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PHILADELPHIA -- Saturday's matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets features two young pitchers trending in opposite directions.
A surging Aaron Nola will head to the mound for the Phillies to face a scuffling Steven Matz for New York in the third game of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets have won the first two games and are 5-0 this season in Philadelphia.
Nola is in the midst of the best stretch in his three-year major league career. The 24-year-old right-hander has been dominant in his last nine starts with a 1.76 ERA, .207 batting average against and a 10.3 K/9 rate since June 22.
The Phillies' first-round pick from the 2014 MLB Draft, Nola has gone at least six innings in all nine of those outings and has not surrendered more than two earned runs in any of them. He went seven innings in his last start, holding the Colorado Rockies to two runs and six hits with seven strikeouts.
"I can't say enough about him, he's been outstanding," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told CSN Philly of Nola. "We're all really happy about the progress he's made. He's turned the corner, I think. I don't have enough accolades for him."
Saturday will be Nola's third career start against the Mets, who have hit him hard in his previous two outings. Nola has allowed 10 runs and 16 hits in nine innings against the Mets. Nola gave up four runs in five innings against New York when he faced them this season on April 20.
As Nola has hit his stride in his third season, Matz -- who has never faced the Phillies -- is going through one of his roughest stretches as a professional.
The left-hander has an 11.03 ERA in his last six starts. Opponents are hitting .418 with a 1.149 OPS against him during the 22 2/3-inning span. In his last start, Matz gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
"I've got to keep my confidence up, because the moment I don't do that, it starts to snowball," Matz told NJ.com after the outing. "I just need to keep working, try to address some things and keep moving forward."
Both Matz and Nola could be seeing some unfamiliar faces as the Mets and Phillies have both made recent promotions.
Phillies first baseman/outfielder Rhys Hoskins made his major league debut Thursday night and hit cleanup on Friday, going 0-for-4. Mets first baseman Dominic Smith made his Mets debut Friday night, collecting his first big league hit with a single up the middle before leaving the game in the sixth inning as part of a double switch.
The Phillies will be hosting a special, on-field ceremony to honor Wall of Fame members as part of the team's Alumni Weekend. Mike Schmidt, Jim Thome and Charlie Manuel are among those who will attend. The team originally was set to add Pete Rose to its Wall of Fame, but those plans were cancelled as Rose is facing statutory rape allegations.