Joe Girardi will return to manage the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.
But the status of standout players Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius is still unknown as the Phillies look for their second straight win in their three-game series against the New York Mets in Philadelphia.
Girardi attended his daughter’s college graduation, and bench coach Rob Thomson stepped in for the 2-1 win on Friday. Harper was hit in the face by Genesis Cabrera of the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. Gregorius was plunked in the back by Cabrera, and Realmuto was suffering from a sore left hand.
Gregorius was placed on the COVID-19 list, too.
“The COVID list today was just a precaution on our part, just to make sure he’s OK,” Thomson said.
Harper could play Saturday or soon after. For now, he’s happy to be relatively healthy.
“The first 30 minutes to an hour after, I was kind of worried,” Harper said. “‘What’s going on in my head? What’s going on with my face? My body?’ All those thoughts creep into your mind, wondering, ‘Am I OK? Am I going to be OK?’ It was definitely a whirlwind of emotions at the time, but definitely glad to be sitting here right now.”
The Phillies will hand the ball to Zack Wheeler, who’s 2-2 with a 3.13 earned run average in five starts. Wheeler has pitched well against his former team with a 1-1 mark and a 3.71 ERA in four starts with 19 strikeouts and only two walks.
“When you have a couple subpar games, you want to get back out there and get on the right foot, and that was my goal today,” Wheeler said after pitching eight-plus innings with nine strikeouts in his most recent start at St. Louis on Monday. “I wanted to get back out there and get a ‘W’ for us.”
The Mets struggled at the plate in Friday’s loss and finished 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
Francisco Lindor went 0 for 5 and had his average dip to .189.
New York will look for a strong performance from Taijuan Walker, who’s 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA in four starts. In Walker’s last start, he threw seven shutout innings in a 4-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
“Give it up to the defense, man, They really helped me out,” Walker said. “I didn’t have my best stuff. They came through for me. The offense putting up runs early was helpful, too. Let me attack and just go after hitters.
“It was one of those games where I had to go out there and grind and battle and try to find a way to get outs,” Walker added.
Walker is 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his two career starts against the Phillies. One of those starts came earlier this season.
Some Mets players had their second COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday and could be laboring a little bit through the weekend.
“Some guys that I talked to briefly in the clubhouse today told me that they felt a little fatigue,” Mets managed Luis Rojas said. “They don’t know if it was because of that, but they felt something for an instant.”
The Mets recalled left-handed reliever Daniel Zamora and placed Luis Guillorme on the injured list with a right oblique strain.
–Field Level Media