Phillies-Mets thoughts: Rookies continue to thrive; Matt Harvey scratched

Phillies-Mets thoughts: Rookies continue to thrive; Matt Harvey scratched

Phillies (53-85) at Mets (59-79)
7:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on and the NBC Sports App

Youth was served in the Phillies' 9-1 win over the Mets Tuesday night. 

There were the homer and four RBIs from pitcher Ben Lively, who also went seven innings and allowed just one run.

There was Rhys Hoskins reaching base in four of five plate appearances.

There was Jorge Alfaro's 3-for-5 night. 

There was the three-RBI game from Nick Williams.

And, of course, there was the debut of J.P. Crawford, who went 1 for 5 with a bloop single to center field.

As a result, the Phillies beat Jacob deGrom for the first time in his 11 career starts against them (see story)

• For as much as the Phillies have struggled in 2017, they're seeing some of what they need to see right now. Hoskins, Williams and Alfaro have all produced at the plate and created some hope and momentum for 2018.

In 417 combined plate appearances, that trio has hit .298/.369/.538 for a collective .907 OPS. To put that in perspective, that slash line falls somewhere between the 2017 seasons of Nelson Cruz, Marcell Ozuna and Ryan Zimmerman. Not bad for three rookies.

• Per Jayson Stark, Lively last night became only the fourth pitcher in the last 100 years to homer twice in his first 11 games. The others were John Montefusco (1974), Don Durham (1972) and Tom Griffin (1969). 

So this means that Lively is the first pitcher to do it in 43 years.

• According to CSN producer Dan Roche, last night was the first time since 2010 that all nine Phillies in the starting lineup scored a run.

Matt Harvey was supposed to start for the Mets tonight on short rest but has been scratched because the forecast calls for heavy rain. As of noon on Wednesday, the forecast called for more than a 70 percent chance of rain from 5 p.m. through midnight. 

In terms of postponement, this is the last time in 2017 the Phillies travel to New York. The teams do have a common off-day on Sept. 11. Making up the game that day could be an option, as could canceling it altogether since both teams are already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

If the game is played tonight, Robert Gsellman will make the start for the Mets.

Nick Pivetta (5-9, 6.28) starts for the Phillies. He's coming off his best outing since July 31 after limiting the Marlins to one run in six innings last Friday.

Pivetta has been able to keep the ball low more effectively in his last two starts and as a result, has induced 21 groundballs. That's more than he generated in his previous four starts combined.

Pivetta last faced the Mets on Aug. 11 and allowed six runs (five earned) in 4⅔ innings. The last time he faced them at Citi Field, though, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball.

Phillies take long look at Roman Quinn as potential backup SS

AP Images

Phillies take long look at Roman Quinn as potential backup SS


FORT MYERS, Fla. — However the Phillies’ bench shapes up — whether it features four or five men during the first week of the regular season — one thing is a must:

“We need somebody who can play shortstop, absolutely,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

“We need someone who can play multiple positions in the infield on our bench and someone who can play multiple positions in our outfield on the bench. That’s a necessity.”

Kapler has taken a long look at Roman Quinn at shortstop the last two days. Quinn played four innings there Sunday against the Twins. He was there for the entire game Monday against the Red Sox.

Quinn grew up playing shortstop and outfield. He broke into pro ball as a shortstop but moved to center field during the 2014 season, when it became clear that J.P. Crawford was the shortstop of the future. Now, Quinn is relearning the shortstop position so he can potentially serve as a utility man on the Phillies’ bench. He’d be an intriguing talent to have on the bench because he’s a switch-hitter with electrifying speed.

As a shortstop, the Phillies won’t be looking for Quinn to be a Gold Glover. They need someone to make the play on an emergency or fill-in basis. Quinn made three plays in Monday’s game. He short-hopped one throw and Carlos Santana made the pick. He knocked down one ball, recovered and made a strong throw for an out. He made a nice play on a groundball while shifted behind second. It wasn't the prettiest exhibition, but it got the job done.

“The more I play there, the more comfortable I’m getting,” Quinn said. “I’m enjoying it. I’d like to think I can play any position. It’s fun coming in from center field and playing shortstop. I love it.”

Quinn turns 25 in May. Some schools of thought might come down against carrying a player of his potential as a reserve. Certainly, more time in Triple A would not hurt him, especially after missing more than three months with an elbow injury last year. But the Phillies are open to the possibility of carrying Quinn. His shortstop audition the last two days has made that clear.

“Everyday reps at the minor-league level are incredibly valuable,” Kapler said. “However, because a guy is on the bench at the major-league level doesn’t mean his development is stunted. He’s getting a different kind of experience and a really valuable experience.”

Tom Eshelman was charged with four runs in the bottom of the ninth as the Phils squandered a three-run lead and lost, 6-5, to Boston.

Aaron Altherr drove in four runs. He belted a three-run homer in the fifth inning against Boston ace Chris Sale. Cesar Hernandez grinded out a long at-bat before striking out and Santana and Rhys Hoskins both walked before the home run.

“When you have a guy like Sale, making him work is critical,” Kapler said. “Cesar’s punchout was an incredible at-bat. Santana and Hoskins made him work. [Sale] gets a little fatigued and Altherr gets a pitch to whack. So Altherr hitting a home run doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens as a result of team baseball.”

Jake Arrieta is ready for game action; Mark Leiter Jr. is hurting

Jake Arrieta is ready for game action; Mark Leiter Jr. is hurting

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Good news, bad news on the Phillies’ pitching front.

The good: Jake Arrieta will make his first Grapefruit League appearance of the spring when he gets the start Thursday against the Detroit Tigers in Clearwater.

Arrieta signed with the Phillies a week ago and threw a simulated game Saturday (see story). He will throw a side bullpen session Tuesday then be ready for Thursday’s start. It's still not clear when he will make his regular-season debut. Arrieta believes he will be ready to pitch during the first week of the season. Phillies management is taking a long-range view and will exercise caution in turning him loose. Either way, Arrieta projects to make 30 or more starts once he’s ready.

Now, the bad news:

Pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. headed to Philadelphia for tests on his right forearm. Leiter has been experiencing some tightness and soreness in the forearm, according to manager Gabe Kapler.

This is tough news for Leiter, who early in camp had impressed management with his performance and ability to pitch in a starting or relief role. Ten days before opening day, it’s likely that Leiter will have to open the season on the disabled list.

Starter Jerad Eickhoff will open the season on the DL with a right lat strain. It is not considered serious, but he is projected to be out into May.