Phils visit Mets in matchup of teams with fading playoff hopes


Winning ugly sure beats the alternative. Just ask the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

The Phillies will hope to build off an unusual win — and the Mets will be looking to end yet another untimely late-season skid — when Philadelphia visits New York on Friday in the opener of a three-game series between teams trying to climb back into the National League playoff race.

Zack Wheeler (13-9, 2.86 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Philadelphia against Taijuan Walker (7-9, 4.29) in a battle of right-handers.

The Phillies earned a historic win Thursday night, when they overcame an early seven-run deficit to rout the visiting Chicago Cubs 17-8 in the rubber game of a three-game series.

The Mets were off Thursday after the visiting St. Louis Cardinals completed a damaging three-game sweep with an 11-4 win Wednesday night.

The Phillies are the first National League team in the modern era to win a game by at least nine runs after trailing by at least seven.

They needed to rally after the Cubs scored seven runs in the third inning. Then Philadelphia responded with seven runs in the fourth, three in the sixth, five more in the seventh and two in the eighth.

“Just a crazy game,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “I looked up at the scoreboard and it looked like they scored seven in the third quarter and we scored seven in the fourth and we were going to overtime.”

The win moved the Phillies (74-72) within 2 1/2 games of the idle Cardinals in the race for the second NL wild card and within three games of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The Braves’ scheduled Thursday game against the Colorado Rockies was rained out.

“It feels good, but we’ve got a while to go,” said Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper, who hit the go-ahead double in the sixth and capped the seventh inning with a three-run homer.

The Mets (72-75) have a bigger hill to climb after the sweep left them five games behind the Cardinals and 5 1/2 games back of the Braves. New York, which led the NL East from May 8 through Aug. 6, squandered a first-and-third, one-out opportunity in the 10th inning of a 7-6 loss Tuesday before spotting St. Louis a 5-0 first-inning lead Wednesday.

The Mets have the fifth-worst record in baseball (16-27) since Aug. 1.

“It’s tough to get swept,” New York manager Luis Rojas said, “and it’s tough to lose games against teams that you’re fighting for a spot.”

Wheeler won his third straight start on Saturday, when he allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings as the Phillies beat the visiting Rockies 6-1.

Walker also last pitched on Saturday, and he didn’t factor into the decision after giving up five runs over six innings in the Mets’ 8-7 loss to the visiting New York Yankees.

Wheeler, who was in the Mets’ organization from 2011-19 before signing with the Phillies in December 2019, is 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA in seven starts against New York. He twirled a two-hit shutout against New York on Aug. 8, striking out 11 and walking one in a 3-0 victory.

Walker is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts against the Phillies, 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts vs. Philadelphia this year.

–Field Level Media

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