By AJ Johnson
Phillies Win – Ring The Bell
45,662 Phillies fans packed into Citizens Bank Park for game 1 of Red October tonight, holding signs that read “Un-phinished Business” and the Bank went berserk when injured slugger and fan favorite Rhys Hoskins threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Hoskins fought off tears, patted the P on his chest in appreciation and waved a rally towel before he threw the first pitch. The first baseman suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a spring training game and has not played this season. Hoskins will head to Clearwater this week to face live pitching with hopes of returning to the Phillies if they make the World Series.
The Phillies won 11 postseason games last season, two shy of the ultimate goal of winning their first World Series title since 2008. The theme of unfinished business — as it is for so many World Series losers — was a driving force in the clubhouse this season.
“We’ve got to get back after it this year, and it’s a different team,” manager Rob Thomson said ahead of the game. “I believe it’s a better team, to be honest with you.”
The Phillies are back, playing big games in October with their ace and game 1 starter Zack Wheeler in top form.
Wheeler struck out eight in a brilliant performance, José Alvarado held the lead with a huge strikeout and the Philadelphia Phillies began Red October with a 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins in the opener of their National League Wild Card Series on Tuesday night.
Nick Castellanos started the Red October party with a key double, then pointing his ring finger toward the Phillies dugout after and sending the message that the defending NL champions crave the piece of jewelry they were denied by the Astros last fall.
Nicky (two bags) Castellanos added an RBI double in the eighth inning to score Bryce Harper — who knocked off his helmet as he motored through a stop sign — and the Phillies moved within a victory of an NLDS matchup against the Braves.
Led by Kyle Schwarber’s 47 homers, the Phillies had six players in the Game 1 lineup with at least 20 long balls. But they didn’t need any on this night to get the job done, as every starter had at least one hit.
The Marlins send LHP Braxton Garrett (9-7, 3.66 ERA) to the mound Wednesday night against Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.46).