Phillies look to firm up hold on first place over Mets
Despite their longest winning streak in nine years, the Philadelphia Phillies are far from satisfied.
“You can’t sit on it. This division’s way too tough,” Bryce Harper said. “That’s a good (New York) Mets team. They’re gonna get Francisco Lindor back, gonna get (Jacob) deGrom back. We just have to keep playing our game.”
The Phillies’ 5-3 victory over the Mets on Saturday was their seventh in a row, giving them their longest win streak since 2012. The Phillies, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mets in the National League East, will search for a sweep on Sunday.
Brad Miller homered twice, his 15th career multi-home run game, and Odubel Herrera homered, doubled and drove in three runs.
While New York made a late comeback, the Phillies found a way to win again. What a difference one week makes.
“I think we realize we have a great opportunity in front of us,” Miller told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “To take advantage of it, we’ve got to bring energy.”
The Phillies will send NL Cy Young candidate Zack Wheeler to the mound on Sunday. Wheeler (9-6, 2.57 ERA) is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in six starts against his former team.
Rhys Hoskins (groin) and Didi Gregorius (elbow) were held out of the lineup Saturday. Their status is questionable for Sunday along with Jean Segura, who was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning and did not take the field in the top of the eighth. X-rays on Segura’s finger came back negative.
The Phillies’ bench has been productive, especially during this winning streak.
“In today’s game, one through nine can hit the ball out of the ballpark,” manager Joe Girardi said.
The reeling Mets have dropped consecutive games against the Phillies and six of their last seven overall.
Even with back-to-back-to-back home runs by Michael Conforto, Jonathan Villar and James McCann in the ninth inning, the Mets suffered another frustrating loss.
As recently as Thursday, the Mets were in first place, their spot for 90 straight days.
“It’s not great, because we acknowledge that we’ve been in first place for so long, and we would have loved to have kept it for the whole season,” Brandon Nimmo said. “But the Phillies are on a good streak right now, and not so great for us. That’s the way things have worked out, and now we’ll just have to try to recapture it.”
The Mets will turn to All-Star Taijuan Walker to try to salvage the last game of the series.
But Walker (7-6, 3.86) has struggled since the All-Star break. In four starts in his career against the Phillies, Walker is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA.
“I was pleased in his last start, just how his stuff was compared to the other two,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of Walker. “The other two gave me a concern just because his fastball wasn’t carrying as much as it was in the first half.”
The Mets have been hit hard by injuries, most notably to Lindor and deGrom, and they haven’t figured out how to turn things around in recent games.
“It’s not fun,” Nimmo said. “We’re all competitors. We all want to win. We know this is a big series. We know the last series was a big series. We’re not going out there trying to lose, so it sucks.”
–Field Level Media