After splitting a four-game set with the defending champions, the Mets head to Philadelphia for three games with the Phillies. At 9-11, the Mets currently hold the second Wild Card spot in the NL. While they are starting to round into form, the Phillies have gone ice cold. They are fresh off getting swept by the Orioles, and Philly’s lineup and bullpen have struggled. At 5-9, the Phillies sit in last place in the NL East. With this big series coming up, here’s how the Mets are looking.
The non-regulars continue to shine as offense heats up
On Thursday afternoon, the Mets were led at the plate by Tomás Nido. A career .198 hitter, Nido smacked two homers (including a grand slam) and drove in six runs. However, he is not the only back-up that has performed well lately. Luis Guillorme had a fantastic series against the Nationals, going 6-for-13 with a double and two RBI. He raised his overall batting line to a strong .375/.421/.438 (144 OPS+). Additionally, Dominic Smith has homered in two consecutive games and leads the team in homers and RBI. He is tied with Robinson Cano for the team lead with a 1.020 OPS (179 OPS+).
The regulars in the line-up are heating up as well. Pete Alonso is batting .360/.407/.720 over his last seven games with two homers and seven RBI. Additionally, Michael Conforto is riding a 10-game hitting streak and has reached base in every game of the season. He is hitting a blistering .333/.435/.514 (167 OPS+) with three homers and 11 RBI. Brandon Nimmo extended his on-base streak to 33 games and is hitting .254/.447/.444 (154 OPS+), while walking more times than he has struck out.
Bullpen continues to make strides
The Mets’ bullpen has rebounded quite nicely after a horrific start to the season. They have a 3.28 ERA since August 1, which is the seventh-best in the majors during that stretch. In addition to the strong play of Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo, the Mets have received good work from Dellin Betances and Jared Hughes in the past weeks. Drew Smith and Chasen Shreve have also continued to impress, and the team received some help when Brad Brach was activated from the COVID IL this week.
Jeff McNeil was carted off the field after he made an amazing catch in left field on Thursday. While he couldn’t walk off the field, the MRI and x-rays both came back negative. McNeil is now listed as day-to-day. David Peterson also left Thursday’s game early after only 74 pitches due to shoulder soreness. He was in the middle of his best big league start ever, having gone five innings and only allowing one hit and no earned runs.
Jacob deGrom will take the hill on Friday in search of his third consecutive win. He battled through a blister on his finger in his last start, but still managed to limit the Marlins to only two runs in five innings while striking out six. Spencer Howard will make his second big-league start for the Phillies. He was hit hard in his debut, giving up four runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings.
Steven Matz will be looking to turn his season around against Aaron Nola on Saturday. While Matz started out the season strong, he has now suffered three straight rough outings. His last outing was a disaster, as he was charged with eight runs in just 4.1 innings pitched, raising his season ERA to a horrific 8.20. Matz has been snake-bitten by the long-ball, as he has allowed eight homers in just 18.2 innings pitched (3.9 HR/9). Meanwhile, Nola is coming off a second straight masterful outing. He allowed just two hits and one run with 10 strikeouts in eight innings against the Braves in his last start.
Rick Porcello will face off against former-Met Zack Wheeler on Sunday afternoon. Porcello was handed the loss last time out despite a second straight solid outing. He pitched six innings and allowed two runs and eight hits with five strikeouts. Meanwhile, Wheeler allowed eight hits and three runs while only striking out two in 5.2 innings against the Orioles in his last outing.
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