Rob's Rants: Rhys Hoskins, Eric Lindros, Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor

Rob's Rants: Rhys Hoskins, Eric Lindros, Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor

Here's the latest edition of Rob's Rants in which CSNPhilly's Rob Ellis does just that about the hottest topics in Philly sports.

Rhys is the word
What Rhys Hoskins has done in less than a full month in the majors has been unprecedented. It’s been staggering as a matter of fact. We’re not talking Phillies history. We’re talking history of baseball. Like 1876. He has 11 home runs this month after being called up Aug. 10. He’s a must-watch, whether at the park or on TV. But here’s the thing, we all know he can’t keep this pace up. We get it. Teams and pitchers will make adjustments, there will invariably be struggles, blah, blah, blah.

Can we enjoy it a little before the reality police pull us over for having too much fun? The cries from the “slow the roll” crowd have begun. Domonic Brown's six weeks of glory have been invoked in the conversation. This needs to stop. As dreadful as the last few years have been with this team, when Pat Neshek is your All-Star rep, you deserve to be able to savor a little and live in the here and now. As I’ve mentioned before, Hoskins is a hitter first. He works counts, he can hit from behind in counts. That will make him much less prone to long slumps or fading away like Brown. Here's what Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after Hoskins hurt his club over the weekend:

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a young guy look that profound at home plate. That’s the part that tells me he can sustain, not necessarily this pace, but he can sustain because he doesn’t strike out. He will accept his walks. He doesn’t expand the strike zone. He uses the whole field. He’s a big guy with short movements to the ball. Pretty impressive.”

Yes it is.      

No. 88 in the rafters
Eric Lindros will become the sixth Flyers player to have his number retired. The ceremony will take place in January (see story)

Lindros was a phenomenal Flyer. He racked up 659 points in 486 games played with the orange and black. Yes, things got ugly the last couple of years with him and his parents and the Flyers' brass, namely then-general manager Bob Clarke. They gave up a ton for him and it didn’t result in a Cup. But when he was on the ice, he was a great player. The 6-4, 240-pound combo platter of size and speed was rare back in 1992 when Lindros broke into the league. The Flyers were perennial Cup contenders during his prime and through no fault of his own, they never had a good enough goalie.

Much like his Hockey Hall of Fame induction, Lindros' No. 88 being raised to the roof of the Wells Fargo Center is much deserved. 

Cha-ching
The Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight was about one thing: money. Not Mayweather's keeping his perfect 49-0 record intact and surpassing Rocky Marciano. It was not about Conor McGregor's showing he could box or bringing MMA to a larger audience.

They were just the by-products.

There’s a reason why Mayweather’s nickname is “Money.” Conservative estimates have Mayweather earning in excess of $200 million when all is said and done with this fight. That will put him north of $1 billion made in his career. McGregor was a plumber less than a decade ago — he could take home $100 million for his work Saturday.

What about the Vegas bookmakers you ask? It was the most-bet fight ever — $85 million was wagered on the bout.

Forget the trash talk, the racial implications, the misogyny. This was a well-orchestrated dance between the two the entire time leading up to the fight. Mayweather may have won the fight on a TKO in the 10th. But both guys were victorious.    

Help
Despite the often ugly times we exist in, we are still a country that rallies around one another and can show incredible depths of kindness and humanity, especially in times of need. The people of Southeast Texas and surrounding areas are in crisis mode. Hurricane Harvey’s devastation will be felt for years to come. Fifty-four counties have been impacted. The videos and still shots are shocking and unbelievable. It’s been dubbed an unprecedented natural disaster. Here’s how you can help.

Rhys Hoskins' epic at-bat finishes in heroics as Phillies knock off Dodgers again

Rhys Hoskins' epic at-bat finishes in heroics as Phillies knock off Dodgers again

BOX SCORE

The attendance at Citizens Bank Park for Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was just 20,145.

Years from now, it will be quadruple that.

Everyone will say they were there the night Rhys Hoskins went toe-to-toe with Pedro Baez's high-octane fastball and delivered the big hit that helped lift the Phillies to an emotional 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers (see observations).

Hoskins, the Phillies' rookie sensation, had four RBIs in the game, all of them coming on full-count hits in the sixth and seventh innings.

He got the Phillies on the board with an RBI single against Dodgers starter Yu Darvish in sixth inning.

Then, with two outs in the seventh, he lashed a tie-breaking, three-run double to left-center, capping an intense, 10-pitch at-bat in which he saw 10 straight fastballs from Baez. Every pitch in the at-bat ranged from 96 to 98 miles per hour. Hoskins fouled off four straight full-count fastballs before delivering the bases-clearing double.

Hoskins has electrified the Phillies with 18 home runs in a little more than a month, but his reaction to the go-ahead double suggested it might have ranked No. 1 on his personal hit chart. When he reached second base, he raised his arms and pointed euphorically at the dugout, where his teammates were going wild.

"Big situation against a pretty good team," a calmer Hoskins said afterward. "I think the 10-pitch at-bat probably had something to do with it.

"Obviously, the guy throws pretty hard, so he likes his fastball. He made some good pitches, too, with good strikes, not really anything in the middle of the plate. I was just lucky enough to put a good swing on the last one."

The Dodgers aren't just a pretty good team, as Hoskins described them. They are the best team in baseball. The Phillies have the second-worst record in the game. But the Phils have managed to beat the Dodgers two nights in a row — with two of the top pitchers in the game on the mound. The Phils beat three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on Monday night. Darvish took a no-decision in Tuesday night's game.

