struggling slugger

Is It Time for Rhys Hoskins to Sit, or Will a ‘Good Snap' Get Him Going?

Normally mild-mannered Rhys Hoskins crossed first base after hitting into a double play with two men on in the fourth inning. He yanked his helmet from his head and smashed it to the ground.

Frustration has arrived for the Phillies.

And Hoskins, in particular.

The Phils fell to 5-8 in the 60-game sprint after a 5-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night. The Phils have lost four of their last five and are in danger of being swept Thursday afternoon by a club that lost 108 games last year.

Hoskins grounded into three double plays, becoming the first Phillie to do that in a game since Placido Polanco in 2010. He walked and struck out in his other two plate appearances. He hit .180 after the All-Star break last season and is hitting .190 (8 for 42) with no homers and one RBI on the new season.
 
That's enough to make anyone smash a helmet.

Or five.

"Sometimes a good snap helps you get out of things," manager Joe Girardi said. "So maybe it will work."

Hoskins has played in every game and held down the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He does bring value to the offense because he's walked 14 times to fuel a .404 on-base percentage. But, of the 21 players who have batted second at least 10 times in the majors this season, he is the only one without multiple RBIs.

Girardi was asked if he planned on possibly giving Hoskins a day off or dropping him in the batting order.

"There are no plans to move him right now," said Girardi, citing Hoskins' on-base skills.

Girardi did not say if he was planning to give Hoskins a day off. Hoskins' good friend, second baseman Scott Kingery, is off to a 4 for 40 start. He got the night off against a left-handed pitcher (Wade LeBlanc) on Wednesday night.

With J.T. Realmuto serving as the DH, Andrew Knapp got the start behind the plate with Zach Eflin on the mound. Knapp led the Phillies' offense with three hits and two RBIs.

Knapp is also close with Hoskins. What does he see in his teammate?

"I don't think he's pressing too hard," Knapp said. "Obviously, we'd like to be winning more games so I think everyone in the clubhouse is a little frustrated with where we're at.

"Rhys is a great player and it's still really early. I think the fact that he's taking his walks and still getting on base shows he's going to get out of this thing. He's one or two days from really popping and showing who he really is.

"I think he's pressing a little as far as wanting to produce and being that guy to really help a team. But it's so early. I think he's totally going to be fine."

Eflin flashed some brilliance in his second start of the season. He used his sinker often - he said he believes he has one of the best in the majors - and struck out a career-high 10 batters.

However, Eflin got hurt three times on breaking balls as he could not hold a 3-1 lead. He threw two sliders that left the yard and a curveball that Chance Sisco blooped to left for two killer runs in the fourth.

Eflin did not second-guess throwing the breaking balls. He acknowledged the bloop hit for what it was and said he needed better execution on both the sliders.

"As good as (the sinker) is, you can't throw just one pitch in this league," Girardi said. "He just has to make a little better pitch with the breaking ball.

"He pitched well. The ball by Sisco fell in and cost us two runs."

Eflin, whose career has been marked by inconsistency, times when he's dazzled and other times when he's pitched himself out of the rotation, looked at the 10 strikeouts and surmised, "It feels like the puzzle is coming together. I felt really good. But it sucks to see four runs on the board."

In all, Baltimore hit three homers. Reliever Adam Morgan gave up one in the seventh to give the Orioles some late cushion that came in handy after the Phils scored one in the eighth before fading out.

The Phillies' bullpen has allowed 41 earned runs in 38⅓ innings for a majors-worst 9.63 ERA.

"It's very highlighted right now that our bullpen is struggling," Morgan said. "We had a lot of time down, then ramping up, then down again because of the Marlins issue. No excuses, but the more rhythm and consistency we get, the better we'll be." 

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Is it time for Rhys Hoskins to sit, or will a 'good snap' get him going? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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