In order to help preserve their starting rotation, the Phillies pushed all of their starters back by one day and gave minor leaguer Bailey Falter a start on Friday night. While the strategy made some sense on the surface, I’m not sure I would have done it in an important game against the first-place team in the division. The strategy proved unwise as Falter pitched poorly and was the main reason the Phillies lost to the Mets 8-6 on Friday night.
To Falter’s credit, his first pitch of the game resulted in a routine ground ball to shortstop. The only problem was Bryson Stott fielded it and committed a throwing error. The next two batters reached on a single and walk, and the next two batters drove in runs via sacrifice fly. Falter was close to escaping with that minimal damage, but after starting off with two strikes, Mets left fielder Mark Canha fouled off six pitches before hitting a broken-bat RBI single.
You kind of knew it wouldn’t be the Phillies’ night after that. Falter was out of the game after three innings, but Nick Nelson didn’t do much better in relief, and after four innings, the Mets had extended their lead to 7-0.
Because they hate their fans, the Phillies’ offense decided to do just enough to provide hope of a comeback. The Phillies scored three runs in the sixth inning, and then with the bases loaded, Garrett Stubbs came to the plate.
The bullpen rewarded that effort by immediately giving one of those runs back. Still, the offense looked like it might be able to compensate for the bad night by the pitching staff. With runners on second and third and two outs in the eighth, J.T. Realmuto came to the plate to hit for Stott. But apparently, the Phillies can’t have two catchers hit well in the same game (and they haven’t even gotten one most nights), because after working a 3-0 count, Realmuto eventually fouled out, ending the threat.
On the bright side, the Phillies will have Zach Eflin pitching on Saturday, and he should be nice and rested now. Let’s hope that rest pays off with a strong performance, because the Phillies can’t afford to fall any further behind in the division.