Lively, Phillies power past Mets
PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies benefited from three homers to defeat the New York Mets 6-2 on Friday, the same day they announced that manager Pete Mackanin will not be retained following the 2017 season.
Mackanin, like his Mets counterpart Terry Collins, will finish the season as manager and could possibly have won his final game in a Phillies’ uniform. Despite getting the news that he would no longer be managing the team going forward, Mackanin was still in the game on Friday night.
“Once the game starts, I’m managing,” Mackanin said.
Phillies starter Ben Lively (4-7, 4.26 ERA) closed his rookie season in the big leagues with a win, throwing six innings of two-run baseball and not walking a batter.
Lively made an early mistake to Jose Reyes, who hit his 15th home run of the season on an 0-1 pitch in the bottom of the first inning to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead.
“I just saw that happen and I was like ‘Alright, let’s go with other pitches,’” Lively said. “Tonight I was like ‘Let’s get to my second stuff and see if they can handle that’ and luckily it was good and I was throwing strikes with them. And when I had to throw a fastball I just made sure I stayed down with it.”
The bats came to Lively’s rescue on Friday night, as they’ve done for much of the second half of the season for the Phillies.
Third baseman Maikel Franco answered with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning off Matt Harvey to put the Phillies on top. Franco sat out the final two games of the Phillies’ previous series against the Nationals, but he’s remained confident despite his inconsistent appearances in Mackanin’s lineup card.
“I always feel confident,” Franco said. “I always believe in myself. Every time I see the lineup and I just pull my mentality ready every single day and do the best I can. ... Sometimes yes, no question it’s a little bit difficult because you get used to playing every single day. ... I always stay positive and I always try to do my best that I can.”
Odubel Herrera hit a sacrifice fly to score shortstop Freddy Galvis, extending the Phillies’ lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third. Harvey, making his sixth start after a 2 1/2-month stay on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, balked home Nick Williams after a pitch slipped from his hand mid-delivery.
Dominic Smith brought the Mets back within a run, 4-2, with a solo home run in the top of the fifth on Lively’s second mistake of the evening.
But the Phillies power surge wasn’t done, even when Harvey exited the game after four innings. Rookie catcher Jorge Alfaro mashed a solo home run off reliever Hansel Robles in the bottom of the sixth and second baseman Cesar Hernandez followed suit two batters later to extend the Phillies’ lead to 6-2.
Harvey (5-7, 6.70 ERA) took the loss, lasting four innings and surrendering four runs, all of them earned, while walking three and striking out as many.
Collins was encouraged by the progress he’s seen in Harvey, despite the result.
“I continue to see some real bright spots,” Collins said. “His arm action is so much better than it was when he first came back. He’s getting himself in a good position. I think he got a little fatigued and I think the fact that he had to do so much to get back this summer, but I tell you it is going to be there. I told him when he came out, ‘Payback next year is going to be fun for him.’”
Collins stressed the importance of getting Harvey and Noah Syndergaard on the mound before the end of the season to prepare them for 2018.
“I think it’s a positive,” he said. “As far as Noah, we’re going to get him out there one more time and let him throw some pitches and let him go home feeling good about himself.”
NOTES: The Phillies will not retain manager Pete Mackanin as manager following the 2017 season, the team announced. ... Over their last 30 games, the Phillies bullpen has posted a 2.45 ERA which ranks second in all of baseball during that span, trailing only the Washington Nationals (2.34 ERA). ... The Mets are 6-1 in Citizens Bank Park this season and have out-homered the Phillies 22-7 in Philadelphia. ... The Mets lead the National League in home runs with a record 223 this season, a feat they’ve accomplished just three times in their history (1988, 1989, and 1990).