Instant Replay: Mets 6, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Mets 6, Phillies 2


Rhys Hoskins picked up his first big-league hit in his fourth game Sunday, but poor baserunning from his teammates and two more home runs from the Mets did the Phillies in during a 6-2 loss.

Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs but managed just one run. Odubel Herrera, who otherwise had another nice offensive day, made a costly baserunning blunder by not paying attention to Freddy Galvis or third base coach Juan Samuel.

With nobody out and the sacks full, Nick Williams hit a fly ball to medium-deep center field, but Galvis faked a tag-up from third base. An unfocused Herrera ran to third with his head down and the Phillies had two men on third. Herrera was tagged out for an inexcusable double play.

The Phillies dropped three of four games to the Mets to fall to 43-72 on the season.

Since 2012, the Phils are 15-39 at home against the Mets, who have 55 home runs in their last 23 games at Citizens Bank Park.

Starting pitching report
Zach Eflin pitched pretty well most of the afternoon but the Mets' two most powerful lefties — Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson — touched him up with two-run home runs.

Eflin allowed four runs on seven hits over 5⅓ innings with no walks and five strikeouts. He has a 5.76 ERA in 10 starts after posting a 5.54 ERA in 11 starts last season.

Mets right-hander Chris Flexen put 10 men on base and needed 98 pitches to complete five innings but allowed just two runs, lowering his ERA from 8.49 to 7.02.

Bullpen report
Jesen Therrien came on in relief of Eflin and got two quick outs for his second straight scoreless outing.

Adam Morgan pitched two scoreless innings of relief. He's lowered his ERA from 6.43 to 5.35 over his last four appearances.

At the plate
Herrera had the baserunning blunder but once again, the good outweighed the bad. Herrera singled and walked twice, extending his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest single-season streak by a Phillie since Raul Ibanez hit in 18 straight in 2010.

We've outlined many times how hot Herrera has been since the beginning of June, but another promising development is his recent control of the strike zone. At the All-Star break, hitting coach Matt Stairs pushed him to walk more than he struck out in the second half. Since then, Herrera has 12 walks and 17 K's. Prior to the All-Star break, he had 16 walks and 84 K's.

Hoskins picked up his first big-league RBI in the first inning and his first hit in the fifth. Hoskins started his Phillies career 0 for 12, matching Chris Coste in 2006 for the longest hitless streak to start a Phils career since Lonnie Smith in 1978-79.

Hoskins also walked for the third time in four games.

Williams had a rough day, going 0 for 3 and leaving seven men on base.

Conforto and Granderson each stayed hot for the Mets.

In 31 career games against the Phillies, Conforto has hit .295 with a 1.040 OPS, seven doubles, nine homers and 25 RBIs.

Granderson, who could still be traded at some point this month, has been locked-in since mid-May. He's hit .284/.407/.597 since May 15 with 14 doubles, 15 home runs and 36 RBIs and it seems like nobody has noticed.

Yoenis Cespedes had the day off.

In the field
Reliever Edubray Ramos fielded a groundball from Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh and threw it in the dirt to first base. Hoskins, in his first major-league start at first base, couldn't make the tough scoop.

Up next
The Phillies head to California for a seven-game road trip this week that includes three games in San Diego and four in San Francisco.

Monday, 10:10 p.m. — Jerad Eickhoff (3-7, 4.45) vs. LHP Travis Wood (2-4, 6.71)

Tuesday, 10:10 p.m. — TBA vs. Dinelson Lamet (6-4, 5.00)

Wednesday, 3:40 p.m. — Nick Pivetta vs. LHP Clayton Richard (5-12, 5.14)

Phillies touch base with agent Scott Boras on Mike Moustakas and free-agent pitchers

Phillies touch base with agent Scott Boras on Mike Moustakas and free-agent pitchers

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Scott Boras, baseball’s most high-powered agent, has forged an undeniable chemistry with the Phillies and owner John Middleton, in particular, over the two years. It started with the pursuit and eventual signing of Jake Arrieta before the 2018 season and reached a crescendo last winter when the club signed Bryce Harper to a staggering $330 million contract.

Boras will look to capitalize on that chemistry again this winter. The Phillies have needs and he has solutions.

On the pitching side, Boras represents several free-agent starters, including the two biggest stars on the market, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. He also represents lefties Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the majors’ ERA champ in 2019.

The Phillies, as documented, are very much in need of starting pitching.

They also could look to add a third baseman this winter as they allow top prospect Alec Bohm more development time and consider a possible move to another position for him. Boras represents two top free-agent third basemen, Anthony Rendon and Mike Moustakas.

It is likely that the Phils will look to spend the bulk of their free-agent budget on pitching — and it’s difficult to argue with that approach. That could leave the Phillies as interested bystanders in the Rendon sweepstakes as Rendon is seeking a lengthy, mega-dollar deal. The Phils will certainly monitor the market for Josh Donaldson, another free-agent third baseman, but the best fit in terms of dollars and years might be Moustakas, who has played the last two seasons in Milwaukee on one-year contracts.

