After a day off in beautiful San Diego on Thursday, the Phillies will resume play tonight against the woeful Padres at Petco Park, a place where they have had quite a bit of success since it opened in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter in 2004. Even after being swept in a three-game series by the Padres a year ago, the Phillies are 32-14 at Petco Park. They have won 10 of their 14 series played there and have swept the Padres six times. With the Atlanta Braves hot on their heels and the Boston Red Sox sitting on deck for a two-game series at Citizens Bank Park, this would be a good time for the Phillies to register another sweep.
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Happy anniversary, Rhys Hoskins
It was one year ago today that Rhys Hoskins left triple-A Lehigh Valley and joined the Phillies for a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park against the New York Mets. He went 1 for 13 in that first series. Things, of course, improved in a hurry as he hit 18 home runs in his next 30 games to become the fastest player to 18 home runs in major-league history.
In his first calendar year of Major League Baseball, Hoskins has hit .258 with 35 doubles, 40 home runs, 120 RBIs, and a .918 OPS. His big-league career did not start until he was 24, but it’s still fun to compare his first calendar year to some of the other active stars in the game.
Here’s a look at how Hoskins compares to five of the game’s premier sluggers:
Player G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
Rhys Hoskins 155 551 101 142 35 40 120 103 153 .257 .379 .539 .918
Aaron Judge 138 478 97 129 16 39 88 94 194 .270 .394 .523 .967
Bryce Harper 162 616 115 175 31 31 77 68 133 .284 .356 .518 .874
Giancarlo Stanton 156 552 78 142 34 35 92 58 181 .257 .332 .520 .852
Mookie Betts 126 480 71 133 29 13 52 45 67 .277 .341 .440 .781
Nolan Arenado 159 590 63 161 35 14 66 26 85 .273 .303 .417 .720
Note: Mike Trout was not included because he started the 2012 season in the minors after making his major-league debut in July 2011, and that tainted his sample size.
A lot of Pat Neshek’s friends thought he had a screw loose when he re-signed with the Phillies this offseason after they dealt him to the Colorado Rockies last year at the trade deadline. Now, the veteran reliever has a chance to go to the postseason for the second straight year, and he says it does not surprise him. The Phillies reminded him of the Houston Astros, a team that quickly rose from the ashes to win the World Series last season. Neshek pitched for the Astros in 2015 and 2016.
It will be Players Weekend next weekend when the Phillies host the New York Mets in a five-game series that will conclude with a game at historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, home city of the Little League World Series and the Phillies’ New York-Penn League affiliate, the Crosscutters. For the players of the Mets and Phillies, Players Weekend means they get to display nicknames instead of their surnames on the backs of their uniforms. Rhys Hoskins will be Big Fella and Tommy Hunter will be Bigger Fella for the weekend. Our Matt Breen, a.k.a. Northeast Breenie, has the scoop on all the names Phillies players will be wearing.
Northeast Breenie is a multimedia star this week. He also was a guest on columnist David Murphy’s podcast, “Not Another Philly Sports Talk Show.” Breen and Murphy discuss which teams stand in the way of a Phillies playoff berth.
Mitch Walding has struck out 10 times in 14 big-league at-bats during his three stints with the Phillies this season, but that does not change the fact that he is having the best minor-league season of his career down at triple-A Lehigh Valley. Walding talked to our Ben Pope about his season and how he hopes to get another chance with the Phillies when rosters expand next month.
Tonight: Zach Eflin pitches opener of series in San Diego, 10:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: Ace Aaron Nola vs. Padres, 8:40 p.m.
Sunday: Jake Arrieta closes out series in San Diego, 3:40 p.m.
Monday: Off day for Phils, but you can still get your Extra Innings fix.
Tuesday: Start of two-game series vs. Red Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
The Phillies are often ridiculed for having more losses than any other team in the history of North American sports, a count that stands at 10,887. Truth is, however, the Phillies are not the worst franchise in Major League Baseball history. That dubious distinction belongs to the San Diego Padres, the team the Phillies will play this weekend. The Padres, who are in the middle of their 50th season, have an all-time record of 3,656-4,272, which calculates to a .461 winning percentage.
That’s the worst among MLB’s 30 teams and 11 points worse than the Phillies’ .472 winning percentage, which is also better than Colorado (.471), Miami (.468) and Tampa Bay (.463). The Padres, 45-71 this season, are on their way to their eighth straight losing season and have made only five playoff appearances in 50 years. They did, however, give us the first modern-day mascot with Ted Giannoulas brilliantly creating the Famous San Diego Chicken in the early 1970s.
From the mailbag
Where is Juan [Samuel] nowadays … is he still in baseball? if so what is he doing ?
Bill H., via email
Answer: Thanks for reading Extra Innings and for the question about the great Juan “Sammy” Samuel. For the first time since 1980, when he reported to a Phillies rookie-league team in Oregon, Samuel is not working in professional baseball. Samuel, 57, has been splitting time between his native Dominican Republic and his home in South Florida. As a member of the Phillies Wall of Fame, he did make an appearance at Alumni Weekend last Saturday and Sunday. Here’s hoping he’ll be back working in baseball soon.