Opposite dugout: Phillies hope Hoskins continues to shine in September

PhilliesLogo.jpgManager: Pete Mackanin (3rd season)

Record: 53-86

Last 10 games: 5-5

Who to watch: LF Rhys Hoskins (.309/.425/.734 with 12 HR, 27 RBIs), CF Odúbel Herrera (.288/.333/.465 with 12 HR, 48 RBIs), 1B Tommy Joseph (20 HR, 65 RBIs), RHP Aaron Nola (10-10, 3.72 ERA), RHP Héctor Neris (3.02 ERA with 19 saves)

Season series vs. Nationals
: 5-7

Pitching probables:

Sept. 7: RHP Aaron Nola vs. RHP Tanner Roark, 7:05 p.m., MASN
Sept. 8: RHP Jake Thompson vs. RHP Max Scherzer, 7:05 p.m., MASN2
Sept. 9: RHP Mark Leiter Jr. vs. RHP Edwin Jackson, 7:05 p.m., MASN
Sept. 10: RHP Ben Lively vs. TBA, 1:35 p.m., MASN

Inside the Phillies:

Well, well, well ... long time no see, Phillies. I’m not sure which is longer: the distance between the Nats and Phills in the National League East or the time it’s been since they last played each other. But seriously, these two teams could not be futher apart at this point in the season, with the last-place Phillies 32 games behind the Nationals and their last meeting coming in a doubleheader on May 14. This four-game set in D.C. is the penultimate meeting between these two clubs before the season series wraps up in two weeks in the Philadelphia.

The only real reason to tune in to Phillies games nowadays is to check out star rookie Rhys Hoskins. The 24-year-old left fielder/first baseman has been on a tear over the first month of his major league career. Since making his debut on Aug. 10, Hoskins is slashing .309/.425/.734 with a 1.159 OPS, 12 home runs and 27 RBIs over 27 games. His onslaught through August earned him NL Rookie of the Month honors, while the fifth-round selection from 2014 led all qualified rookies in runs scored, homers, extra-base hits, RBIs and slugging. Over a five-game stretch from Aug. 23-27, Hoskins went deep in every contest to match the longest such streak in major league history, becoming just the sixth player to match the record. He also became the first player in Phillies history to record a hitting streak of at least 13 games within his first 30 major league games. Although he was held out of last Sunday’s game with a hand injury, Hoskins played in all three games of the Phillies’ series against the Mets before coming to D.C. He had his 19-game on-base streak broken on Wednesday’s rain-shortened finale loss to New York.

Manager Pete Mackanin will send his ace Aaron Nola to the mound for the series opener at Nats Park. Nola is the Phillies’ only double-digit winner with a 10-10 record and 3.72 ERA. Nola has been pretty consistent in giving his skipper a solid outing, recording a quality start in 14 of his 23 outings. The right-hander hasn’t faced the Nationals since back-to-back starts in early April in which he went 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA. Jake Thompson gets the call for Friday night’s game. Having gone back and forth between the big league club and Triple-A Lehigh, Thompson has gone 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in seven appearances (four starts) with the Phillies. His only outings against the Nats came out of the bullpen in May, when he pitched one shutout inning with two strikeouts and then gave up two runs in two innings two days later. Rookie Mark Leiter Jr. will get his first start against the Nats on Saturday night. In his only other appearance, he pitched two shutout innings to close out a 6-2 loss in Philly. He hasn’t found much success since becoming a starter, going 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA. Ben Lively will be the fourth and final right-hander to start for the Phillies this weekend. Over 11 starts, the rookie is 3-5 with a 3.92 ERA and hasn’t faced the Nationals. Lively, too, has been able to produce solid outings, posting eight quality starts.

The Phillies bullpen will look a lot different since that doubleheader in May. Juan Nicasio and Joaquin Benoit were traded to the Pirates and Pat Neshek was shipped to the Rockies. But right-hander Héctor Neris is still kicking it in the back end with a 3.02 ERA and 19 saves.

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