Phils youth movement on full display vs. LA

Phils youth movement on full display vs. LA

PHILADELPHIA -- Rhys Hoskins delivered the Phillies' biggest hit, Nick Williams launched his 11th homer of the season and J.P. Crawford showed a keen eye at the plate and a smooth glove at third base.

The Phillies' rookies shined again Thursday, but the team came up short in a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers. The Phillies, with their youth movement on full display, just missed out on a four-game sweep of baseball's winningest team.

"They were coming in here probably thinking they were going to beat up on us, and our guys played hard," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "They've played hard all year."

Mackanin on 5-4 loss to Dodgers

While the volume of wins has not been there all season for the Phillies, they nonetheless finished their penultimate homestand 7-3. The team is 18-15 in its last 33 games and 32-34 since the All-Star break -- a glaring contrast from its 29-58 first-half record.

Rookies like Hoskins, Williams and Crawford have been a large part of the recent surge, and they all made impacts Thursday.

Hoskins clubbed a two-run double to the gap in left-center field in the fifth inning to give the Phillies the lead and raise his RBI total to 45 through 41 games. Williams produced the other half of the Phillies' RBIs when he took Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda deep to left field for a two-run homer in the third.

Crawford, who was called up on Sept. 5, drew three walks for the second time in four games to raise his on-base percentage to .379 through 15 career games. And though he played shortstop for most of his career as a touted Minor League prospect, Crawford showed off his glove at third base, grabbing everything that came near him.

Williams' two-run big fly

"I think what Pete and his coaching staff is doing with those guys is tremendous," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "They're an athletic group, they play the game the right way and they play hard."

There were times on Thursday when the rookies looked like rookies. Hoskins made two frustrated walks back to the dugout after striking out and also committed an error at first base. Williams struck out three times and fellow rookie outfielder Aaron Altherr misplayed a ball on the first play of the game -- a two-base error that led to an unearned run.

But the Phillies sent the Dodgers back to Los Angeles without allowing them to clinch a division title at Citizens Bank Park. The series, about as much as anything this season, showed there is reason for optimism around the Phillies in 2018.

"It showed us, or showed me, we can compete with the best teams in the league," Crawford said. "Just can't wait to see what next year has in store for us."

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.