Rob Thomson, Zack Wheeler, and Rhys Hoskins talk defensive blunders in Game 2 of the NLDS
The Philadelphia Phillies dropped Game 2 in Atlanta last night, allowing the Braves to even the series 1-1 before traveling to Philadelphia to face Aaron Nola in Game 3 on Friday afternoon.
The Phillies found themselves in a classic duel between two of the best pitchers in the National League this season. Both Kyle Wright and Zack Wheeler effectively shut down the opposing offenses until the 6th inning when it was Zack Wheeler and the Phillies defense who would make the first mistake.
Rhys Hoskins Misplays Ground ball
Rhys Hoskins, who time and time again, misplays this type of ball to first base, wasn’t able to handle what should have been a routine ground ball from Matt Olson.
In the midst of a 0-0 ball game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning with Wheeler pitching an absolute gem, Hoskins’ allowing to the ball to get into right field put the Phillies down 1-0.
Clearly, frustration mounted online with Hoskins, who for whatever reason, can never seem to get his body in front of the baseball, and opts to use his glove to stop hard hit balls to first base.
Sure, it’s easy to say that Hoskins needed to get himself in front of that baseball, square up his shoulders, and literally do whatever it takes to keep the baseball in front of him.
Whether or not he had time to get in front of that ball is certainly up for debate.
I’ll listen to Rob Thomson over the folks on social media
Okay, so maybe it was harder than it looked? Still, it’s tough to not focus all of your outrage on last night’s game anywhere else but at one of the Phillies longest tenured players in Rhys Hoskins.
Here’s the way I look at it..
Does Rhys Hoskins hold some of the blame tonight? Absolutely.
Is it solely his fault that we lost the game? Absolutely not.
Let’s rewind real quick. Everything started to unravel for the Phillies and Wheeler during the Ronald Acuña at-bat still, with 2-outs. Wheeler tried to jam Acuña on the inside part of the plate but ended up hitting him in the elbow putting a runner of a first base.
After granting a rare walk to Dansby Swanson in the next at-bat, Matt Olson hit that ball to Rhys Hoskins, which again, he should have caught and ended the inning but instead, it allowed the Braves to take a 1-0 lead.
Austin Riley then made it 2-0 on an infield single that forced Wheeler to field the ball while falling toward third base and ended without the pitcher attempting a throw. Known Phillies killer Travis d’Arnaud hit a RBI single in the next at-bat to push the Braves lead to 3-0.
That was all she wrote for the Phillies in Game 2. Wheeler spoke after the game obviously shouldering any type of blame rather than throwing Hoskins under the bus.
Still, I think Wheeler’s reasoning is fair and should be taken into consideration. A hit batter in Ronald Acuña and a walk to Swanson set the perfect stage for the eventual blunder at first base. He acknowledged that, and the fact that his pitch selection wasn’t ideal in the first place.
Zack Wheeler on Rhys Hoskins
Rhys Hoskins Postgame: “That’s a play I’ve made before, I’ll make again, just didn’t make it tonight”
Fine. Whatever. As a fan of Rhys Hoskins, I know very well that there are a ton of people that are not fans and will look to blame him for the Game 2 loss. Perfectly fine with me and honestly, you’re probably right. However, I refuse to believe that Rhys Hoskins just blew the entire NLDS series.
The Philadelphia Phillies are heading back to Philadelphia in a 1-1 series against the defending World Champions. They have played on the road nearly three straight weeks and will finally return to Citizens Bank Park on Friday, sending Aaron Nola to the mound in a best of three series against the Braves with home field advantage.
This series is FAR from over. South Philadelphia hasn’t held a MLB postseason game in 11 years and you can’t ask to be set up any more perfectly with Nola on the mound.
I’m more concerned with the Phillies offense. Yes, I know that Hoskins is currently 1-for-16 from the plate with a run scored. Last night, Hoskins went 0-4 from the plate, and didn’t have his offensive shield to keep his defensive mishaps in the shadows. Still, he’s not the only player struggling from the plate.
Phillies in Game 2
- Kyle Schwarber: 0-4
- Rhys Hoskins: 0-4
- JT Realmuto: 1-4
- Bryce Harper: 1-4
- Nick Castellanos: 0-3
- Alec Bohm: 0-3
- Brandon Marsh: 0-1
- Matt Vierling: 0-1
- Jean Segura: 1-3
- Bryson Stott: 0-3
The Phillies recorded a total of three hits and struck out eight times.
It is incredibly hard to win baseball games when your top five in the batting order go a combined 2-for-19 from the plate. Kyle Schwarber, who was brought here as a veteran with playoff experience, has yet to record a hit over four games in the playoffs. Point being, Phillies fans can easily distribute some offensive blame throughout the entire lineup.
Everyone knows that Schwarber and Hoskins are streaky hitters. When they are hot, they are two of the toughest outs in baseball. When they are cold, it’s painful to watch. The Phillies desperately need to get the top of the order going when they return home to Citizens Bank Park.
That includes everyone.
All I’m suggesting is that everyone just breathe. Tonight was a game that could have been won and it simply wasn’t but this series is far from over. I can also PROMISE you that when Rhys Hoskins and/or Schwarber go YARD at the Bank on Friday and/or Saturday, all will be forgiven.
Lock in. We have a series to win.
Oh, and also this: