NEW YORK – After their first in-season Sunday off day since 1933, the Phillies got another Monday, thanks to Mother Nature. Snow, cold and the quitless winter of 2017-2018 forced postponement of the Phils' game against the Mets at Citi Field. It will be made up July 9. Snow is not in the forecast that day.
The extra day off may cool some of the spotlight that has shined on the Phillies - for mostly the wrong reasons - in the first few days of the season.
Manager Gabe Kapler and his bullpen moves have become an early-season cause celebre. Kapler went to the ‘pen early on opening day and the Phillies ended up blowing a 5-0 lead in a loss at Atlanta. Kapler stuck to his guns the next day and the Phillies won in extra innings, but everything went haywire in the series finale Saturday and the manager took the blame for an embarrassing communications breakdown that left him waving a cold reliever into the game.
Despite all the negative attention the Phillies' season-opening series generated, there were a few good things that happened in Atlanta - and more of them must happen in New York because, ultimately, wins are the only thing that will cool the heat on Kapler.
Among the good:
• Though it was short, Aaron Nola was brilliant in his first start.
• The bullpen was outstanding in the second game, a 5-4 win in 11 innings. Eight relievers racked up seven innings of one-run ball and, with two days off, the bullpen will be rested heading in the Mets series.
• Cesar Hernandez went 4 for 13 with a double, a homer and two walks.
• Rhys Hoskins went 5 for 10 with two runs, two doubles, a homer and three RBIs. He walked once and was hit by a pitch, fueling a .583 on-base percentage. He struck out just once. He gave the Phillies an early lead in all three games.
Since debuting in August, Hoskins has a 1.045 OPS, fourth-best in the majors behind J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton and Kris Bryant over that span.
• After Saturday's night 15-2 loss, Kapler mentioned how he was pleased with the number of pitches the hitters were seeing. Entering Monday, the Phils were seeing 4.30 pitches per plate appearance, second only the St. Louis (4.53).
• Scott Kingery debuted with a pair of two-hit games, this after a spring in which he .411 (23 for 65). Kingery had 10 extra-base hits in spring training. Two of his hits in Atlanta were doubles.
A couple of notes from the minors:
• Right-hander Jose Taveras, who pitched his way onto the 40-man roster last season and was projected to open at Triple A, is on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, slowed this spring by the flu, is throwing in extended spring training camp. He will likely be assigned to Clearwater when he's ready.
• Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley, the team's top two picks in the last two drafts, will open the season in the same outfield at advanced Single A Clearwater.
• And finally, updated pitching matchups for the series against the Mets:
Tuesday night – Ben Lively vs. Matt Harvey
Wednesday afternoon – Aaron Nola vs. Noah Syndergaard