Heading into the game, a lot of Phillies’ fans were pessimistic about the team’s chances on Friday night. The Mets had Jacob deGrom on the mound, and he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past few years. The Phillies were countering with Vince Velasquez, who has definitively not been one of the best pitchers in baseball.
The pessimists forgot one important thing: The Mets’ bullpen is hot garbage. With the game tied at two entering the ninth inning, the Mets called upon closer Edwin Diaz to keep things close. Instead, Diaz and Jeurys Familia combined to turn the close game into a 7-2 laugher.
Here’s a dramatic interpretation of Mets’ General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s decision to trade for Edwin Diaz (and Robinson Cano!) this past offseason:
The Phillies took an early lead courtesy of Scott Kingery’s leadoff home run. For the second straight night, the Phillies were unable to hold on to an early lead, as Velasquez gave up a solo home run to Pete Alonso in the second, and an RBI double to Alonso in the fifth. Still, only giving up two runs in five innings was a respectable showing for Velasquez.
De Grom held the Phillies in check for most of the night, but they were able to scratch out a run in the seventh, when Cesar Hernandez’s infield grounder was hit softly enough to allow Rhys Hoskins to score.
Replays showed that Hoskins might have been out, but the Mets had already used their challenge for the game. Jerry Seinfeld was in attendance to throw out the first pitch. I wonder what he might have thought of the Mets’ inability to overturn the call.
In the fateful ninth, J.T. Realmuto led off with a double, and was promptly driven home by Jay Bruce. Sean Rodriguez, Jean Segura, and Bryce Harper also added RBIs, giving Hector Neris a comfortable lead to work with in the ninth. Unlike Diaz, the Phillies’ closer got the job done.
If it wasn’t for the Mets, the Phillies’ playoff hopes might be extinguished by now. Thankfully, the Phillies have two more games - and two more chances to exploit their horrific bullpen - before the All-Star break begins on Monday.