NEW YORK METS (89-67, first place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (59-97, fifth place/NL East)
PHILLIES SHORT HOPS
The Phillies removed the interim tag from manager Pete Mackanin’s title last Tuesday and signed him through 2016, with a team option for the following season. Mackanin, 64, ascended to the helm after Ryne Sandberg resigned on June 26. Mackanin also had managed on an interim basis with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005 and Cincinnati Reds in 2007. He was a teammate of Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen with the Montreal Expos in 1976 and ’77.
General manager Ruben Amaro was fired on Sept. 10. The Phillies are in the midst of their fourth straight losing season after winning five straight division titles. Andy MacPhail will succeed Pat Gillick as team president after the season.
The Phillies are three losses away from their first 100-loss season since 1961. They are on track to finish with the worst record in the majors for the first time since sharing that distinction with the Chicago Cubs in 2000.
Rookie Alec Asher, who made his major league debut on Aug. 30, is winless in five starts. Asher was acquired with Jerad Eickhoff in the trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers on July 31. Asher took the rotation spot previously belonging to Jerome Williams, who was moved to the bullpen. Eickhoff struck out 10 on Friday against the Washington Nationals -- the most Ks by a Phillies rookie since J.A. Happ on Aug. 5, 2009, against the Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies shut down rookie Aaron Nola after Saturday’s start against the Nationals because the rookie had reached an innings cap. Nola went 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 13 starts. He logged 187 innings between the majors and minors.
Domonic Brown has been shut down for the season because of lingering effects from a concussion, which he suffered on Sept. 2 flipping over the side wall on Ruben Tejada’s inside-the-park homer at Citi Field. Brown, 28, is a logical non-tender candidate this December because he is making $2.6 million and is eligible for arbitration. He hit .228/.284/.349 in 204 plate appearances.
Aaron Altherr on Friday became the first major leaguer to have an inside-the-park grand slam since Randy Winn on Oct. 3, 1999, with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Adam Loewen's relief appearance on Aug. 10 was his first in the majors since July 6, 2008. Loewen has a 7.94 ERA in 17 appearances. Loewen tried to convert to outfield in the minors before returning to pitching. He manned outfield for the Mets with Triple-A Buffalo in 2012.
David Buchanan has allowed four runs (three earned) in 11 innings in his past two starts to reduce his season ERA from 9.11 to 7.96.