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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Staff
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies (42-69) look to extend their winning streak against right-hander Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets (50-61) Thursday evening in the opening game of this homestand.
The Phillies will send right-hander Vince Velasquez to the mound to face the Mets who are now in fourth place in the National League East.
Rhys Hoskins will hope to make his own impact behind Velasquez, making his major league debut tonight in left field. He was originally drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. He has spent the majority of his career as a first baseman and was hitting .284/.385/.581 with 24 double, three triples, and 29 home runs in AAA Lehigh Valley this season.
Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff earned the win of Wednesday night, pitching six and two-thirds innings and giving up two runs (both earned) on nine hits, no walks, and six strikeouts. Left-handers Adam Morgan and Hoby Milner and right-hander Edubray Ramos combined to pitch a scoreless one and a third innings, allowing no base runners. Closer Héctor Neris walked one and struck out one on his way to his thirteenth save of the season.
The Phillies have won their last three games, last eight against National League East opponents, and hold a 23-19 record against the National League East this season.
Starting Pitching Matchup:
deGrom Career vs. PHI : (5-0), 9 G, 57 2/3 IP, 43 H, 17 R, 15 ER, 12 BB, 59 SO, 2.34 ERA ;
With Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard out with injuries, deGrom, 29, is the clear ace of the Mets pitching staff. He has the fifth most strikeouts in Major League Baseball with 170 (second in the National League, Max Scherzer), and is tied for seventh for the most wins this season (fifth in the National League).
16 of deGrom’s 22 starts this season have come as quality starts, with four of those coming in his last five. Since June 12, the right-hander has gone 8-2 with a 1.98 ERA in 72 2/3 innings pitched. Over that stretch, he has struck out 76 while walking only 16. Opposing batters are hitting .191/.239/.335 in that time.
Season Splits, By Month
Velasquez Career vs. NYM : (1-2), 5 G, 26 1/3 IP, 23 H, 14 R, 11 ER, 11 BB, 29 SO, 3.76 ERA
Velasquez, 25, continues to struggle with injuries, missing eight starts this season with an elbow injury. Since his return from the disabled list, he has gone 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 14-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio, with six of those walks coming in his last start.
Getting deep into the game has been an issue for Velasquez as he has pitched six innings or more in only five of his 14 starts this season, often throwing around 100 pitches to get through five innings.
Velasquez has struck out 21.57% of batters he’s faced this season, down from 27.59% last season. Meanwhile, he has walked 10.71% of batters compared to just 8.17% last season.