The struggling Philadelphia Phillies will look to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the New York Mets on Friday.
The Phillies, who were swept at home in a three-game series by the Baltimore Orioles, have also dropped five of six.
J.T. Realmuto was a bright spot in Thursday’s 11-4 loss as he homered twice and drove in four runs.
“You’ve got to fight,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s not gonna get any easier.”
The Phillies are expected to turn to rookie right-hander Spencer Howard to reverse their fortune against the Mets. Howard (0-1, 7.71 ERA) will be making just his second career start.
Last Sunday in the second game of a doubleheader, Howard allowed four runs, including two home runs, in 4 2/3 innings of a loss to the Atlanta Braves.
“I was hoping for a complete-game shutout,” Howard said. “That’s what everybody would dream about. But just being able to compete at the highest level is a dream come true.”
Philadelphia’s bullpen has scuffled through the first 14 games, and Thursday’s loss was no different with seven runs allowed by three of the five relievers.
Prized prospect Alec Bohm doubled in his first major league at-bat as Girardi shuffled the lineup and gave struggling Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery the night off.
Girardi intimated that Hoskins will be back in the lineup against the Mets.
“As long as he’s doing his work and doing everything that he needs to do to be prepared, I don’t worry about it,” Girardi said of Hoskins, who’s hitting .190 with no home runs and one RBI.
The Mets, meanwhile, received a major scare in Thursday’s 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals with standout left fielder Jeff McNeil being carted off the field in the first inning.
McNeil went crashing into the wall with an outstanding catch against Asdrubal Cabrera. X-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging test both reportedly came back negative and McNeil isn’t expected to play Friday.
“When I got out there with the trainer, we were a little concerned just how he was talking to us,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of McNeil.
Catcher Tomas Nido contributed two home runs, highlighted by a grand slam, and six RBI for the Mets. Nido became the fifth catcher in franchise history with at least two home runs and six RBIs, joining Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, Todd Hundley and Paul Lo Duca.
“Hard work pays off,” Nido said. “I did work really hard this offseason and it just feels good to be able to help the team win.”
The Mets will hand the ball to Jacob deGrom, who has been terrific in four starts with a 2-0 record and 2.45 ERA. Over deGrom’s career against the Phillies, he’s 7-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 15 starts.
Last Sunday, deGrom allowed seven hits and two runs in five innings against Miami. But he was bothered by a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
“There’s a little hot spot, I guess,” said deGrom. “You could refer to it as that. It’s starting to get a blister, but I’ll file it off and hope it’s better for the next one. I felt it a little bit in Atlanta. Just the way the ball is coming out is causing a little bit of a blister. But I’m still going to go out there every fifth day.”
–Field Level Media