PHILADELPHIA — If you thought Mickey Moniak felt he had something to prove Monday night, all you had to do was watch what took place at Citizens Bank Park.
Moniak, the former No. 1 overall Phillies draft pick went to town on his old team. Three hits, including a triple, and an RBI … all of which wasn’t enough as the Phillies came back, then held on for a 6-4 victory over Moniak and the Los Angeles Angels.
Except for the final score you could almost imagine the night going down as a blast from the past for Moniak, who wound up being traded to the Angels for Noah Syndergaard at the trade deadline last August 2. The Phils acquired Brandon Marsh that same day from the Angels in exchange for one of their top prospects, catcher Logan O’Hoppe, who recently returned from a long injury absence.
While Syndergaard was part of the Phils’ unlikely postseason tour to the World Series last fall, and Marsh has become a success story this season, the Angels have to feel pretty good about their returns. O’Hoppe has a very bright future ahead as a catcher in the American League. And Moniak?
Against any odds Phillies fans would have posted, he’s on track for a little career vengeance.
One of the Phillies’ most publicized disappointments, Moniak got on track in the spring with the Angels and has been a constant producer. He elevated his average to .284 Monday, playing 76 games with Mike Trout mostly injured of late (and for the rest of the season). He had an 18-game hit streak in July, and along the way left behind the bad taste of his Phillies career, which seemed to be on an upswing last spring until he broke his hand on the last at-bat of spring training.
That hasn’t dimmed his feelings for Philadelphia, however.
“This is the place where I grew up,” said Moniak, who went No. 1 overall to the Phils in 2016. “For as tough as times were for me personally, it made me into the player that I am today. I’m forever grateful.”
Just as so many other opponents this year who even spent a whisp of time as a Phillies last year, Moniak was presented with a National League championship ring by owner John Middleton and president Dave Dombrowski before the game Monday.
“It was awesome to watch that run last year,” Moniak said.
“He went through some rough patches here,” manager Rob Thomson said of Moniak. “We knew that he was a good player. It wasn’t like we didn’t think he was going to be the player he is. And he’s going to get better.”
Moniak and the Angels seemed on their way there this season, until the Trout injury and then a UCL tear that ended Shohei Ohtani’s pitching outings this season helped veer the Angels on a downward path. They are approaching elimination from the playoff race but Moniak still has fingers crossed.
“I think going into spring training we were very confident in the year we could have had,” he said. “It’s not over yet, miracles do happen, but losing guys like Mike, and Sho going down and not being able to pitch the rest of the year, that’s very tough.”
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O’Hoppe’s labrum injury and subsequent shoulder surgery didn’t help the Angels, either. But he was back in August and ready to roll again … just as the Angels were in a nosedive with Trout MIA.
“Always learning,” the 23-year-old former Phillies catching prospect said. “I know there’s a lot of new things that come with this, and obviously being hurt was pretty tough and new territory for me.”
When he had the surgery, O’Hoppe was told it was a four to six-month recovery period.
“I didn’t understand why the window was so big, why it was a two-month window,” he said.
O’Hoppe described his feelings last year about leaving the Phillies: “Being traded is like going through the draft and breaking up with somebody all at the same time.”
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NOTES >> Trea Turner hit two homers in the win over the Angels, extending his hitting streak to eight games and 17 straight at Citizens Bank Park. It was his third multi-homer game of the season. … Ranger Suarez impressed in a pre-game pitching session. Thomson said it’ll be one more and then he rejoins the rotation.
Source: Berkshire mont