Phillies

Phillies-Mets observations: Mark Leiter Jr.'s early hole proves too deep to climb out of in loss

Phillies-Mets observations: Mark Leiter Jr.'s early hole proves too deep to climb out of in loss

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — The Phillies continued to struggle against the New York Mets in an 11-7 loss Monday afternoon.

Phillies starter Mark Leiter Jr. was hit hard in taking the loss.

The Phillies are 3-9 against the Mets this season and 16-36 against them since the start of the 2015 season. The Phils have lost 21 of their last 30 games at Citi Field, dating to July 2014.

The Phillies made mistakes on the bases and in the field. This wasn't their worst game of the season, but it would probably rank in the top 5. At one point, the Phils trailed 10-0. 

The Phillies are 88-103 all-time on Labor Day.

• Leiter does not have overpowering stuff. When he's been successful, he has pitched at the knees and been able to work inside on hitters. He had trouble keeping his fastball out of the middle of the plate in this one. He gave up two homers in the third inning (to Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera), both virtually on the same pitch — 90 mph fastballs down the middle. Leiter was tagged for nine hits and nine runs.

• The Phillies have gone 141 consecutive games without using a left-handed starting pitcher. It is their longest such streak in nearly a century — since 1919. Adam Morgan was the Phillies' last lefty starter on Sept. 28 of last season. Speaking of Morgan, he has shined in the bullpen lately, showing a 96-mph fastball, a good slider, poise and control. That has prompted some to wonder if the Phils might give Morgan another shot to start down the stretch. Though he did not rule it out, manager Pete Mackanin did not sound like that was a route he wanted to take. "That's going to be a debate that we'll have, a conversation we'll have," he said. "Then the question becomes: Has he found his niche, or do you want to mess with that? I wouldn't want to.”

• Nick Williams had an adventure on the base paths in the fourth inning. He stole his first base as a big-leaguer, but he would have been out by six feet if hadn't contorted his diving body to elude the second baseman's tag after an off-line throw from the catcher. Moments later, Williams made the third out when he simply ran into third baseman Cabrera instead of making him throw the ball across the diamond. 

• Rhys Hoskins returned to the starting lineup. Odubel Herrera will do so Tuesday night (see story).

• Herrera entered the game as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. He ended a nine-pitch at-bat with an RBI single, raising his hitting streak to 18 games.

• Hoskins did not get a hit, but he was on base twice with a pair of walks. He worked a 10-pitch walk in the second inning.

• Hoskins had the bat taken out of his hands when Cesar Hernandez was caught stealing to end the top of the first.

• Maikel Franco grounded into his 19th double play of the season in the second inning. He and Tommy Joseph both rank in the top 10 in the NL in that category. Joseph entered the day ranked second in the league with 21, two behind leader Matt Kemp of the Braves.

• Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist, picked up on waivers from St. Louis, became the 47th player to appear in a game for the team this season. His debut was not good. He allowed a hit, two walks and a run. Thirteen of his 24 pitches were balls.

• Andres Blanco came off the bench and had three of the Phillies' 10 hits.

• Triple A Lehigh Valley clinched a berth in the International League playoffs Sunday. That won't delay J.P. Crawford's arrival to the majors. He will join the Phillies in New York on Tuesday (see story). The IronPigs were picked clean by the big club this season. Surging to make the playoffs is a nice accomplishment.

• The Phillies are using three rookie starters in this series. Ben Lively (2-5, 4.22) pitches Tuesday night against Jacob deGrom (13-8, 3.43). 

DeGrom owns the Phillies. He is 6-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 career starts against the Phils. He is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA (three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings) in three starts against the Phils this season. He has struck out 24 and walked just three.

Rookie Nick Pivetta (5-9, 6.28) will start for the Phillies on Wednesday against Matt Harvey (4-4, 5.97).

Manny Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, not happy with a couple reporters

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Manny Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, not happy with a couple reporters

There’s been a lot of back and forth so far this offseason in the national media with regard to Manny Machado. This week alone, ESPN has contradicted itself in reporting the number of years Machado has been offered by the White Sox.

Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, isn’t happy with how negotiations have been portrayed in the media, calling a couple of national reporters out by name.

You can understand why, because if the Buster Olney report Wednesday is accurate, the White Sox offer would be hard to take seriously (see story).

Lozano acknowledges this in the statement, but a contributing factor to the madness in the national media this winter has been the pace of the MLB offseason, which has gotten uncontrollably slow. When two superstars linger in free agency and delay the process this long for solid players available behind them, it invites speculation and games of leverage.

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Manny Machado sweepstakes are set up for Phillies to win

Manny Machado sweepstakes are set up for Phillies to win

Updated: 5:30 p.m.

If Manny Machado is still the Phillies' preferred big-ticket free agent — and the belief here is that he is — there is no excuse for them not landing him.

We base this on some new reporting from Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney reports that the Chicago White Sox, considered the Phillies' main competitor in the Machado sweepstakes, have offered the player a seven-year contract worth $175 million.

This is remarkably low considering Machado — and the game's other mega free agent, Bryce Harper — entered the offseason looking for record deals of more than $300 million.

To put this in perspective, there are already 13 players in the big leagues on deals of $175 million or more.

The Phillies have deep pockets and they have been gearing for this offseason for several years. If the number cited in the ESPN report is true, then the Phillies undoubtedly will blow by it — they probably already have — and make the most lucrative offer to Machado. Even if the White Sox were to add a year and $25 million (the average annual value of their offer) to their pitch to Machado, the Phillies would have no trouble blowing by that. There are a dozen players in the majors making at least $25 million per season. This is hardly stupid money, to use the phrase that has become legendary in these parts.

So, it's time to lock this thing down and go get Machado, especially if that $175 million figure is accurate.

Of course, issues remain in the Phillies' pursuit of Machado.

One is the Yankees. Are they in or are they out? Sources say they like Machado but won't go crazy to get him. Well, the prices being cited are hardly crazy. Maybe even the Cardinals would jump in at the White Sox' number. But would either of these teams spend stupid money? Probably not. Advantage Phillies.

The other factor is Harper. The Phillies had a very nice get-to-know-you meeting with him Saturday in Las Vegas, but there has been no firm sign that he has zoomed past Machado as the team's preferred free agent and there has been no firm sign that Harper prefers the Phillies over other suitors.

What is undeniable is that the Phillies have long pursued Machado. Their front office has been angling for ways to get him for two years. They tried to get him in July and are pursuing him at the moment. Now comes news that the Phillies' chief competitor hasn't even reached $200 million in its offer. This thing is shaping up beautifully for the Phillies, a team whose greatest resource is just what Machado is looking for — money.

Now, none of this ensures that this drama is about to reach an end. Surely, Machado and his representatives can't be thrilled that the market for the player isn't, well, more lucrative. Surely, they will wait this thing out and try to push the price higher.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Machado's agent, Dan Lozano, issued a sharply-worded statement and called Olney's report false and reckless.

Surely, Harper will continue to look for something more than the $300 million he reportedly turned down from Washington and may or may not still have on the table.

Other than Olney's report today, things seem very quiet on the Phillies' pursuit of these top two free agents. At least not a lot of new information has been revealed. This quiet could signal that talks between the Phillies and Machado have reached a sensitive stage. Or maybe talks between the Phillies and Harper have reached a sensitive stage.

The guess here is that the Phillies are still on Machado and this thing is set up for them to win.

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