The first-place New York Mets (38-31) kick off a stretch of 18 games in 17 days prior to the All Star break with a four-game set against the third-place Philadelphia Phillies (34-37). The Mets have taken five out of eight games against the Phillies this season, including all three at Citi Field.
The Mets played their second straight four-game series against an NL East team, splitting four with the Atlanta Braves earlier this week. Things started off with a doubleheader split on Monday, as the Mets won the first game 4-2 behind another stellar deGrom start. The ace lowered his ERA to 0.50 after tossing five shutout frames. The Mets broke through in the first on a wild pitch which scored Jonathan Villar, and broke the game open with a Dominic Smith bases-clearing double. Ozzie Albies cut the lead in half with a two-run shot off Seth Lugo, but Edwin Díaz shut the door in the seventh for the win.
The Mets dropped the nightcap 1-0, as they were unable to score Ian Anderson and two Atlanta relievers. Jerad Eickhoff gave the team a solid showing in his first outing for New York, but a Ronald Acuña Jr. home run against Miguel Castro in the fifth inning was the difference in the ballgame.
The Mets were shut out for a second straight game on Tuesday, dropping the contest 3-0. Marcus Stroman exited after one inning with a hip injury, though thankfully the news seems to be good since then. The bullpen pieced together eight admirable innings, with a three-run homer off the bat of Dansby Swanson in the third proving to be the difference. The bats were no match for Charlie Morton, who struck out 11 over seven of one-hit ball. For the first eight innings, Eickhoff’s pinch hit single was the lone hit for New York, which is all you really need to know.
The Mets salvaged a split behind Tyler Megill’s first major league start. Once again, the Mets got on the board first with a wild pitch in the first that scored Francisco Lindor, and a Smith ground out made it 2-0. The club tacked on three runs in the second, thanks to a Jeff McNeil run-scoring single and a Lindor two-run homer. The Braves drew to within two runs thanks to an Ender Inciarte two-run homer in the fifth and an Ehire Adrianza run-scoring single in the sixth, but the Mets tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth to put the game away. Megill turned in an inspiring effort, allowing two runs over 4.1 innings, and Corey Oswalt threw three innings of one-run ball to save an overworked Mets’ bullpen.
The Mets’ pitching has continued to excel at home, which is as big a reason as any that they’ve remained in first place for the past seven weeks. Overall this season, their pitchers have posted a 2.11 ERA at home, which tops the second-best club by a half-run. In addition, they have held opposing batters to a .244 wOBA and a .282 SLG, both of which are best in the league. It seems no matter who they plug in to pitch at Citi Field, the results have been there. By contrast, their pitching has put up a 3.97 ERA on the road. The pitching has carried the team, but with Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto returning—Brandon Nimmo is also expected back sometime during the next road trip—the hope is that the offense finally start to look like what people expected.
The Phillies have hit a bit of a rough patch prior to this series, dropping from second to third in the NL East. They arrive in New York as losers of six of their last eight games, which includes getting swept in a two-game series at home against the Washington Nationals. The team suffered a crushing defeat on Wednesday, blowing leads of 5-0, 9-5, and 12-11 as they fell 13-12. The Phillies are averaging 4.35 runs-per-game, which puts them squarely in the middle of the pack in MLB.
Philadelphia has gotten solid offensive contributions across from the board from the usual suspects this month. Andrew McCutchen is having a resurgent month, leading the way with six home runs while slashing .315/.424/.722 with a team-high 200 wRC+ and 0.8 fWAR in 66 at-bats. Bryce Harper, meanwhile, is hitting .288/.373/.600 with three homers, a 141 wRC+, and a 0.4 fWAR in 14 June games. J.T. Realmuto has a .270/.361/.460 slash line with three homers, a 125 wRC+ and a 0.6 fWAR in 17 games this month. On the other end, while Rhys Hoskins has five homers, he is struggling overall in June with a .167/.231/.431 slash line, a 78 wRC+, and a -0.1 fWAR in 17 games. Didi Gregorius, who has not appeared in a game since May 12, will not participate in this series, as he just restarted his rehab assignment yesterday. Former Yankee shortstop Ronald Torreyes has gotten most of the reps in his place and is hitting .245/.286/.434 with a 96 wRC+ and a 0.4 fWAR in 15 games this month.
Friday, June 25, Game 1: TBD vs. Taijuan Walker, 4:10 p.m. on SNY
The Phillies have not yet announced a starting pitcher for Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Mets.
Walker (2021): 74.1 IP, 77 K, 24 BB, 5 HR, 2.42 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 1.05 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
Walker labored in his last start, but he did well to give the team length when he clearly did not have his best stuff. He looked uncomfortable in the second after having to make two defensive plays, and had the team not been in desperate need on a longer performance by their starter, perhaps he would have exited earlier in the contest. In the end, he gave his club 6.1 innings of four-run ball while surrendering a season-high 10 hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five, and while it wasn’t one of his better starts this season, it was an admirable effort for the right-hander. He has faced the Phillies twice this year, allowing one run over 4.1 innings in Game 1 of their April 13 doubleheader, and then allowing four earned runs in six innings at Citizens Bank Park on May 1.
