Today's Lineup: Rhys Hoskins returns to bat in clean-up spot vs. Mets


Today's Lineup: Rhys Hoskins returns to bat in clean-up spot vs. Mets

The Phillies will have their most dangerous bat back in the lineup this afternoon when they open a series with the New York Mets.

Rookie sensation Rhys Hoskins will make his triumphant return to the lineup and bat in the cleanup hole at Citi Field today. Hoskins sat out yesterday's extra-inning win in Miami after he was drilled in the hand with a 97-mph fastball during Saturday night's loss to the Marlins.

Needless to say, having Hoskins and his game-changing bat back in the lineup will be a huge boost for the Phils. The reigning NL Rookie of the Month for August is batting .318 with 12 homers and 27 RBIs on the season. He's hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games and, going back further, 18 of his last 21 games. He will start in left field today.

Tommy Joseph, who batted in the cleanup hole in Hoskins' place Sunday in Miami, slides down to fifth in the order today. Joseph is batting .283 over his last 11 games with four homers, three doubles and 8 RBIs.

Both Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr have been reinstated from the disabled list, but neither will be in the lineup today vs. the injury-depleted Mets, who are missing stars Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, among many others.

Mark Leiter, Jr. will take the hill for the Phils today. Leiter is 2-4 this season with a 3.88 ERA. But this will just be his seventh start of the season as he's bounced back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation, especially recently. He took a hard-luck loss last time out when he threw 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball against the Braves and received barely any help from the offense in a 5-2 defeat. He's appeared once this season against the Mets, throwing four shutout innings in relief in a Phillies loss on Aug. 10.

Leiter will be opposed by Mets righty Rafael Montero, who enters today's contest with a 3-9 record and 5.12 ERA. Much like Leiter, Montero has bounced around from the bullpen to the rotation this season. He's made one start and one relief appearance against the Phils this season and both ended with losses on his record — a start on July 2 and relief appearance on April 18. He's coming off a strong outing last week vs. the Reds when he tossed 8 1/3 innings of shutout ball.

Both teams' full lineups can be found below:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, CF
4. Rhys Hoskins, LF
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Hyun Soo Kim, RF
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Mark Leiter, Jr., P

1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Nori Aoki, RF
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, 3B
4. Domonic Smith, 1B
5. Kevin Plawecki, C
6. Brandon Nimmo, LF
7. Juan Lagares, CF
8. Gavin Cecchini, 2B
9. Rafael Montero, P

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).