Phillies-Mets 5 Things: Much Better Matchups This Weekend for Rhys Hoskins

Phillies (42-70) vs. Mets (52-60)
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The big stories coming out of last night's Phillies game were the debut of Rhys Hoskins and the confusing finger injury that limited Vince Velasquez to one inning.

The game's result was yet another embarrassing Phillies loss to the Mets, continuing a theme that has lasted six seasons. 

1. Wait ... whose house is this?
The Mets' personnel doesn't even seem to matter at this point. When they get to South Philadelphia, all they do is clobber baseballs.

Even without CBP-lovers Jay Bruce (now with Cleveland) and Lucas Duda (now with Tampa), the Mets hit four homers that accounted for nine of their runs in a 10-0 win. 

The Phillies are 14-37 against the Mets since 2012 ... at home. That's a .275 winning percentage. That's a 45-117 full-season pace. That's pathetic.

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That 14-37 mark vs. the Mets since 2012 is the second-worst divisional record for any major-league team at its own park. (The Mets are 15-41 at home since 2012 against the Nationals.)

In the last 22 meetings at Citizens Bank Park, the Mets have 50 home runs. Ricky Bottalico said last night on Phillies Postgame Live that if he was in the Mets' front office, he'd be pushing to have Citi Field's dimensions changed to CBP's - and he wasn't joking.

The Mets had 16 men on base last night. The Phillies had five. Granted, the Phillies faced a locked-in Jacob deGrom.

2. Hoskins' debut
How 'bout that for a first test? "Hey Rhys, we know you've been playing left field for three days, but go do it in a major-league park, and while you're at it, face one of the game's best pitchers."

Batting seventh, Hoskins went 0 for 2 with a walk.

In his first at-bat against deGrom, Hoskins took the first pitch out of the strike zone but it was called a strike because deGrom is an ace and Hoskins is a rookie. Those little subconscious biases exist for umpires. The at-bat ended with a nasty two-seam fastball that froze Hoskins for a strikeout.

In his second at-bat, Hoskins hit a ball sharply up the middle but the Mets had him positioned perfectly so it was a double play.

In his final plate appearance, Hoskins fouled off two pitches on a 3-2 count and worked a leadoff walk.

Every major-league pitcher poses some sort of challenge, but these next three games against the Mets should give Hoskins a chance to succeed. Tonight, he'll face Seth Lugo, who has a 4.55 ERA. On Saturday, the Phillies face Steven Matz, who has a .315 opponents' batting average vs. righties. On Sunday, the Phils get Chris Flexen and his 8.49 ERA.

3. One of two extremes
This matchup feels like it will either be great or terrible for Nick Pivetta. He's a hard-throwing right-hander who strikes out a lot of batters and gives up a lot of home runs. The Mets are a boom-bust offense that strikes out a lot and hits a lot of home runs.

The guess here is that we'll either be looking at a Pivetta line of six innings, a couple runs and 10 strikeouts, or 3⅔ innings, three homers and a bunch of runs. Either is a possibility for a pitcher who has a mid-to-high-90s fastball and a tight slider but throws too many pitches in the heart of the plate.

Pivetta is 4-7 with a 5.89 ERA in 16 starts. He's struck out 84 batters in 84 innings and allowed 17 home runs, 15 to right-handed hitters. Lefties have hit .228 with a .658 OPS against Pivetta; righties have hit .298 with a 1.005 OPS.

Pivetta had an excellent start against the Mets on July 2, but that was at pitcher-friendly Citi Field, where the Mets' dominance over the Phillies is not nearly as pronounced. On that night, Pivetta allowed just one hit over seven innings, a solo homer to T.J. Rivera.

With how frustrating the season has been for Vince Velasquez, the Phillies would really like to see Pivetta finish strong so they can enter the offseason knowing they have at least one decent, hard thrower in the rotation. Both pitchers have a lot of upside but it's tough to have two guys so inconsistent on the same five-man staff. 

4. Conforto or Nola?
It's a debate we'll be having for years. Michael Conforto was taken three picks after Aaron Nola in the 2014 MLB draft and both have had eerily similar careers to this point.

Conforto, just like Nola, was very impressive as a rookie in 2015 before struggling in 2016. Just like the Phillies with Nola, the Mets went into last winter seeking some answers about Conforto.

Both have been the most promising part of their team's 2017 season. Nola has been on a historic run of allowing two or fewer runs, and Conforto has been an on-base and power machine. In 389 plate appearances this season, Conforto has hit .290/.396/.573 with 24 homers and 61 RBIs. He's either going to be atop the Mets' lineup or in the middle of it for years.

I sent out a Twitter poll last May asking fans which of the two players they'd take if they got into a time machine and went back to draft night 2014. The response was 85 percent Nola, and that was before he hit a new level this season. I sent it out again Friday and am curious to see whether it changes.

5. This and that
• Mark Leiter Jr. made some Phillies history last night, becoming the first Phillies reliever ever to strike out at least seven batters in two straight appearances.

In his last two outings, Leiter has allowed one run in 9⅓ innings with no walks and 16 K's. Might the Phillies have found themselves a Chris Devenski-like relief weapon?

• Can Jorge Alfaro get a start? Cameron Rupp has been behind the plate for seven of the Phillies' last eight games.

• If you didn't already believe this was the year of the home run, check this out: In 2014, there were 57 players with 20-plus home runs. This season, with about 50 games remaining for every team, there are already 59 players to do so. The Phillies have none of the 59, but Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph will likely both reach 20.

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