Odúbel Herrera said he did not know if he hit a home run Friday night at Truist Park. He just knew he hit a ball hard to right-center field.
So, instinctively, he flipped his bat.
“That’s automatic,” Herrera said. “I hit the ball hard. I don’t know, I just threw the bat. That’s natural.”
Herrera’s three-run home run Friday helped the Phillies to a 12-2 victory over the Braves. The 29-year-old entered Saturday night’s game batting .400 (4-for-10) with one home run, four RBIs, one walk and two strikeouts in his last three games. His average exit velocity: 95.8 mph. It is a marked improvement from his first nine games, when he hit .083 (2-for-24) with one walk and six strikeouts. His average exit velocity: 83.3 mph.
Herrera and Phillies manager Joe Girardi credit Herrera’s recent work with hitting coach Joe Dillon for the turnaround.
They just need Herrera to keep it up.
“Joe just felt like with a few days' work that he was getting closer and closer and closer,” Girardi said. “He kept telling me, ‘He’s getting closer. He’s getting closer.’ He hasn’t had a lot of at-bats since 2019. He just hasn’t. I think he played one winter ball game. I think he had 50 at-bats at Spring Training and another 50 at the alternate [training] site.”
Hoskins gets a breather
Rhys Hoskins went 0-for-4 with one walk and four strikeouts on Friday. He did not start Saturday against Braves right-hander Ian Anderson.
Brad Miller started at first base instead.
“Sometimes you look to give a guy a blow,” Girardi said. “He hasn’t had a complete day off.”
Hoskins has started 30 of 34 games. He played in each of the first 33.
“I just thought it was a good day,” Girardi said.
Appel makes return with Reading
Mark Appel marked his return to professional baseball on Saturday night, when he pitched 2 2/3 innings for Double-A Reading. Appel allowed three hits, one run and two walks and struck out four against Erie.
Houston selected Appel with the first overall pick in the 2013 Draft. The Astros traded him to the Phillies as part of the Ken Giles trade in December 2015. Appel struggled in the Phillies’ system for two seasons, both on the mound and with injuries, before he left the game following the 2017 season. He decided to give baseball another shot this year.