By Sam Bush
The Phillies are tied in the NLDS with the Braves at a game apiece, with game 3 today at CBP.
As improbable as the Phils rise in October has been — a sweep of the Cards and a win in game 1 of the NLDS — it’s way more impressive because top of the order Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins haven’t hit for shit.
Manager Rob Thomson was asked yesterday if he’s planning any changes in the top two spots of the lineup.
“No, no change.”
So Schwarber will lead off and Hoskins will bat second in Game 3?
Since the start of he NLWCS, Schwarber is 0-16 with eight strikeouts. He does have two sacrifice flies, but for one of the few Phillies with extended postseason experience, it’s obviously been a suboptimal start to the playoffs for Schwarber.
“Schwarb is caught in between a little bit. He’s just maybe trying to do a little too much,” Thomson admitted.
In Schwarber’s defense, he homered four times in his final 12 regular season at-bats, including two in the game in Houston where the Phillies clinched a playoff berth. It hasn’t been that long since he’s been on a tear, and theoretically, another one could start as soon as Friday.
Meanwhile, Hoskins has struck out six times in the first 18 postseason at-bats of his career, and has just one hit so far this postseason. When coupled with a crucial misplay in the Game 2 NLDS loss, it’s been a rough go for the 29-year-old in October.
With Hoskins — a notoriously streaky hitter — there’s perhaps a bit more cause for concern given that he had just one hit in his final 19 at-bats in the regular season. But rather than moving Jean Segura, Alec Bohm or Nick Castellanos up in the lineup, Thomson is sticking with Hoskins, who he doesn’t think is far away from getting right.
“I think Hoskins is getting close,” Thomson said. “He’s starting to loft a lot of balls and square up balls. He’s just not squaring them up enough.”