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Mets return home for face-off with division foe Phillies

This is the first time the two rivals have faced off in 2023.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Following a 2-4 road trip, the Mets (27-27) are back at Citi Field for a six-game stay, beginning with three against the Phillies (25-28). The Mets dominated the Phillies in 2022, taking 14 of the 19 games they played against their long-time rivals, including seven of nine at home. Most notably, five Mets hurlers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Phillies on April 29. One week later, the Mets mounted a seven-run ninth inning on May 5 at Citizens Bank Park to complete an improbable late-game comeback.

The Mets are coming off dropping two of three against the Rockies. Things kicked off with a 5-2 victory on Friday night, which wound up being the highlight of the weekend for New York. Max Scherzer, who entered play with an ERA north of six at Coors Field, turned in one of his best starts of the year, tossing seven innings of one-run ball while striking out eight. Francisco Lindor drove in four of the five runs, two of which came on his 439-foot blast in the first inning. Brandon Nimmo, playing in front of his family, did something only three players have ever done in MLB history: hit two triples, walk three times, and not record an out.

The Mets mounted a furious comeback on Saturday, even led for a point, but ended up losing 10-7 to the Rockies. Justin Verlander allowed six runs on nine hits over his five innings, putting the Mets in a precarious spot from the jump. Pete Alonso’s league-leading 20th home run of 2023 got the Mets on the board in the fourth, and a five-run sixth, punctuated by a Francisco Álvarez no-doubter evened things up. Starling Marte briefly put the Mets ahead, but the Rockies scored two in the seventh and two in the eighth to secure the win. On the bright side, The Baby Mets—Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos—combined for five hits, four runs batted in, and two runs scored in the loss.

On Sunday, the Mets battled back, fell behind, and ended up coming up short in an 11-10 loss. After falling behind 2-0, the Mets put up a six-spot in the fourth, with Álvarez hitting his second game-tying three-run homer in as many days. The lead was short-lived, as Tylor Megill coughed it up by allowing four runs in the bottom half of that frame. Stephen Nogosek then came in and threw gasoline on the fire by allowing five runs in the fifth, which gave Colorado an 11-6 lead. The Mets fought back, and a three-spot in the ninth made it a one-run ballgame, but that was as close as they would get.

The Mets are now entering one of the tougher parts of their schedules after struggling through a fairly soft schedule in May. Over the next few weeks, they will play, in order: the Phillies and the Blue Jays at home, the Braves and the Pirates on the road, the Yankees and the Cardinals at home, the Astros and the Phillies on the road, and the Brewers and the Giants at home. While some of those teams are not what we thought they would be at the start of the season, that’s still a very tough June for a club that has, historically, struggled during the month. If there’s one reason to be optimistic, the team’s best week of the past month came against the Rays and the Guardians, two of the better teams they faced in May.

The Phillies are coming off a series split against the first-place Braves. They lost the opener on Thursday and the closer on Sunday night Baseball, and they managed victories in two middle games. Prior to that, they lost two of three to the Diamondbacks.

After making it all the way to the World Series in 2022 as the final playoff team in the National League, Philadelphia has regressed in 2023. They enter play today in fourth in the NL East and two games back of the final postseason spot. They enter play today sixth in the NL in OPS (.738) and eighth in wRC+ (101). They have hit 55 homers and scored 227 runs as a team, both of which are tenth among NL squads. Their rotation has also struggled in 2023, posting a 5.02 team ERA, which is fourth-worst in the NL. Their 4.11 bullpen ERA is currently sixth in the NL.

Bryce Harper shocked everyone by returning earlier this month when everyone expected him to be back closer to the All Star break. Since coming back, he has led the way for his club, slashing .306/.406/.482 with three homers, a 139 wRC+, and a 0.6 fWAR in 23 games. His wRC+ is tops on the team among Phillies with at least 100 plate appearances. Brandon Marsh has been one of the team’s offensive stars this season, hitting .273/.377/.480 with five homers, a 130 wRC+, and a team-best 1.4 fWAR in 50 games. Kyle Schwarber leads the Phillies with 13 homers, but he has a 99 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR on the season.

