Phillies get another look at Alvarez vs. Mets

PHILADELPHIA -- Even though Pete Mackanin and Terry Collins are set to move on from their respective clubs following the conclusion of their weekend series, both managers are still preparing their teams for the future with every move they make.

"Once the game starts I'm managing," Mackanin said.

On Saturday, the Phillies will get another look at former All-Star Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 3.60 ERA) in his return from a shoulder injury. With spots noticeably up for grabs in the Phillies' starting rotation next spring, Alvarez is a name that general manager Matt Klentak will be keeping an eye on, especially Saturday.

In nine career starts against the New York Mets, Alvarez is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA, but the righty hasn't faced them since his 2014 All-Star campaign with the Miami Marlins. After throwing five innings and surrendering four runs against the Oakland A's in his season debut, Alvarez bounced back in his last start against the Atlanta Braves, hurling five shutout innings while throwing 89 pitches.

Another player the Phillies will be keeping a close eye on is third baseman Maikel Franco. Franco mashed a two-run home run off Mets starter Matt Harvey in the second inning on Friday night after not appearing on Mackanin's lineup card in the previous two games.

While Franco doesn't know if he will get the start at third base on Saturday, he is taking it in stride and focusing on his swing.

"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. That's what I do right now."

Mackanin remains confident in the powerful third baseman.

"We still have a lot of confidence in him, I think," he said. "He needs to make an adjustment and when he does I think he's going to be good. I think he's going to really become a better hitter. That's all he needs to do is become a little more disciplined."

Collins originally planned to send his most consistent starter, Jacob deGrom (15-10, 3.53 ERA), to the mound on Saturday. The righty was in search of his 16th victory, and facing the Phillies offered a good chance to get it, since he has a 6-1 career record and a 2.78 ERA against the Phillies.

However, deGrom will miss his final start of the season with an illness. Seth Lugo (7-5, 4.72) will take the ball for the Mets on Saturday.

Lugo has faced the Phillies twice in his career and is 0-0 with a 6.97 ERA in those appearances. He started against the Phillies once this season, giving up eight hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The shuffling of the starters will allow New York right-hander Noah Syndergaard to start one more game this season in the series finale Sunday.

"As far as Noah, we're going to get him back out there one more time and let him throw some pitches and let him go home feeling good about himself," Collins said.
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