Knee slides and big strides: Phillies run rampant in London series-opener against the Mets

Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos drives in the winning run with a double during the 10th inning of the team’s baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

The Philadelphia Phillies were made to feel right at home in London. A crowd of 53,382 fans filled London Stadium as it played host to the Phils and Mets in the first of a two-game series on Saturday, and it was the NL East leaders who walked away with the spoils on Saturday.

London calling

All week long, London has felt like Phils territory. The fans have created a sea of Red throughout the City and with coaches and legends showing up along the way, it created a truly special atmosphere. But when all was said and done, this was still just another game, and one where they had to remain focused.

The Phillies batted first and it didn’t take long for London Stadium to erupt. Kyle Schwarber walked tup to the plate to a chorus of cheers, and a Bryce Harper double created a roar that would usually be heard when West Ham score in front of their home fans.

However, it was the New York Mets who took an early lead, with Starling Marte doubling to score at the end of the first inning.

The assumption for this game was that it would be a non-stop barrage of runs due to the nature of the Stadium. As a result, there was a clear intent from both pitchers to keep the ball low and encourage ground balls.

The Phillies burst onto the scene

That worked well for the Mets until an explosive 4th inning from Philadelphia. Bryce Harper led things off with a homer to send the stadium into what the Brits would call ‘Limbs’, and that seemed to inject a shot of adrenaline into the lineup.

Kyle Schwarber, Edmundo Sosa, Alec Bohm, and Bryson Stott all recorded base hits, while Whit Merrifield’s homer did the most damage. At the end of the inning, the Mets went from 1-0 up to 6-1 down, a lead they would fail to reclaim.

Ranger Suarez stays hot, even when he’s not

Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the day was just how good Phillies’ pitcher Ranger Suarez was. Again, this is a stadium where Football scores are a common occurrence whenever Baseball is played here, and Suarez ended his day with just 2 runs surrendered in 5.2 innings. The 8 hits could’ve been problematic, but he remained his usual ice-cold self to climb out of any trouble, signalling how good he really is.

Rob Thompson mentioned in his post-game presser that Ranger seemed to struggle a little early on, but settled down and developed a better command as the game wore on. Ranger told reporters that pitching coach Caleb Gotham went up to the plate after the first inning and helped settle him down, which had a big impact.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson
Philadelphia Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson walks to exchange line ups before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phils put on some of their best stuff in London today. From Bryce Harper’s soccer slide and ‘Spice Girls’ walk-up, to a rampant 4th inning that saw the Phillies relish in the moment to send London Stadium into an uproar, it was a brilliant afternoon of Baseball and the best part is, we get to do it all again tomorrow!

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson