If you think the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff has been snake bitten in 2020, we submit, for your consideration, the 2020 New York Mets.
Back in March, the Mets lost former All-Star Noah Syndergaard for the season to Tommy John surgery. Shortly after the 2020 season finally began, Marcus Stroman, acquired in a major trade deadline pickup last summer, opted out of the season due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Former American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello was signed to a one-year/$10 million deal this past offseason, hoping for a bounce-back campaign. Instead, he’s posted a 6.06 ERA in 10 starts, with advanced metrics such as FIP suggesting he’s been very unlucky.
The one constant for the Mets through what’s been an otherwise disastrous era of baseball – both in terms of injuries and on-field success – has been Jacob deGrom. The two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner entered Wednesday’s evening’s game with a National League-low 1.67 ERA, very much in the mix to win the award again. He exited after just two innings, having suffered what the Mets say was a right hamstring spasm.
Ironically, deGrom’s former teammate, Zack Wheeler, toed the rubber for the Phillies Wednesday evening. Though Wheeler entered the evening with very legitimate concerns about a middle finger injury on his throwing hand that forced him to miss his scheduled start in Miami this past weekend, the 30-year-old turned in a strong performance Wednesday evening.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, big nights from Wheeler and Jean Segura didn’t prove to be enough, as the bullpen reared its ugly head, costing the team a chance to clinch a series victory and bringing them back to .500.
- The Phillies were able to jump all over deGrom in the bottom of the second inning. After Jean Segura legged out a double, Andrew Knapp scorched a ball down the first base line for a double himself, plating Segura.
- Knapp was able to advance to third base on a throwing error following his double, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Haseley.
- Following a Roman Quinn single (and subsequent steal of second base), Andrew McCutchen grounded into a fielder’s choice with runners on second and third base. The fielder – Mets shortstop Andrés Giménez – elected to throw home, but Wilson Ramos was unable to catch the ball and tag Kingery, who scored.
- With McCutchen on first and Quinn on third, Bryce Harper strike out and Ramos gunned down to first base to throw out McCutchen, who got a little complacent with his lead. However, while the Phillies would have liked to add more runs, they became the first team in 2020 to score three runs off deGrom, not just in one inning, but in one whole start.
- Michael Wacha replaced deGrom in the third inning, and Segura continued to torture the Mets with his third home run of the season against New York, this one of the solo variety:
- The Mets climbed within one run in the top of the sixth inning when J.D. Davis hit a 361-foot home run over the right field wall:
- The Mets tied the game in the top of the eighth inning, with a double to right-center field off the bat of Davis, plating Michael Conforto. As Jayson Stark of The Athletic noted, the Phillies have now blown 11 saves in 2020, two more than they’ve actually saved.
- An inning later, a balk by Héctor Neris – who simply dropped the ball – proved to be costly. The balk allowed Ahmed Rosario to advance to second, after he had pinch run for Robinson Canó. Two batters later, Andrés Giménez lined what proved to be the game-winning single into center field. Thanks to a heads-up defensive play by Scott Kingery, no further damage was allowed in the top of the ninth, but it didn’t matter, as Edwin Diaz closed out a one-run victory for the Mets in the home half of the ninth.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
- As noted above, Jacob deGrom lasted just two innings this evening for the Mets, allowing four hits and three runs before having to leave with a hamstring injury.
- In his first start in nine days, Zack Wheeler scattered seven hits and three runs across 7 1/3 innings against his former team. Given the current state of his right middle finger (seen below), that’s a pretty impressive performance. Wheeler has a 2.62 ERA through his first nine starts as a Phillie, good for seventh among National League starting pitchers:
Postgame Phillies Nuggets
- Joe Girardi on Zack Wheeler: “I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent, but he still went out and gave us everything that he had. And those are the type of guys you want on your team.”
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Thursday, Sept. 17 vs. New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network (out of market only)
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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