Phillies

Phillies 13, Mets 7: With another new lineup, Phillies have best offensive game of season

Phillies 13, Mets 7: With another new lineup, Phillies have best offensive game of season

The post-curveball-machine Phillies are 1-0 and hitting .442.

Behind 19 hits, the Phils beat the Mets, 13-7, on Monday night to snap a seven-game losing streak. It came hours after a group of Phillies — J.T. Realmuto, Brad Miller, Sean Rodriguez, Andrew Knapp — was on the field to do some early hitting against breaking balls, both from a live arm and the machine.

There was a whole lot of early scoring in this one, but Maikel Franco's two-run home run to center field off Steven Matz in the bottom of the fifth put the Phillies ahead for good. They erased Mets leads in the first, fourth and fifth innings.

After six innings, 33 of the 69 total batters in the game had reached base. J.D. Hammer's clean top of the seventh was the only 1-2-3 inning for either side all night.

Another new-look lineup for Gabe Kapler, with Scott Kingery in the leadoff spot, looked strong. Up and down the lineup, the Phillies made loud, powerful contact. It wasn't just limited to the top of the order — the Phils' 5-through-8 hitters were 8 for 17 with two walks, a homer, a triple and four RBI. Between the offensive breakout, the power and even the intentional walk to Franco in the eight-hole, it felt like April again.

With the win, the Phillies are 40-38. They avoided falling back to .500 for the first time since they were 0-0. The Mets are 37-42 and have lost nine of 14.

Confidence-builder for Franco

Franco needed a game like this. He reached base in each of his first four plate appearances, crushed a two-run shot off the brick wall past center field, and made multiple sterling defensive plays. On two different occasions, Franco charged a softly hit ball, barehanded it and fired to first base. Both resulted in outs, though one of the plays was overturned. Still, there are few third basemen in the game who make that particular play more effectively and consistently than Franco.

Franco thrives on confidence. He is perhaps more affected by it than any other Phillie. This night should result in more starts for him in the Mets series. It's not as if the Phils are bursting with better options.

Franco's home run came on a 3-0 pitch. According to the Phillies, Franco's five career home runs on 3-0 pitches are the most in Phillies history since that stat began being tracked. Chase Utley had four.

Big production up top

Expect to see this lineup for at least a few more games. Kingery had two hits in the leadoff spot, Jean Segura had his first four-hit game as a Phillie, Bryce Harper had two well-struck doubles and Rhys Hoskins went deep.

Harper's 23 doubles are second-most in the National League behind only Pittsburgh's Josh Bell. Harper also threw out Matz at third base from medium-deep right field in the fourth inning. 

Segura has shown signs lately of snapping out of a slump that saw him go 17 for 97 (.175) in the 25 games leading into Monday. Segura has a modest six-game hitting streak and is 9 for 25 over that span with two homers and two doubles. 

The Phillies need this version of Segura back. The season-ending loss of Andrew McCutchen hurt badly by itself but it also coincided with Segura's cold streak and the result was so much less offense out of the Nos. 1 and 2 spots in the Phillies' order. 

Eflin rocked

A night to forget for Zach Eflin, who allowed 11 hits, six runs and three homers over five innings. He had trouble putting Mets hitters away and the three home runs came on counts of 0-2, 1-2 and 0-1. 

The Phillies have not gotten a combination of quality pitching and quality hitting on the same night lately. Eflin's ERA rose from 2.83 to 3.26 in his worst start of the season.

Up next

It's a rare four-game series against the Mets in which the Phillies will not face Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard. The ace deGrom went on Sunday, and Syndergaard has a rehab start Tuesday before potentially being activated against the Braves this weekend.

