Bryce Harper and the Phillies continue to be red hot. Not only did the team secure first place, but they now have a two-game lead after sweeping the Mets.
The Philadelphia Phillies welcomed the New York Mets to town for Alumni Weekend for what looked to be the most important series of the season so far. Maybe the most important in the last few seasons as they looked to continue a hot start to August. With the festivities and the division rivals from NY bringing out fans in droves, the team looked to make a huge impact. They brought out their brooms for a three-game sweep and sent the Mets and their fans packing. The Phils came into the series in second place but now hold sole possession of first place in the division, while the Mets dropped from first to third.
In Friday’s opener, it was the trade deadline additions that showed up for the Fightins. Kyle Gibson started against Marcus Strowman, turning in six solid innings of one-run ball, and Ian Kennedy came in to lock down the save, his first in a Phillies uniform. Gibson added his first career RBI and brought some energy to the pennant race. Bryce Harper also stayed hot, hitting a clutch two-run HR in the eighth inning. Final: Phillies 4, Mets 2.
Saturday’s game was a bullpen game, as Ranger Suarez started for the Phils and continued his transition back into the rotation. With some big-flys from Odubel Herrera and “Bamboo Brad” Miller, Philadelphia was able to hold on despite a few ninth-inning runs from the Mets for a 5-3 victory.
The Phillies capped off the weekend with a dominant performance from Zack Wheeler. Add in homers from Jean Segura, BCIB J.T. Realmuto, and possibly front runner for the MVP (and MVP in our hearts), Harper, and you have the formula for a sweep to extend the winning streak to eight games to start the month of August. All in all, Philadelphia mostly dominated the New York lineup this weekend. The Mets’ one through four hitters were a combined 5-44 (.114 BA) with 14 strikeouts in the series. Philadelphia had some clutch hitting from what seemed like a different person each night. Stars and bench guys alike stepped up to the dish and did their part this weekend.
You might be thinking to yourself as a Phillies or even a Mets fan: “This feels so familiar. Have I felt these feelings before?” And the answer is: you have. In the last 15 years, when the second-place Phillies meet the first-place Mets late in the season (August and September), the Phils have taken care of business. Since 2007, the Phillies are 13-2 versus the Mets in such games. Who could forget in ’07 when the Phillies took advantage of the epic Mets collapse, making up a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play? Chase Utley had the walk-off against former Phillie, Billy Wagner, to cap off a sweep of the Mets. The Phillies ended a 14-year playoff drought that season.
Harry Kalas loved him some Chase Utley
In 2007, the Phillies swept the Mets in August and September when looking up at them in the standings on their way to taking the division crown. With the fans returning to the ballpark in big numbers and some tough matchups ahead before facing a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, the Phillies are streaking at the right time. With a little history to lean on, The Phillies setting themselves up to end another long postseason drought and take the NL East crown.