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And so it goes: Mets 5, Phillies 4

The names change, but the results remain the same for the Phillies and their bullpen

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
Bryce Harper and the Phillies’ couldn’t get it done
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Looking at the pitching matchup for Wednesday night’s game between the Phillies and Mets, it wasn’t unreasonable to think the Phillies would come out on the losing end. And while they did indeed lose by a score of 5-4, here are a couple of things that did not happen in the game:

The Phillies were not dominated by Jacob deGrom - The last time he faced the Phillies, the Mets’ ace dominated the Phillies’ hitters, holding them to one run in seven innings. This time around, they scored three runs in two innings before he had to leave the game with an injury.

Zack Wheeler’s fingernail injury did not inhibit his performance - After almost tearing off his fingernail last week, it seemed like Wheeler might be done for the season. But he was able to pitch, and pitched pretty well, giving up three runs in 7.1 innings.

Instead, we got another variation on a very familiar theme for the 2020 Phillies: After scoring a few early runs, their bats went quiet. That allowed their opponent to stage a comeback, and ultimately win the game against the Phillies’ relievers.

Despite possessing only nine good fingernails, Wheeler pitched a solid game. Although it should be mentioned that the Mets began their comeback when J.D. Davis hit a two-run home run against him in the sixth inning.

Wheeler had recorded one out in the eighth when Joe Girardi removed him in favor of Adam Morgan. I have been confused all season by Girardi’s consistently short leash with Wheeler, especially considering the state of the Phillies’ bullpen. Forced to face multiple right handed batters, Morgan ultimately gave up a game-tying double to Davis.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ hitters did very little against the non-deGrom Mets pitchers. Michael Wacha limited them to one run in four innings, and despite getting a few runners aboard, the Phillies couldn’t manage a single run against the four relievers who followed.

When the Phillies were hot last month, their lineup was able to overcome the failings of the bullpen. But with Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto missing, and Bryce Harper in a horrific slump, they aren’t capable of doing so at the moment.

In the ninth, Hector Neris was called upon for the third straight game. It seems unrealistic to think that Neris - or any Phillies reliever - can be effective three days in a row, and sure enough, he was not effective. On Tuesday night, Neris was able to escape a jam of his own making. On Wednesday, thanks in part to him advancing a runner to second via balk, he did not have similar success.

And while this loss was both painful and harmful to their playoff hopes, I will give them points for consistency. That’s got to count for something, right?