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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


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).

Instant Replay: Phillies 6, Braves 1

Instant Replay: Phillies 6, Braves 1


The Phillies continued their mastery of the Atlanta Braves with a 6-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.

Nearly a quarter of the Phillies' wins have come against the Braves. The Phils are 49-81 overall and 12-2 against the Braves.

Rookie Rhys Hoskins continued to lead the Phillies. No, he did not hit a home run for the sixth consecutive game, but he did double home the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hoskins has 25 RBIs in his first 19 big-league games.

The attendance was 15,154, smallest since Oct. 1, 2015.

Starting pitching report
Aaron Nola rebounded from two tough starts and delivered seven innings of one-run ball. He scattered five hits, walked none and struck out six. Nola is 10-9 with a 3.46 ERA.

Braves rookie Lucas Sims gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Sims allowed just one run through the first five innings. He was hurt by extra-base hits in the sixth and seventh innings.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan closed it out for the Phillies.

Atlanta's Jim Johnson was charged with a pair of runs.

At the plate
Hoskins had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He doubled home Nick Williams, who had also doubled, with the go-ahead run in the sixth. Maikel Franco added a two-out RBI single in the inning to give the Phils some cushion and Cameron Rupp extended the lead with a solo homer in the seventh. Rupp has 30 homers over the last two seasons, tying him for second most among NL catchers.

Williams has 18 extra-base hits in 40 games since the All-Star break.

The Phillies pushed across two runs in the eighth, one on a sacrifice fly by Andres Blanco.

Nola drove in the Phillies' first run with a single in the third. The hit plated Pedro Florimon, who had tripled.

The Braves scored their run in the sixth. Dansby Swanson doubled against Nola and scored on a hit by Brandon Phillips.

In the field
Freddy Galvis made his latest gem at shortstop and Williams had a nice diving play in right field to end the top of the sixth.

Third baseman Franco made a fielding gem (with first baseman Hoskins making a nice scoop) for the second out in the seventh. Hoskins got the start at first with Tommy Joseph getting a night off. Manager Pete Mackanin said Hoskins would still get the bulk of his at-bats as a leftfielder as the season plays out.

Health check
Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr, both on the disabled list nursing hamstring injuries, won't be activated for another "three or four days," according to Mackanin. It's likely that both will be activated on Friday, when rosters expand.

Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Mark Leiter Jr. (2-3, 3.86) pitches against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8-8, 4.06).

Instant Replay: Phillies 7, Cubs 1

Instant Replay: Phillies 7, Cubs 1


The Phillies' offense continued to click in a 7-1 win over the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.

The Phils scored 28 runs in their previous series, but lost three of four to Miami because their pitching did not hold up.

It did in this game.

The Phillies trailed 1-0 after a half-inning but took the lead for good on a two-run home run by Rhys Hoskins (who else?) in the bottom of the first inning. The homer was the rookie's ninth in the last 12 games. Hoskins' nine homers came in the first 54 at-bats of his career, the fastest ever by a player in baseball's modern era — 1900 and beyond.

Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff (4-7) survived a first-inning home run to deliver five innings of one-run ball. Eickhoff had to pitch out of trouble a couple of times because he allowed eight baserunners, five hits and three walks. With his fastball velocity sitting under 90 miles per hour, he relied on his curveball and got some big outs with it, including a bases-loaded strikeout of Ian Happ to end the top of the fifth. Eickhoff registered eight strikeouts in all.

Cubs lefty Jose Quintana (4-2) gave up a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and six runs in all over five innings.

Bullpen report
Continued good work by lefties Hoby Milner and Adam Morgan. The duo combined for three scoreless innings. Morgan was especially impressive. Five of his six outs came on strikeouts. He hit 97 mph on the gun.

At the plate
Hoskins is the first player in major-league history to have nine homers in his first 16 games. He also has 21 RBIs.

Cesar Hernandez had a bases-loaded triple for the Phillies with one out in the second inning. Freddy Galvis followed with an RBI single.

Maikel Franco clubbed a solo homer in the eighth. It was his first homer since Aug. 6 and just his second this month. He has 18 homers for the season.

Kyle Schwarber homered off Eickhoff in the first inning for the Cubs' lone run.

On the bases
Hernandez and Galvis combined to put on a clinic in bad base running in the fourth inning. The Phillies put enough runs on the board to overcome the mistakes.

Health check
Pitcher Vince Velasquez is getting a second opinion on how to address the blood flow issue that will sideline him for the rest of the season (see story).

Up next
The series continues on Saturday night with Ben Lively (1-4, 3.70) pitching against Chicago right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.52).