Phillies

Phillies-Padres 5 things: Mark Leiter Jr. back on the bump as a starter

Phillies-Padres 5 things: Mark Leiter Jr. back on the bump as a starter

Phillies (43-73) at Padres (52-66)
10:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

The Phillies dropped their series opener Monday night in San Diego despite a decent outing from Jerad Eickhoff.

Fortunately, there were positive signs from their offense, and tonight they'll be putting one of their better arms of late on the hill.

1. Homerin' Hoskins
What was best? The silent treatment after Rhys Hoskins' first major-league blast, the fact that he added a second homer later on or his family's celebration of the two shots?

The answer is all three. After starting his career with the Phils 0 for 12, Hoskins notched his first hit Sunday and sent two baseballs into the stands Monday night — the first at 402 feet and the second at 400 — becoming the first Phillie to hit two homers in a game this quickly since Don Money in 1969. It was only a matter of time until the 24-year-old slugged a home run, especially given that he was leading the International League with 29 before his promotion last week.

So what does Hoskins have planned for his encore performance? The Phillies hope Hoskins provide consistent offense like Nick Williams has delivered since he arrived from Lehigh Valley. 

Hoskins was slashing .284/.385/.581 at Triple A, and if he can come somewhat close to those numbers with the big club, the Phils could see their offense begin to take another step forward.

Tonight Hoskins will face Padres righty Dinelson Lamet, who has been particularly good against right-handed batters. Right-handed hitters are hitting just .147 against Lamet, who is allowing a .276 average from lefties.

2. Leit it up
The last couple of appearances couldn't have gone much better for Mark Leiter Jr. Over the span of two lengthy relief appearances in the last 10 days, Leiter has tossed 9 1/3 innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits with a whopping 16 strikeouts.

This all comes after a rough month-and-a-half for the 26-year-old. Following his first major-league win at Arizona on June 23, when he went six shutout innings, Leiter watched his ERA balloon from 3.60 to 4.86 in just four outings with the Phillies and has been up and down between Philly and Lehigh Valley.

If Leiter can now carry his consistency over from the bullpen, there's a legit chance that he could stick in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Certainly, Eickhoff and Aaron Nola aren't going anywhere, but it's not clear when Vince Velazquez will be back on the hill, and neither Nick Pivetta or Zach Elfin has been very good.

Leiter won't blow you away with speed, but his deception and control have been incredibly good as of late, and none of these Padres have ever faced him before, meaning he'll likely have the upper hand early on Tuesday night. The son of an 11-year MLB pitcher now has his chance to show that he deserves to stick around for a while.

3. Top of the shop
Of the Phils' 11 hits Monday night, seven came from the first four guys in the Phillies' order. Hoskins, Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera each had a pair plus one from Cesar Hernandez. Add in Williams (who hit sixth), and that's not a bad group to move forward with.

The question now becomes whether the Phillies can find some top-to-bottom offense. They still rank second-to-last in the majors in runs scored (the only team behind them is San Diego) and they are third-to-last in homers (San Francisco, the team they'll play next, is last).

It's not necessarily a matter of whether the Phils are actually winning games right now, but you're talking about guys (including Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr) that are all 27 years old or younger and under team control for at least another season.

While the pitching remains a major uncertainty, the Phils need to hope that this group of guys, or at least a few of them, can become their offensive core. 

4. So much for a relief
Let's just be blunt about it: Ricardo Pinto was downright bad Monday night. He needed 45 pitches to get through two innings, surrendered five runs on just four hits, gave up two walks and a solo homer to Cory Spangenberg.

On the bright side, the rest of the Phils' bullpen will be available tonight. Still, no one among that group has a sub-3.00 ERA and is there anyone that you actually trust?

It's hard to imagine Leiter going too deep into tonight's contest, meaning that someone is going to have to finish the game off and potentially hold a lead. It may not be a problem now, but you can only hope that some guys emerge going forward.

5. This and that
• Hoskins isn't the only Phillie to hit a pair of home runs in the game which he hit his first homer. Scott Rolen did it back on Aug. 21, 1996 — but that was also his 21st major-league game.

• Leiter's best outings this year all have come against the NL West, oddly enough. His first win came at Arizona, his nine-strikeout performance was in Colorado and he's shut out both San Francisco and the Dodgers in relief appearances.

Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

ap_joe_girardi_rob_thomson_yankees.jpg
AP Images

Phillies looking toward the Bronx in future-shaping week

Phillies officials begin an important work week Monday, one that will have a significant impact on the team's future.

On Monday, the club will host Joe Girardi at Citizens Bank Park in a second interview for the team's open manager's job.

Girardi met with team officials last Monday in the New York metropolitan area. He is the third candidate to receive a second interview for the position. Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter visited Philadelphia for second interviews on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The Phillies have a narrow focus in their search for a new skipper; they are seeking someone with previous big-league managerial experience. Girardi, Showalter and Baker, with 53 combined years of big-league managing experience and seven manager of the year awards, are the only candidates for the position and it is possible the team could make a hire this week. Thursday could be a target for an announcement as the World Series pauses for an off day between Games 2 and 3.

The Phils could make another important announcement this week. Multiple sources around baseball say the Phils have completed their search for a new amateur scouting director and that Brian Barber is the guy they are locked in on. Barber is a highly regarded national scout for the New York Yankees. His hiring by the Phillies could be announced this week. Barber will replace Johnny Almaraz, who last month stepped down as the Phillies' director of amateur scouting.

Of course, Barber isn't the only man with Yankees roots in the Phillies' sights. Girardi won four World Series rings with the Yankees — three as a player and one as a manager — and is believed to be the Phillies' preferred candidate for manager. 

In addition to having a wealth of experience in running a game with his instincts and intuition, Girardi is well versed in the use of analytics in roster building and game management. Phillies ownership has committed millions to building an analytics department and the club is looking for a manager who can blend a traditional approach to running a game and a team with an approach that uses data and analytics. Girardi managed the Yankees from 2008 to 2017 and in that time the team became an analytics powerhouse.

Girardi is also a candidate for the New York Mets managerial opening. It is not clear if the Mets are prioritizing previous big-league managing experience like the Phillies are. The Mets have interviewed Girardi as well as a number of candidates who have not managed in the big leagues, such as Carlos Beltran and Eduardo Perez.

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It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

Jeopardy has been home to some great moments regarding Philadelphia sports in the past.

 I wish this was another one of these moments ... but it's not.

 It turns out, the show's host host Alex Trebek isn't a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic ... I know, I'm hurt too.


 The Phillies are in disbelief, we all are.
 
 Of course, fans had quite the reaction to the video that surfaced on social media. After all, the Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports (totally unbiased, of course).




 

I don't even want to know what he thinks about Gritty.

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