Notes: Hoskins close; Kennedy steely

August 22nd, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Phillies first baseman has continued to make progress from a left groin strain that has sidelined him since Aug. 10.

Hoskins had pregame workouts Friday and Saturday at Petco Park. Although he was not activated to face the Padres on Saturday, Hoskins said he had a “way better response” to the injury following pregame drills the previous day.

The goal is to be able to manage the injury for consecutive days.

“It's nice to be able to do it one day, but the reality of the sport is that we got to continue to be able to do it back to back to back,” Hoskins said.

Hoskins said he and the Phillies are waiting “for the right time” to activate him from the injured list. His return could be what the Phillies’ offense needs.

Since Aug. 10, the Phillies have averaged 2.5 runs a game, second-lowest in the Majors.

"I want to help these guys try to get on a roll to try to win as many games as possible,” said Hoskins, who held the Phillies’ lead in homers (24) and RBIs (68) entering Saturday.

Could that lift come on Sunday? Could Hoskins be activated that soon?

"I don't want to say, I won't be,” he said. “If I feel great tomorrow, then it's something that I don't want to rule out.”

Kennedy relishes tough moments
Not many situations can be tougher that the one closer faced Friday night against the Padres.

With the Phillies up by two runs, Kennedy came in with the bases loaded, looking for a four-out save. Fernando Tatis Jr. was at the plate, Manny Machado on deck.

Despite struggling to find his command and hitting Tatis in the helmlet with a fastball to force home a run, Kennedy settled down. He struck out Machado and came back out to set down the side in order in the bottom of the ninth in a 4-3 Phillies win.

“This is why I play – these moments,” Kennedy said. “… Like you're a little kid in the backyard. [You're] facing one of the best hitters in the game, and you've got a lineup of great hitters on the other team. It's everything you dream of doing, and that's why you have all that adrenaline.”

After being traded from the Rangers to the Phillies on July 30, Kennedy posted a 5.87 ERA in 7 2/3 innings, entering Saturday. He also notched four saves in as many opportunities after going 16-for-17 in save chances with the Rangers, to go along with a 2.51 ERA.

“[Kennedy’s] had some big [innings] for us,” manager Joe Girardi said. “... Obviously, a really big one last night. I love what he's doing. He's committed to what he wants to do. He doesn't give in, and he makes pitches.”