December 3, 2023

Phillies unable to win series in New York, fall to 2-4 in season series against division rival


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Yeah… That (unfortunately) just happened. Yet again, the Phillies were only able to beat the Mets in one game of this series. With the Mets being their division rival, every game against them counts. Oh, did I mention that the Phillies were the victim of the second no-hitter in Mets’ history? By no means was this a good series for the Phillies, but there were some positives, too.

Game summaries

Tylor Megill was not supposed to be in the Mets’ starting rotation. A few injuries and roster moves later, he put on the Mets’ uniform and toed the rubber in Washington D.C. on Opening Day. He pitched five scoreless innings, and he has not slowed down since. In game one of this three-game set in New York, he pitched six hitless innings to lead the Mets to a combined no-hitter—the second in their franchise’s history.

A deeper dive into the no-hitter will be featured below.

While mentioning the Phillies offense in game one seems like a waste of time in this article, I still feel obligated to mention it.

The Phillies struck out twelve times, and they left eight runners on base. The most obvious flaw was that the Phillies had no hits last night, but that has already been established well enough.

Aaron Nola threw for the Phillies, and he was not too shabby. Nola went six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. He had command for the entire game, and he struck out nine Mets. Jeff McNeil’s two-run single and Pete Alonso’s solo home run was the only production from the Mets’ lineup.

The score appears as a 3-0 loss, but it was way, way worse than that.

Fortunately, the Phillies were able to turn it around in game two of this series, as they came out on the winning side of a 4-1 final score.

Kyle Gibson started the game for the Phillies. He pitched well in some aspects, but he struggled in others. He was pulled after getting into a jam in the fifth inning. Gibson could not command any of his pitches, which lead to him walking five batters, which led to him throwing 84 pitches through 4.1 innings.

Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins hit home runs, and Odubel Herrera hit an RBI double, but the real deciding factor in this game was the bullpens. The Phillies were not able to get anything going against Mets’ starter Taijuan Walker. He was pulled after five near-perfect innings, but the Mets’ bullpen could not hold the one-run lead. Adam Ottavino allowed three runs in .2 innings, and Sean Reid-Foley allowed one run in the eighth inning. For the Phightins, Jose Alvarado, James Norwood, Seranthony Dominguez, and Jeurys Familia teamed up to pitch 3.1 scoreless innings.

With two outs in the eighth, Corey Knebel came into the game for the four-out save.

Game three, the rubber match of this series, was a back and forth game all night. Zach Eflin faced off against superstar Max Scherzer on Sunday Night baseball.

Zach Eflin struggled in this start. Through his first few outings, he has been very inconsistent, and there is no doubt that this was not a good start for him. He allowed six runs (five earned) over 4.1 innings of work. Early in the game, he was not getting the low fastball and sinker called for a strike, so he tried to bring them up more into the strike zone. Eflin, known for staying in the strike zone and challenging hitters by using all of the plate, overdid it and left way too many pitches down the middle.

In six innings, the Phillies were able to get four runs off of Max Scherzer, but it was not enough for the shaky bullpen. Kyle Schwarber went deep off of Scherzer twice, and Bryce Harper took him yard in the sixth inning to give the Phillies their fourth run of the game. Unfortunately, the Mets scored three runs in the seventh inning and an additional run in the eighth inning to put the Phillies out of reach.

Johan Camargo hit a two-run shot in the ninth, but it was not enough to initiate a comeback, so the Phillies lost the rubber-match 10-6.

From 32 runs in 4 games to no hits in 1 game, what happened?

Josh Beckett was 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in 2013. One season later, the 34-year-old right-hander was on the bump in Philadelphia to face the Phillies. The Phillies’ lineup was stacked with former MVPs and all-stars. In the bottom of the first inning, Chase Utley stood on first base with Adrian Gonzalez following a walk. About three hours later, he struck out looking to hand Josh Beckett a no-hitter.

In 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the Mets beginning their franchise, Johan Santana’s confidence was at an all-time high after throwing a shutout. In his next start he threw another shutout, but this time it was a no-hitter, too.

Those are the last times that the Mets threw a no-hitter, and the last time that the Phillies played a game without recording a hit. Unfortunately, both of those things happened on Friday, and they were in conjunction with each other. Yes, what you are thinking is correct. The Phillies were no-hit by their biggest division rival—Pete Alonso, Mad Max Scherzer, and the New York Mets.

Tylor Megill, the Mets’ starter, pitched excellent. There is no denying that. Unfortunately for Megill, he walked three batters, so he was pulled from the game after five innings. Drew Smith came in from there and went 1.1 innings hitless innings. Lefty Joely Rodriguez and short-reliever Seth Lugo piggybacked Smith and Megill to power the Mets through eight innings of near-perfect pitching. And for his fourth save of the season, Edwin Diaz came into the game in the ninth inning and struck out the side on just 13 pitches.

“It’s part of the game… As a team, you have to come back tomorrow and keep fighting,” Jean Segura commented during a postgame interview. Bryce Harper also recognized that it’s “part of the game” when he addressed the media in the locker room.

Is Kyle Schwarber heating up for good?

Throughout the beginning of the 2022 season, we have seen Kyle Schwarber heat up for a day or two and follow with a long cold streak. Could the power-hitting left-hander be heating up for good? He might be!

You thought I was going to state the obvious: He hit three home runs in the series. Of course, this is relevant, but I want to look at game one. While this was the Mets’ no-hitter, you’ll notice that Schwarber had zero at-bats, and this was not because he did not play. It was because he walked in each of his three at-bats. Early in the season, we saw Schwarber swinging at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone, but this makes it clear that his discipline at the plate has improved significantly. This will be key for Schwarber, for he will see better pitches to hit if he can continue to be more selective.

And yes, he did take the ball out of the yard three times in the series, and he had a base hit on Sunday to go along with his long balls. While I do not see him being slated as the leadoff hitter again anytime soon, it is important to see that he is adjusting to his new team and the new season.

The pitching

The pitching had its ups and downs during this series. The bullpen was superb in games one and two, but that same bullpen struggled immensely in game three. Jose Alvarado was brought in with bases loaded in both games two and three, but he only got out of the inning once. James Norwood, who was a surprising success in the bullpen thus far, struggled in game three as well. Corey Knebel was able to make his fourth save of the season in game two. The Phillies’ relievers have settled into more permanent roles now that the season has progressed, so we can expect more consistency in the ‘pen.

The starting pitching is also inconsistent thus far. Every pitcher on the Phillies has had a few good starts, a few average starts, and at least one horrible start. This continued during the Mets series this weekend. Aaron Nola struggled to come back in counts where he was behind, Kyle Gibson struggled to command his sinker and four-seamer, and Zach Eflin was nothing short of atrocious.

Corey Seager and the Rangers are en route to Citizens Bank Park for an interleague series beginning Tuesday. Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter.

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