The Phillies dropped another series against the Mets over the weekend, losing three out of four games. The last game was especially frustrating due to Philly leading the whole game just for the bullpen to blow a lead (which has been rare recently).
Luckily for Philadelphia, their current series is against the Reds. They got a much-needed win in the first game and will hopefully get a sweep to get back on track. This begs the question, though, can they beat the Mets? Philly has a very easy remaining schedule and, barring any unexpected breakdowns, seem to have one of the wild cards in place. They have shown the ability to hold their own with almost any team in baseball this year, but the Mets have proven to be kryptonite. There is a real chance they face off come playoff time, so it is good to examine the outcomes of the matchups so far and how this team can beat the Mets when it matters most.
The biggest issue so far against the Mets has been the team’s two aces. Aaron Nola got roughed up this series, but more worrisome is Zach Wheeler. He cannot seem to figure it out against his former team. It feels like they know what he is throwing before he does. This is a big problem that needs to fix itself because he will most likely be the one starting game one if there is a series against them.
The bullpen has been so-so against the Mets. Generally, they have not given up a ton of runs (except for the most recent game). Seeing as the scoring has been mostly low, they must be on the top of their games assuming any playoff matchup is a pitcher’s duel.
The offense, minus a player or two, has not been great against the Mets. This is understandable given the pitching that New York has combined with the injuries Philly has had. However, this does not excuse scoring zero and one run in multiple matchups this year. The team must find ways to score runs against guys like deGrom and Scherzer. They also need to take advantage of the pitchers beyond those two. They have come so close to winning games against Diaz on multiple occasions but have come up just short. This cannot happen as much as it has, and the team needs to find ways to score.
The first person that comes to mind for the good is Bryson Stott. He has had a hit in every game in the last two series, including multiple games with more than one hit. The highlight of his season may be his game against Scherzer when he became the only player ever to reach base four times in a game against him.
Bailey Falter picked up the slack when the aces could not and pitched six innings of one-run ball in the team’s only win in the last series. He has been serviceable for the team this year with a 4.4 ERA and really stepped up in a big way when the team needed him most.
Clutch start from Bailey Falter: 6.0 IP | 2 H | 1 R | 3 K | 84 PC — NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 21, 2022
The Phillies being generally competitive against what many may say is the best team in baseball, while being as hampered as they are, is something to be positive about. Harper has been out for both recent series yet is on track to return earlier than expected. Schwarber still seems to be hurting with his calf despite being in the lineup. The bullpen has multiple relievers on the injured list. The team will hopefully be healthy once October rolls around, so they may be able to win some of these close games that did not go their way.
Even though the Phillies have lost recently to the Mets, they are still in great shape heading to September. Harper is coming back, Schwarber will hopefully get back on track, Castellanos is slowly heating up, and much more. A fully healthy Phillies team should be competitive with any team they go against in October, including New York.