Tuesday, May 30: Ranger Suárez vs. Kodai Senga, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Suárez (2023): 11.0 IP, 13 K, 5 BB, 1 HR, 9.82 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 2.00 WHIP, -0.4 bWAR

Suárez started experiencing left forearm tightness while pitching for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, and as a result, he began the season on the IL before being activated earlier this month. He has not gotten off to a great start so far this season, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in four innings in his season debut, and following that up by allowing four earned runs on five hits over two innings, and five earned runs on five hits over five innings in his most recent start against Arizona.

Senga (2023): 48.0 IP, 61 K, 31 BB, 6 HR, 3.94 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.52 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR

Senga’s last start was a bit of a mixed bag. He pitched five innings, holding the Cubs off the board in four of them while allowing three runs in the third. However, the three runs in five inning final line is a bit misleading, as he was in trouble basically every inning. He walked five, allowed six hits, and was lucky that Chicago performed so poorly with runners in scoring position that it kept the Mets in the game. Senga will pitch Tuesday, and then it’s likely the Mets will employ a sixth starter next Sunday to give Senga extra rest.

Wednesday, May 31: Aaron Nola vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Nola (2023): 68.2 IP, 60 K, 15 BB, 11 HR, 4.59 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR

Nola got off to a rocky start in 2023 and owned a 7.09 ERA over his first three starts. Since then, he’s pitched to a 3.88 ERA over his next eight starts. His last start skewed those numbers a bit, as he was tagged for five earned runs on eight hits over six innings against the Braves. Prior to that, he struck out a season-high 10 in seven innings in a win over the Cubs. He will look to get back on track against the Mets, a team he has historically dominated to the tune of a 3.30 ERA in 144 23 innings over 25 starts in his career.

Carrasco (2023): 25.1 IP, 15 K, 12 BB, 5 HR, 6.75 ERA, 6.44 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR

Carrasco turned in far and away his best performance of 2023. The right-hander, who has not gone more than five innings in any given outing, pitched into the seventh against the Cubs, limiting his opponent to one earned run over 6 23 innings. He struck out four, walked two, and surrendered five hits, but otherwise looked like his old self. It’s a good start to build upon as he looks to get his season back on track.

Thursday, June 1: Taijuan Walker vs. Max Scherzer, 1:10 p.m. on SNY

Walker (2023): 53.1 IP, 43 K, 23 BB, 9 HR, 5.57 ERA, 5.16 FIP, 1.46 WHIP, 0.2 bWAR

The Mets will get their first look at Old Friend Taijuan Walker since he defected to Philadelphia over the offseason. To say things have gotten off to a rough start with his new club would be putting it mildly. He’s had some tough times in his new home, including a start against the Dodgers in which he was tattooed for eight earned runs over 3 23 innings. He’s had a better run over his last two starts, going 12 innings and allowing three earned runs on 12 hits with four strikeouts and four walks. In his most recent start, he went a season-high 6 23 innings and allowed three earned runs on ten hits against the Braves, which was good enough to pick up the win.

Scherzer (2023): 40.2 IP, 39 K, 13 BB, 7 HR, 3.54 ERA, 4.64 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR

Scherzer was sensational in Coors Field on Friday, which is even more impressive given a) how difficult it is to pitch in Colorado and b) his prior numbers at Coors. The right-hander tossed innings of one-run ball to pick up his fourth win of 2023 and the 205th of his career. Scherzer struck out eight and, more impressively, he didn’t walk a batter. Between this start and his last one against Cleveland, he has now hurled 13 innings while allowing one run on nine hits and striking out 13.

Prediction: The Mets drop two of three to the Phillies.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Phillies?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    The Mets sweep their second straight series at home!
    (17 votes)
  • 50%
    The Mets snag two of three from Philadephia in their first meeting.
    (58 votes)
  • 17%
    The Mets drop two of three for the third straight series.
    (20 votes)
  • 6%
    The Mets are swept away by the Fightin Phils at home.
    (8 votes)
  • 11%
    Pizza!
    (13 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now