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June 05, 2024

Phillies quick hits: Philly welcomes Rhys Hoskins back, Fightins sweep Brewers

Before they head to London for a two-game series this weekend, the Phillies hosted Rhys Hoskins and the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game set.

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Rhys Hoskins Brewers Phillies Return Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Emotions ran high as Rhys Hoskins returned to Citizens Bank Park.

In their final series before departing for their two-game set against the New York Mets in London, the Phillies hosted the Milwaukee Brewers for an emotional three-game series -- headlined, of course, by the return of Rhys Hoskins. In their first series of the year against a club currently leading its division, the Phillies were able to flex their muscles.

Here is what stood out from the Phillies' series sweep against Hoskins and the National League Central-leading Brewers:

Hoskins receives a warm welcome

Before Hoskins stepped up to the plate in the top of the second inning, the Phillies played a tribute video for the player who was once the leader of their clubhouse, the spokesperson of sorts for their team and the author of some iconic moments etched into team lore.

Hoskins, who joked earlier in the season that he may be greeted with boos in his return to Philadelphia, received nothing short of a rousing ovation -- a much-deserved gesture for a player who survived some of the darkest years in recent history for the organization and lived to tell the tale.

Hoskins drew a walk against Zack Wheeler in the fifth inning, stole second base off J.T. Realmuto and smiled at his former backstop. But when Hoskins tried to score from second on a single, Phillies center fielder Johan Rojas fired a bullet to Realmuto, who applied the tag on Hoskins and smiled right back at him.

The Brewers only scored one run during Monday night's series opener, and it came courtesy of Hoskins, who homered against Wheeler in the seventh inning. Hoskins performed his signature salute to the bullpen -- only this time, it was to the visitor's bullpen at Citizens Bank Park.

Monday night -- and the series as a whole -- was for reminiscing about Hoskins' long tenure with the Phillies. A fifth-round draft choice in 2014, Hoskins became a staple of the Phillies' lineup and a pillar of the community. If anyone deserved this sort of red carpet treatment, it was Hoskins.

David Dahl introduces himself to Philadelphia

After Brandon Marsh and Kody Clemens both hit the Injured List Monday afternoon, the Phillies brought up MLB veteran David Dahl -- a left-handed corner outfielder who was raking at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season -- and gave him a start in left field. Dahl hit a single in his first at-bat, helping stir a two-out rally that led to a run scoring, and in his second at-bat, he drilled a home run into the right field seats.

Dahl got right back to work on Tuesday night. In his first at-bat of the game, he smoked a ball the opposite way, narrowly missing a home run to left-center field and settling for a double.

Dahl, 30, had not appeared in a major-league game since April of 2023. More than 12 months later, he was powering the most productive lineup in baseball so far this season.

Typically, when a Phillies outfielder hits one out, they receive an ovation when they go back to the outfield in the following inning. Dahl's round of applause was noticeable, and he expressed sincere appreciation for the recognition he received.

According to Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Dahl said the ovation was "probably the coolest thing I've experienced on a baseball field."

Another strong start for Cristopher Sánchez

Sánchez may not have a win to show for it, but he was outstanding in his start on Tuesday. Sánchez allowed just one run on four hits across six innings. Despite only striking out three, the Phillies' emerging left-hander consistently induced weak contact. Sánchez also produced two double plays, one of which came against Hoskins.

Sánchez, who now sports a 2.71 ERA on the season, has been overshadowed by the Phillies' top three starters. Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez and Aaron Nola have all been excellent in 2024, but Sánchez is right there with them. When the postseason comes around, teams only rely on four starting pitchers. No team should feel as confident in their four guys right now as the Phillies, and Sánchez is a big reason why.

J.T. Realmuto earns a day off after taking a beating

The Phillies came away victorious on Tuesday night thanks to the excellent pitching of Sánchez and Phillies manager Rob Thomson's available relievers -- José Ruiz, Orion Kerekering, Matt Strahm and Seranthony Domínguez -- as well as a game-tying solo shot by Alec Bohm and a walk-off double from Nick Castellanos.

The night was unkind, however, to Realmuto. The Phillies' trusted backstop was hit by a pitch at the plate, took a foul ball off a spot where no player wants to be hit by a foul ball, and had to absorb some contact on a home plate collision in which he held onto the ball to nab a crucial out. Realmuto stayed in the game for its entirety, at one point eliciting loud chants of his name from a packed crowd in South Philadelphia.

Realmuto has risen to the occasion in a major way since Phillies shortstop Trea Turner was placed on the Injured List. From the day Turner went on the shelf through the end of the month of May, Realmuto slashed .333/.366/.500 across 18 games, giving the Phillies some much-needed right-handed production in the two-hole.

Realmuto was initially expected to play in all three games of the series, but Thomson decided to give him the day off in the series finale after his painful journey the evening prior. Thomson said Wednesday afternoon that Realmuto was "sore everywhere," but that he remains in line to be behind the plate for each of the two games in London. Realmuto, 33, still plays as frequently as any major-league catcher. It would be hard to object to him seeing an extra day off every now and then.

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