Phillies vs. Cardinals series preview: Rhys Hoskins brings hot bat to St. Louis

Although it feels as if the Philadelphia Phillies are not playing their best baseball, the team is at the top of the NL East and have earned another series win. With a 19-14 record, the Phillies now head to St. Louis, who are 20-14 on the season. It’s a good out-of-division test for the Phillies in May. Let’s take a look at what the Phillies need to do to grab another series win.

Pitching Match-ups and Start Times:

Monday 5/06, 8:00 p.m.: Vince Velasquez (+122) vs. Miles Mikolas (-132)
Tuesday 5/07, 7:45 p.m.: Aaron Nola vs. Dakota Hudson
Wednesday 5/08, 1:15 p.m.: Jerad Eickhoff vs. Jack Flaherty

It’s easy to point out the 10 runs given up in a loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday. Despite that game, the Phillies pitching staff again came up big on the other two games in the series, which helped the Phillies win the series. Of course, there have been some issues with pitching.

There have been a few relievers that have helped to stabilize the bullpen. Adam Morgan earned a Phillies record after pitching 16-scoreless innings, which was broken on Saturday. Hector Neris looks to have bounced-back after his down 2018 season. But a flaw that continues to surface is the bullpen depth.

Too many times the Phillies have had to turn to relievers like Juan Nicasio and Jose Alvarez. Too many times those two, and a few others, have burned the Phillies. Bullpen help needs to be the number one priority for the Phillies as we get closer to the trade deadlines.

Now who knows how much the Phillies are willing to spend or give up for a reliever at any point this season. It’s most likely that they will be buyers at the trade deadline. Relievers are being seen as a premium, especially for teams that are looking to make a playoff run. There should be plenty of relievers available for the Phillies, it just comes down to the cost. The Phillies also have a need for starting pitching, which also will looking for an upgrade at the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see if the Phillies can bolster each end of its pitching staff.

The good thing is that David Robertson should return soon, maybe. He is on the 10-day Injured List, but there has been no timetable set for his return. It’s not that help needs to arrive now though. The Phillies are 19-14 and hold the top spot in the NL East. However, Nicasio and Alvarez cannot be pitching meaningful, or any, innings past July.

What to Watch For:

Rhys Hoskins is on an absolute tear in the past week. Hoskins has a slash line of .291/.424/.632, with 10 home runs and 31 RBI. Now Hoskins currently has a hit in eight straight games, three home runs and 11 RBI.

The story in the offseason was the addition of four all-stars, especially Bryce Harper. Those four additions have paid off so far, as each of them at some point in the season has provided good play. But it is still Hoskins that shines the brightest.

Hoskins burst onto the scene in 2017. Since then it’s always been a wonder if Hoskins was just a good player or great one. So far this year, not only is Hoskins proving that he is great, but proving that this is still his team.

Prop Bets (from Monkey Knife Fight):

Game 1:
Miles Mikolas – o/u 3.5 strikeouts – Mikolas is not at all a strikeout pitcher, but Hellickson wasn’t either. OVER
Vince Velasquez – o/u 5.5 strikeouts – Velasquez strikeout rate has been higher in his last three starts. OVER
Run total – o/u 9 – It’s been difficult to predict when the Phillies offense might put together a big game, so I think it’s safest to just take the under. UNDER

DFS Play: Rhys Hoskins

Just ride the hot hand. Been hitting well, has had plenty of RBI chances and of course has home run potential. Just continue with Hoskins until he cools off.

Other Notes:

Phillies are hoping to get some bullpen help from Edgar Garcia. The 22-year old was just promoted to the big leagues. Garcia is off to a great start in Leigh Valley, posting a 1.65 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.

Here is just a small sample of what Garcia has to offer:

Also, want to read more about the best eight-hole hitter in the history of Major League Baseball? Greg Hall has that for you as he details the impact Maikel Franco has had this season.

You can follow Jon Jansen on Twitter (@jjansen34) and e-mail him at

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