Phillies welcome the stumbling Mets to South Philly for an important weekend set

Phillies set to host the Mets
The Phillies have an opportunity this weekend to deliver a fatal blow to the Mets and their postseason chances while elevating their own with a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.

Entering play today, the Phillies are on the outside looking in at the Wildcard race - sitting 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the second slot. The Mets, meanwhile, sit five games off the pace and desperately need to secure a series win this weekend to snap a current six-game losing skid.

Aaron Nola, who has been outstanding for the better part of the last two months, will start tonight's opener for the Phillies. He tossed seven innings in his previous outing earlier this week, allowing three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and just one walk in a 3-2 loss in Miami.

Nola has a 2.89 ERA over his last seven starts coupled with a 0.94 ERA. He's been one of baseball's best pitchers since the All-Star break and has put up solid career figures against the Mets, going 7-1 over 12 starts with a 3.28 ERA.

Breaking Through
Rhys Hoskins has struggled this month, hitting just .138 in August with two homers and six RBIs. Since the All-Star break, he's hitting just .174. The good news though is that he showed signs of life on Wednesday in the Phils' 12-3 win over the Pirates, collecting a double, triple, a walk, and two runs scored in the victory. It was his first multi-hit game since July 24.

If the Phillies expect to contend for a playoff berth, Hoskins has to build off Wednesday's effort and continue to turn things around.

“It seemed like he was on the fastball all night," manager Gabe Kapler said of Hoskins' performance. "The other thing I noticed is how relaxed his body language was and his facial expressions were when he was up to the plate, particularly when he got to two strikes.”

Hoskins aside, the Phillies offense has performed well over the last week. The club's .297 batting average over the last seven days is fifth-best in baseball, and the Phils are tied for the third-most runs with 44.

Meet the Mets
Riding a six-game skid, the Mets turn to Zack Wheeler tonight to start the series opener. The righty has struggled over his last three starts, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA.

Former Phillie Wilson Ramos is New York's hottest hitter, riding a 22-game hit streak that included a single on Thursday in a 4-1 loss to the Cubs. He's hitting .292 on the season with 13 dingers and 64 RBIs, but over his last seven games he's hitting an astounding .522.

“The streak is amazing,” manager Mickey Callaway told reporters before Thursday’s game. “Every night, he has the ability to slap one the other way. It’s really an approach thing that allows him to extend this streak like it’s been extended.”
__________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: