Philadelphia- Buck Showalter said his team had a good first game Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Ballpark, a Mets 8-2 win over the Phillies. He said his team could not put together anything that would amount to runs in the second game of a day-night doubleheader.
The Mets could not get the sweep, losing 4-1, and the Braves won again, so their first place lead in the National League East has been reduced to three games. Sunday afternoon, the teams meet for the final time this season.
Unless, of course, they meet in October, and that is possible with the Phillies in the NL wild card hunt. Sunday afternoon is the finale of a season series that easily has the Mets on top 13-5, a contrast from last year when the Phillies took care of the Mets,
But a Saturday, that began with sun drenched Phillies and Mets fans, and ended with an evening of night baseball, two division rivals made their statement as the Mets continued to hold the second best record in baseball.
The Phillies have a better chance of securing one of three NL wild cards and need to win a remaining number of ballgames to overtake the Mets, but their fans are patient with interim manager Rob Thomson, 44-25 since Joe Girardi was dismissed.
But the Mets have Buck. He made his presence known and every pitch thrown, each at bat, Mets fans cheered their manager and Phillies fans had a difficult time letting them know, “This is our ballpark, but Mets fans are relentless. They have also been waiting a long time to stand and cheer in the City of Brotherly Love.”
“It always seems like we’re playing a home game with Mets fans in the crowd,” said Trevor Williams, who got the call to step up in game one because the Mets rotation is minus Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker, missing his Sunday start because of a bulging disc.
He added,” Thought I heard the 7-line today. For them to make the trip out here, it’s special for us and it doesn’t go unnoticed in our clubhouse.”
The Philles noticed their presence, more so how Williams stepped up. He pitched four plus scoreless innings, with four hits, and two walks. But this is Phillies country and they emptied Citizens Bank in two hours while an evening contingent of 39,374 fans, entered.
And that contingent of Mets fans, some from the afternoon and those lucky enough to attend both games, they made their presence known in the first inning as the Mets scored a first inning run,
A lead the Phillies evened in their half of the first. Two more runs in the third off David Peterson, another in the 8th. The Phillies earned a split, but the Mets still have that distinction of having the Phillies number with one more game remaining Sunday.
And part of that success has been attributed to the Mets taking care of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, the Phillies top two starters who combined were 0-7 in nine games won by New York. Wheeler struggled in game one, striking out six in 5 and 1/3 innings as the Mets lineup worked him deep into the counts.
“They have some good guys in the bullpen and we knew it was going to be a challenge after that,” Showalter said.
However, the biggest challenge for these Mets, now with 78 wins, which topped their 76 of last year, is to keep the Braves at bay. The Mets and Braves don’t meet again until the final weekend of the season in early October, and that could very well decide the division.
The Phillies, after Sunday will continue their push for that wildcard. The Mets visit the Bronx and face the struggling Yankees for two games that concludes a four-game series that began at Citi Field last month.
“It was a good way to end a long day,” Thomson said. And a successful time for the Mets in Philadelphia. They had the Phillies number, and Buck Showalter made the right calls.
Rich Mancuso Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube. Like, Comment, Subscribe