MLB London Series between Phillies and Mets shaping up to be a massive mismatch

The skidding Mets don't look like they have much resistance to offer against the powerhouse Phillies.
The 2024 MLB London Series will feature the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets
The 2024 MLB London Series will feature the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies are in a groove, leading the NL East by a healthy margin, and now they're about to embark on one of the marquis events of the baseball season: the MLB London Series. It will be a unique occasion for the Phillies and their fans, and it seems like everyone around baseball is looking forward to it.

That is, everyone except for the Phillies' opponents, the New York Mets.

MLB London Series shaping up as a mismatch for the Phillies

When participating in a big game or series, be it a prime-time matchup or something much larger like an international showcase, you always want to be clicking on all cylinders and at full strength to put on the best possible showing. And that's exactly what the Mets won't be able to do when they roll into foggy old London Town for their two-game set with the Phillies.

Absolutely beset by injuries and suffering through a miserable campaign that was essentially dead on arrival, the Mets are already lagging behind so many teams in the National League that even a Wild Card berth seems like a long shot.

Their presumptive ace Kodai Senga has yet to throw a pitch this season. Budding star catcher Francisco Alvarez has been out since April with a thumb injury. The return of closer Edwin Díaz was clunky and eventually saw him placed on the injured list with a shoulder impingement.

The Mets even managed to one-up themselves on the embarrassment scale last week when pitcher Jórge Lopez was cut from the team after throwing his glove into the stands and then making suspect comments after the game, only to have the situation blow up in the Mets' faces after the fact.

In short, their 2024 season has been nothing short of a nightmare, and it's likely to see them sell off some important pieces by the trade deadline, most notably pending unrestricted free agent All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso. It's probably going to get worse in the standings for the Metropolitans before all is said and done.

The Phillies' season is going in the opposite direction

On the Phillies side, as we're all well aware, things have gone swimmingly through the first two months of the season. The club has multiple hurlers in Cy Young contention, Bryce Harper has been hovering at an MVP level, Alec Bohm is asserting himself as a force, and the bullpen has been rock solid.

Nothing's perfect, and the Phillies will notably be missing Trea Turner in London as he continues to work his way back from a hamstring strain. Plus, the recent injury to Brandon Marsh puts a damper on things as well. But this is about as sunny as it gets in Philadelphia, and it sure seems like the perfect time to show off on a world stage that they are the team to beat this year.

Events like the London Series are always an exciting proposition for a club, but they're also daunting. You want to make sure you show as well as possible, but you can't account for injuries or other factors that might derail your team in such a small sample size.

For one example, take the Flyers and their performance in the NHL's ill-conceived showcase at Lake Tahoe in 2021 as they were trying to bring viewers back in the wake of the pandemic. Multiple key Flyers tested positive leading up to the game, but they played anyway.

The Flyers looked like garbage, and they lost 7-3. They were still 8-4-3 on the young, shortened NHL season, but they ended up going sub-.500 over the remainder of their schedule. They missed the playoffs and they still haven't been back in the years since. Nobody is saying that the same thing will happen to the Phillies if they have an unexpectedly poor showing in London, but it's worth pointing out that marquis events have a way of starting trends, both good and bad.

It sure would be great if the Phillies could mop the floor with a depleted Mets team in both games, but this is baseball, and we all know that the most likely outcome in any two games between any two teams is a split. It'll come down to pitching matchups, a few key at-bats, and a lucky bounce or two. But the Mets have zero luck these days, so maybe the Phillies can bank two wins if they just play at their usual level.

Just because the Phillies have a seemingly comfortable lead in the NL East while the Mets languish behind teams like the Pirates and Nationals doesn't guarantee anything, but the international stage that the London Series provides seems like it should provide a boost to the clearly better team. If not, then that's just baseball for you.