Friday, June 25, Game 2: Aaron Nola vs. David Peterson, ~30-45 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1 on SNY
Nola (2021): 85.1 IP, 95 K, 21 BB, 12 HR, 4.22 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
The Phillies have seen the best and worst of Nola over his last two starts. On June 13 against the New York Yankees, he tossed 7.2 scoreless innings, scattering three hits while striking out nine and issuing one walk. He followed that up with a stinker against the San Francisco Giants, as he allowed a season-high six earned runs on six hits while only lasting 2.1 innings. So which Nola will show up on Friday? Tune in to find out! He’s made two starts against the Mets so far this year, allowing one earned run over four innings at Citizens Bank Park on April 7 and then allowing three earned runs in five innings in Game 2 of the April 13 doubleheader in his second and third starts of the season, respectively.
Peterson (2021): 57.2 IP, 62 K, 26 BB, 9 HR, 5.31 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR
Peterson turned in his second straight encouraging outing after a rough beginning to the month of June. In his first two outing this month, he went a combined three innings and was tagged for nine earned runs on eleven hits. He turned things around on June 14 against the Chicago Cubs with six scoreless, one-hit innings. He followed that up against the Nationals on June 19 with 4.2 innings of one-run ball, falling just one out short of earning back-to-back victories but still giving the team exactly what they needed in a seven-inning game. His command wasn’t quite as solid as it was in his previous start, as he walked three hitters, but he did strike out six while allowing two hits. He’ll look to make it a third straight strong starts to close out the month against a team he’s become very familiar with this season. In three starts against the Phillies this year, he’s allowed six earned runs in four innings on April 7, one earned run in six innings on April 14, and one earned run on five innings on May 2.
Saturday, June 26: Zach Eflin vs. Jacob deGrom, 4:10 p.m. on WPIX
Eflin (2021): 84.0 IP, 83 K, 10 BB, 13 HR, 4.39 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
Eflin is having an interesting year, as he’s has given up the most hits (97) in the National League while sporting the fifth-worst HR/9 (1.37) among qualified National League starters. However, his 1.07 BB/9 is the best mark among qualified NL starters, and he’s tossed 69% of his pitches for strikes. He gives up a ton of contact, and the Mets will have a chance to take advantage of that and should look to be aggressive against the right-hander. He is someone Philadelphia expects to give them length, as he has only failed to complete at least five innings once this year, and has gone at least six in 11 of his first 14 starts. In his last outing, he allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, including a season-worst four home runs, in five innings against the Giants. In his lone outing against the Mets in 2021, he gave up a season-high ten hits but limited New York to two earned runs over six innings.
deGrom (2021): 72.0 IP, 117 K, 10 BB, 3 HR, 0.50 ERA, 0.87 FIP, 0.51 WHIP, 4.5 bWAR
deGrom continues to just dazzle with each passing outing. Five days after exiting his start with shoulder soreness, he extended his scoreless innings streak to 30 with five shutout frames. He allowed one hit, struck out six, and walked two as he picked up his seventh win of the season. He also set a record with his twelfth consecutive start allowing one or zero earned runs, and he lowered his ERA to a major-league best (duh) 0.50. More important than anything, he looked healthy and assuaged fears that his injury would linger.
Sunday, June 27: Zack Wheeler vs. Jerad Eickhoff, 1:10 p.m. on WPIX
Wheeler (2021): 99.1 IP, 122 K, 23 BB, 7 HR, 2.36 ERA, 2.43 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, 4.3 bWAR
Wheeler is making a convincing case for his first NL All Star Game nod this year with a terrific second season in Philadelphia, and he has been the anchor of their rotation. His last outing was his worst of 2021, however, as he only lasted three innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts in an appearance that was more reminiscent of his 2017 Mets days. Prior to that, he had a stretch of eight straight quality starts that began with a complete game, three-hit shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 6. In that stretch, he pitched to a 1.25 ERA, a 1.74 FIP, and a 0.82 WHIP while striking out 35.2% of batters in 57.2 innings. He’s struggled in two starts against his former club this season, as he allowed three earned runs on ten hits in 6.1 innings at Citi Field on April 14 and four earned runs on seven hits in seven innings at Citizens Bank Park on May 1.
Eickhoff (2021): 4.0 IP, 3 K, 3 BB, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, 0.3 bWAR
Eickhoff gave the Mets more than they could’ve hoped for, tossing four shutout innings in Game 2 of the June 21 doubleheader. He struck out three, walked three, allowed three hits, but didn’t give up a run, and he threw 61% of his pitches for strikes in his first major league outing since the 2019 season. The right-hander will have his first chance to face the team that he pitched for in the first five years of his big league career.
Prediction: The Mets will take the first three games before dropping the series finale.
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How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Phillies?
This poll is closed
The Mets sweep away the scuffling Phillies!
The Mets take three out of four!
The Mets and Phillies split their four-game set.
The Mets take one, but drop the series.
The Mets aren’t feeling the love as they’re swept by Philadelphia.