Trust in Phils' top 2 hitters pays off with huge Game 4 showing

October 23rd, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- On the eve of the Phillies' first home postseason game in 11 years, manager Rob Thomson was asked if he would consider moving the slumping duo of and down in the order.

"No," Thomson said prior to Game 3 of the National League Division Series. "No chance."

Fast forward nine days, and that decision is arguably the main reason the Phillies are one win away from advancing to the World Series.

Hoskins turned in the eighth multihomer postseason game in franchise history and Schwarber tacked on his third home run of the series in a wild come-from-behind 10-6 victory over the Padres in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

"I think our manager has a really good ability to keep things going the right way," said , who followed both of Hoskins' homers with an RBI double, including the decisive knock in the fifth. "[Rob] never panics, never really sits there and thinks, 'Oh, I need to move this guy or I need to move that guy.'"

Though Thomson never wavered, it was hard to ignore the lack of production atop the lineup. Through four games this postseason, Schwarber and Hoskins were a combined 1-for-34 (.029) with 14 strikeouts.

On Saturday night, they went a combined 4-for-8 with a walk, five RBIs and five runs scored. But it wasn't just the hits, it was the timing of them.

After the Padres scored four runs in the top of the first -- knocking out Phillies starter in the process -- Schwarber hit a leadoff single in the bottom half and Hoskins followed with a two-run homer. Then, after Juan Soto put San Diego back in front with a go-ahead two-run shot of his own in the top of the fifth, Schwarber answered with a one-out walk in the bottom half.

Hoskins promptly delivered a game-tying homer.

"When they took the lead again, we were able to respond," Schwarber said. "And you know, [Hoskins] responded big. That's what big-time players do. He was able to stay in the moment there and put a heck of a swing on the baseball."

The drastic turnarounds haven't just been impressive, they’ve been historic.

Hoskins became the first Phillies player with a multihomer game in the postseason since Chase Utley in Game 5 of the 2009 World Series. Hoskins joins Utley (twice), Jayson Werth (twice), Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Lenny Dykstra as the only players in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

"I have an appreciation for baseball history, but more so an appreciation for Phillies history," Hoskins said. " ... Humbling, for sure. [It’s] an honor. These are Phillies greats, potentially future Hall of Famers. Good list to be on, for sure."

As for Schwarber, he started the NLCS by blasting a 488-foot home run in Game 1 -- the longest home run at Petco Park and the second longest in the postseason overall since Statcast began tracking in 2015. His sixth-inning shot in Game 4 traveled "only" 429 feet.

Schwarber has homered in each of the Phillies' three wins in the NLCS. He's 7-for-18 with three homers, four RBIs and six walks in six games since Thomson emphatically shut down the idea of moving Schwarber out of the leadoff spot.

He has a .577 on-base percentage and a 1.466 OPS in those six games.

"Those guys can hit, and you knew they were going to come out of it," Thomson said of Schwarber and Hoskins. "And what they do is they work at it. They're constantly in the cage or constantly looking at film and trying to get better and trying to improve their swing. If they're not feeling right, they do whatever's necessary to get back to where they're feeling right."

With the top two hitters feeling right again, it set the tone for the entire lineup.

Seven of the Phillies' nine starters had at least one hit on Saturday. The top five hitters in the order went 9-for-18 with three walks, nine RBIs and scored all 10 of the club's runs.

"Hey, there's nobody on this team that deserves these moments in Philly more than Rhys,” said Phillies right fielder . “Because he's been here from the beginning. He's done a lot of losing here. He's been through hard times. So to be on this stage and to come through like this, I mean, I couldn't be happier for him. He deserves it."

With the Phillies on the cusp of winning the NL pennant, Hoskins isn’t done yet.

“I need some more,” he said. “I need some more of it.”