The past three games have unfolded in a pleasantly familiar fashion for the New York Mets — and in decidedly nightmarish fashion for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The host Mets will look to complete a series win and deepen the hole the Phillies have fallen into in the National League East Sunday afternoon, when the longtime rivals meet in the finale of a four-game set.
Marcus Stroman (6-5, 2.32 ERA) has been cleared to return from the hip discomfort that shortened his previous start for the Mets. He is slated to oppose former teammate Zack Wheeler (5-4, 2.36) in a battle of right-handers.
The Mets mounted a rally in their final at-bat for the third time in as many games Saturday, when Michael Conforto lofted the walk-off sacrifice fly in a 4-3 win.
As they did in both ends of a doubleheader Friday, the Mets came back thanks to an untimely error by the Phillies. Philadelphia was hanging on to a 3-2 lead when first baseman Rhys Hoskins — who didn’t have his sunglasses on when Jose Alvarado’s throw sailed over his head in the seventh inning of New York’s 2-1, eight-inning win in Friday’s opener — misplayed a leadoff grounder by pinch-hitter Travis Blankenhorn.
Billy McKinney walked and Kevin Pillar singled to shortstop before Luis Guillorme worked the game-tying walk. One out later, Conforto capped off the Mets’ sixth walk-off win of the season.
“(The Mets) play ’til the last out and are locked in from the first pitch of the game ’til the last pitch of the game,” said ace Jacob deGrom, who gave up two runs over six innings as his ERA rose to 0.69. “If we keep doing that, hopefully we like where we end up.”
As the NL East’s first-place team for seven straight weeks, the Mets are in a far better spot than the Phillies, who fell to 35-39 and six games back of New York on Saturday.
Still, the weekend could be going worse for the Phillies, who earned a 2-1, eight-inning win in Friday’s nightcap after an error by third baseman Alec Bohm helped the Mets tie the score in the seventh.
While the Phillies entered Saturday with 44 errors — tied for the 14th-most in the majors — they ranked 29th in the big leagues and last in the NL with negative-29 runs saved, per Baseball Info Solutions.
“It’s frustrating,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “You’re not going to win close games if you don’t play good defense. And it’s bit us bad, especially this week.”
Stroman didn’t factor into the decision Tuesday, when he tossed a hitless first inning Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves before a sore left hip forced him to exit three pitches into the second inning of the Mets’ 3-0 loss.
Wheeler, who played for the Mets from 2013-19 before signing a five-year deal with the Phillies as a free agent, also had his shortest start of the season Tuesday. He took the loss after allowing three runs over three innings as Philadelphia fell to the Washington Nationals, 3-2
Stroman is 4-2 with a 2.21 ERA in eight career games (six starts) against the Phillies. Wheeler is 1-1 with a 4.01 ERA in five starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media