On at least one occasion Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin made Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman look off balance at the plate. Suffice to say, if you are a pitcher – especially one employed by the Phillies – and you can throw Freeman off his gameplan at the plate, you’re having a hell of a day.
Eflin was tremendous across seven frames Saturday, and when you pair that with a big day from Rhys Hoskins at the plate, the Phillies were able to win their fifth straight game. It marked the first time that the team has won five straight games since Aug. 5, 2018, and set them up to potentially sweep the Braves on Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow.
- The Phillies did a tremendous job of playing small-ball in the first inning, and used it to manufacture a run. After Andrew McCutchen led off with an infield single, he was able to steal second base on a passed ball. He advanced to third base on a deep fly ball to right-center field off the bat of Rhys Hoskins, and was ultimately plated on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Harper.
- Just a few days after J.T. Realmuto hit a home run the bounced off the top of the right field wall at Nationals Park and out, Rhys Hoskins wasn’t nearly as lucky in the bottom of the third inning. Hoskins ultimately settled for a double, and was stranded at third base:
- There’s not a fence in baseball that was capable of stopping Hoskins’ next swing from leaving the stadium. With Andrew Knapp and McCutchen already on base, Hoskins launched a three-run home run over the left field wall that traveled 421 feet:
- Johan Camargo got the Braves on the board with an absolute tank into the second deck in right field:
- After a rain delay of over half an hour concluded, Harper picked up his at-bat with two outs and a runner on the bottom of the seventh inning. Harper crushed a ball to right-center field, but for the second time on the day, Ronald Acuña Jr. robbed him of a hit:
- Héctor Neris pitched a clean eighth inning, setting up Brandon Workman to come in for the save in the ninth inning. While Workman did allow two runners to reach base, he ultimately was saved by a tremendous diving play by Rhys Hoskins at first base to rob Nick Markakis of a hit and end the game.
- Josh Tomlin really struggled against Rhys Hoskins Saturday, and it was a three-run shot off the bat of Hoskins that sent the Braves righty to the showers after 4 1/3 innings. Tomlin gave up five hits and four runs, three of which were earned.
- A rain delay in the middle of the bottom of the seventh inning ended Zach Eflin‘s start prematurely, but the 26-year-old still turned in one of the best starts of his career Saturday afternoon. Across seven innings, Eflin limited the Braves to just four hits and one run, while striking out eight. He almost certainly would have come back out for the eighth inning if not for the rain, and with 83 pitches, he had an outside shot at his fifth career complete game.
Eflin could certainly be the pick here, but Hoskins had a huge day as well. He advanced Andrew McCutchen to third base with a deep fly ball in the first inning, doubled off the top of the wall in the third inning, homered in the fifth inning and singled in the seventh inning.
- Aug. 30 vs. Braves on Sunday Night Baseball at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:08 p.m. ET
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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