SAN FRANCISCO -- Before Ben Lively threw his first pitch in Sunday afternoon's 5-2 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park, he looked at his Phillies teammates preparing to take the field and made a casual observation to teammate Rhys Hoskins."Dude, this is a really familiar dugout," he said.Lively referred
SAN FRANCISCO -- Before Ben Lively threw his first pitch in Sunday afternoon's 5-2 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park, he looked at his Phillies teammates preparing to take the field and made a casual observation to teammate Rhys Hoskins.
"Dude, this is a really familiar dugout," he said.
Lively referred to the growing number of Phillies who had spent time this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, many of whom are prospects. Several of those players played key roles in Sunday's win, helping the Phillies split the series after opening their seven-game road trip through San Diego and San Francisco with five losses.
Lively pitched six strong innings. He is jockeying for a spot in next season's rotation. Hoskins hit a solo home run in the ninth to give the Phillies an insurance run. It was his fifth home run in his first 11 games. Hoskins, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams each had big hits in a three-run rally in the eighth inning to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead. Those three could be in the 2018 Opening Day lineup. Left-handers Hoby Milner and Adam Morgan have impressed, making the Phillies feel better about their bullpen going forward.
"I'm excited about a lot of things," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
Hoskins started his career hitless in his first 12 at-bats, but since then, he is hitting .356 (9-for-26) with five home runs, eight RBIs, five walks and three strikeouts.
"As much as I want to say I wasn't trying to get the first one out of the way, I think it's probably pretty obvious that's what it was," Hoskins said about his slow start. "I just wanted to settle in the box and feel more comfortable in the box and realize it really is the same game, 60 feet, 6 inches, still have to throw the ball over the plate, so I think that has a lot to do with it."
Hoskins started his second game at first base Sunday. Mackanin said Hoskins will "most likely" continue to get the majority of his playing time in left field.
Alfaro was down 0-2 to Hunter Strickland in the eighth, but recovered to single, scoring Hoskins and tying the game. He is hitting .345 (10-for-29) with one homer, three RBIs and 10 strikeouts in his first seven games.
"That was a good at-bat," Mackanin said. "He obviously showed he would expand the strike zone on breaking stuff. But he got behind in the count and came up big with a nice base hit to right field."
Lively is 2-4 with a 3.70 ERA in eight starts. The Phillies have a slew of young starters who have auditioned for jobs since the beginning of the season, but while he might not have the best stuff, he has been productive.
"I love the guy," Mackanin said. "He's a real, true professional. He's a true competitor. He goes out there to beat you. He attacks hitters and does the best he can with what he's got. It's working."
Milner and Morgan have flown under the radar, but Milner has a 2.65 ERA in 19 appearances and Morgan has a 2.49 ERA in 15 appearances since late June.
"I'm young in my career and I don't really know where I fit just yet," Morgan said. "But I'm finding success here and that's great."
Said Mackanin: "The thing about this trip is we got to find out more about Morgan and Milner in their roles. They've really stepped it up."
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.