Phillies-Mets 5 things: Much better matchups this weekend for Rhys Hoskins

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Much better matchups this weekend for Rhys Hoskins

Phillies (42-70) vs. Mets (52-60)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on and the NBC Sports App

The big stories coming out of last night's Phillies game were the debut of Rhys Hoskins and the confusing finger injury that limited Vince Velasquez to one inning.

The game's result was yet another embarrassing Phillies loss to the Mets, continuing a theme that has lasted six seasons. 

1. Wait ... whose house is this?
The Mets' personnel doesn't even seem to matter at this point. When they get to South Philadelphia, all they do is clobber baseballs.

Even without CBP-lovers Jay Bruce (now with Cleveland) and Lucas Duda (now with Tampa), the Mets hit four homers that accounted for nine of their runs in a 10-0 win. 

The Phillies are 14-37 against the Mets since 2012 ... at home. That's a .275 winning percentage. That's a 45-117 full-season pace. That's pathetic.

That 14-37 mark vs. the Mets since 2012 is the second-worst divisional record for any major-league team at its own park. (The Mets are 15-41 at home since 2012 against the Nationals.)

In the last 22 meetings at Citizens Bank Park, the Mets have 50 home runs. Ricky Bottalico said last night on Phillies Postgame Live that if he was in the Mets' front office, he'd be pushing to have Citi Field's dimensions changed to CBP's — and he wasn't joking.

The Mets had 16 men on base last night. The Phillies had five. Granted, the Phillies faced a locked-in Jacob deGrom.

2. Hoskins' debut
How 'bout that for a first test? "Hey Rhys, we know you've been playing left field for three days, but go do it in a major-league park, and while you're at it, face one of the game's best pitchers."

Batting seventh, Hoskins went 0 for 2 with a walk.

In his first at-bat against deGrom, Hoskins took the first pitch out of the strike zone but it was called a strike because deGrom is an ace and Hoskins is a rookie. Those little subconscious biases exist for umpires. The at-bat ended with a nasty two-seam fastball that froze Hoskins for a strikeout.

In his second at-bat, Hoskins hit a ball sharply up the middle but the Mets had him positioned perfectly so it was a double play.

In his final plate appearance, Hoskins fouled off two pitches on a 3-2 count and worked a leadoff walk.

Every major-league pitcher poses some sort of challenge, but these next three games against the Mets should give Hoskins a chance to succeed. Tonight, he'll face Seth Lugo, who has a 4.55 ERA. On Saturday, the Phillies face Steven Matz, who has a .315 opponents' batting average vs. righties. On Sunday, the Phils get Chris Flexen and his 8.49 ERA.

3. One of two extremes
This matchup feels like it will either be great or terrible for Nick Pivetta. He's a hard-throwing right-hander who strikes out a lot of batters and gives up a lot of home runs. The Mets are a boom-bust offense that strikes out a lot and hits a lot of home runs.

The guess here is that we'll either be looking at a Pivetta line of six innings, a couple runs and 10 strikeouts, or 3⅔ innings, three homers and a bunch of runs. Either is a possibility for a pitcher who has a mid-to-high-90s fastball and a tight slider but throws too many pitches in the heart of the plate.

Pivetta is 4-7 with a 5.89 ERA in 16 starts. He's struck out 84 batters in 84 innings and allowed 17 home runs, 15 to right-handed hitters. Lefties have hit .228 with a .658 OPS against Pivetta; righties have hit .298 with a 1.005 OPS.

Pivetta had an excellent start against the Mets on July 2, but that was at pitcher-friendly Citi Field, where the Mets' dominance over the Phillies is not nearly as pronounced. On that night, Pivetta allowed just one hit over seven innings, a solo homer to T.J. Rivera.

With how frustrating the season has been for Vince Velasquez, the Phillies would really like to see Pivetta finish strong so they can enter the offseason knowing they have at least one decent, hard thrower in the rotation. Both pitchers have a lot of upside but it's tough to have two guys so inconsistent on the same five-man staff. 

4. Conforto or Nola?
It's a debate we'll be having for years. Michael Conforto was taken three picks after Aaron Nola in the 2014 MLB draft and both have had eerily similar careers to this point.

Conforto, just like Nola, was very impressive as a rookie in 2015 before struggling in 2016. Just like the Phillies with Nola, the Mets went into last winter seeking some answers about Conforto.

Both have been the most promising part of their team's 2017 season. Nola has been on a historic run of allowing two or fewer runs, and Conforto has been an on-base and power machine. In 389 plate appearances this season, Conforto has hit .290/.396/.573 with 24 homers and 61 RBIs. He's either going to be atop the Mets' lineup or in the middle of it for years.

I sent out a Twitter poll last May asking fans which of the two players they'd take if they got into a time machine and went back to draft night 2014. The response was 85 percent Nola, and that was before he hit a new level this season. I sent it out again Friday and am curious to see whether it changes.

5. This and that
• Mark Leiter Jr. made some Phillies history last night, becoming the first Phillies reliever ever to strike out at least seven batters in two straight appearances.

In his last two outings, Leiter has allowed one run in 9⅓ innings with no walks and 16 K's. Might the Phillies have found themselves a Chris Devenski-like relief weapon?

• Can Jorge Alfaro get a start? Cameron Rupp has been behind the plate for seven of the Phillies' last eight games.

• If you didn't already believe this was the year of the home run, check this out: In 2014, there were 57 players with 20-plus home runs. This season, with about 50 games remaining for every team, there are already 59 players to do so. The Phillies have none of the 59, but Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph will likely both reach 20.

