Why do the Phillies hit Noah Syndergaard so well?
Coming into the game, Thor (yes, he’s still healthy in this simulation BACK OFF) has a career 4.20 ERA against the team in 13 career starts, but has allowed 10 home runs against them, the most he has given up to any single opponent. On this unusally chilly night, his luck wasn’t about to change.
It had a rocky start for Vince Velasquez and the Phillies. In the top of the first, Vince walked leadoff hitter Amed Rosario, then got the next two batters to fly out, bringing up Pete Alonso. Now, Alonso has had a pretty down sophomore campaign for the Mets, but in this at bat, he didn’t disappoint. He took a second pitch curveball and ripped on with an exit velocity of 110 miles per hour into the stands, making it 2-0. Syndergaard would allow a leadoff single to Jean Segura to start the bottom of the first, but then he retired the next six hitters in a row. Velasquez was just as good, coasting through his next few innings as the game reached the bottom of the third.
Andrew Knapp, giving J.T. Realmuto a breather, singled to start that inning, then went to second on a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Velasquez. Segura struck out for the second out of the inning, but Andrew McCutchen walked to put two runners on for Bryce Harper. Harper, who has been hitting lately, just not for a ton of power, changed that narrative by taking a cutter from Syndergaard and putting it into the upper deck, making the score 3-2.
In the top of the fourth, the wheels came off for Velasquez as he allowed a leadoff home run to Jeff McNeil, struck out Alonso, then allowed a single to Michael Conforto and a two-run shot to Yoenis Cespedes. This brought the score to 5-3 and ended Velasquez’s night. Nick Pivetta was brought in to relieve....and promptly allowed a home run to Wilson Ramos, making it 6-3.
However, in the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies fought back and came within one when Logan Forsythe hit a one out single, brining Knapp to the plate. He miraculously turned on one from Syndergaard and drilled a two-run shot, bringing the team within one. Nick Pivetta doubled to the surprised of everyone and that was the end of Syndergaard for the night. Brad Brach came in to relieve, but he could do no better. Segura grounded out and sent Pivetta to third. Pivetta scored when McCutchen singled to right and the game was briefly tied. I say briefly because on the very next pitch, Harper untied it with another home run, this one of the two-run variety and the Phillies went on top, 8-6.
A battle of the bullpens looming, Pivetta tried his best to give it back by allowing Brandon Nimmo to join the home run parade and the score sent 8-7. After issuing a two-out walk to Alonso, manager Joe Girardi had seen enough and Tommy Hunter entered the game. He extinguished that rally and sent it to the bottom of the fifth still at 8-7. In that bottom of the frame. Adam Haseley led off with a double, looked like he’d be stranded when the next two Phillies went down in order, but was saved when Knapp came through again with an RBI double and added a run to the Phillies tally. It was 9-7.
It stayed that way through the sixth and the Phillies looked set for business when Victor Arano came in for the seventh. Arano has been a godsend thus far in the year, sporting a shiny 0.62 ERA coming into tonight. Amed Rosario doubled that ERA with a solo home run and the Mets went another run closer.
It continued to be uncomfortable in the eighth when neither team scored and Tony Cingrani, brought into the ninth with Hector Neris and Seranthony Dominguez given the night off, tried to lock it down.
Domonic Smith led off with a double, then eventually scored and tied the game at 9 when Jeff McNeil singled Smith home. Dominguez eventually did get up and retired the final batter of the inning, but the damage was done. It was a surly crowd when the Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
Dellin Betances struck out Harper to start, but walked Rhys Hoskins, then allowed a single to Haseley before departing with a twinge in his elbow. Justin Wilson came on to protect the tie for the Mets.
Mr. Wilson, meet Mr. Kingery.
Mr. Jetpax himself drilled a three-run, walkoff home run that ended the game and sent the fans home in a delirium.
A sweep of the opponent is good.
A sweep of the Mets is better.
The Phillies will continue their NL East homestand tomorrow when the defending World Series champions come to town.