Phillies need to turn around recent struggles against Mets
The Phillies have struggled in recent years against the Mets, but that cannot continue if they plan on winning the division.
While the Phillies did reasonably well against teams outside their division last season, they struggled to beat their NL East rivals. They only had a winning record against the Marlins and went 23-34 against the Mets, Braves, and Nationals.
The Mets were a significant thorn in Philadelphia’s side last year as the Phils won just one series against them all season long. They were outscored 95-66, primarily fueled by the 24-4 win in the first game of an Aug. 16 doubleheader.
The Mets have done well against Philadelphia in years prior as well. In 2016 and 2017, they were 12-7 against the Phils. In 2015, they were 14-5. It only started mattering last year when Philadelphia was an actual division contender, but it’s never fun to lose to the Mets at any time.
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The Mets, Braves, and Phils are all neck-and-neck at the top of the NL East. Philadelphia sits at 9-5 while the Braves and Mets are both 9-6. Philadelphia swept the Braves in the first series and gets their first crack at the Mets this week, starting Monday night.
Surprisingly, the offense has carried the Mets to their early-season success. They rank fourth in runs per game (6.07), seventh in OPS+ (117), and ninth in wRC+ (115).
Rookie sensation Pete Alonso leads their offensive success with six home runs, 17 runs batted in, and a 223 OPS+.
Meanwhile, the pitching staff has not been up to par, especially their bullpen. As a whole, they rank 25th in ERA (5.44), 26th in WHIP (1.504), and 20th in fielding-independent pitching (4.56). Jason Vargas has weighed down their rotation with a 14.21 ERA in three appearances. The bullpen has been atrocious outside of Edwin Diaz, ranking 28th in Fangraphs wins above replacement (-0.6).
If Philadelphia has any chance of winning the division this year, they cannot struggle against other contending teams like the Mets as they have in years past. They can start off the right foot Monday night.