The Phillies returned Monday night from a brutal weekend in Miami, moved on from their troubles against the Marlins, and picked up ground in the wild-card race.
Sean Rodriguez homered in the 10th inning, celebrated with his teammates, and then aired his frustrations with the Philadelphia fans who boo. The Phillies are a game back in the chase for the National League’s second wild card but have just a 9.3 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to FanGraphs. Those odds can increase if the Phillies take care of the Pirates this week before a big series against the Mets. And if they do? There won’t be many boos.
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Rhys Hoskins was showered Monday night with boos after he popped up in the ninth inning with the bases loaded. Hoskins has been the team’s most productive hitter since reaching the majors but is stuck in a slump. And the booing seemed to be the loudest he had ever heard.
“That, I could care less about that,” Hoskins said. “We won the game. Yeah, we won the game.”
Hoskins might not have cared about the boos, but teammate Sean Rodriguez, who hit a walk-off homer two innings later, certainly did.
“The guy has 60-plus homers in three years and you’re booing him. Explain that to me. That’s entitled fans,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if it’s them feeling like they’re owed something. There’s nobody in here that doesn’t want to win. That’s what sucks. When we hear that, we’ve learned to try and take that and use it like we should. But if I sat and just buried you every single day verbally, is that helping?”
But was it shocking to hear Hoskins, a fan favorite, get booed?
“It’s not the first time. They did it a few times,” Rodriguez said. “They booed Bryce. The sad thing is that that guy is probably going to be a Hall of Famer and you have fans feeling like booing is going to make him want to play harder. No. He’s playing hard because that’s who he is. That’s who he’s always been.”
Rodriguez’ home run was his second hit this month in 21 at-bats. His job - a pinch hitter used late in the games usually against powerful relievers - is challenging. The league average for pinch hitting is just .226. And Rodriguez brought that up after his homer on Monday night.
And then he brought up the fans, who he said he’s heard plenty from this season.
“Well, think about it. Who’s looking bad and feeling entitled when you hear stuff like that. I’m asking you,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not the one booing. I’m not the one screaming. I’m not the one saying pretty disgusting things at times. That seems pretty entitled. You’re just making yourself look pretty bad as an individual, as a person, as a fan.”
“You’re making guys not want to sit there and say ‘Hey, they’re going to support you. They’re going to want you to do this.’ That’s tough. There’s still a lot of good fans, though. Those are the ones I hear and pay attention to. The few that might be behind home plate and say ‘Hey Sean, keep doing your thing. Don’t worry about it. Things will come around. Hey Rhys. Hey so and so. Hey Bryce.’ Through the thick and thin, that’s when you get to show your true colors.”
“When you act a certain way towards somebody because you don’t feel like they’re doing what they need to do, just look at life in general. We want to win. There’s nobody in here that doesn’t want to win. You just have to basically sit there and say ‘Hey, let’s see if I can help him get him out of what he’s doing. Hey see if I can be encouraging enough to help an individual.’ That’s the harder thing to do. The easy thing to do is just scream ‘boo.’ Let me think of something to say that might actually be encouraging. No, it takes effort.”
It wasn’t clear Monday if Cesar Hernandez had been benched, but it was clear that he was out of the lineup a day after he failed to run hard to first base on a fly ball in Miami. Gabe Kapler’s message confused Hernandez, who thought he was just getting a day off. The manager had to clarify to Hernandez before the game that his not starting was “in response” to Sunday.
Kapler’s point was that words matter and the irony was that he seemed to be missing the point. Bob Brookover wrote about the confusion that stemmed around Cesar Hernandez’ benching. Brookie compared Kapler’s benching to the way Braves manager Brian Snitker handled an issue last week when Ronald Acuna failed to run out a ball.
Bryce Harper and his wife, Kayla, announced the birth of their son, Krew Aron. Harper returned to the Phillies on Monday and said “it’s pretty cool to say I’m a dad now.”
Upon returning, Harper said the weather outside “feels like October.” And Scott Lauber writes that it might as well be October from here on out for the Phillies. The Phillies sense the urgency as they called a pregame meeting before rallying past the Pirates.
Tonight: Drew Smyly starts against left-hander Steven Brault, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Vince Velasquez faces right-hander Mitch Keller, 6:05 p.m.
Thursday: The Phillies are off.
Friday: Phillies open a three-game series vs. the Mets, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: Phillies open three-game set in Cincinnati, 2:10 p.m.
J.T. Realmuto caught three runners attempting to steal Monday night, the first time a Phillies catcher had done that since Chris Coste on Sept. 15, 2007. He was the first Phillies catcher to throw out all three of his attempted base stealers since Mike Lieberthal on April 13, 2002.
Realmuto leads all major-league catchers in caught stealings and catcher fielding percentage and is the highest rated defender at any position, according to FanGraphs.
“I have no idea,” Bryce Harper said when asked why teams still run against Realmuto. “You guys know how I feel about J.T. If he doesn’t win the Gold Glove this year, then it’s an absolute joke. He’s such a special talent back there. He’s a guy that comes in here and grinds every single day for us and plays every single day. Hopefully, guys keep going and he keeps throwing them out. It’s the type of player he is.”
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: My question is has the Clutch stat been calculated on any past Phillies like Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard or Chase Utley and if it has what did they have? — Jon H.
Answer: Thanks, Jon. Last week, I wrote about how Bryce Harper leads baseball in a stat called “Clutch” that measures how a player performs in the most important spots of a game. Harper entered Tuesday night with a 2.0 clutch rating, the ninth-highest single-season mark in franchise history. Ryan Howard’s best clutch season was a 2.5 he posted in 2009, Chase Utley’s 0.8 in 2004 was his best, and Mike Schmidt posted a 0.7 in 1981.