Tuesday night at 7:05 — Jake Arrieta (6-6, 4.12) vs. Walker Lockett (0-1, 23.14)

Wednesday night at 7:05 — Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.54) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.75)

Thursday afternoon at 1:05 — Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.55) vs. Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.69)

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After hot start vs. Walker Buehler, Phillies lose another player to injury as Jay Bruce exits

After hot start vs. Walker Buehler, Phillies lose another player to injury as Jay Bruce exits

Even when things are going right for the Phillies, there's pain involved. Just the way it's gone these last six weeks. With the Phils leading 6-1 in the third inning Tuesday night, Jay Bruce was forced out of the game on an 0-2 count with a strained right oblique.

Bruce has been such an impactful hitter for the Phillies. He entered Tuesday's game hitting .261 with 10 homers, 29 RBI and an .851 OPS in 32 games. He's among the MLB leaders in game-winning hits since joining the Phillies on June 3.

With an oblique injury, that's probably a stint on the IL. Oblique strains tend to sideline a player for three to four weeks. If Bruce does miss time, Logan Morrison could be the next man up. The Phillies signed the veteran left-handed hitter to a minor-league deal over the weekend.

Morrison definitely has power. He hit 38 home runs in 2017 for the Rays and has always been a low-batting-average power hitter with decent plate selection. There's a chance that over the short term, Morrison could make up for some of Bruce's production. 

Keep in mind, too, that we were already seeing the beginning of the inevitable Bruce regression. He is 0 for 14 since the All-Star break.

Nick Williams could be another option to replace Bruce. Williams has been on fire at Triple A, hitting .358 with 10 doubles, six homers and a 1.068 OPS in 120 plate appearances.

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Scream? Kick a chair? 'I'm not f---ing Dallas Green, never will be,' Gabe Kapler says

Scream? Kick a chair? 'I'm not f---ing Dallas Green, never will be,' Gabe Kapler says

If you're waiting for Gabe Kapler to yell and scream about the current state of the Phillies, to kick over a chair or flip over a table, you'll be waiting a long time. 

It's not his personality. It's not how he views leadership. It's not, in his opinion, the most effective way to send a message.

The topic came up again Tuesday after the Phillies' disgusting 16-2 loss to the Dodgers Monday night, a game that featured maybe their worst two innings of the season. In the fourth, the Phillies were out of position on a safety squeeze, allowed a steal of home and then forgot how many outs there were. In the eighth inning, they were forced to turn to Roman Quinn to pitch because the bullpen was so wretched that it turned a six-run deficit into a 13-run deficit.

Asked Tuesday if he thinks he needs to express more anger to his players, Kapler said, "I'm not f---ing Dallas Green."

"I think many people are looking for me to behave in a certain way," Kapler said. "Who are the managers who stand out through history who are respected in these situations? It's Lou Piniella, it's Dallas Green. Right? These are the guys who you expect to see handle these situations. 

"It's not my personality. It's not who I am. I don't think it's the best way to motivate people. So I don't do it. But it doesn't mean that I don't have every possible conversation and it doesn't mean that I don't care deeply and passionately about making our players. It doesn't mean that I won't look under every stone to give them every opportunity and support to be the best versions of themselves. I'll continue to do that. 

"I just don't do it in the way that many people think it should be done. I'm not going to apologize for that. I'm not going to say like, 'Man, I should be Dallas Green.' I'm not f---ing Dallas Green. I never will be."

Two ways to look at this. On the one hand, Kapler deserves some credit for remaining true to himself and not caving to media or fan pressure to act in a manner he doesn't feel will work. On the other hand ... maybe it will work? How can you know until you try? So far, attempting to push and motivate this team through constant support, harmony and looseness has not worked. It has not stopped the losing.

"It's something that I think about a lot. I think there's more than one way to motivate," Kapler said. "If you have 25 different personalities in a room, some of them are going to respond to some styles of leadership and others are going to respond to other styles of leadership. It's not every person in the room is the same way. That's not baseball. That's human behavior."

Kapler and his staff will continue to look for ways to motivate this Phillies team, that is somehow, someway still tied for the second wild-card spot despite losing 24 of its last 39 games.

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