Rhys Hoskins has only just entered the Miami Marlins’ lives, only just begun to make them as miserable as he can. But if his first few weeks as a major leaguer — including about half of the Marlins and Phillies’ season series — are to be taken as a sign of anything, it’s that the Marlins could be seeing a lot of Hoskins in the years to come.
Hoskins, the Phillies’ 24-year-old first baseman who also plays some outfield, drove in more runs than the Marlins’ entire lineup Wednesday in Philadelphia’s 8-1 win. He finished 2 for 2 with a homer, a walk, two runs scored and three RBI.
The Phillies paired that with a strong outing from righty Aaron Nola (seven innings, one run) and a battering of righty Dan Straily (five innings, eight runs) to send the Marlins to their 14th loss in 16 games.
Hoskins, as he has done nearly nightly in his little more than a month in the bigs, mashed.
Manager Don Mattingly said he wasn’t inclined to deploy a defensive shift against Hoskins, who has hit only one out of every four batted balls on the ground.
“We can’t put guys in the seats, can we now?” Mattingly said.
Since debuting Aug. 10, Hoskins has played 33 games, including nine against the Marlins. He has hit 17 home runs (seven against the Marlins) and driven in 37 runs (17 against the Marlins). Before his big game Wednesday, Hoskins was hitting .400 with a .514 OBP and 1.067 slugging percentage against Miami.
En route to setting all sorts of start-to-a-career records — nobody has hit more homers than he has faster than he has — Hoskins has particularly taken advantage of Straily. His sacrifice fly in the first gave the Phillies an early lead, and his two-run shot to the upper deck in left field in the fifth inning was his third dinger in three starts against Straily.
“I’ve tried everything. It’s just not working,” Straily said. “There’s not a whole lot of holes in there, and even the ones we thought we found, we executed some pitches and he still found a way to get some hits.”
Hoskins improved his career/month line vs. Straily to 6 for 8 with four extra-base hits and seven RBI.
“Obviously he’s seeing him pretty good,” Mattingly said. “Actually, it looks like he’s seeing everyone pretty good.”
Straily allowed 13 runs while striking out five and walking one, throwing 92 pitches while managing to finish six innings. In four matchups on the year against Nola — the most times any two starters have faced each other this year — this was the first time he lost.
Odubel Herrera, who led off the Phillies’ first inning with a double, also homered in the sixth, a 424-foot shot to right.
“That was, results-wise, the worst game I’ve ever pitched in my life,” Straily said. “There’s nothing of value to take away from it. It was weird, because I felt really good out there. I felt like I was making some really good pitches. They just hit those pitches.”
Nola, meanwhile, was sharp — a sharp contrast to his previous performances against the Marlins this year, in which he had more runs allowed (17) than innings pitched (14 1/3).
This time, Nola struck out a career-high 11 while walking two. The Marlins had four hits, including Christian Yelich’s home run to right-center in the third, briefly tying the game.
Mattingly said Nola was the “same guy” Wednesday as he was when the Marlins hit him around as recently as Sept 2.
“We weren’t very good,” Mattingly said.
Dee Gordon extended his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest of his career, with a single. He also struck out three times.
Justin Bour (1 for 2, two walks) and Brian Anderson (1 for 3) had the only other Miami hits.
The Marlins have to face Hoskins once more this year, Thursday night. Mattingly, who praised Hoskins’ batting eye and plate approach, cautioned against expecting him to maintain anything close to this pace for a longer stretch.
“This game is funny. We’ve seen a lot of guys. I don’t want to say anything negative, but you have to stand the test of time,” Mattingly said. “You have to go through a season, you have to go through all the pitchers, you have to see how guys want to work you over. I’m not saying he can’t but at this point you’re saying it’s a great start, but you still have to stand the test of time.”
Straily will be among those looking to figure Hoskins out.
“I’m going to have to do a little more homework on him for sure, but that guy is swinging the bat very well,” Straily said. “I will continue to search for that hole in our matchup, because it’s not going to go away, as long we’re going to be facing each other.”
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