Tuesday was nice enough to give the Phillies and Mets some good weather. After the deluge they had to suffer through yesterday, the two teams got a beautiful spring day to play two games.
In game one, it started out rough for the Phillies as Brandon Nimmo got walked (and did his stupid sprint to first base) to start the game for the Mets offense. Francisco Lindor made an out, bringing up Dominic Smith. Phillies starter Chase Anderson must have been feeling quite generous himself as he served up a 92 mile per hour fastball that Smith immediately disposed of over the wall for a two-run home run and a 2-0 Mets lead.
This being a doubleheader, that meant an early lead gave the Phillies less time to try and come back since the games are only seven innings long this year when forced to play two. In the second, they would start that comeback when Alec Bohm doubled to lead off, went to third on a Jean Segura groundball, then scored on an Andrew Knapp sacrifice fly, making the score 2-1.
The game stayed that way until the sixth thanks to some, at time, dominant starting from Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker. Walker looked outstanding for a stretch, striking out seven Phillies after three innings, but the wheels started to fall off a bit in the fifth inning. Walker started to lose some control a bit when Roman Quinn and pinch hitter Brad Miller drew one out walks. Miguel Castro would come in get Andrew McCutchen swinging before Quinn, for some reason (coaching? on his own?) tried to steal third. He made it, but because the throw was high and Quinn wasn’t paying attention, he got up to head home because he believed the throw to be in left field. Luis Guillorme, who was jumping for the ball, came down on a nearly standing Quinn, knocking him off balance and tagging him for a third boneheaded out.
The Phillies would tie the game in the sixth when Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper reached with no one out, then were on the corners with two out for Segura. Segura pounded the ball at a blistering 53 miles per hour, scoring Hoskins and getting a hustle single, making it 2-2.
How 'bout some small ball? pic.twitter.com/Kev7enPBYM— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 13, 2021
The game would head into extra innings where the runner begins the inning at second. For the Phillies, that worked out when Andrew McCutchen scored the lead run when Didi Gregorius hitting a nubber toward a vacated shortstop that allowed McCutchen, who went to third on James McCann passed ball, to score. That would turn the game over to Hector Neris in the bottom of the eighth.
Now, with the Covid rules governing extra innings, Neris might be the last person you’d want trying to lock down a save. His lapses in concentration have led to some heart breaking losses in save situations and this, unfortunately, turned into one of those heartbreakers. Pete Alonso ended the suspense early when he led off and singled home Lindor, tying it at 3. The Mets proceeded to load the bases against Neris, bringing up Jonathan Villar. Villar would single home the winning run and gave the Mets the win, 4-3.
Aaron Nola would be needed to go deep into the second game since the bullpen’s most effective arms were all used in game one. How did it go?
Game 2: Mets 4, Phillies 0 (7 innings)
It did not go well.
For the second straight start, Aaron Nola didn’t necessarily pitch poorly. However, he didn’t pitch particularly well either. He gave up three runs in five innings, with all three coming in the fourth inning.
That marks the seventh time in the past eight games that the Phillies’ starter failed to reach the sixth inning. If they wanted that kind of length out of the starters, they should have just put Vince Velasquez in the rotation.
To be fair, with the benefit of zero runs of support behind him, it didn’t matter all that much how well Nola pitched. For the second time this season, the Phillies did a whole lot of nothing against Mets starter Marcus Stroman. They accumulated six singles (two of which came after Stroman was pulled for the seventh inning) and zero walks in the game, giving them a total of one extra base hit for the doubleheader.
On a positive note, they only struck out three times in game two after going down on strikes a whopping 14 times in the opener. So while it was weak contact, it was contact nonetheless. That’s encouraging maybe? (Not really.)
Despite how poorly Tuesday went, there are two reasons to be optimistic about the Phillies’ chances tomorrow:
- They’ll face David Peterson tomorrow, and unlike Stroman, they’ve done quite well against him.
- It won’t be a doubleheader.
A lot has changed for the Phillies in 2021.— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) April 14, 2021
One thing that hasn't changed: They still suck in double headers.