Hoskins has played a big role in both wins. He drew a two-out walk against Kershaw in the sixth inning of Monday night's win to extend the inning for Aaron Altherr. Altherr clubbed a decisive grand slam.

Tuesday night's four-RBI performance left Hoskins with 43 in 39 games. Only Albert Pujols had more RBIs (44) in the first 39 games of his career. Joe DiMaggio had 42 RBIs in his first 39 games.

Hoskins' plate discipline and selectivity are already stuff of legend. He saw 30 pitches in four trips to the plate.

"The longer I’m in there, the more pitches I see, the more comfortable I start to feel," he said. "I’m kind of able to hone in on the timing, which is pretty important for me. The more you see it, the more you know what it looks like, the more comfortable you get."

Manager Pete Mackanin marveled at Hoskins' ability to work pitchers into fastball counts.

"He’s not going to get himself out," Mackanin said. "He’s not going to expand the strike zone, which makes him a good hitter. I’m glad we have him. I always think he’s going to do something special the deeper he goes into the count."

Aaron Nola was grateful for Hoskins' big hit in the seventh inning. It made him a winner.

"He was fouling balls off at his neck," said Nola, describing Hoskins' showdown with Baez. "So you get a ball a little bit lower, you knew he was going to time it up finally. He saw 30 pitches in the game. It was just a matter of time that he was going to make them pay for it and he did."

The Phillies are 18-14 at home since the All-Star break. They were once on a collision course for 100 losses. Now they need to win just three of their final 11 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961.

The Dodgers came into Tuesday night's game with a magic number of three to wrap up the NL West title. They will be in Philadelphia for two more days. The Phillies will continue to try to prevent champagne from being sprayed in their ballpark.

"Experience-wise for some of us young guys, this is pretty invaluable," Hoskins said of the competitive atmosphere. "They’re still trying to clinch their division, so it’s just good baseball."

So good that more than 20,145 will say they were there someday.

Best of MLB: Cubs top Rays in Joe Maddon's return to Tampa, push win streak to 7

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USA Today Images

Best of MLB: Cubs top Rays in Joe Maddon's return to Tampa, push win streak to 7

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Mike Montgomery took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, Kyle Schwarber hit his 28th home run and the Chicago Cubs extended their winning streak to a season-high seven by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 Tuesday in manager Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field.

Maddon managed the Rays from 2006-14, then left to manage Chicago and last year led the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. Chicago entered with a 3 -game lead over second-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

A crowd of 25,046, the largest at the Trop since opening day, gave Maddon a standing ovation in the middle of the first inning.

"I thought it was a quick nine years," he said of his time with the Rays. "I try to stay in the present tense, but that was a fast nine years and I have nothing but warm and fuzzies about it."

Montgomery (7-8) allowed one hit in six innings, a one-out homer in the sixth by Brad Miller. Montgomery struck out six, walked one and hit his first batter, Kevin Kiermaier.

Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr. and Wade Davis each followed with an inning of perfect relief to complete the one-hitter. Davis struck out the side and remained perfect in 32 save chances.

Schwarber homered in the second and Javier Baez hit an RBI double in the fifth against Chris Archer (9-11), who gave up four hits in six innings. Archer struck out six, riaising his total to 241 -- 11 shy of the team record he set two years ago. He is 2-6 in his last 14 starts (see full recap).

Brewers hold off Pirates to keep pace in NL Central
PITTSBURGH -- Chase Anderson had eight strikeouts in six innings, Domingo Santana homered and the Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second straight day, 1-0 on Tuesday night.

The Brewers won for the ninth time in 11 games, keeping pace in the NL Central and wild-card races. They won for the fourth time in the past seven days against reeling Pittsburgh, which has lost a season-high seven consecutive games and 12 of 13.

It was the 12th shutout of the season for the Brewers, tied for the second-most in the NL.

Anderson (11-3) allowed five singles. Anthony Swarzak retired six of the seven batters he faced, and Corey Knebel earned a save with a perfect ninth. Seven of his 39 saves this season have come against the Pirates (see full recap).

Wild pitch in extras sends Red Sox past Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Jackie Bradley Jr. scored the game's lone run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach in the 11th inning, and the Boston Red Sox used six pitchers to silence the Baltimore Orioles' bats in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.

Boston has won 10 of 13 to move a season-high 23 games over .500 (87-64) and draw closer to clinching a postseason berth. The Red Sox started the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

It was the second straight tight, lengthy game between these AL East rivals. Boston won in 11 innings on Monday night and is 15-3 in extra-inning games.

With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Brach (4-5) walked Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who sidestepped a bouncing pitch from Brach that enabled Bradley to score without a throw (see full recap).

MLB season home run record set in Blue Jays' win over Royals
TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman pitched seven innings to win for the first time in six starts, Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon's solo home run off Ryan Tepera in the eighth was the 5,694th of this major league season, breaking the record set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. The record was broken with just less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.

There were 5,610 homers last year, an average of 2.31 per game, and this year's average of 2.53 entering Tuesday projects to 6,139. That would be up 47 percent from 4,186 in 2014.

Barney went 2 for 3 with three RBIs as the Blue Jays opened their final homestand on a winning note.

Stroman (12-8) allowed one run and four hits for his first victory since Aug. 16 against Tampa Bay (see full recap).