The final day off before the All-Star break came at just the right time Thursday for the New York Mets, who needed to reset a bullpen overworked by a depleted rotation.
The Philadelphia Phillies might have needed the last day off of the first half even more after a two-game span that was eventful for all the wrong reasons.
The Mets and Phillies begin the push toward the All-Star break Friday afternoon, when the National League East rivals are scheduled to play a doubleheader to begin a four-game series in New York.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker (6-3, 2.42 ERA) and left-hander David Peterson (2-5, 5.31) are slated to take the mound for the Mets. The Phillies haven’t officially announced their starters, though right-hander Aaron Nola (5-4, 4.22) and left-hander Matt Moore (0-1, 7.36) are expected to pitch in that order.
The Mets salvaged a split of a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday with a 7-3 victory.
The Phillies squandered five- and four-run leads in a wild 13-12 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon.
While Tylor Megill was solid in his big league debut (two runs in 4 1/3 innings) Wednesday night, the brief start added to the recent workload for Mets relievers. Counting a bullpen game in the back end of a doubleheader against the Nationals last Saturday, relievers have accounted for 23 1/3 of the last 46 innings New York has pitched in the last six games.
“We were very short,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said after closer Edwin Diaz recorded the final five outs Wednesday. “The guys are leaving their arms out there to get wins.”
Arms weren’t the only thing being discussed during the Phillies’ two-game sweep at the hands of the Nationals. Fewer than 24 hours after manager Joe Girardi repeatedly asked umpires to check Washington ace Max Scherzer for foreign substances — and was ejected after he appeared to challenge someone in the opposing dugout to a fight — Philadelphia’s pitchers melted down while squandering leads of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-11.
The Phillies have lost six of eight since climbing over .500 for the lone time this month on June 13. Philadelphia will enter Friday closer to last place than first place.
“You can flip a switch real quick and win nine of 10,” Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper said. “We’re in that moment where we need to do that and start winning games on the road. Start winning games at home. Start winning games that we’re supposed to win. And not lose games that we’re not supposed to lose.”
Walker took the loss Sunday after surrendering four runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings as the Mets fell to the Nationals, 5-2. He is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies.
Peterson didn’t factor into the decision last Saturday, when he allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings in New York’s 5-1 victory over Washington. He is 1-1 with a 6.88 ERA in four starts against the Phillies.
Nola didn’t factor into the decision last Saturday when he gave up six runs over 2 1/3 innings in the Phillies’ 13-6 win over the San Francisco Giants. He is 8-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 18 starts against the Mets.
Moore was activated off the injured list Wednesday after spending a month on the shelf due to back spasms. He is 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in four starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media