After Playing the Hero, Nick Williams Just Wants to Talk About Scott Kingery


Anyone following the Phillies knows they have too many position players for too few spots. Infield, outfield, doesn't matter, on any given night, two young players are going to be the odd men out.

More often than not this season, that's been Nick Williams. On Monday, J.P. Crawford joined Williams on the bench with Scott Kingery starting at shortstop.

Philadelphia Phillies

Complete coverage of the Fightin' Phils and their MLB rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Mike Schmidt: Bryce Harper Is Clear MVP, He's Pete Rose With Power

Phillies Win Torturous Series Against Orioles to Stay Alive in NL East Race

And yet when you look at the reactions from Williams and Crawford Monday, you get a sense of why this all might work.

When Kingery hit his first career home run in the second inning off Reds left-hander Cody Reed, it was Crawford who had the most boisterous reaction in the dugout.

Hours later, after Williams played the hero with a 417-foot, game-winning home run to right-center with two outs in the eighth, he just wanted to talk about Kingery.

"Today's Kingery's day," Williams said, smiling like always. "The pitch he hit today, that's a lefty pitch, down and in."

Indeed, Kingery golfed his first home run, later admitting that he didn't even realize how low the pitch was until he saw it on video. 

Kingery is extremely well-liked around these parts. That's what happens when you earn your way to the majors and stand out with an exciting brand of offense and defense. Among the position players, Rhys Hoskins and Kingery are the two biggest fan favorites.

Last summer was Williams' honeymoon. He played better than expected in 83 games, hitting .288 with an .811 OPS and impressive pop. But this season, at least so far, has not been easy for him. He's started just three of the Phillies' first nine games, but several things play into his favor moving forward. 

For one, Aaron Altherr is 2 for 27, hitting .074. Add in Williams' heroics in Monday night's 6-5 win and some genuine improvement that manager Gabe Kapler sees from him at the plate, and the result should be more playing time over the next week or two (see first take).

"One of the things that we're seeing with Nick is a little bit more patience," Kapler said. "He's actually looked good allowing the ball to travel a little bit more."

Though there were just over 18,000 fans at Citizens Bank Park Monday night, there was a lot of juice in the stadium thanks to the quartet of Williams, Kingery, Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro, who made an impressive, athletic play to nab Billy Hamilton at the plate on a wild pitch. 

"I think everybody's just feeding off the energy," Williams said.

As for Hoskins and Kingery, there will be more nights like this. Hoskins is developing into one of the better all-around hitters in the National League - check out these five stats - and Kingery just lengthens the Phillies' lineup.

"They're gonna be in the lineup a lot together and it's gonna be fun to see them bounce that energy back and forth," Kapler said. "How many times those guys both hit home runs in the same game this season, that'll be fun to watch."

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us