After Wednesday night’s thrilling comeback victory against the Rockies, the Phillies seemed to have some momentum heading into their series against the Mets. But a wise baseball philosopher once said that momentum takes a team as far as the next day’s starting pitchers. And that matchup didn’t favor the Phillies.
David Buchanan made his second start of the season for the Phillies. He had pitched decently in his debut, and considering he was an unheralded non-roster invitee to Spring Training who is merely filling in for the injured Cliff Lee, decently is probably the best they could hope for.
On Thursday night, Buchanan pitched decently again. He wasn’t helped much by his defense – especially third baseman Cesar Hernandez – but giving up four runs (three earned) in 6.2 innings is certainly acceptable for a rotation fill-in. It would be up to the Phillies offense to score some runs behind him, and unfortunately, they were not up to the task.
Mets starter Zack Wheeler has had an unremarkable season thus far, but based on the futility of the Phillies hitters, he must have discovered a new pitch since his last start. The Phillies appeared mystified at the plate as they struck out nine times in Wheeler’s 6.1 innings.
Wheeler probably wasn’t the problem, since things didn’t improve after he left the game. Six of the last seven Phillies batters struck out, including Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard who all struck out in the ninth against closer Jenrry Mejia.
Remember how people suspected (hoped) that Ryan Howard was starting to heat up? That theory took a huge blow last night as Howard went 0-4 with four strikeouts.
And with that 4-1 victory, the Mets are now the team with the momentum. They’ve won three straight games, and perhaps more pertinently, they’ve won six straight games at Citizens Bank Park.
But we’ve seen just how fickle momentum can be, so perhaps tonight’s starter A.J. Burnett can help get that momentum going back in the Phillies’ direction.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies