Phillies hitters licking their chops after Mets' latest pitcher signing

With Sean Manaea signing a two-year deal in New York, let's revisit the Phillies' recent encounters with the lefty.

Sean Manaea has signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies' NL East rival New York Mets
Sean Manaea has signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies' NL East rival New York Mets / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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While the Philadelphia Phillies have been quiet since November, some of their division rivals have been busy making moves this offseason. The New York Mets have made a few moves in an attempt to shore up the leaking ship, coming off a disastrous — is that even a strong enough word to describe the spectacular implosion in Queens? — 2023 season.

The most recent free agent signing by the NL East foe will have the Phillies hitters and fans alike salivating for their first matchup of the 2024 season. The Mets recently agreed to a two-year deal with starting pitcher Sean Manaea.

Manaea spent 2023 with the San Francisco Giants as a quasi-starter, appearing in 37 games with 10 starts. He finished the year with a worse-than-league-average 4.44 ERA but still racked up 128 strikeouts in his 117 2/3 innings. Unfortunately for the left-hander — and fortunately for the Phillies — his two outings against his new division rivals didn't go so well.

In his first appearance on May 17, Manaea faced six batters out of the bullpen, coming in in the fourth. He promptly allowed an inherited runner to score on an Alec Bohm sacrifice fly but got out of the inning. In the fifth, he gave up the lone hit of his outing, but it was a loud one as Bryson Stott took him deep with a solo home run to tie the game.

In their second matchup later in the season, he pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief. Since their May meeting and Stott's home run, Manaea hadn't given up another round-tripper in over 50 innings of work. But on Aug. 21, the Phillies got to him again, with a pair of homers from Edmundo Sosa and Alec Bohm in a 10-4 Phillies romp. All told, he finished his two games against the Phillies in 2023 with an 8.31 ERA, four runs on three homers, and a .498 wOBA over 4 1/3 innings.

Manaea handed the Phillies the 2022 NLCS

But the 2023 regular season isn't what most fans will remember about Manaea's history with the Phillies.

Let's rewind back to Oct. 22, 2022.

Game 4 of the NLCS against the San Diego Padres. With the Phillies facing a 4-3 deficit in the fourth inning, Manaea came on in relief and allowed Stott to tie things up with a two-out RBI single.

After the Padres got the lead back in the top of the fifth, 6-4, things got out of hand in a hurry for the 31-year-old. Manaea never made it out of the fifth. He surrendered a 2-run home run to Rhys Hoskins, followed by an RBI double off Bryce Harper's bat (who eventually came around to score after Manaea hit the showers).

Feel free to re-live the rally in all it's glory:

The Phillies finished their big fifth inning with an 8-6 lead, and they went on to take Game 4 by a score of 10-6. Manaea took the loss, in what was his only appearance in the series, with a line of five runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Manaea's meltdown not only gave the Phillies a stranglehold of a 3-1 series lead, but it set up Harper's iconic "Bedlam at the Bank" shot in Game 5 to send the Phillies to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

Back to this season.

As a division rival, the Phillies face the Mets 13 times, including their two games in the 2024 London Series. There's a good possibility they'll line up against Manaea, who's expected to return to a more traditional starter role in New York, more than once.

The Phillies' first encounter with the 2024 Mets, and hopefully Manaea, takes place with a four-game home-and-home series from May 13-16. The Phillies will be looking forward to welcoming him to the NL East.

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