Recent days have not been kind to Joe Girardi and the Philadelphia Phillies. After pushing Zach Eflin’s start back from Friday to Saturday due to load management, the Phillies faltered in their series opener against the New York Mets on Friday as Bailey Falter was outclassed in an 8-6 loss. One day and one Michael Barkann rant later, Zach Eflin finally made his scheduled start, allowing seven runs in six innings as the Mets pressed on to an 8-2 victory over the Phillies.
Philadelphia (21-26) has now won only three of its last 10 games while being outscored 37-50 in those contests. With defensive blunders, baserunning miscues, and poor pitching galore, there is not much reason to be hopeful right now. Despite Sunday’s game being Philadelphia’s second consecutive national broadcast, there is one reason to hope the team can get the wheels turning…
The Pitching Matchup
Zack Wheeler (3-3, 3.38 ERA) vs. Chris Bassitt (4-2, 3.91)
The Phillies’ ace has been a much-needed bright spot in recent starts for the Phillies. Wheeler is coming off a 10-strikeout performance against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, allowing two runs on with zero walks over 6.2 innings of work. On Sunday, Wheeler will look to close out a month of May in which he owns a 1.69 ERA with 33 strikeouts and only two walks in four starts.
Toeing the rubber opposite of Wheeler is Mets’ offseason acquisition Chris Bassitt. Overall, Bassitt has put together a good season for the Mets but has been battered in two straight outings against the Saint Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. On Tuesday, Bassitt allowed eight runs in 4.1 innings of work, avoiding the decision in a 13-12 loss for the Mets. On May 8th, in the second half of their doubleheader, Bassitt pitched 5.2 innings against the Phillies, allowing only one run on a solo home run from Jean Segura as the Phillies lost 6-1.
One matchup of note heading into Sunday: Nick Castellanos currently owns a .412 career batting average with one home run and two RBI against Bassitt. If the Phillies want to stop their current skid, Castellanos’ bat will be key to their doing so on Sunday Night Baseball.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh