Since trading away their top power hitter the New York Mets have had an offensive breakthrough, something they will try to maintain Saturday in the third of four games at the Philadelphia Phillies. Right fielder Jay Bruce, who led the Mets with 29 home runs, was shipped to Cleveland earlier in the week as New York struggled for consistent offense while wrapping up a homestand, but the club has erupted for 17 runs while taking the first two games in Philadelphia.
Yoenis Cespedes drove in four runs, Michael Conforto homered for the fourth time in six games and rookie shortstop Amed Rosario had his first career blast to break a tie in the ninth inning and lift the Mets to a 7-6 win Friday. New York improved to 33-15 at Citizens Bank Park since the start of the 2015 season, which includes wins in all five meetings at Philadelphia this year. Phillies prospect Rhys Hoskins is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and two walks in two games since being called up from the minors, while Mets prospect Dominic Smith was 1-for-3 in his major-league debut Friday. Aaron Nola has found a nice groove for Philadelphia and will get the start Saturday opposite left-hander Steven Matz.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, WPIX (New York), NBC 10 (Philadelphia)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets LH Steven Matz (2-5, 5.77 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Aaron Nola (8-7, 3.12)
Matz’s slump continued in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, when he was reached for five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. That performance left the 26-year-old at 0-4 with an ERA of 11.03 over a span of six starts, all of which came after he spun seven scoreless frames in back-to-back road outings. While he has faced other National League East foes Atlanta, Miami and Washington a combined 15 times, Matz has never pitched against the Phillies.
Nola is 5-2 with a 1.76 ERA over his last nine starts, allowing two runs or fewer each time. He has recorded at least seven strikeouts in eight of those nine outings, including seven more over as many frames in a no-decision at Colorado on Sunday. The 24-year-old has given up 10 runs in nine innings over two career meetings with the Mets.
1. Phillies CF Odubel Herrera finished 2-for-4 on Friday and has hit safely in a career-high 14 straight games.
2. Philadelphia RH Vince Velasquez (finger) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and IF/OF Ty Kelly was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
3. Cespedes has nine home runs in 17 career games at Citizens Bank Park.
PREDICTION: Phillies 5, Mets 4