Two years ago, fans in Philadelphia held Phillies third basemen, Maikel Franco, in possibly higher regard then they currently do Rhys Hoskins. He would have been on the short list for many fans of players they wouldn’t be willing to trade for anything, like Carson Wentz or Ben Simmons is now.
After a disappointing 2016 and 2017 season, Franco seems to have hit his stride in 2018. He currently leads the team in averages, and is among the team leaders in home runs and RBI despite being in the bottom half of the lineup most of the year. Franco had one of the best hits of his career last night, with a walk-off three run homer in the bottom of the ninth against the Miami Marlins, keeping the team in first place.
As Franco has improved, so have the Philadelphia Phillies. They have gone from one of the worst teams in the league for the past two years to serious National League East contenders in 2018. Despite shortcomings this year, the Phillies are a good team, and now it’s time for them to own it. I’m not saying they need to go to the World Series, or even win the division, but at least OWN IT!
Rhys Hoskins is hitting .266 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI in just 62 games this year. He is a tough out at the plate for any pitcher at any time. While some players have slumped after participating in the home run derby in years past, Hoskins has excelled, siting that it’s actually helped him improve.
Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta are arguably the best pitching duo in the National League right now. The pair averaged one run, off of five hits, in 7.5 innings of work against the best team by record in baseball, the Boston Red Sox, earlier this week. This is a big deal, because if there’s one thing that matters in playoff baseball it’s pitching, and the Sox have a high-powered offense. If I can have Nola and Arrieta each get two starts in a seven game series I like my chances against anyone.
The bullpen has also improved, even though I get sick when Adam Morgan or Tommy Hunter are warming up. Now I don’t know if Kapler can manage a pen, but I know that Austin Davis, Pat Neshek, and Seranthony Dominguez can pitch. If we lean on these guys along with our other starters more than we have in the first half, we can give our team a better chance to win.
It’s time to cut out the defensive errors and mistakes that have plagued the team all year. This has been one of my greatest criticisms of new Phillies manager, Gabe Kapler. Some fans believe he may not yet know how to discipline players or even help them improve when there is a fielding error or a base-running mistake, since so many of both have happened all year. Now it’s time for everyone to take more accountability, put in the extra work, and own their mistakes.
Owning the idea of being a good baseball team isn’t just about taking accountability for mistakes or winning games. It’s an attitude that the Eagles and Sixers were able to adopt as their seasons went on. They realized they were good, so they acted like it. Why it is that the Phillies have not taken on this mantra is questionable. Whether it’s their youth, the manager not holding the team to a high standard, or the fans who don’t fully believe they are good contributing to the lack of “swagger”, everyone needs to hop on board and pull their weight.
It’s all about having the confidence that you have earned the right to have. For the first eight innings last night, the Phillies had little confidence, but when they saw that the opportunity to win was right in front of them, had confidence, and the fans got behind them, they did what they had to do to get the job done. They owned their status as a clutch team, a good team. It’s time to start phlipping bats in Philadelphia with some attitude. If the Phillies continue to own it, they could go surprise us this October.
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