Rhys Hoskins' big night at Coors Field leads Phillies to win originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Rhys Hoskins has looked like a different hitter since about the midpoint of the shortened 2020 season.
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Hoskins, criticized by many Phillies fans early in his career for being too selective at the plate and too pull-oriented, has been utilizing the whole field since last August 15, when he broke out of a funk with an important swing against Steven Matz, a three-run double to center.
It’s carried over into this season and he’s had a massive month of April from a power perspective. Hoskins homered twice Saturday night to lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Rockies at Coors Field.
The first homer was to center field and gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead. The second longball was to right-center and it gave the Phillies a three-run lead after Aaron Nola had surrendered a three-run lead.
Hoskins also homered in the series opener Friday night, a 439-foot shot to left-center. He leads the team in home runs (6) and doubles (7) and is tied for the team lead with 12 RBI.
Only four of Hoskins’ 13 extra-base hits this season have been to left field. It’s a very good sign because one thing that’s never been in question is his pullside power.
The Phillies are 10-10 heading into Sunday’s series finale. No team in the NL East is over .500.
The follow-up to Nola's shutout
The Phils also got a strong performance from Nola, who went seven innings and retired seven Rockies in a row after losing the lead on a Ryan McMahon homer. Nola threw 101 pitches after throwing 109 in his shutout of the Cardinals Sunday.
Games are a whole lot easier to win when the starter goes seven innings. The Phillies have gotten seven innings from their starter five times in 20 games — Nola twice, Zach Eflin twice and Zack Wheeler once. That length is especially important right now as the Phillies play without Archie Bradley and Jose Alvarado, who they might have back from COVID protocols by Monday.
They got four innings out of starter Vince Velasquez on Friday and probably don't expect much more than that from Chase Anderson at the hitter-friendly confines of Coors on Sunday.
Brogdon and Neris
Connor Brogdon pitched for the first time since allowing six runs on two three-run homers to the Giants Tuesday in an ugly loss. It was not a spotless outing but he did pitch his way out of a jam. He walked the leadoff man, struck out McMahon, allowed a single to Trevor Story and then escaped the inning with a pair of groundouts by Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron.
Blackmon's groundout scored a run but could have been worse if not for Nick Maton's range at second base. Maton picked up two more hits, one of them a double. He's 9 for 19 (.474) with three doubles through five games.
Hector Neris got the 75th save of his career a night after allowing a walk-off home run to Raimel Tapia. He gave up a one-out triple but worked around it with a strikeout and popout.
Good night for McCutchen
Sunday at 3:10 p.m., Anderson (0-2, 4.15) opposes hard-throwing right-hander Jon Gray (2-1, 2.42), who can look like an elite pitcher when he’s on but who’s never been able to sustain that success.
Andrew McCutchen has hit Gray well throughout his career, going 9 for 18 with two doubles, a homer and five walks, reaching base in 14 of 23 plate appearances. McCutchen reached base three times Saturday night. Prior to the game, manager Joe Girardi said he was encouraged by what he saw from his scuffling leadoff man Friday.
“I thought Cutch’s at-bats Friday were a little bit better,” he said, “so hopefully it gets him going. But we need to get him going.”
McCutchen is hitting .164/.316/.246 through 76 plate appearances.