The Key Number for the Phillies this Season: Zero
The Philadelphia Phillies will play their 10th and 11th games of the 2021 season today in a doubleheader against the New York Mets. Last night’s game was postponed due to inclement weather in the Big Apple. Over the next 27 days, the Phillies will play 27 games. They currently sit atop of the NL East standings with a 6-3 record and are coming off a wild game in Atlanta where Alec Bohm was called safe during a controversial call at home plate.
There have certainly been positives and negatives to the Phillies season through the first nine games. The centerfield position highlights the list of negatives for the Phillies. Archie Bradley getting hurt definitely falls on that list too. As for the positives, there was one number that can be found in two sets of statistics that have propelled the Phillies to a hot start this season. That number is zero.
Rhys Hoskins has walked zero times this season. Hoskins, who is off to a tremendous start this season, is slashing .306/.306/.944 with 11 hits, two home runs, 5 RBI, and seven runs scored in 36 plate appearances. Again, Hoskins has walked zero times. Hoskins has been plugged into the lineup in the number two slot all season long. The number two hitter is viewed as the best hitter on the team.
Of course, there is an argument to be made that JT Realmuto is the best hitter on the team. In the future, it would be nice to see Alec Bohm move up in the order as well, but for now, Girardi has gone with Hoskins and the move has paid off for him and the Phillies. If you’re batting in the two hole you need to be swinging and ideally hitting. Over the past few seasons, Hoskins has improved his approach at the plate but almost to a fault. This year, the change in his approach is paying off and he’s performing at an All-Star level through the first nine games.
In the 2020 season, the Phillies were 8-2 when Hoskins hit a home run, and 11-4 when Hoskins had at least one RBI. The team was also 6-14 when Hoskins did not play, showing his importance to this Phillies team. In Phillies wins, Hoskins went .262/.398/.607/1.005. In Phillies losses, he sat at .224/.366/.373/.739. Rhys Hoskins has a huge impact on the Phillies, especially when they’re winning. With Bryce Harper and JT Realmuto in the lineup, it’s easy to overlook Rhys Hoskins but in my opinion he is the most crucial player in the lineup for the Phillies this year.
ZERO RUNS ALLOWED
Hector Neris is also red hot to start the 2021 season. With uncertainty surrounding the Phillies’ closer position, throughout camp in Clearwater, Girardi opted to give the closer role to Hector Neris. In 2017, Neris converted 26 of 29 save opportunities while posting a 3.01 ERA. Enter Gabe Kapler, who didn’t want to name a closer the following year (lol), and Neris struggled to keep his job in 2018. He did bounce back the following year in 2019 and was the closer in 2020 before Brandon Workman was acquired in a trade with Boston and took over the closer role. We all know how that worked out.
To start this year, Neris has pitched five scoreless innings, striking out five, allowing two walks and yes, zero runs. He’s 2-for-2 in save opportunities and has provided a sense of stability for the Phillies bullpen in the final frames this year. With Archie Bradley dealing with an injury and the uncertainty around the rest of the bullpen, Neris continuing his early-season dominance is extremely important for the Phillies.
The Phillies are at Citi Field in New York today for a double header against the Mets.
- Game 1 – RHP Chase Anderson
- Game 2 – RHP Aaron Nola