August 24, 2017
Pete Mackanin laughed, because who wouldn't when the guy asking the question had hit six home runs in the previous nine games (including three in the last four games).
But the fact that Rhys Hoskins asked if he should move the runners over with two on and nobody out in the third inning of a 2-0 game probably just speaks to the baseball acumen and unselfishness of the Phillies rookie slugger.
“Do you want me to move the runners over or do you want me to drive them in,” Hoskins asked his manager from the on-deck circle with Freddy Galvis on second and Nick Williams on first base against Miami left-hander Justin Nicolino.
“We’re paying you to drive runs in,” Mackanin told him. “That’s what we’re paying you for.”
And then Mackanin laughed.
“And rightfully so, I guess,” Hoskins said.
And then Hoskins ended an eight-pitch at-bat by launching a ball 445 feet from home plate to the second deck of the seats in left field at Citizens Bank Park. It broke open the game that would end with the Phillies routing the Marlins 8-0.
“That’s why you hit in the middle of the order, is to drive runs in,” said Hoskins, who also hit a two-run double later in the game. “So if he’s going to keep putting me there that’s going to be my main goal.”
Hoskins has hit third or fourth in the Phillies lineup for 13 consecutive games. The fact that he made his big league debut less than two weeks ago is remarkable given his ultra-quick rise to being the most productive hitter in the lineup and the unquestionable status as the guy who keeps people in the ballpark from taking a bathroom break when the Phillies are hitting.
Some Hoskins tidbits:
• Hoskins is the only Phillies player to hit seven home runs over the course of his first 14 major league games in the last 100-plus years. How did I find this out? Last June, STATS said that Tommy Joseph was the only Phillies player to hit seven home runs over his first 21 games since 1913 when their database began. So Hoskins has shattered that record 14 months later.
• Since we mentioned Joseph, who got off to a hot start in his career last season (seven home runs in his first 21 games/16 starts, and then 13 home runs in his first 49 games/40 starts), what about Ryan Howard, you say? When did Ryan Howard hit his seventh career home run? Howard's seventh came in his 44th game and 25th big league start.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hoskins entered Wednesday as the first Phillies rookie to ever have six home runs over an eight-game span. Well, that’s now seven home runs in a 10-game span, Elias.
• Since August 13, his fourth day in the big leagues, Hoskins leads all National League players in home runs. He’s tied for the major league lead over that time frame with Baltimore’s Manny Machado and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
• Since going 1-for-13 with a single, one RBI, four strikeouts and three walks in his first four big league games, Hoskins is slashing .314/.442/.943 with seven home runs, a double, 15 RBI, seven walks, and five strikeouts in 10 games.
Seems like you got comfortable in the big leagues pretty quickly, Rhys.
“Yeah I think it’s night and day,” Hoskins said of how he feels now to when he first checked into CBP on August 10. “Hopefully that’s obvious. But it’s just getting familiar with everything. Walking to the ballpark and it feels like home.”
And as for asking Mackanin about moving the runners over? It still makes some sense, actually.
“It changes the approach a little bit, whether or not you look on the inner half or on the outer half,” Hoskins said. “So, if he says let’s try to move them over, a fly ball to right field instead of looking to get the (bat) head out.”
Instead, Mackanin asked Hoskins to drive in some runs, and the rookie followed orders.
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21
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