The Philadelphia Phillies have began the month of May with a 5-4 loss to the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night.
The Phils entered the game in first place in the NL East after a 2-1 win over the Mets Friday. The Phils have not won two games in a row since the third and fourth games of the season, a span of 23 games.
Here’s three takeaways:
Bad call blows it
After tying the game the Phillies nearly got something going in the seventh, but a horrendous call by the second base umpire, Jose Nava, took them out of that inning. Nava ruled McCutchen out of the base line as he ran to second on a ground ball. Replays showed McCutchen ran in a straight line. The call was not reviewable.
Manager Joe Girardi and the Phillies’ dugout were angered over the call. Bryce Harper, who was out of the lineup, was ejected for voicing his disapproval of the call.
Wheeler’s eventful 1st inning turns into a nice start
Phillies starter Zack Wheeler had an eventful start. He needed 31 pitches to get through the top of the first inning and allowed four runs on two doubles, two singles, a hit batsman, and a walk.
Wheeler opened the game with a quick strikeout of Brandon Nimmo, but that was hardly a harbinger of things to come, at least in the first inning.
The right-hander labored through the inning. He had poor command and seemed to work at slow pace. Twelve of his first 22 pitches were balls.
After striking out Nimmo, Wheeler hit Francisco Lindor with a slider in the dirt. The next five batters all reached base on a walk, two doubles and two singles as the Mets ran out to a 4-0 lead. Of course, one of the doubles was one that Andrew McCutchen totally missed. It was a catchable line drive that went right through his five-hole.
Only a 3-6-1 double play, started nicely by Rhys Hoskins, got Wheeler out of the inning.
Nonetheless, Wheeler wasn’t right in the first inning. He was hit hard and being down 4-0 was not good for the Phillies, who entered the game averaging 3.73 runs per game, which ranked 26th in the majors. Wheeler had plenty of pop on his fastball in the first inning, so health wasn’t an issue. His command was just off. Just one of those nights.
With J.T. Realmuto out of the starting lineup for the second day in a row with a sore right hand (he took a ball off the base of the hand trying to block a wild pitch on Thursday), Wheeler was paired with Andrew Knapp for the first time this season. If there was any issue in the two connecting, it certainly disappeared after the first inning.
Wheeler and Knapp worked together in three games last season and the right-hander had a 3.15 ERA over 20 innings in those games.
Wheeler made a tremendous turnaround after the first inning. He threw just 33 pitches over the next three innings and pitched through the seventh, allowing just three more hits and no more runs.
Wheeler kept his team in the game and that allowed for the Phillies to chip away at Taijuan Walker. The Phils scored twice in the second inning — Wheeler knocked in one of the runs — and came all the way back to tie it on Alec Bohm’s two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.
The now 13-14 Phillies face the 10-11 Mets in the series finale Sunday night. Zach Eflin will pitch for the Phillies, David Peterson will start for the Mets.