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HR-happy Hoskins leads Phils' 2017 highlights

Phillies showed signs of turning corner last season
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- If the prospects play the way the Phillies believe they will play, in a few years, they hope to fondly look back at 2017 -- not because of their 96 losses and last-place finish, but because signs emerged that the organization had turned a corner.

The Phils entered last season's All-Star break at 29-58, which was the worst record in baseball. But they went 37-38 the rest of the way because of young talents such as Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Aaron Nola. So perhaps it's no surprise that the most memorable moments of 2017 happened in the second half, when Hoskins, Williams, Jorge Alfaro and others found themselves in the lineup on a regular basis.

PHILADELPHIA -- If the prospects play the way the Phillies believe they will play, in a few years, they hope to fondly look back at 2017 -- not because of their 96 losses and last-place finish, but because signs emerged that the organization had turned a corner.

The Phils entered last season's All-Star break at 29-58, which was the worst record in baseball. But they went 37-38 the rest of the way because of young talents such as Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Aaron Nola. So perhaps it's no surprise that the most memorable moments of 2017 happened in the second half, when Hoskins, Williams, Jorge Alfaro and others found themselves in the lineup on a regular basis.

Here is a look back at the team's top five moments from 2017:

5. Proud papa
Freddy Galvis played a July 3 game against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park with a white hospital security band on his right wrist. His wife, Ana, gave birth early that morning to their second daughter, Nicole Montserrat Galvis. Galvis enjoyed the moment with his wife, returned home around 10 a.m., slept for a few hours and arrived at the ballpark in the afternoon. That night, Galvis stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the first inning and crushed a first-pitch fastball from Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova to right field for a two-run home run.

Video: PIT@PHI: Galvis hits homer after birth of daughter

"Dad strength," Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan said.

4. Alfaro's rocket
Alfaro crushed a line-drive two-run home run to center field in the fifth inning in an Aug. 15 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. It was the first homer of Alfaro's career. The ball left his bat at 114.2 mph, according to Statcast™. It was the Phillies' hardest-hit home run since the debut of Statcast™ in 2015.

Video: PHI@SD: Alfaro hits 114.2 mph laser for home run

"I felt like I was dreaming running the bases," Alfaro said. "I didn't feel like that before. It feels like the hard work paid off, you know? I don't know how to describe the feeling. It feels really nice, really good."

3. Altherr's slam
Aaron Altherr hit a grand slam against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Sept. 18 at Citizens Bank Park. It was the first grand slam Kershaw had allowed in his storied career.

Video: LAD@PHI: Altherr clubs long grand slam off Kershaw

"That's obviously pretty special to be the first one to do that," Altherr said. "I definitely don't take it for granted."

2. Nola's run
The Phils have concerns about their rotation, but Nola is not one of them. He went 12-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts last season. He excelled in a 10-start stretch from June 22-Aug. 12, going 6-2 with a 1.71 ERA. Nola struck out 78 and walked just 19 in 68 1/3 innings in that stretch.

Video: NYM@PHI: Nola hurls seven fantastic innings

1. What a run
Hoskins had an unforgettable big league debut, hitting 18 home runs in just 50 games. It started Aug. 14, when he homered twice in San Diego. It reached a fevered pitch Aug. 27, when he homered for the fifth consecutive game. It culminated Sept. 8-14, when he hit six homers in six games.

Video: Must C Classic: Hoskins' 18th home run in 34 games

Hoskins became the fastest player on record to hit 18 homers, needing only 34 games to do it. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez held the previous mark, hitting his 18th and 19th homers in his 45th career game. Hoskins also had 39 RBIs in 34 games. Nobody on record had more in that span. Albert Pujols, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Zeke Bonura each had 37 RBIs in their first 34 games.

"It's fun," Hoskins said. "I don't think hitting a home run is ever not going to be fun -- for everyone. When someone else hits a home run, it gives the team a little jolt, a little spark of energy."

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.

 

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