The Phillies pummeled the Braves 9-1 on Friday, giving them a 2-1 series advantage and putting them on the cusp of a trip to the NLCS. It’s been an improbable run in so many regards, as this Phillies team has gone through change after change on its way to the mountaintop. However, one thing that has not changed is Rhys Hoskins.
We all know what Rhys Hoskins is at this point. The 29-year-old has made a name for himself with his prolific power production, and has also earned the ire of fans at times due to his shoddy defensive work. Both sides of Hoskins have been on full display this year, with his torrid summer helping carry the Phillies while Bryce Harper was on the shelf, yet his statuesque defense cost them a crucial game two matchup in this NLDS. Friday’s barnburner was yet another perfect example of the duality of Hoskins, but this time everything came out alright.
Hoskins had struggled mightily coming into game three of the NLDS, collecting only one postseason hit. With his brutal miscue costing the Phillies game two, fans were on him as soon as he stepped to the plate on Friday. However, that all changed in his second at bat when Braves starter Spencer Strider grooved a belt high fastball. Hoskins turned on it and launched it into the left field seats, releasing not only his own frustration, but the pent up excitement of a sellout crowd in Citizens Bank Park. Hoskins slammed the bat down in what is sure to be one of the greatest home run celebrations of all time, and the entire stadium was ablaze with pandemonium.
Hoskins’ moonshot was a backbreaker for Atlanta, giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead in a game they would go on to win 9-1. In this contest Hoskins wasn’t all aces, as he did botch two plays to give the Braves extra outs. First was an Alec Bohm throwing error that Hoskins not only failed to dig out, but then missed the tag on Ronald Acuña Jr. who didn’t touch first base. Later, Hoskins just plain dropped an easy throw from second base on a double play ball, allowing the inning to continue. However, no one cared. At the time the Phillies were up 6-0, and both of Hoskins’ blunders only made it a 6-1 game. Nothing to worry about. After the tidal wave of emotion from his home run earlier, no one would have a bad word to say about Rhys Hoskins.
Rhys Hoskins really is emblematic of this 2022 Phillies team. They came into the year built to be able to slug their way through the awful defense they had constructed. Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and Hoskins are all net negatives in the field, and with Bryce Harper forced into the designated hitter role due to injury, all three have had to play their positions. Despite the defensive limitations of this team, they’ve slugged their way to, and through the playoffs.
There will be days like Wednesday when a crucial error will end up haunting the Phils. But, there will also be days like Friday when it doesn’t matter how many errors they commit because they’ll blow the other team’s doors off. Rhys Hoskins is one of the longest tenured players on this team, and he was one of the few bright spots of the Phillies’ awful rebuild. He may not be perfect, but when we needed him most Rhys Hoskins was there for us. And that’s the only thing that matters.