Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Hoskins' costly misplay highlights August woes

Hitting .130 this month, first baseman's error allows winning run to score
@ToddZolecki
August 27, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Rhys Hoskins offered no excuses for the ball he dropped in the ninth inning Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. He just missed it. “Clanked it,” Hoskins said following a 5-4 loss to the Pirates. • Box score That clank proved costly. It allowed the Pirates to score

PHILADELPHIA -- Rhys Hoskins offered no excuses for the ball he dropped in the ninth inning Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. He just missed it.

“Clanked it,” Hoskins said following a 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

Box score

That clank proved costly. It allowed the Pirates to score the winning run, dropping the Phillies two games behind the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot with 31 games to play.

Hoskins’ August has been one to forget. He is batting .130 with two home runs, five RBIs and a .544 OPS in 109 plate appearances, but his struggles carried into the field Tuesday in a tie game in the ninth. The Bucs had runners on first and second with one out, thanks to back-to-back walks from Phils closer Hector Neris. Kevin Newman smashed a ground ball to second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who fielded the ball and threw to shortstop Jean Segura at second. Segura relayed a throw to Hoskins, who had the ball in his glove before Newman reached the bag. But there would be no inning-ending double play.

“It was obviously low, but I was down there with it,” Hoskins said. “It hit the palm of my glove.”

The ball kicked into foul territory, toward home plate. Adam Frazier rounded third base and scored.

“Yeah, I mean, it's no secret,” Hoskins said about his August struggles. “Just got to keep coming to the ballpark every day looking to help the team win. I don't really have much else to say. It sucks, sure. But it doesn't suck when we win. It sucks even more when we lose.”

If the Phillies plan to catch the Cubs, they will need the version of Hoskins that hit in the middle of the lineup the first four months of the season, when he batted .257 with 23 homers, 68 RBIs and a .917 OPS.

How can the Phils help Hoskins get there again?

“I think you keep reminding him how good he is,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think you fight like mad for him as his teammate. I think you make sure that he continues to get to work, which he does on his own. He's as accountable as anybody. He won't wait long to get back to work at his craft.”

There are other ways to help. Hoskins has been in Philadelphia's lineup 129 times this season. He has played in 130 games. Sometimes a player can benefit from a break. Kapler did not dismiss the idea.

“It’s something I’ll talk to Rhys about,” he said.

But Hoskins said he wants to play and work his way out of his funk.

“No, absolutely not,” he said about a potential day off. “We’re in a playoff push right now.”

Hoskins went 1-for-5 with one strikeout Tuesday. He hit four balls hard, which maybe means something. A third-inning single registered at 111.0 mph off the bat, according to Statcast. Hoskins flied out in the fourth inning (96.7 mph), sixth inning (97.8 mph) and ninth inning (95.7 mph).

“I felt like I was all over the barrel today, so there's progress there,” Hoskins said.

The Phillies had chances to score more runs early. Pinch-hitter Logan Morrison’s home run to left-center field in the sixth inning tied the game at 4, after left-hander Drew Smyly had allowed a two-run homer to Colin Moran in the top of the inning to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead. J.T. Realmuto and Cesar Hernandez had leadoff doubles in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Neither scored. The Phils elected not to have Brad Miller bunt Hernandez to third base in the eighth.

“It's kind of a tough spot to put [Adam] Haseley in against [Francisco] Liriano, coming up right behind him,” Kapler said. “He's as tough on lefties as anybody. So what you do is you give Miller a whack at it. You give Haseley a whack at it. And you give [Scott] Kingery a whack at it. Try to drive him in.”

They could not, setting up the inning-ending double play in the ninth that wasn’t.

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