Phil Gosselin steals the day from Zack Wheeler and the Phillies are okay with it


The ball landed in the correct field seats. Phil Gosselin floated euphorically around the bases and returned to the canoe where the high-fives air was plentiful.

His teammate Jay Bruce offered his congratulations and asked Gosselin if he had ever played a game on several homers in the big leagues.

“I think I just laughed at him,” Gosselin said.

If Bruce had Gosselin’s bubblegum card, he would know that the very friendly infielder from West Chester, Malvern Prep and the University of Virginia was not known for his power. Gosselin woke up Saturday morning with just seven home runs in 597 career big league games.

By dinner time he had nine.

Yes, it was a day of firsts for the 2020 Phillies.

They won their first victory of the new season, 7-1, against the Miami Marlins.

New manager Joe Girardi has claimed his first victory with the club.

Zack Wheeler made his first start with his new team. He pitched well and took the win.

Bryce Harper had his first success of the new season, a single bunt against an infield change, and that preceded JT Realmuto’s first success of the season, a mammoth three-run homerun out of the batter’s eye in the central field.

But the funniest first of the day came with the modest Gosselin, who got his first start as a designated hitter and propelled two homers, a tiebreaker, a two-runner in the sixth inning and a solo shot. in eighth.

Bruce wasn’t the only teammate happy with Gosselin’s first multi-homer game.

They all were.

“We call it ‘Barrels’ for a reason,” Realmuto said. “This guy can hit. We were happy to see what he did. He’s a great guy, really easy to encourage. ”

Gosselin is in his 11th professional ball season. He has had time with five Big League clubs, including 44 games with the Phillies last season.

He returned to the organization on a minor league contract over the winter because, well, it’s the Phillies. He grew up supporting the team and if he didn’t make the big club he would be close to home in Allentown, where the Triple A club play.

“I had some interest, maybe a handful of teams that I was talking to,” Gosselin said. “I just felt like the staff, I know Joe is new, but most of the staff were back. They had talked to me and told me they loved me as a player, and I knew they would call me if I was playing well and there was a need because they made it the last year. So familiarity helped. I haven’t been on the same team for years in a row for about six years, so it’s nice to come back to a place where I know people and feel comfortable. ”

Gosselin had to fight like hell to make the club. In fact, he was the last man on the expanded list of 30 men.

“I can’t imagine the stress he was feeling last week,” Realmuto said. “I’m sure he was relieved to be part of the team and then on his first start he hit two home runs. It was huge for us. ”

Girardi agreed.

“It was a great victory,” he said. “We’re talking about winning streaks. If we don’t win this game today, we don’t have the opportunity to do so (Sunday). ”

Gosselin made the club with a flurry of hits – “He was like 24 for 12,” Girardi said – in the final week of intrasquad and exhibition games. There was no way the Phillies could get him off the list.

“These two weeks have everything to do with it,” Girardi said of the decision to keep Gosselin.

With southpaw Caleb Smith on the mound for Miami, Bruce, the regular DH, took the day off on Saturday. Girardi decided to go to hot bat and Gosselin hit base four times with one walk, one single and two homers.

“He made me look smart today,” Girardi said.

“I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and hope they fall,” Gosselin said.

Back at the clubhouse after the game, Gosselin checked his phone. Mania for SMS.

“About 300 or more,” he says. “I haven’t even started to look through them. It’s cool to see the support. That’s a lot of my high school buddies, friends and family. It’s cool when everyone is shooting for you. ”

Of course, they shoot for Gosselin. He’s a local guy. Her pals are Phillies fans and the Phils are the only show in town right now. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, you know. Hence the high-fives air.

Gosselin is a balanced guy hardened by years of trying to club like an extra man. He never came to a camp and he was guaranteed a job. So deep down he knows he’s still basically on trial. The lists will decrease by two places in two weeks and by two additional places in one month.

But if he continues to have days like he did on Saturday, he will stick around.

“I’m really happy that Joe gave me a very early start to keep riding,” said Gosselin. “I know that at the start of the year it can be difficult. Sometimes when you’re a bench guy you sit down without getting the constant beats so it was good to have four in a day today and help the team. outside.

“It’s been great and I’m just trying to imbibe myself. This is my 11th year. You never know how long it will last. You never know if you are going to play for your home team again. every moment and try to help the team qualify for the playoffs.

” That would be great. I’ve watched all of these World Series caliber teams as a fan, so to be in the playoffs with the Phillies would be crazy. ”

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