The Philadelphia Phillies entered this match-up in the Big Apple with the division rival New York Mets having lost nine series in a row. Now following Saturday night’s 10-5 spanking from the hosts at Citi Field, the Phillies are in a precarious situation for Sunday’s finale.
In order to avoid a 10th consecutive series defeat the Phillies will have to overcome the National League Cy Young Award favorite. The Mets will send Jacob deGrom to the mound, and beating him should prove a Herculean task for this inconsistent Phillies offense.
Through 28 starts, deGrom has fashioned a miniscule 1.68 ERA to lead all of Major League Baseball in that category. His 0.4 HR/9 mark is also the best in the game, so the Phillies are not likely to beat him with the long ball.
Over 188 innings the 30-year-old right-hander has allowed just 139 hits with a 230/42 K/BB ratio. His 220 ERA+ and 2.08 FIP both lead the National League. That deGrom enters this contest with just an 8-8 record is simply testament to just how poorly the Mets own offensive attack has been this season.
The Phillies (11) and Mets (12) are two of the worst offensive teams in the 15-team senior circuit. For the Phillies to have any hope at all in this one, they are going to need to find a way to scratch and claw for a few runs and get a strong afternoon from their own pitchers.
Taking the mound for the Phillies will be Vince Velasquez. The 26-year-old right-hander has been unable to give the Phillies more than five innings in any start since a brilliant outing on August 3 against Miami.
In five starts since that outing, opponents have a .269 batting average and .370 on-base percentage against him. Velasquez has a 5.75 ERA in that time, with the club going 2-3 in his starts.
This will be deGrom’s fourth start against the Phillies this season. In his first three outings against them, deGrom has gone 1-0 and has allowed the Phillies just one run on a dozen hits over 18 innings with an 18/4 K:BB ratio. In his last start against the Phillies back on August 18, deGrom tossed a masterful complete game at Citizens Bank Park.
In his last outing on Monday night, a 4-2 victory at Dodger Stadium, deGrom tied the MLB record by allowing three or fewer runs in his 25th consecutive start.
“I honestly have not been looking at stuff like that, just trying to get ready for my next start,” deGrom said following that outing per ESPN. “I am out there trying to put this team in a position to win. I don’t like giving up runs.”
This would appear to be a mismatch on the mound in favor of the home team. If that holds, then the Phillies will indeed lose yet another series. After today there will be just 20 games remaining in a season that is running out of chances to turn it back around and get back into the postseason race.
Perhaps the Phillies should pray for rain?
POST-SCRIPT: if anyone did indeed pray for that rain, it worked. And due to the day-long wet weather being forecast, the Mets did indeed scratch their ace. It didn’t matter, as New York won anyway, handing the Phillies that 10th consecutive series defeat.
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