Sat, 30 Sep 2023

Phillies, Mets look to get untracked in first meeting of season

Field Level Media
30 May 2023, 06:19 GMT+10

Nobody needs to remind the Philadelphia Phillies how a slow start through Memorial Day does not mean disaster.

And nobody needs to remind the Phillies and New York Mets there is no better time than now to turn around their seasons.

A pair of National League East rivals looking to get untrackedwill meet for the first time this season Tuesday night, when the Phillies visit the Mets in the opener of a three-game series.

Left-hander Ranger Suarez (0-1, 9.82 ERA) is slated to start for the Phillies against Mets right-hander Kodai Senga (4-3, 3.94).

Both teams were off Monday after losing on the road Sunday. The Phillies missed a chance to split a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves by falling 11-4, while the Mets squandered an early four-run lead in an 11-10 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

The fourth-place Phillies dropped to 25-28 after Sunday's defeat. Last year, Philadelphia was 21-28 through Memorial Day.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi was fired two games later and replacement Rob Thomson oversaw a season-ending surge by the Phillies, who went 65-46 under Thomson and made the playoffs as the third wild card before mounting a run to the World Series, where they fell to the Houston Astros.

The Phillies might be able to take some solace in the slumping Kyle Schwarber -- the symbol of their pre- and post-Memorial Day experiences last season -- hitting a two-run homer Sunday.

Schwarber is hitting .168 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 53 games this season. He hit .188 with 11 homers and 23 RBs in 47 games through Memorial Day last season and .231 with 35 homers and 71 RBIs the rest of the year.

"Wherever I'm at personally at the end of the year is where I'll be at," Schwarber said. "But I want to worry about where we're going to be at."

The Mets had little to worry about last year, when they maintained a winning record all season before finishing 101-61. But New York has struggled to regain that winning formula while going 13-20 since April 22.

Starting pitching -- or a lack thereof -- has been the main culprit for the Mets, whose rotation has compiled a 5.13 ERA, ranked 25th in the majors entering Monday. New York's starters have thrown 270 innings to rank 21st.

Last season, Mets starters ranked fifth in the majors in ERA (3.61) while throwing 878 innings, the ninth most.

Carlos Carrasco and Max Scherzer provided the Mets some much-needed length and momentum by combining to allow two runs over 13 2/3 innings on Thursday and Friday, but the momentum stalled when Justin Verlander and Tylor Megill gave up a combined 12 runs (10 earned) over nine innings in their starts at Colorado on Saturday and Sunday.

"Our pitching is going to get better," Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo said. "I have all the faith in the world in those guys. That is something I don't question."

Suarez didn't factor into the decision last Wednesday, when he gave up five runs over five innings as the Phillies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings. Senga took the defeat Wednesday after surrendering three runs in five innings as the Mets fell to the Chicago Cubs 4-2.

Suarez is 1-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 11 career games (four starts) against the Mets. Senga has never opposed the Phillies.

--Field Level Media

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