Nearly two weeks ago, Bryce Harper said the Philadelphia Phillies needed to win “nine of 10” to climb back into playoff contention in an expanded postseason field.
Pete Alonso is hoping for a similar run by the New York Mets, who host the Phillies in the opener of an important four-game series on Friday night.
Philadelphia (18-15) swept the Mets in a three-game series Aug. 14-16 but then lost five of its next six games to drop five games under .500. Starting with a 5-4 win at Atlanta on Aug. 23, the Phillies are 9-1 in their last 10 games.
Philadelphia heads to New York after completing a four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals. The Phillies completed the sweep when rookie Alec Bohm hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning of Thursday’s 6-5 win.
“I heard someone say Bryce is a prophet,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “I’m going to go to him and see what I should do next.”
Harper is batting .276 and was 2-for-12 in the series, and just 7-for-45 (.156) over his past 14 games.
“Being able to go out and do what we’ve done, what they’ve done because I feel like I haven’t done anything, we’ve played to the best of our ability and we still can get better,” Harper said.
The Mets (17-21) are 1 1/2 games behind the Colorado Rockies for the eighth seed but also competing with the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds.
New York has been unable to get on a similar tear as the Phillies but has scored nine runs in each of its last two games following a five-game skid.
Alonso helped the Mets get a 9-7 win when he hit a two-run homer with none out in the 10th inning to beat the New York Yankees on Thursday.
“Every game’s extremely important and we want to keep attacking each day,” Alonso said. “We can watch the standings all we want but at the end of the day we have to win each and every day whenever we can and the standings will take care of themselves if we do win every day.”
Alonso is batting .209 after setting a rookie record with 53 homers last season. He is 5-for-42 in his last 12 games but has homered in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Philadelphia figures to have the more rested bullpen after Zach Eflin went six innings Thursday, marking the third straight time a Phillies starter completed at least six innings.
Jake Arrieta will start for the Phillies and he is 2-4 with a 6.49 ERA through his first six starts. He allowed one run in five innings at Washington Aug. 25, but followed it up by getting tagged for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 12-10 loss to Atlanta.
Arrieta is 4-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 14 career starts against the Mets, though he is 1-4 with a 4.06 ERA in six career starts in New York.
New York rarely gets a lengthy outing due to uncertainties beyond ace Jacob deGrom and has seen a starter complete at least five innings in two of its last nine games.
One of those instances was achieved by Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.00), who starts Friday.
Porcello allowed two runs on four hits in five innings Sunday at Yankee Stadium when the Mets blew a five-run lead in an 8-7 loss to the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader.
Porcello is 3-3 with a 4.61 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies. He pitched in Philadelphia on Aug. 16, when he allowed four runs on a season-high 10 hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss.
–Field Level Media