MLB Notes: Ian Kinsler rips veteran umpire Angel Hernandez

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MLB Notes: Ian Kinsler rips veteran umpire Angel Hernandez

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler had harsh words Tuesday for Angel Hernandez, saying the veteran umpire should get a different job.

A day after being ejected from a game for questioning Hernandez's calls on balls and strikes, Kinsler told reporters covering the Tigers that Hernandez is a bad umpire who is "messing" with games "blatantly."

"It has to do with changing the game. He's changing the game. He needs to find another job, he really does," Kinsler said.

Kinsler's comments were reported online by multiple media outlets just before Detroit played the Texas Rangers and early in the game.

After the Rangers' 10-4 win Tuesday night, when Hernandez worked third base, the umpire said he didn't know about Kinsler's criticism. When told in general what the player said, Hernandez said "it doesn't matter."

"I'm not at liberty to discuss tit-for-tat what's going on. As a matter of fact, I don't even care what he said," Hernandez said. "What I care about is going out there and doing my job, to the best I can do" (see full story).

Marlins: Stanton homers in 6th straight game
MIAMI -- Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has homered in his sixth straight game, hitting his 44th of the season off San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

Stanton connected for a solo shot to left-center field in the third inning Tuesday night, tying the score at 2. The All-Star outfielder has 10 home runs in his last 11 games, and 23 in the last 35.

The major league record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, set by Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956, Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees in 1987 and Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners in 1993.

The last player to go deep in six consecutive games was Colorado's Nolan Arenado, in early September 2015.

Stanton had already broken the Miami record for home runs in a season. He surpassed Gary Sheffield, who hit 42 in 1996.

Going into Tuesday night, Stanton's 22 homers in 34 games had only been exceeded twice in major league history. Sammy Sosa hit 25 during a 34-game stretch in 1998, and Barry Bonds had 24 in 2001, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Reds: Mesoraco out 3-6 weeks with broken foot
CHICAGO -- Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco will be out three to six weeks after he broke a bone in his left foot Monday.

Mesoraco, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, was hit by a pitch from Chicago Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the second inning of a 15-5 loss at Wrigley Field.

Mesoraco is hitting .213 in 56 games with six homers and 14 RBIs. He was an All-Star in 2014 when he batted .273 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs, but two hip surgeries and a left shoulder operation limited Mesoraco to 39 games with 95 at-bats in 2015 and 2016. In those two seasons, he had a .158 average and no home runs.

The Reds recalled outfielder Phillip Ervin from Triple-A Louisville to fill the roster spot before Tuesday night's game at Chicago.

Phillies can't overcome fielding miscues in loss to Padres

Phillies can't overcome fielding miscues in loss to Padres


SAN DIEGO — For the second night in a row, a highly touted Phillies prospect belted his first big-league home run.

Other highlights were difficult to find in an 8-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay).

The Phillies (43-74) are the worst team in baseball and they looked every bit of it as they were held hitless for the first 4 2/3 innings, had just four hits through the first eight innings, made two errors, misplayed another ball, walked five batters and hit another.

The sloppiness began early as work-in-progress leftfielder Rhys Hoskins, in just his sixth big-league game at the position, misplayed a catchable ball that would have ended the first inning into an RBI double. Starting pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. walked the next batter then surrendered a two-run double as the Padres put three quick ones on the board.

Leiter was tagged for four more runs in the fifth inning, but all were unearned after errors by third baseman Maikel Franco and catcher Jorge Alfaro.

Leiter allowed seven hits, including two homers, three walks (all of them scored) and hit a batter in five innings of work. Still, he may have given up just one run had he gotten some defensive support.

"He wasn't at his best, but our defense let us down," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Leiter would not blame the defense.

"That’s baseball," he said when asked about Hoskins' misplay in the first inning. "You just have to keep going and make the next pitch and get the next guy, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the next guy and it cost us a couple of runs. I have to do better. I have to find a way to get that out."

Hoskins' misplay came on a liner to his left by lefty-hitting Yangervis Solarte.

"That’s a tough play, especially off a left-handed bat," Mackanin said. "He looks sure-handed out there. It was just one of those plays you’ve got to be out there for a while to know how to read. It's understandable."

Alfaro, the rookie catcher, had the Phillies' first hit with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and it was memorable on a couple of fronts.

First, it was his first big-league home run.

Second, he killed it.

The two-run homer came off the bat at 114 miles per hour, making it the hardest-hit homer by a Phillie this season. It traveled 413 feet over the center-field wall and did so on a low line.

"I thought it was going to be a double off the wall," Alfaro said.

"That was a missile," Mackanin said.

"The launch angle wasn't quite high enough," he added with a laugh. "You don’t normally see home runs with that low of a trajectory off the bat. It was cool to see.

"That's why we like him. If you watch him in batting practice, you see the power."

Alfaro's first big-league homer came one night after Hoskins hit his first and second big-league homers. He added a two-run home run in the ninth inning Tuesday night as the Phillies cut into the Padres' lead but could not come all the way back.

The Phillies played without their best hitter, Odubel Herrera. He was out with a sore left hamstring (see story). Padres rookie Dinelson Lamet, who entered his 14th big-league start with an ERA of 5.00, capitalized on a weakened Phillies' lineup and pitched seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball. He walked one and struck out seven.

Rookie reliever Jesen Therrien was the Phillies' most effective pitcher with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. He showed a tight, hard, downward-breaking slider — a weapon.

"I finally saw that slider we saw in the spring," Mackanin said. "That's very encouraging."