Phillies welcome the Atlanta Braves: 5 things to watch for

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 16: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 16, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 16: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 16, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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ST. LOUIS, MO – MAY 20: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a solo home run during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 20, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – MAY 20: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a solo home run during the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 20, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

Rhys Hoskins

May has not been a friendly month for Rhys Hoskins after hitting .303 with four home runs in the months of March/April. His offensive statistics have essentially been cut in half with nearly as many strikeouts.

A home run in the series finale in St. Louis was not only his first since May 5, but primarily a glimpse of hope the month-long hitting slump is coming to an end. In the 11 games between home runs Hoskins hit .154 with six hits and 17 strikeouts. It’s uncharacteristic of Hoskins to strikeout as much as he’s experienced the last month, and he has more strikeouts this season through 44 games than he did as a rookie through 50 with five fewer walks.

ST. LOUIS, MO – MAY 19: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs into umpire Larry Vanover #27 as he rounds first base against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 19, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – MAY 19: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs into umpire Larry Vanover #27 as he rounds first base against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 19, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Personally, I thought Hoskins needed two or maybe three games off just to work on his pitch recognition, swing, and his head. That would have provided playing time for Nick Williams in left, but alas, Hoskins started all but one game in the home run drought.

More recently Gabe Kapler has hit Hoskins second, including the series opener on Monday, but Hoskins’ numbers have been better as the clean-up hitter. Through 30 games hitting fourth this year Hoskins is hitting .303 compared to the .146 average when batting second.

We’ll see if the power surge will continue for Hoskins against Atlanta, a team he’s hitting .283 off of in his career.

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