Injury accompanied insult as struggling first baseman Rhys Hoskins went down in the ninth inning of the Phillies' 5-4 fall-from-ahead loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. The Phillies built an early 4-0 lead with the help of a three-run home run by Cesar Hernandez in the second inning, but the bullpen could not finish the job and you couldn't blame Hector Neris for this one.
Hoskins left with a lacerated lip after fouling a 95-mph fastball from Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen off his face. The loss pushed the Phillies a full game behind the first-place Atlanta Braves, who split a doubleheader with the New York Mets, and it also sent them into third place behind the Washington Nationals, who won in Baltimore.
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The Phillies held early leads in all three games they played at Dodger Stadium last season and lost all three to the eventual National League champion. That process was repeated in Monday night's series opener as the Phillies took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth only to watch it evaporate into a 5-4 loss.
Third baseman Maikel Franco was there a year ago, and he does not want history to repeat.
"Tomorrow is a new day," Franco said. "We'll come in with a new energy and expect to win. What happened last year is not going to happen. It's not going to be the same thing. Try to forget the day and be ready to go."
On the bright side, the Phillies received another strong outing from Vince Velasquez, who went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits. Seranthony Dominguez also remained a dominant force, retiring all four batters he faced, including three by strikeout.
But the usually reliable Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan struggled in the eighth, allowing three runs on four hits. An error by Cesar Hernandez also was part of the disastrous mix.
Even before fouling a ball off his face in the ninth inning Monday, the struggling Rhys Hoskins was a hot topic. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in the series opener at Dodger Stadium, dropping his batting average to .229 overall and .151 during May. Gabe Kapler explained why he keeps hitting Hoskins second in the batting order anyway.
Ed Barkowitz's remembrance of Dick Fowler's 1945 no-hitter for the Philadelphia A's brought plenty of reaction from our readers.
Triple-A Lehigh Valley lost a second straight game at Pawtucket, and hot-hitting Jan Hernandez delivered a grand slam in double-A Reading's win at Portland. It's all here in the daily minor-league report.
Tonight: Jake Arrieta vs. Kenta Maeda, 10:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: Zach Eflin vs. Ross Stripling, 10:10 p.m.
Thursday: Aaron Nola pitches series finale vs. Clayton Kershaw, 7:35 p.m.
Friday: Start of three-game series in San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.
April — and those first three games in March — were a disaster for Carlos Santana and a delight for Rhys Hoskins. May has been a disaster for Hoskins and a delight for Santana. Perhaps June will be the first month in which both of them get hot together. Until then, let's look at their numbers in a different way.
The combined numbers for Santana and Hoskins in March/April were a .225 batting average, a .399 on-base percentage and a .795 OPS. They also combined for 14 doubles, six home runs and 30 RBIs. Respectable, but you want more from the two hitters the manager believes are the best in his lineup.
So far this May, Santana and Hoskins are hitting a combined .218 with a .313 on-base percentage and a .766 OPS. They have also combined for 11 doubles, nine home runs and 40 RBIs.
Combine Hoskins' April with Santanta's May and you get a .295 batting average with a .423 on-base percentage and a .966 OPS. You also get 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. That's the combined month the Phillies need out of Santana and Hoskins in June and beyond.
Hi Bob. Love your work on Extra Innings. I told my son before the season started I thought a good year for the Phils would be a .500 season. I always tell him not to get too excited until they play 50 games. I am beginning to think they are capable of more. I know it's early in the season, but this road trip could be an indicator for just how this season can turn out. Is a 6-4 road trip reasonable? It's good to be excited about the Phillies again.
Chris, NJ, email