The good news: Rhys Hoskins isn’t dead! If you didn’t see it, below is John Clark’s slow-mo video of Rhys fouling a ball off his face in the ninth inning:
He speaks! The Phillies haven’t announced their lineup yet as tonight’s contest at Dodger Stadium is still about 6.5 hours away. Gabe Kapler did say in his presser last night that he’ll see how Rhys feels and assess from there. Hopefully, we see Rhys play and the helmet flap brings him a much-needed slump buster as May comes to a close.
The bad news, in case you didn’t see it: the Phillies blew a 4-0 lead last night falling 5-4 to the LA Dodgers. Vince Velasquez was actually pitching well against a red-hot Dodger lineup, no-hitting them through five innings. The sixth saw Vince start to struggle but like many of the Phillies’ recent pitfalls, the defense had their faults as well. Yasial Puig started the inning off with a liner to left-center and was able to advance to second base after Hoskins bobbled the ball. Granted, Velasquez was able to get two outs, but the combination of Joc Pederson smashing a double and then Justin Turner coming up in the clutch was enough to pull Velasquez before the sixth inning could end. Seranthony Dominguez once again showed how incredible he’s been out of the bullpen shutting down the next four Dodgers to get through the seventh with the score 4-2 Phillies, but a combination of relievers Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan along with more sloppy defense from the Phillies squandered three runs and the lead. Kenley Jansen would shut the door–and split open Rhys’ mouth–Dodgers win 5-4.
Offensively, the Phils gave Velsaquez an early lead amassing four runs on five hits in the first two innings, including a BOMB from Cesar Hernandez. However, the bats remained on East Coast time and fell back asleep. The Phillies would only amount to two doubles for the remainder of the game and did not get a hit after the sixth inning.
Obviously, the bullpen is starting to revert back to the Achilles Heel we all were afraid it could be coming into the season. Sure, saying this after two-straight games might be a bit of a hot take, but it’s certainly a cause for concern. Outside of Dominguez, we’re starting to see trusted guys like Garcia and Tommy Hunter not have their stuff in consecutive outings. Not good! I might be overreacting, though. The Phillies’ Bullpen still ranks 5th in Wins Above Average, the number of wins the position adds comparatively to the average player at that position and has only blown six saves, one below the major league average. Still, the buck stops here on this emerging trend and the bullpen needs to pick up their starters, especially when we don’t know how many more outstanding Velasquez starts. What a thrill his starts have been in 2018, what a thrill.
Let’s keep beating the dead horse: the offense needs to wake up. With Dodgers remaining starters in the series consisting of Kenta Maeda tonight, Ross Stripling tomorrow, and the fresh of the DL Clayton Kershaw on Thursday, the Phils will need to get it going and put up at least five or six early and get to the Dodgers’ bullpen. Thankfully, the bats will have the starting pitching of Jake Arrieta tonight as a bit of a shield. Arrieta threw a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium in 2015 and continues to be the elder statesman on this upstart Phillies rotation. Let’s see him set the tone for the Phils tonight.Follow @geordo9