Phillies' Hoskins breath of fresh air in Philly

Aug 29, 2017 3:05 AM

Aaron Judge, of the Yankees, and Cody Bellinger, of the Dodgers, were the talk of baseball for the first half of the 2017 season. But in August, we’ve had the under-the-radar splash of the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins.

Don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t heard of Hoskins. He’d probably have to beg for time at the end of the old “This Week In Baseball” highlight reel.

Judge and Bellinger were immediate hits in big markets with their early-season rookie slugging success making them practically household names already, at least with the Little Leaguers, but Hoskins has shined under the spotlight all month in nothing short of a stupendous major league debut in Philadelphia.

On Sunday, the Phils rookie homered for the fifth straight game and clubbed his 11th round-tripper in the month of August, making even casual fans and bettors take note of the new name for the lowly Phillies, who haven’t had much to smile about.

Hoskins became the fastest in major league history to reach nine, ten and eleven home runs with his streak. Unlike the other star sluggers the 24-year-old from Sacramento, where he played collegiately for Sacramento State, likely has a better feel for the strike zone. He reached 11 homers in 17 at-bats, fewer than Gary Sanchez and Shane Spencer, both of the Yankees who did it in 81 ABs. Hoskins is hitting .297 with an .828 slugging percentage, with 11 walks and 13 strikeouts.

Not only that, the left-fielder started a triple play on a diving catch Sunday against the Cubs with a heads-up throw after he dropped the ball on the transfer. The confused Cubs were easily sent down in the inning in one play.

Unless you are cheering for the big dogs this summer, you wish your team had a Rhys Hoskins to smile about.

TEX (+150, 8o15) at HOU (Wed., 5): Rangers had hope, but then had a lost weekend in Oakland, erasing some hard work. Andrew Cashner has a 4.50 ERA for Texas on the road, but he’s logged some nice innings for the last month-plus before allowing four runs in six innings to the Angels last out. Cashner has allowed over .300 avg. to the expected HOU lineup. The Astros’ Dallas Keuchel seems to be rounding into form following his neck injury, especially with his 1.51 road ERA.

OAK (+140, 9.5u15) at LAA (Wed., 7:07): The Angels’ Parker Bridwell has been a gambler’s delight with his near 12 units of positive results, going 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA. Bridwell has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last nine starts. Kendall Graveman, of the A’s, has a 6.39 ERA with just one victory on the road. This expected Angels’ lineup hits better than .300 against him in nearly 150 PAs, though Graveman has allowed just five earned runs in his last 20 innings over three starts.

CWS (+120, 10.5u15) at MIN (Thu., 12:10): All hail “Big Sexy” Bartolo Colon, resurrected to help the Twins, winning four of his last five starts but it should be cautioned has a 5.63 road ERA this season with two teams. For the White Sox, Miguel Gonzalez has a 5.29 ERA on the road, but is off four straight excellent outings, going 2-0 and allowing just four earned runs.

TOR (+115, 11u15) at BAL (Thu., 4:05): Jeremy Hellickson came up with a crucial start last time out in a road win at Boston, but his results have been mixed since joining the O’s rotation, posting a 5.46 ERA. The Blue Jays’ chances really are gone by now, as Marco Estrada goes here. Estrada has been one of the problems with a 5.28 ERA on the road, but has held this group of BAL bats to under a .200 avg. over 200 PAs and has actually won two of his last four starts after a long drought.

ATL (+170) at CUB (Fri., 11:20): Mike Foltynewicz has hit a wall for Atlanta as his road ERA has ballooned to 5.62 and he’s lost his last four starts, though still up over 4.5 units for his backers. The Cubs are keeping their lead for the moment here, as John Lackey goes, though he’s been touched up a bit over his last two starts after a series of solid performances, including five straight wins.

WAS (-105, 8.5o20) at MIL (Fri., 5:10): Tanner Roark has pitched pretty well of late and is 7-2 on the road as he started in the Nationals’ Sunday night home win over the Mets. The Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson has had some success against this expected Nats crew, limiting them to nearly a .200 avg. over 45 PAs. Nelson has a 3.39 home ERA, but just one win over his last nine starts.

STL (-125, 8o15) at SF (Sat., 1:05): Jeff Samardzija dutifully treks out for another start for the Giants, as he had won four of his last six coming into Monday’s start at SD. He’s down just over five units for his backers this season. The Cards must win now, as Lance Lynn goes here. Lynn has been working strong and consistent for St. Louis, and hasn’t lost in his last 10 starts, continually pitching into the sixth inning.

LAD (-200, 8.5u20) at SD (Sat., 7:10): Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to return on Friday night, as all reports have been extremely positive. With that much certain, this spot looms a question after Yu Darvish had a sub-par outing on Sunday against Milwaukee, going five innings. L.A. could opt for another starter here, instead, as they will be cautious with Darvish heading into the postseason. Jhoulys Chacin is the matchup again, and he’s been very solid at home with a 7-2 record and 1.86 ERA.

ARI (-105, 11) at COL (Sun., 12:10): For now, Antonio Senzatela (10-4) gets another start here against the Diamondbacks but, come Wild Card time, he could easily be penciled in as the emergency long man should something early happen in the anticipated matchup between these two come October. Zach Godley comes in with a very respectable 3.11 ERA on the road for the D’backs. Both pitchers are holding the others’ expected lineup to a .240 avg. in just a couple of go-rounds around the respective lineups.

BOS (-190, 9.5u20) at NYY (Sun., 4:30): Chris Sale gets the Sunday night start for the Sox, as he makes his third appearance against New York over his last five outings. Sale had his worst start of the season two outings ago against Cleveland, failing to go four innings and allowing six earned runs. Sale holds the likely Yanks’ lineup to just over a .200 avg. over 150 ABs or so. The Red Sox have Jaime Garcia, who has been shaky to say the least since joining the team in the rotation. Garcia had an ERA near 6 and a WHIP of 1.78 in August.