According to multiple sources, Phillies officials touched base with Team Boras here at the general managers meetings this week and the two sides discussed a number of subjects — and not just pitching.

In other words, Moustakas is very much on the Phillies’ radar.

The Phillies' most pressing need remains starting pitching. Cole is the biggest name on the market. The Phillies will be in the hunt for him, though the Angels and Yankees may pull out all the stops to sign him to what could be a multi-year deal worth more than $250 million. Boras disclosed Wednesday that he recently had lunch with Angels owner Arte Moreno. He would not say if he’d recently broken bread with Middleton.

“Well," he said with a grin, "I’ll let John tell you about that."

Boras, as he typically does at the general managers meetings and winter meetings, which arrive next month, talked up his top clients in florid language.

“If this were major-league Christmas, we would be looking at 30 stockings that clearly wanted a lump of Cole,” he said, referring to his stud right-handed client. “I think starting pitching has become back in vogue. It’s an aggressive market.”

Boras employed an oceanic analogy when referencing Strasburg.

“In the oceans of the playoffs, the Strasburg sank many contending ships,” he said.

Strasburg, along with fellow ace Max Scherzer, helped the Washington Nationals win the World Series last month.

“There are general managers who I said four or five years ago to that, ‘You’re going to have a very hard time winning a world championship if you don’t sign this player.’ And I’m very happy to say that player was Max Scherzer,” Boras said. “I told that to three teams and they have not won and he did win.

“The reality of it is that those No. 1 kind of guys, those special arms, take you through the playoff seas. You have to have them because when it comes down to that, you end up throwing 70 percent of the innings (in the postseason) among three guys. 

“It all boils down to what’s important to (teams), what’s important to their ownership, what drive do they have to get to where they are really going to take risks. All of these things are risks in their minds. But that’s how you win. You take risks. You pay Max Scherzer $30 million a year when no one else would, and by doing that, you’ve been rewarded.”

Boras became convinced that Middleton wants to win after the Phillies signed Harper last winter. 

“I don’t see any stop sign in John’s pursuit of his goal and that’s a world championship,” Boras said. “He’s an owner that has been very straightforward about his path and his commitment. He’s very, very involved in the franchise and it’s really good to see owners really be that committed to their city, to their team. We should really have a dynamic where when people are that involved, they’re going to be as competitive as they feel they need to be to create the winning product they want.”

Boras said the economic value of Harper’s signing with the Phillies — i.e., branding, attendance, TV ratings, merchandise sales, etc. — “will pay the next two years of Harper’s contract.” Harper is more than just the Phillies’ right fielder. He is an influential voice in the organization and his will to win is as strong as the owner’s.

Would Harper, Boras’ mega client, push Phillies ownership to sign one of Boras’ big free-agent pitchers, or, perhaps, one of his third basemen?

“Knowing Bryce, I’m sure that he will be offering a lot of opinions about how to get better and what to do and I’m sure they are listening to him as well,” Boras said.

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Phillies move closer to hiring hitting coach, but could they lose staff to Gabe Kapler and Giants?

Phillies move closer to hiring hitting coach, but could they lose staff to Gabe Kapler and Giants?

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — The Phillies are looking to have a hitting coach in place in the next week or so, according to general manager Matt Klentak.

The field of candidates has been thinned with veteran hitting coach Chili Davis returning to the New York Mets. By all indications, that leaves Joe Dillon and Matt Stairs as the two finalists for the Phillies’ job, though it’s not uncommon for late candidates to emerge. The Phillies interviewed both Dillon and Stairs last week and were in contact with Davis, as well. Dillon has been Washington’s assistant hitting coach the last two seasons. Stairs was the Phillies’ hitting coach in 2017 and the Padres’ hitting coach in 2018.

Dillon might be the favorite because of his close connection to Kevin Long, Washington’s hitting coach. Long was hitting coach with the Yankees during Joe Girardi’s time as manager of that club. Girardi, the Phillies' new manager, has great respect for Long’s work and Long has called Dillon the best assistant hitting coach in baseball.

“I think we’re looking for the best possible candidate to work with our guys, and obviously with a new manager it’s going to be important that the person is on the same page philosophically with Joe,” Klentak said of the hitting coach job. “We’re interviewing people with a variety of backgrounds, some of whom this would be their first time as a hitting coach and others that have done it for some time. We’re just looking for the best possible candidate. We’re not going in with a specific resume that someone has to have.”

At the moment, hitting coach is the only opening on the Phillies’ coaching staff. However, it would not be surprising if another spot were to open now that the San Francisco Giants have named Gabe Kapler manager. Kapler was fired as Phillies skipper last month and could seek to take a member or two of the Phillies’ holdover coaching staff with him. Potential departures could include first base/outfield coach Paco Figueroa, assistant hitting coach Pedro Guerrero, catching instructor Craig Driver or bullpen coach Jim Gott. All are under contract with the Phillies for 2020 but the club might let one or two of them go so Girardi could have more say in building his coaching staff. Girardi oversaw the hiring of pitching coach Bryan Price and, obviously, has much say on the hitting coach hire.

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