On Sept. 12, after beating the Miami Marlins in a decisive 12-6 victory, the Phillies appeared primed to make a run to the playoffs. With just 17 games remaining, they were 23-20 and they had a 1.5 game lead on Miami for second in the NL East and a full game lead on the San Francisco Giants for the eighth and final playoff spot.
But bad news came following the game. Rhys Hoskins had suffered an injury attempting to catch a throw when Miami outfielder Corey Dickerson ran into his outstretched arm. Hoskins would ultimately miss the remainder of the season with a UCL injury and undergo surgery in October.
The contributions to the Phillies downfall by perhaps the worst bullpen in recent history have been well documented and played a significant role. But Hoskins’ injury hurt the team in a big way, too, and his absence down the stretch might have been the difference between a playoff appearance and another disappointing season.
Following Hoskins’ injury, the Phillies fell apart. They went 5-12 in their final 17 games and missed the playoffs by one game.
This was not a coincidence.
When Hoskins hit a home run – he did so ten times in 2020 — the Phillies went 8-2. When he drove in at least one run, they went 11-4. They were 18-11 when he scored a run, and 10-21 when he did not.
Before Hoskins’ injury, the Phillies were averaging 5.56 runs per game. The Phillies averaged 3.94 runs per game following Hoskins’ injury, and scored three or fewer runs nine times during that stretch.
The Phillies’ success being fueled by Hoskins is not isolated just to this season. They went 19-8 in games in which he homered in 2019, and their collapse down the stretch coincided with an ice-cold second half for Hoskins. He has a career OPS of .991 in Phillies wins, and an OPS of .728 in losses.
Hoskins might never become the elite power hitter many thought he could be after the blistering start to his career. But his presence in the Phillies lineup is vital to its success, and his full recovery and return in 2021 will go a long way in determining how the team does.
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