'The tide will turn': Phillies know key hits will come

May 17th, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rhys Hoskins took a trip to San Francisco on Monday to visit his Phillies teammates at Oracle Park.

He has grown a beard since they last saw him in April.

Hoskins came to mind during the Phillies’ 4-3 loss Tuesday night to the Giants because they miss him in the lineup. The Phillies’ offense has sputtered during a three-game losing streak. It snapped an 0-for-28 skid with runners in scoring position in the fourth inning when laced a single to right-center field to cut the Giants' lead to 2-1. It was the Phillies’ longest hitless streak with runners in scoring position since an 0-for-34 skid from July 28-31, 2009.

The Phillies went hitless in their next five at-bats with runners in scoring position Tuesday, making them 1-for-33 during the last three games.

“We talked to the guys about it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Don’t try to do too much, keep moving the line, use the field. We’re just going through one of those times right now. As long as you’re getting runners on base. We had six walks tonight and 10 hits. Sixteen baserunners should equate to six, seven runs on a normal night. We’ve just got to keep grinding.”

The last three games have been a grind, but the Phillies have been struggling to get going offensively for most of the season. They rank seventh in batting average (.262), 10th in slugging percentage (.422) and 13th in on-base percentage (.323), but are tied for 24th in batting average with runners in scoring position (.233). They entered Tuesday tied for 20th in the Majors in runs per game (4.29).

“We’ve got to be better,” said. “That’s all I can tell you. We’ll get there. We have to.”

Harper grounded into a double play with runners on first and second in the first inning. He struck out with runners on first and third in the fourth.

“I’ve got to get the job done there,” Harper said. “Pretty embarrassing on my part. I’ve got to get that job done. Plain and simple. I think for myself, you guys know, I expect to be great in each situation, each spot.”

Hoskins tore the ACL in his left knee in Spring Training in late March, ending his season. No question the Phillies could use him right now. Hoskins not only hit for power and drove in runs, he was an on-base machine (.353 career on-base percentage).

Darick Hall could help the Phillies, too. He does not get on base like Hoskins, but he hits for power. Hall required surgery in April to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. He might not be back until June.

The Phillies have been playing Alec Bohm and at first base since Hoskins and Hall went down. When Bohm starts at first, starts at third. Sosa is batting .213 with a .533 OPS in 18 games since April 21. When Bohm starts at third, Clemens is at first. He is batting .214 with a .719 OPS.

“The tide will turn, it will,” Thomson said. “It always does.”

It will take everybody, but they especially need their stars like Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos.

“I think anytime anybody is going through something, they’re going to try to do a little bit more,” Harper said. “But you’ve just got to stay within yourself and do your job. If each guy can do their job each day, we’ll be OK.”

Phillies ace allowed four runs in six innings. A couple of defensive misadventures cost him, including a popup in shallow right field in the fourth that got caught in the wind and lost in the sky. The ball fell, allowing the go-ahead run to score from first base.

“Those types of things are going to happen,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler is betting things will improve, including the offense.

“We know we have the guys here obviously,” he said. “It’s just a few more timely hits, but those will come. It’s our job to keep those runs off the board, too. It’s a combination. We’ll start winning some games.”