The post-curveball-machine Phillies are 1-0 and hitting .442.
Behind 19 hits, the Phils beat the Mets, 13-7, on Monday night to snap a seven-game losing streak. It came hours after a group of Phillies - J.T. Realmuto, Brad Miller, Sean Rodriguez, Andrew Knapp - was on the field to do some early hitting against breaking balls, both from a live arm and the machine.
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There was a whole lot of early scoring in this one, but Maikel Franco's two-run home run to center field off Steven Matz in the bottom of the fifth put the Phillies ahead for good. They erased Mets leads in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
After six innings, 33 of the 69 total batters in the game had reached base. J.D. Hammer's clean top of the seventh was the only 1-2-3 inning for either side all night.
Another new-look lineup for Gabe Kapler, with Scott Kingery in the leadoff spot, looked strong. Up and down the lineup, the Phillies made loud, powerful contact. It wasn't just limited to the top of the order - the Phils' 5-through-8 hitters were 8 for 17 with two walks, a homer, a triple and four RBI. Between the offensive breakout, the power and even the intentional walk to Franco in the eight-hole, it felt like April again.
With the win, the Phillies are 40-38. They avoided falling back to .500 for the first time since they were 0-0. The Mets are 37-42 and have lost nine of 14.
Confidence-builder for Franco
Franco needed a game like this. He reached base in each of his first four plate appearances, crushed a two-run shot off the brick wall past center field, and made multiple sterling defensive plays. On two different occasions, Franco charged a softly hit ball, barehanded it and fired to first base. Both resulted in outs, though one of the plays was overturned. Still, there are few third basemen in the game who make that particular play more effectively and consistently than Franco.
Franco thrives on confidence. He is perhaps more affected by it than any other Phillie. This night should result in more starts for him in the Mets series. It's not as if the Phils are bursting with better options.
Franco's home run came on a 3-0 pitch. According to the Phillies, Franco's five career home runs on 3-0 pitches are the most in Phillies history since that stat began being tracked. Chase Utley had four.
Big production up top
Expect to see this lineup for at least a few more games. Kingery had two hits in the leadoff spot, Jean Segura had his first four-hit game as a Phillie, Bryce Harper had two well-struck doubles and Rhys Hoskins went deep.
Harper's 23 doubles are second-most in the National League behind only Pittsburgh's Josh Bell. Harper also threw out Matz at third base from medium-deep right field in the fourth inning.
Segura has shown signs lately of snapping out of a slump that saw him go 17 for 97 (.175) in the 25 games leading into Monday. Segura has a modest six-game hitting streak and is 9 for 25 over that span with two homers and two doubles.
The Phillies need this version of Segura back. The season-ending loss of Andrew McCutchen hurt badly by itself but it also coincided with Segura's cold streak and the result was so much less offense out of the Nos. 1 and 2 spots in the Phillies' order.
A night to forget for Zach Eflin, who allowed 11 hits, six runs and three homers over five innings. He had trouble putting Mets hitters away and the three home runs came on counts of 0-2, 1-2 and 0-1.
The Phillies have not gotten a combination of quality pitching and quality hitting on the same night lately. Eflin's ERA rose from 2.83 to 3.26 in his worst start of the season.
It's a rare four-game series against the Mets in which the Phillies will not face Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard. The ace deGrom went on Sunday, and Syndergaard has a rehab start Tuesday before potentially being activated against the Braves this weekend.
Tuesday night at 7:05 - Jake Arrieta (6-6, 4.12) vs. Walker Lockett (0-1, 23.14)
Wednesday night at 7:05 - Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.54) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.75)
Thursday afternoon at 1:05 - Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.55) vs. Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.69)
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