MLB - US Sports: Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Mets preview
The Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets are in fine form ahead of the upcoming three-game series at Citi Field, New York.
Both sides have won eight of their last 10 matches and while the Phillies are 10.5 games back from the Mets in the National League East Division, they have their feet firmly in the Wild Card picture.
Philadelphia Phillies versus New York Mets. Game One of Three
Citi Field, Flushing, Queens, New York City
00:10 BST Saturday, 13th August 2022
|How to watch|
Apple TV + and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
Philadelphia Phillies 3.00, New York Mets 1.41
The Mets are Red Hot
The New York Mets are in fine form right now. Buck Showalter's men have won their last six games in a row, with eight wins from their last nine matches. Their finest victories over this sequence was taking four matches out of a five-game series against their nearest division challengers, the Atlanta Braves.
Going into the series, the Mets were 3.5 games ahead of the Braves, so the outcome was vitally important for both teams. However, the defending World Series champions were blown away by a Mets team backed vociferously by a vibrant home support. Apart from one poor outing from Mets' starter Taijuan Walker, the remainder of the pitching rotation was exceptional.
The series ended with Jacob deGrom (making his second start of the season) taking a perfect game into the sixth inning. However, the Braves will have seven remaining games against the Mets and all of those contests are at Truist Park, Atlanta, starting with a four-game series next week.
Phillies change course
The Phillies were underperforming earlier in the season under Joe Girardi, as they couldn't get the defence right and the bats were underwhelming, and he was eventually fired following a 22-29 record.
Rob Thomson was put in charge and promptly won his first eight games in charge. Since then, Thomson's record is 40-20 and he has made the Phillies a battling team again.
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The Phillies come into this series with seven wins out of their last eight games. That blemish on the record came last time out against the Miami Marlins, losing 3-0 on Thursday afternoon and hard hitter Kyle Schwarber came out of the fifth inning with an injured calf.
According to the Phillies, Schwarber has a mild strain and is rated day-to-day. It's unlikely that he will start the series against the Mets, but may play a part on Saturday or Sunday. Losing the 29-year-old American would be a huge blow, after all he has played in 109 of the Phillies' 111 games and given that they are already without Bryce Harper, this would be a significant downer.
Schwarber was annoyed at the post-match press conference on Thursday as he spoke to MLB.com, saying: "I always pride myself on trying to be out there every single day. For something like this to just come up out of nowhere really and act up, it's definitely frustrating.
"We've been playing really good baseball for the last how many months? Just because one guy's down doesn't mean (anything). We've shown that, where everyone steps up. It's going to be the same kind of thing here. Even though I won't be able to play (Friday), I'm sure someone is going to step up."
Mets dominant pitching
The Mets will have Max Scherzer on the mound for Friday night's game and the 37-year-old was at his excellent best against the Braves last time out. He improved his record to 8-2 with a 1.98 ERA. Scherzer's ERA over his last seven games pitched is 1.37.
Carlos Carrasco pitched the Mets to a 6-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night at Citi Field and he was asked by the press if this was the best rotation that he has ever been a part of, considering that it includes Scherzer, deGrom, Walker, Chris Bassitt as well as himself.
Carrasco told MLB.com: "Yes. To be honest, yes. Just to have Jake (deGrom) in there, Max-five Cy Youngs together-Bassitt, Ty (Walker), Megill with what he did at the start of the season. It feels really good to be part of this rotation."
The Mets have won nine of the 12 contests between the two sides so far this year. There are seven more games to play, with this three-match series followed by a four-game matchup in a weeks time in Philadelphia.