While you were sleeping, the Phillies had a nightmare.
Not only did they lose, 5-3, at Dodger Stadium to slip back below .500 and five games behind the NL East-leading Mets (eight games in the loss column), but Bryce Harper left in the fourth inning with lower back tightness and scorching-hot Jean Segura exited in the ninth with a left groin issue that might land him back on the injured list.
And now, all that stands between the Phillies and getting swept by the Dodgers is Zack Wheeler, who will have to put them on his shoulders again.
“We’ll just have to see where we’re at when we get here [Wednesday] afternoon,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re going to need some guys to step up.”.
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Riding the roller coaster with Rhys Hoskins
For almost a month, from May 9 through June 5, Rhys Hoskins carried the Phillies offense. In 23 games, he went 27-for-83 (.325) with four home runs and a .948 OPS. And he did it while Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Didi Gregorius missed time with injuries.
But for the last 10 days, the slugging first baseman can’t buy a hit.
Hoskins went 0-for-3 with a walk last night to extend his hitless streak to 33 at-bats. It’s the longest drought for a Phillies position player since Ryan Howard went 35 at-bats without a hit in 2015, the second-to-last season of his career. Hoskins was batting .270 with an .852 OPS on June 1. He enters the day batting .235 with a .750 OPS.
And while the Phillies have grown accustomed to Hoskins’ scorching-hot and icy-cold stretches, the last six weeks qualify as extreme, even for him.
“Honestly, there hasn’t been a lot of different feel from before the last couple weeks,” Hoskins said. “I’ve swung a little bit more out of the zone. That’s how it goes. I’ve talked about pitches in the zone that I’m getting. I’m either swinging and missing or fouling back. You can’t do that in this league.”
Before Tuesday night’s game, Girardi said he thought Hoskins’ at-bats were better Monday night. Hoskins took one of his best cuts in the fourth inning Tuesday when he smoked a ball down the left-field line that landed foul by a few feet.
“That’s just how the game goes sometimes,” Hoskins said. “It’s a game of inches. That’s what they say. Unfortunately, it just went foul.”
Ordinarily, Girardi might consider pulling Hoskins out of the lineup for a game or two. Tonight might be the ideal time to do it, too, especially with Clayton Kershaw starting for the Dodgers and a day off Thursday.
But with Segura unlikely to play and Harper’s status uncertain, Girardi said he probably won’t have much choice but to keep Hoskins right where he normally is in the middle of the order and hope his next hot streak is about to begin.
Hoskins has been through rough spells before. He went 26 at-bats without a hit late in the 2019 season and 22 at-bats between hits in August 2018.
“The guys on the mound get paid to get outs, too,” Hoskins said. “If you get behind [in the count], they make pitches and throw the pitches they want to. It’s a tough league to hit in. Yeah, sometimes you miss pitches and you get in these little funks and that’s how it goes, but there’s always the end. And I always feel like when I come to the ballpark every day that the end of this is near or it’s here. That’s where I’m at.”
Girardi supports MLB’s attempt to ban Spider Tack and other sticky substances. He just wonders why the league is waiting until Monday to start taking action.
Matt is our resident jersey expert, so he’s the perfect reporter to explain why the Phillies will wear their red alternate tops instead of the usual road grays tonight at Dodger Stadium.
Luke Williams took some flak on Twitter when the Phillies posted a picture of him wearing a Brooklyn Nets jersey (Kevin Durant, to be specific) for the team’s Sunday night flight to Los Angeles. But Williams has a good reason.
Tonight: Wheeler vs. Kershaw in finale at Dodger Stadium, 10:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: The Phillies are off.
Friday: Vince Velasquez starts opener in San Francisco, 9:45 p.m.
Saturday: Aaron Nola faces the Giants, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: Phillies vs. Giants in series finale on Peacock, 4:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
With his first two pitches to Mookie Betts in the seventh inning last night, Ranger Suárez got a called strike on the inside corner and a swing and miss on an elevated fastball. From there, the young left-hander had any number of ways to get Betts out.
Suárez came back with a changeup down in the zone but over the middle of the plate. Betts teed off, as great hitters do, and launched it 396 feet to center field for a tie-breaking solo homer.
It marked the seventh time this season that the Phillies allowed an 0-2 homer, with Wheeler, Velasquez, JoJo Romero, Nola, Héctor Neris, Brandon Kintzler, and now Suárez allowing one apiece. Only the Minnesota Twins have been taken deep more often this season in an 0-2 count (nine times).
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @ScottLauber.
Question: What is going on with Adam Haseley? Is he OK? Will he be coming back soon to the big-league roster? — @timmanning42, via Twitter
Answer: Thanks, Tim. Haseley is back with the Phillies, albeit at the triple-A level. He returned last month from his leave of absence, and initially made a minor-league rehab assignment. The Phillies had until last Saturday to reinstate him to the 40-man roster, which they did. But because he can be optioned to the minors without being exposed to waivers, and given how well Odúbel Herrera has played, the Phillies kept Haseley at Lehigh Valley.
In 11 games for the IronPigs, Haseley is 8-for-41 (.195) with two doubles, three walks, nine strikeouts, and a .494 OPS.