even better.
He slashed .342/.395/.711. That’s an OPS of 1.106.
The Sixth Inning
Zack Wheeler was absolutely cruising until the 6th inning.
That’s how Matt Olson came to the plate. That’s how we got to Rhys Hoskins. Zack Wheeler failed to retire either batter in front of him. The ball that Olsen hit was 101.3 MPH off the bat. During a postgame interview, Zack Wheeler even stated that he should’ve executed better.
On top of the failed play, Wheeler would allow 2 more RBI singles in the inning.
Phillies, Let’s Reset
The Phillies now have 2 home games against the Braves. Aaron Nola, who blanked the Cardinals over 6.2 IP, will start Friday’s game. If the Phillies can will both games, they have a date with either the Dodgers or Padres in the National League Championship Series.
Phillies fans, let’s perk up. If you’re going to either game, cheer your head off for your Phightin Phils. You’ve waited 11 years for this moment.
Let’s not fall into the media’s narrative about Philly sports fans. Instead, show why Philly sports fans are some of the best in the country. Paint the town red. It’s Red October.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire