Phillies send Leiter to the mound, Altherr and Herrera return in series opener against Mets

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Staff

NEW YORK — After a series win against the Miami Marlins, the Phillies will send right-hander Mark Leiter, Jr. to the mound Monday afternoon in the hopes that he can set the club up for another series win against the New York Mets.

Both Mark Leiter and the Mets starter, right-hander Rafael Montero, are likely competing for rotation spots on their respective teams next season. Each pitcher has started quite a few games (Leiter with six starts, Montero with 13) and pitched out of the bullpen (Leiter with 16 relief appearances, Montero with 15) this season. Both have been sent back to AAA twice this season and have seem to return stronger.

Yesterday’s game against the Marlins was all about pitching, with right-hander Jake Thompson pitching six innings of three hit ball. He struck out seven, walked none, and had only one run scored against him on a wild pitch that got past Jorge Alfaro in the fifth inning. His performance was followed by a scoreless seventh and eighth inning from righties Juan Nicasio and Luis García, each pitching one full inning. Neither allowed a baserunner in their respective innings. Lefty Adam Morgan picked up the win by filling the long man role in extra innings, pitching three innings of no hit ball with only one walk and a strikeout. Closer Héctor Neris came in to pitch the twelfth inning and although he gave up a leadoff walk followed by a base hit, he was able to strikeout two for a scoreless inning and his 19th save of the season.

Phillies outfielder Nick Williams played the hero, hitting a two run single off of Marlins right-hander Junichi Tazawa in the top of the twelfth to score pitcher Ricardo Pinto, who was pinch running for outfielder Daniel Nava, and César Hernández.

The Phillies should receive and offensive boost today with the return of outfielders Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera to the active roster. Although neither will start, the pair returning is good news for a team that has two injured outfielders on the roster in Daniel Nava and Pedro Florimon.

With yesterday’s win, the Phillies have won 28 of 56 matchups against National League East opponents. That number drops to just 16 of 40, however, if you remove the Phillies dominance of the Atlanta Braves this season.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (52-84) New York Mets (58-78)
RHP  Mark Leiter RHP Rafael Montero
(2-4, 3.88 ERA) (3-9, 5.12 ERA)

Leiter Career vs. NYM : (0-0), 1 G, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 1.80 ERA ;

    Leiter, 26, has been catching attention from the Phillies and their fans this season, despite his starting the season in minor leagues. He has bounced repeatedly between AAA Lehigh Valley and the major league team as well as between being a starter, reliever, and long man depending on what the Phillies need due to injuries, similar to the role Kyle Kendrick filled for the club in the 2011 season.

    In his six starts this season, Leiter has given the Phillies three quality starts. He has also made it at least five innings in each start and has yet to give up more than four earned runs in any of his appearances in the majors.

    The right-hander is a bit undersized and may not have the speed on his pitches of many aces in the majors, but he has learned how to pitch and use his report of six pitches to keep opposing batters on their toes and pound the strike zone.

    Despite a reputation for not being a “strikeout pitcher”, Leiter has managed to strike out many more batters this season with the improvement on his split-finger fastball. He has struck out 57 opposing batters over only 65 innings in the majors this year, and another 38 batters in 30 innings at AAA Lehigh Valley.

    Season Splits, By Month

    • April: 0 GS, 1 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 IP, 0 SO, 0 BB, .000/.000/.000
    • May: 0 GS, 10 G, 0-0, 5.74 ERA, 15 2/3 IP, 11 SO, 11 BB, .175/.309/.333
    • June: 2 GS, 3 G, 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 13 1/3 IP, 12 SO, 4 BB, .250/.304/.481
    • July: 1 GS, 2 G, 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 6 IP, 5 SO, 4 BB, .273/.414/.500
    • August: 3 GS, 6 G, 1-2, 3.41 ERA, 29 IP, 29 SO, 6 BB, .236/.294/.409

Montero Career vs. PHI : (0-2), 6 G, 15.1 IP, 28 H, 18 R, 16 ER, 7 BB, 16 SO, 9.39 ERA

    Montero, 26, has faced the Phillies two times this season already. In both outings, he was stuck with the loss. On April 18th, Montero gave up four runs (three earned) in only 1/3 of an inning as a relief pitcher. He made a start against the Phillies on July 2nd, going 6 1/3 innings while giving up four runs (all earned).

    His first trip back to AAA was as a result of that first meeting with the Phillies, where he came in to pitch the top of the tenth inning but was only able to get one out on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Rupp that gave the Phillies the lead before allowing three more runs to score. He was recalled on May 5th, but was sent back to AAA again on May 26th.

    It was an injury to Josh Smoker that brought Montero back up to the Mets on June 14th. Although he hasn’t been the best, he has been able to get deep into games quite often, making it six innings or more in six of his ten starts since then. He has also battled his way down to his current ERA of 5.12 after holding an 8.24 ERA prior to the June 14th recall.

    Season Splits, By Month

    • April: 0 GS, 6 G, 0-2, 9.45 ERA, 6 2/3 IP, 6 SO, 8 BB, .485/.571/.515
    • May: 2 GS, 7 G, 0-2, 7.62 ERA, 13 IP, 14 SO, 9 BB, .315/.422/.500
    • June: 1 GS, 3 G, 1-0, 1.46 ERA, 12 1/3 IP, 15 SO, 4 BB, .190/.255/.190
    • July: 4 GS, 5 G, 0-3, 5.84 ERA, 24 2/3 IP, 22 SO, 10 BB, .290/.358/.495
    • August: 6 GS, 7 G, 2-2, 4.15 ERA, 34 2/3 IP, 35 SO, 16 BB, .290/.371/.420

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (52-84) New York Mets (58-78)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1  2B  César Hernández  S 1  SS  José Reyes  S
2  SS  Freddy Galvis  S 2  RF  Norichika Aoki  L
3  CF  Nick Williams  L 3  3B  Asdrubal Cabrera  S
4  LF  Rhys Hoskins  R 4  1B  Dominic Smith  LF
5  1B  Tommy Joseph  R 5  C  Kevin Plawecki  R
6  3B  Maikel Franco  R 6  LF  Brandon Nimmo  L
7  RF  Hyun Soo Kim  L 7  CF  Juan Lagares  R
8  C  Cameron Rupp  R 8  2B  Gavin Cecchini  R
9  P  Mark Leiter  R 9  P  Rafael Montero  R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 1:10 p.m.
  • TV: CSN
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • Since June 14th, left-hander Adam Morgan has allowed only 10 runs to score in 35 innings pitched for a 2.57 ERA. Over that time, he has struck out 43 and walked 11. In his last 12 appearances, he has allowed only one run in 17 1/3 innings pitched, good for a 0.52 ERA since the beginning of August. He has struck out 22 and walked just two over that time.
  • Mets infielder José Reyes has reached base safely in 11 straight games. He is batting .389/.500/.500 over that stretch. He is five extra-bases behind Darryl Strawberry (469) for second place on the club’s all-time list. David Wright is first with 658.
  • Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro has successfully reached base in all of his 13 starts in the majors this season, walking twice in the only game he did not have a hit. He is batting .347/.373/.449 in 49 at bats this season.

What’s Next:

  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017: @ New York Mets, 7:10 p.m.
    • Citi Field
    • RHP Jacob DeGrom (14-8, 3.43 ERA) vs. RHP Ben Lively (2-5, 4.22 ERA)
    • TV: CSN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP