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Rhys Hoskins go-ahead homer lift Phillies



PHILADELPHIA – After a fastball drilled Rhys Hoskins on the left shoulder on the first Sunday of the 2019 season, just inches under the jaw. He broke a foul ball last summer, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler expressed his frustrations about a pitch that could have hurt one of the

PHILADELPHIA – After a fastball drilled Rhys Hoskins on the left shoulder on the first Sunday of the 2019 season, just inches below the jaw, he broke on a foul ball last summer , Phillies manager Gabe Kapler expressed his frustrations about a pitch that could have hurt one of the most important players in the team.

"He is, in many ways, the heartbeat of our club," Kapler said.

Hoskins is continuing to emerge as a star in Philadelphia and across baseball, too. He hit two home runs Monday night in a 4-3 victory over the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. He hit a go-ahead home run to the left field in the sixth inning, his 25th go-ahead homer since his big league debut on Aug. 1

0, 2017. Only Oakland's Khris Davis (29) has more in that time. Hoskins then hit a towering homer to the left in the eighth to hand the Phillies a two-run lead. "I do not feel like it's a responsibility," Hoskins said, asked if he feels that he needs to raise his. "It's been the difference after Phillies's right-hander Pat Neshek allowed to homer to Brian Dozier in the ninth."

The game is in critical moments because of its stature in the Phillies' clubhouse. "An opportunity and a privilege, sure. But again, I do not feel like any guys feel like they have to do it all or be the guy. "

But Hoskins has been the guy a lot this season, and throughout his Phillies career. He's batting .367 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 1.446 OPS through the Phillies' 7-2 start The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger and Mariners' Domingo Santana are the only players in baseball with more RBIs (19).

Hoskins had 96 RBIs last season. If he stays healthy, it's hard to imagine Hoskins said "Obviously you always want to do better than the previous year," I just want to do better than that. I knew that I would have a ton of opportunities. With the guys that were going to be hitting in front of me and their track record of getting on the base. You've got to be able to knock guys in, you've got to hit with guys on the base. I've been lucky To put it into that opportunity, quite a bit so far and I hope we'll keep coming through. "

Hoskins hit a go-ahead homer in Sun day's 2-1 victory over the twins as well. It came on a 3-2 curveball in a nine-pitch at-bat against Twins right-hander Jose Berrios. Monday's go-ahead Homer in the sixth also came on a 3-2 curveball in a six-pitch at-bat against Nationals right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

His second homer had a 47-degree launch angle, tying Tommy Joseph September 17th, 2017) for the highest homer hit by the Phillies since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

"I was joking with someone about what the launch The angle was going to say on the board, "Hoskins said. "I guessed 55."

The second homer also gave Hoskins another opportunity to work through a variety of post-homer celebrations with each of his teammates. Hoskins forgot his personalized routine with teammate Scott Kingery following the first homer.

"I felt terrible," Hoskins said, "I made sure that I went and got him in the dugout. Like baseball does, it puts you in another opportunity for you to atone for your mistakes."

Is that defense out there?

The Phillies made a point to improve their defense this season, and so far they have looked better. It showed up Monday. Hoskins fielded a ball off the bag in the fourth. The Phillies threw out Ryan Zimmerman at the plate in that same inning with a flawless relay from Bryce Harper to Jean Segura to J.T. Realmuto Maikel Franco made a slick barehanded play and throw Kurt Suzuki at first to end the seventh. Andrew McCutchen made a nice catch on the run in the left field with the game-tying run on the second base in the ninth.

"We improved from a staff standpoint," Kapler said. "Our coaching has received an upgrade. That's no disrespect to anything before. But, of course, I think Bobby (infielder coach Bobby Dickerson) is one of the better defensive infield coaches in baseball. (19659017) Vinny Velo shows something

Phillies's right-hander Vince Velasquez allowed two runs in five innings in his season debut in the rotation He started the first-pitch strikes to only seven of the 18 batters he faced, but he walked none.

"I started off a little bit shaky," he said referring to a two-run homer to Suzuki in the second. "Then I kind of settled in toward the end. J.T. (Realmuto) and I were connected all the way through. I made one mistake pretty much. "

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


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