Kendall Graveman

Phillies-Athletics thoughts: Facing a poor man's Rhys Hoskins

Phillies-Athletics thoughts: Facing a poor man's Rhys Hoskins

Phillies (57-90) vs. Athletics (65-82)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

The Phillies' three-game winning streak came to an abrupt end on Friday night. Daniel Mengden and the Athletics took down the Phils in a 4-0 game as J.P. Crawford was the only hitter to reach base. 

Looking to get back in the win column, the Phillies toss out Ben Lively against Kendall Graveman on Saturday night. Here are some thoughts to ponder before first pitch:

• This isn't very revolutionary, but it usually helps to have more than two hits. After pulverizing the Marlins for three nights with hit after hit, coming up with just two hits against a team that came in with a 4.81 team ERA is embarrassing. The Phillies have been outscored plenty of times this year (90 times to be exact), but this type of game has been the exception and not the rule, especially since Rhys Hoskins came along.

• Speaking of Hoskins, there isn't too much to say about him that hasn't already been said about Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger this year and Mark McGwire 30 years ago. Guys just don't come into the league mashing like this. 

Perhaps the best stat to show Hoskins' ridiculous start is his line against left-handed pitching: In 37 plate appearances, he's gone 6 for 25 with 11 walks, 1 HBP and just five strikeouts. Oh yeah, all six hits are home runs. That means he's gone 0 for 14 on balls in play but still has an OPS of 1.446. That's ... unreal. 

• It gets lost in the Hoskins-mania but Nick Williams has been quite good as well. His walk and strikeout rates are both slightly better than his Triple-A numbers and he's hitting .296/.350/.496. He certainly strikes out more than Hoskins and hits fewer home runs, but he's still an exciting young player on this roster. 

He's had issues in the outfield, but that's mostly occurred when he's played out of position in centerfield. Put him in right and he should be fine moving forward. 

• Lively has been a throwback to pitchers of old this year. As strikeouts become the name of the game, a guy who fans only 14.4 percent of batters and relies on balls in play, particularly plenty of flyballs, tend to be phased out. But as he did at the minor league level, he's induced plenty of weak content, keeping a lot of pop-ups near the infield.

He's given the Phillies length in nearly every outing and has given them a chance to win outside of a poor start against the defending champion Cubs. His last time out, the 25-year-old righty held a potent Nationals lineup to just three runs in eight innings while striking out seven, one shy of his career-best. 

• Graveman joined the Athletics in the ill-conceived trade that sent Josh Donaldson to Toronto. He's been a fairly average starter for the Athletics. Like Lively, he allows a lot of balls in play but has still been fairly successful. How? The opposite way of Lively: Plenty of groundballs. 

He keeps the ball on the ground with a heavy dose of his 94-mph sinker while also turning to a cutter, curveball and changeup. He's never faced the Phillies before and only Hyun Soo Kim (1 for 3) has faced him before. The Phils have to hope they'll have more success against this unknown for them than they did with his rotation mate on Friday.

• While Mengden and his mustache were the story on Friday, Matt Olson also gave the Phillies a dose of what he's been doing in recent weeks. The rookie has essentially been a left-handed poor man's Rhys Hoskins, drilling 19 home runs in 184 PAs. 

His stance starts with his hands and bat essentially over home plate and somehow he makes it work with a non-absurd strikeout rate considering the amount of movement in his swing. He's gotten zero attention because he's in Oakland and comes after Hoskins, Bellinger and Judge already lit the majors on fire in their first taste. It's no longer that insane to see a player do this in their first sample of the majors.

• After Friday night, the A's have now won seven of nine and are playing some of their best baseball. They aren't a good team, as their record would suggest, but their offense is showing some life recently, particularly since Olson started to take off.  

• Their bullpen is still very beatable. Santiago Casilla was removed from the closer role for a reason. Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle were both traded to Washington. And new closer Blake Treinen throws an upper-90s sinker that makes teams fawn over his potential, but he still has blown three saves in 10 opportunities.

• Before this series, the Phillies last played the A's in 2014, losing two of three in Oakland that September. The Phils are 7-9 vs. the Athletics all-time. The two teams, of course, used to share Philadelphia before the A's moved to Kansas City in 1955. 

Best of MLB: Kendall Graveman loses no-hit bid in 7th as A's beat Rangers

Best of MLB: Kendall Graveman loses no-hit bid in 7th as A's beat Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kendall Graveman held Texas hitless until Mike Napoli homered with two outs in the seventh inning, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Rangers 6-1 Saturday night.

Graveman (2-0) gave up two hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking one. He won on opening day, too, starting in place of injured Sonny Gray.

Graveman had allowed only one runner before Napoli sent a drive into Oakland's bullpen in left-center for his first home run of the season.

A pair of A's relievers finished the combined two-hitter.

Yu Darvish (0-1) allowed one run in six innings on four hits and three walks, striking out five. His 3-10 career record against Oakland is his worst against any big league opponent.

Yonder Alonso homered during a three-run eighth (see full recap).

Ozuna goes deep, Conley pitches Marlins past Mets
NEW YORK -- Marcell Ozuna hit a mammoth home run and Adam Conley allowed one hit through five innings to lead the Miami Marlins over the New York Mets 8-1 on Saturday night.

Christian Yelich crashed into the outfield fence for a fantastic catch that robbed Yoenis Cespedes of extra bases in the eighth. Otherwise, the Marlins breezed to their third consecutive win on another windy night at Citi Field.

Giancarlo Stanton and leadoff batter J.T. Realmuto each got three hits for Miami. Realmuto and Ozuna had two RBIs apiece, and Miguel Rojas also drove in a pair of runs with a sacrifice fly and a safety squeeze.

After outhitting the Mets 13-3 in this one and outscoring them 15-3 during the first two games of the series, the Marlins will go for a sweep Sunday night on national television. Miami had lost its previous five series against the Mets, silenced at the plate by Conley (1-0) once again.

Mets rookie Robert Gsellman (0-1) lasted five innings (see full recap).

Bryant, Cubs break out in 11-6 win over Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- NL MVP Kris Bryant broke out of his early slump by driving in his first three runs of the season and the Chicago Cubs overcame a shaky start by Kyle Hendricks to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-6 Saturday night.

Bryant had managed a mere single in 16 at-bats this year before going 3 for 6. He hit a two-run double in the third inning and an RBI single in the fourth.

The World Series champions got a season-high 17 hits. An infield single by Hendricks put the Cubs ahead to stay 5-4 in the fifth off reliever Jhan Marinez (0-2).

Hendricks (1-0), who led the majors with a 2.13 ERA last year, made his first start of the season and gave up four runs in the first inning (see full recap).

Kershaw gives up back-to-back homers for 1st time in career
DENVER -- Clayton Kershaw surrendered back-to-back homers for the first time in his career, with Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra going deep in the sixth to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 on Saturday night.

Reynolds lined a two-run homer off Kershaw (1-1). Three pitches later, Parra followed with a solo shot to help the Rockies improve to 5-1 for the third time in franchise history.

This was only the third time Kershaw has allowed multi-homers in an inning over his career. The Dodgers ace went six innings and gave up four runs, including three homers, in his first loss to the Rockies since July 12, 2013.

Jon Gray turned in a strong outing during a no-decision, allowing one run over 5 1/3 innings. Mike Dunn (2-0) got two outs in the sixth to earn the win and Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Nolan Arenado lined a hanging curveball from Kershaw in the first to deep center. He has two homers after tying for the NL lead with 41 last season.

Andrew Toles added a solo homer in the fifth for the Dodgers to tie it (see full recap).