Phillies-Marlins thoughts: A top NL offense since Rhys Hoskins' debut

Phillies-Marlins thoughts: A top NL offense since Rhys Hoskins' debut

Phillies (55-89) vs. Marlins (68-76)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

Coming off a strange/exciting/frustrating series opener, the Phillies turn to Aaron Nola tonight as they look to clinch a season series win over the Marlins (see lineup).

Here are some thoughts on Game 2:

• Rhys Hoskins' game-tying home run in the 10th inning last night came on a 100 mph fastball and wasn't even fully barreled. The faster the balls comes in, the faster it theoretically goes out, but this was another clear sign of Hoskins' power and strength. The ball traveled 431 feet to dead-center.

• Hoskins, Nick Williams and J.P. Crawford combined to reach base 13 times in 23 plate appearances last night. Hoskins and Crawford each walked twice and Williams was hit by two pitches. The trio combined for two homers (Hoskins) and four doubles (two apiece from Williams and Crawford).

• The day that Hoskins debuted in the majors, the Phillies lost 10-0 to the Mets. Since that next night, Aug. 11, the Phillies have scored 159 runs, second in the National League to only the Cubs. Over that span, the Phils have averaged 5.1 runs per game.

• Hoskins is on a 162-game pace of 81 home runs, but he's not the only one with gaudy full-season projections. Williams, who is hitting .292 with an .849 OPS, is on a 162-game pace of 35 doubles, 25 home runs and 117 RBIs.

• Last night was Crawford's best offensive night as a pro, and he also fielded his position well in his debut at second base before moving over to shortstop late in the game.

• Maikel Franco added two hits for the fourth straight game, but he also had a couple bad at-bats, missing hittable pitches and showing over-aggressiveness when the situation did not call for it.

• The Phillies' bullpen last night allowed just one run on five hits over 10 innings.

• Aaron Nola (10-10, 3.71) makes his 25th start of the season tonight after a pair of inefficient outings. Nola lasted 5 and 5⅓ innings in his last two starts, averaging 19.9 pitches per inning. 

Two starts ago, Nola allowed six runs on 10 hits in Miami and was taken deep in the first inning by Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna. 

An interesting note on Nola: Only three pitchers in recorded history have equaled his strikeout rate (9.2 per nine) and walk rate (2.4 per nine) while pitching at least as many innings as him in his first three seasons. Those three pitchers? The Mets' trio of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey.

Tonight's lineup: Herrera leads off as Hernandez sits

social_phillies_tonights_lineup_v2.jpg

Tonight's lineup: Herrera leads off as Hernandez sits

With eight games left in the Phillies' season, Pete Mackanin is still playing to win.

After dropping the series opener in Atlanta, 7-2, Friday, Mackanin made several changes to his lineup for Game 2 tonight. His first change is at the top of the order, as Cesar Hernandez sits and Odubel Herrera moves up to the leadoff spot.

The decision to rest Hernandez appears based on his poor career numbers against Atlanta's starter, Julio Teheran. Hernandez is 3-28 against Teheran, while Herrera is 5-23. Teheran is 1-2 this season against the Phillies. He won his previous start against them on Aug. 30, allowing just one run and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings pitched. 

Herrera has no hits and six strikeouts in his last 12 at-bats. He's also been chasing a lot of pitches outside of the strike zone and has only one walk since Sept. 9. At .281, his batting average is the lowest it has been since Aug. 6.  

J.P. Crawford, who has looked smooth at third base, shifts to second base to accommodate the change. Maikel Franco slots back in at third.

Mackanin's final change is swapping catcher Jorge Alfaro for Cameron Rupp. With the Phillies getting an extended look at Alfaro, Rupp's playing time has recently decreased. This is his first start since Sept. 17 against Oakland.

In his second start for the Phillies, Henderson Alvarez won't have to do much to better Ben Lively's outing Friday night. Lively conceded six hits and five runs before recording an out. Alvarez's start Sunday, when he allowed four runs in five innings, was his first major league game in the past 28 months. An All-Star in 2014, Alvarez's career was derailed by injuries. 

Below is Saturday's lineup:

1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, LF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. J.P. Crawford, 2B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Henderson Alvarez, P

And the Braves' lineup:

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Ozzie Albies, 2B
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Tyler Flowers, C
5. Matt Adams, 1B
6. Dansby Swanson, SS
7. Rio Ruiz, 3B
8. Jace Peterson, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P