Mets, Phillies hope to beat rain, each other
NEW YORK — The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies began to find a little routine Tuesday night, when the teams opened an abbreviated two-game series. Now the teams have to hope the weather provides them a chance to continue building momentum Wednesday afternoon, when they are scheduled to play each other in a matinee at Citi Field.
The Mets earned a 2-0 win Tuesday, when five pitchers combined to three-hit the Phillies in a game in which the first pitch temperature was 40 degrees. The weather is likely to be a factor for the third time in as many days Wednesday, when rain is expected to lash the metropolitan area throughout the day.
The scheduled series opener Monday was snowed out after several inches fell on Citi Field in the morning. The postponement gave each team its second off-day in the first week of the season — a week that in which it’s difficult for players and teams to get into the flow of the season even in the best of weather.
“That’s always a concern,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Tuesday afternoon. “I think that to be a Major League Baseball player, throughout 162 games you have to have a really good routine.”
The Mets would like to get into the routine they displayed Tuesday, when Matt Harvey tossed five innings of one-hit ball in a scoreless game before handing the ball over to a relief core that looked impressively fluid and versatile.
A.J. Ramos and Jerry Blevins, both of whom usually pitch with a lead in the later innings, combined to throw the sixth inning before Seth Lugo, who was scheduled to start Tuesday before Harvey got pushed back because of Monday’s postponement, struck out four in two perfect innings. It was the first major league hold for Lugo, who threw 19 of his 22 pitches for strikes. Closer Jeurys Familia then earned his second save.
Despite being shut out, the Phillies forced the Mets to throw 151 pitches, an average of 4.4 pitches per batter. Manager Gabe Kapler was pleased with the plate discipline shown by Philadelphia — especially against Harvey, who threw 86 pitches, and Familia, who allowed two baserunners and threw 23 pitches in the ninth inning.
“We continue to do that and I think that over the course of time, we’re going to score a lot of runs with that kind of approach,” Kapler said afterward. “I was really proud of the resilience of our offense, particularly there at the end of the game. And I think grinding down opposing pitchers is the key to getting the best pitchers out of the game and then making relievers tired.”
Syndergaard earned the win Thursday, when he allowed four runs over six innings but struck out 10 and walked none as the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-4. He is 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies.
Nola didn’t factor into the decision Thursday, when Kapler lifted him after 5 1/3 innings even though Nola had thrown only 68 pitches and the Phillies led the Atlanta Braves by five runs in a game they’d eventually lose 8-5. He is 2-1 with a 6.19 ERA in three career starts against the Mets.