Mackanin intrigued by potential of farm system stars
PHILADELPHIA >> The Phillies gave their fans a glimpse at the future Tuesday, presenting Paul Owens Award winners Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins and Ben Lively in a pre-game Citizens Bank Park ceremony.
The question: How near is that future?
Honored for their excellent minor-league seasons, the three players are key to the Phillies’ rebuilding process. The closest to the major leagues could be Cozens, who had 40 home runs and 125 RBIs at Reading. The left-handed hitting outfielder did strike out 186 times.
“Obviously, I don’t like the high strikeouts,” Pete Mackanin said, before the Phils’ 7-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox. “That’s obviously something that has to be looked at. But if you are going to strike out a lot and hit 40 home runs and drive in 120 runs, then I’ll take it.”
Cozens shared the Owens Award as the Phils’ top farm-system position player with Hoskins, who had 38 home runs and 116 RBIs as a Reading first baseman. Hoskins struck out 125 times.
Lively was named the Phils’ top minor-league pitcher after going 18-5 with a 2.69 ERA for Reading and Allentown.
“If you pitch your butt off down there in the minor leagues,” Lively said, “you’ll get your opportunity up here.”
••• Jake Thompson’s first start against the White Sox in August was a challenge, a 9-1 loss in which he allowed seven runs in five innings.
“But he is a different pitcher now then he was against the White Sox the last time he pitched,” Mackanin said before the game. “I am anxious to see him.”
Thompson was better, lasting another five innings and allowing three hits, leaving with a 5-3 lead and earning the win to improve to 3-5.
“The first time, I wasn’t able to spin the ball,” Thompson said. “I wasn’t able to throw strikes, for that matter. So I just tried to start fresh. I went through, watched some video on them (to) see how they were swinging.”
••• Odubel Herrera had three hits Tuesday, including his 15th home run, drove in three runs and stole two bases.
After a second-half slump, he’s back.
“I was a little disappointed because things were not working out the way I wanted them to work out,” he said. “But thankfully now things are better for me. I’m putting the work in and the results are showing.”
••• Jeanmar Gomez continues to sputter. He didn’t make it through the ninth Tuesday, allowing three runs. Michael Mariot entered with two outs and recorded his first save.
Mackanin is considering changing closers.
“I hate to do it, but I have to consider it,” the manager said. “Because he hasn’t been himself lately.”
••• NOTES >> Jerad Eickhoff (10-14, 3.74 ERA) will face White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (16-8, 3.03) Wednesday night at 7:05 … The Phils start a fourgame series in New York against the Mets Thursday.