Phillies (42-69) vs. Mets (50-61)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App
The Phillies are back home tonight after going 3-5 on a three-city road trip, and they're giving their fans a treat, as overdue as it may be: Rhys Hoskins will be called up for tonight's game.
Assuming Hoskins is in the Phils' lineup tonight, it won't be an easy debut against Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
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1. Hoskins time
The Phillies probably waited too long in calling up Hoskins, but he's here now and the organization will get its look at how he fares initially against major-league pitching. You have to remember that Hoskins saw plenty of up-and-coming and former big-league pitchers during his 115-game stint at Triple A; it's not as if he compiled his numbers against fringy players with no future or past.
The Phils are hoping Hoskins' best skills - power and plate selection - translate to the bigs. Sure, there will be more strikeouts and fewer walks early in his career, but the hope is that Hoskins eventually develops into a 25- to 30-homer guy with a high on-base percentage at the game's highest level.
The Phillies simply haven't had that in the middle of their order in seven years. They've had players like post-Achilles Ryan Howard or Domonic Brown who hit a lot of home runs with a low batting average and OBP, but they haven't had a player who hits for power and takes his walks. The last Phillie with at least 25 home runs and an on-base percentage of .350 was Jayson Werth in 2010. (Howard also did it that year.)
Hoskins had been playing left field at Triple A this week for the first time since college. He'll likely be mixed in at left field and first base the rest of the season.
Some fans are wondering why Hoskins is shifting to LF to accommodate a player who may not have a long future in Tommy Joseph. The simple answer is that's where the open spot is at the moment with Aaron Altherr on the DL. Long term, Hoskins and not Joseph will likely play first base. But Joseph is still here so why not utilize him and give him a chance to boost his numbers heading into the offseason?
2. It's been a while
The Phillies have played just three of their last 96 games against the Mets so they haven't had an up-close look at just how things have collapsed for Terry Collins' club.
The 2017 Mets have been ravaged by injuries.
Noah Syndergaard has been out since April 30 with a lat injury.
Closer Jeurys Familia was suspended the first 15 games of the season and has been out since early May with a shoulder injury.
Matt Harvey also has a shoulder injury and was pitching poorly before landing on the DL.
Zack Wheeler is out now with a biceps injury.
Leg injuries have limited Yoenis Cespedes to 66 games, and his power has decreased in a year when seemingly everyone else's power has increased.
The Phils are also getting Mets at the right time - their top run producer, Jay Bruce, was traded to Cleveland last night.
3. Tenth time's the charm?
The Phillies have lost all nine times they've faced deGrom. He's allowed more than two runs only once in his last eight starts against the Phils, and he struck out 12 when he last faced them on June 30.
In 22 starts this season, deGrom is 12-5 with a 3.36 ERA. Since debuting in 2014, he has a 2.88 ERA with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.4 walks in 98 starts. Yet he's made just one All-Star team.
Through all the Mets' ups and downs the last four seasons - playoff runs, elite pitching performances, off-field controversies, myriad injuries, declines - deGrom has been the steadying force in their rotation. He's yet to have a disappointing year. The Mets this season are six games over .500 when deGrom pitches and 15 games under .500 when anyone else pitches.
With deGrom, you have to worry about a mid-90s fastball and sinker, a slider, curveball and changeup. His slider usage has increased in each of the last three seasons and is holding opponents to a .213 clip this year. Beyond deGrom's repertoire, a hitter also has to worry about his often plus command and his wiry 6-foot-4 frame coming right at them.
The only current Phillie with any type of success against deGrom is Freddy Galvis, who's 6 for 19, all singles. The rest of the team is a combined 13 for 74 (.176) with one home run, belonging to Cameron Rupp.
4. Good matchup for Velasquez
The Mets strike out a lot and just lost their cleanup hitter, so this could be a productive night for Vince Velasquez.
Velasquez walked six Rockies in his last start, but it can be viewed as a success anytime you leave Coors Field having allowed two runs. He enters tonight's game 2-6 with a 4.82 ERA and a ratio of 67 strikeouts and 33 walks in 71 innings.
Velasquez's two starts against the Mets earlier this season did not go well, though this is a more depleted New York team. He faced them April 12 and April 19 in his second and third starts of the season and allowed a combined eight runs in 11 innings. The Phillies lost both games, 5-4.
Velasquez has been very good in two of his last four starts but hasn't lasted past the fifth inning in the other two (albeit against top offenses in the Astros and Rockies). At this point, it seems silly to talk about momentum when it comes to him because his success is really just dictated by whether he has command on a given night and can avoid long, foul-ball-filled at-bats.
Michael Conforto is 4 for 7 with a pair of homers off Velasquez. Cespedes is 2 for 8 with a double, homer and two walks. Asdrubal Cabrera is 5 for 11. All other active Mets are 4 for 40 with 12 strikeouts.
5. This and that
• Two more extra-base hits last night for Odubel Herrera, both triples. Since July 4, Herrera has the fourth-highest slugging percentage (.688) in the National League, behind only Giancarlo Stanton, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado.
• Bruce had four homers and 12 RBIs in nine games against the Phillies this season. Lucas Duda has 14 homers, 35 RBIs and a .946 OPS in 47 games at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies are more than happy that both are no longer Mets.
• Curtis Granderson was hitting .148 with a .488 OPS on May 15. Since then, he's very quietly hit .274 with a .974 OPS. He's another August trade candidate for the Mets.