There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and the Phillies dropping a series to the Marlins to begin an underwhelming season. From there, things have not really gotten much better.
The Phillies are coming off of a devastating, and incredibly embarrassing, series sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. In that series, the Phillies had multiple chances to win at least two of those games. Despite some quality starts from their starters, their bullpen and fielding mishaps cost them games. And at this rate, it’s going to begin costing them their fan’s attention.
Game 1- August 14, 7:05 PM
After we saw Vince Velasquez come in as a reliever in Thursday night’s loss to the O’s, this made it pretty clear that the “TBD” will be Spencer Howard for the Phillies on Friday night. He will match up against the almighty Jacob deGrom. Honestly, we should just hand this one to the Mets already, but Howard himself showed a lot of promise in his debut last week. On the season, deGrom is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 28 strikeouts in four starts. Over deGrom’s career against the Phillies, he’s 7-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 15 starts as well.
Game 2- August 15, 6:05 PM
This game should be a much better one than game one on paper. The Phillies will have ace Aaron Nola on the mound, while being opposed by Steven Matz. Matz has been struggling this season, and the Mets even have been trying to figure out if he’s tipping his pitches after allowing 8 runs to the Nationals in his last outing. Nola on the other hand has dominated in his last two starts, striking out 12 Yankees on Monday and 10 Braves on Aug. 5. He looks like the guy that finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2018.
Game 3- August 16, 1:05 PM
The Phillies are lucky again, having their 1-2 punch come up in a series where they need a bounce back. For the Phils, Zack Wheeler will take the mound. According to MLB.com, Wheeler has the lowest strikeout rate of his career (11.0 percent), but he is getting ahead of hitters early and inducing early contact. It has him averaging a career-low 13.8 pitches per innings, which has him pitching deeper in games. On the flip side, the Mets will have Rick Porcello on the bump. He’s been up and down this season, allowing 11 runs in his first six innings, but then only three in his next 13.
Phillies to watch:
Jt Realmuto is RED hot. He hit a pair of two-run homers in the series finale against Baltimore, and has hit in that clean up spot nicely. In 14 games this season, the best catcher in baseball has 7 home runs and 17 RBI. Along with him, Bryce Harper has been showing signs of fight and has been getting on base in bunches. The rest of the lineup needs to see how their leaders are still playing in every inning no matter the score, and learn a thing or two.
One story to watch is to see how Joe Girardi will handle the Scott Kingery situation. Prized prospect Alec Bohm made his MLB debut Thursday night and performed incredibly well. In his first at-bat, he roped a double down the third baseline, and made hard contact in his other plate appearances.
Mets to watch:
Jacob deGrom is the most obvious choice to watch here in game one. If you appreciate baseball, you love watching a great pitcher perfect his craft. Despite being bothered by a bad blister on his pitching hand in his last outing, deGrom only allowed two runs in five innings of work.
On the offensive side of things, the Mets will be without notorious Phillies’ killer Jeff McNeil. McNeil went crashing into the wall with an outstanding catch against Asdrubal Cabrera. X-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging test both reportedly came back negative but McNeil isn’t expected to play Friday after being carted off. Catcher Tomas Nido contributed two home runs, highlighted by a grand slam, and six RBI for the Mets, helping them to a modest two-game winning streak recently.
It’s always tough to bet on the Phillies winning anything. I mean, what have they really proven to us? However, the Phillies should bank back in this series. Their two aces are squaring off against two struggling pitchers. Aside from game one, the Phillies are going to have the edge from the get-go. Their bats have been displaying power and the ability to score. The only problem is that they need to score about ten runs so that their bullpen doesn’t blow it.
The Phillies will take this series 2-1. Spencer Howard will show more promise in his second career start, but deGrom will get the best of the Phillies in game one. The starters and bats will carry the team in games two and three, however. Scratch up Alec Bohm getting his first MLB homerun in this series as well, with either Nola or Wheeler having a 10+ strikeout game.
Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports