You’d think I would have learned my lesson the first time, but just know. There’s always a plan.
In the hours leading up to the Phillies’ series finale against the Yankees at Citizens Bank Park yesterday, Phil Gosselin was announced as the team’s designated hitter. It was the second time since the season began that West Chester’s pride and joy was penciled in as the DH by Manager Joe Girardi, and in this case, he was placed in the No. 5 spot in the lineup against New York left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
Clearly, this was crazy. Gosselin came into the 2020 season with 320 games played over seven seasons, a career .263 average, an OPS of .667 and just seven home runs to his name. There is nothing in his past that would indicate he should be slotted into the middle of a lineup that has postseason aspirations and yet, there he was, hitting fifth for Joe Girardi’s Phillies.
It harkens one back to the Phils’ second game of the season, when Girardi chose Gosselin to be the team’s DH in Game No. 2 against the Marlins, and I just couldn’t understand it.
I feel like I'm ultra-critical right now and I know he had a million hits during Summer Camp but, of all the Phils' options for DH, it's Phil Gosselin? https://t.co/NXCPZTnmcB— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) July 25, 2020
Clearly, Phil Gosselin reads the tweets. Obviously fueled with anger by my online destruction of his playing ability, he went out and hit two home runs.
I took my medicine. I went on the WIP Morning Show and was grilled for my Twitter misadventures. I owned it. The Goose got me.
So when Girardi announced that Gosselin would be in the starting lineup once again as the DH, and that he would be moved up to the No. 5 hole, it seemed like a good opportunity to double down. Phil is obviously fueled by rage, and I was only too happy to provide some lighter fluid.
*LOUDLY CLEARS THROAT*— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) August 6, 2020
Out of ALL the options at his disposal, Joe Girardi is really going with PHIL GOSSELIN as his DH tonight? And hitting him FIFTH?
It’s a fascinating skill to be able to manipulate people into success, but I’m sure Phil Gosselin didn’t mind when he ripped a key two-run double that provided the winning margin in the Phillies’ 5-4 win over the Yankees.
Ducks on the pond.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 6, 2020
Goose delivers. pic.twitter.com/j3HDkAAlVl
Of course, I cannot claim sole responsibility for Goose’s early-season MVP candidacy. I’m not the only reason he’s tied for 10th in fWAR (0.6), tops on the team, or that he’s hitting a robust .600 this year with a 1.400 slugging percentage. ‘Ol Phil has had a little to do with it, so, you know, throw some bouquets his way, too.
What’s clear is that I’m onto something here. Some players play better when they’re slighted in the media. Some players need that motivation, and it’s clear Phil Gosselin is one of those players. So my mission now is clear: get the Goose whenever he’s in the starting lineup.
So, Joe Girardi, just know that I’ve got your back the next time you want to put ‘ol Phil back in the DH spot. We’ll do this together.
On Episode 405 of Hittin’ Season, I talked more about Goose’s early season success, and chatted with the New York Times’ national baseball writer Tyler Kepner about the Phils-Yankees series, the struggles the Phillies are having in the bullpen, and how baseball plods ahead during the pandemic. Make sure to download the podcast and leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or hit us up on Spotify!