For 20 hours, the Philadelphia Phillies had accomplished what no experts had predicted before the season started.
The Phillies reached first place in the National League East.
It was the first time since the 2011 season that a Phillies team had been able to accomplish that feat. But in the weeks since, things have gone pretty south for the Phillies.
They’ve now lost four of their last six games, they’ve dropped to third in the NL East standings and their top slugger, Rhys Hoskins, is headed to the DL from a fractured jaw he suffered in Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“He had a CAT scan this morning that revealed a fracture,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’re going to send him to Philly tonight to be evaluated by our oral surgeon. They wanted to do the CAT scan as a precautionary measure and they found a fracture in the jaw.”
Hoskins was in the midst of a brutal stretch in May prior to the injury. He batted just .161 with two home runs and nine RBI in 87 plate appearances. Nonetheless, not having his bat during this crucial part of the season is not good for an already slumping Phillies team.
“Obviously, it makes it a little bit tougher knowing that I can play with little to no pain,” Hoskins told reporters Wednesday. “But you have to put your health first at some point. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
The Phillies are having a tough time trying to replace him.
Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr have been splitting time in left field in his absence. They also used utility man Pedro Florimon off the bench, until he broke a bone in his right foot Tuesday that sent him to the disabled list. They’ll be thin in the outfield until he returns.
With some time off, hopefully Hoskins can return closer to the player he was in April, who batted .278 with three home runs and 16 RBI.
“I think the biggest thing I’m taking from [the slump] is when I do get out of it I know that in the future when it happens again — because it’s going to happen again — that I’m going to be able to get out of it,” Hoskins said. “It’s just one of those things that you’re just going to have to ride out. … Hopefully [this injury] is a blessing in disguise.”