Homers aren’t the only thing Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins can do. He can also start triple plays, as he showed on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs.
The Cubs were threatening in the top of the fifth inning as Anthony Rizzo walked and Tommy La Stella singled. With a 1-1 count, Javier Baez hit a sinking liner to left field. Hoskins was able to snag the ball just before it hit the grass. Hoskins got up, bobbled the ball, threw to second baseman Cesar Hernandez to get the out on Rizzo. Hernandez fired the ball to first baseman Tommy Joseph to get the out on La Stella. The Cubs challenged the play, but the ruling on the field was upheld.
This marked the sixth triple play of the 2017 season. It’s the Phillies’ first since August 7 last year against the Padres when Jabri Blash grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play. It’s the first time the Cubs have been victims of a triple play since September 14, 2014 against the Pirates when Matt Szczur grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play.
Hoskins hit the 11th homer of his young major league career in the bottom of the eighth and the Phillies went on to win 6-3.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.