Don’t mess with Kyle Schwarber.
Or Rhys Hoskins.
It might be tempting to drop Schwarber from leadoff to No. 3 and Hoskins from No. 2 to cleanup with Bryce Harper and Jean Segura sidelined for the next several weeks, but the Phillies should resist the urge. Schwarber batted .272 with 12 home runs, 27 RBIs and a 1.065 OPS in June. They were the most homers hit in a month by a Phillies player since Domonic Brown hit 12 in May 2013. Hoskins, meanwhile, batted .306 with seven homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.026 OPS in June.
Why mess with success?
Fortunately, Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson and hitting coach Kevin Long seem to feel the same way.
“So, here’s the way it is,” Long said Thursday. “You have two guys right now who are as good as they’ve been. They’re really, really good. And they’re at the top of the order. So, because other guys maybe aren’t picking up the slack or doing what they need to do, do we take away from what they’re doing? Because they’re doing everything they need to do. Does that hinder their production? So that’s what you have to look at.”
So much is made about the lineup. But if Thomson dropped Schwarber and Hoskins into more traditional run-producing roles, is it really going to help? Not if they don’t have anybody hitting in front of them. Not if they don’t have anybody hitting behind them. At the moment, the Phillies’ two best hitters are getting the most opportunities to hit throughout the game. Don’t give them fewer.
Of course, Schwarber and Hoskins will cool off at some point. Long knows this. But for now, the Phillies should try to extend their runs as long as possible. Maybe they can extend their June successes into July and beyond.
“He didn’t really play in July last year,” Long said about Schwarber. “That’s when he got hurt. So I said, ‘We don’t really know what you’re going to do in July. But it starts with a J. The second letter does have a U.’ So I kind of like it. He is KJS. That’s his initials. So we're going to use that J not only as June but maybe July as well. Then, I don't know when we get to August and September. We'll come up with something.”