Thursday evening (6:45pm Eastern; 11:45pm UK) in Philadelphia, the New York Mets look to continue their dominance of the National League East against the division rival Phillies.
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Where to watch New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies on TV:
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- US: MLB Network
New York Mets team news
On the heels of splitting a four-game series at home against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, the NL East-leading Mets travel to Philadelphia, to kick off a four-game set against the Phillies. The Mets 2022 campaign has started out fantastically, as the team has not only won 18 of its first 27 games, but has also watched its division rivals scuffle – only the Miami Marlins (12-12) have won even half of their games, and no other NL East team is fewer than three wins shy of breakeven.
The Mets are firing on all cylinders. Offensively, six of their eight regular position players are hitting at well above league average. This surge includes bounce-backs from holdovers Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor, as well as excellent performances from offseason acquisitions Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha.
As great as the offense has been, the Mets’ starting pitching has been equally dominant. On Thursday, the ‘Amazins’ will send Taijuan Walker to the mound. This will be Walker’s third start of the season – and his third against the Phillies. Though he left his first start after two innings with an injury, he bounced back with a strong performance in his second. He has allowed no runs and just two hits in seven scoreless innings against the Phillies.
Mets predicted batting order: Brandon Nimmo, CF; Starling Marte, RF; Francisco Lindor, SS; Pete Alonso, 1B; Eduardo Escobar, 3B; Jeff McNeil, LF; J.D. Davis, DH; Luis Guillorme, 2B; James McCann, SS
Mets predicted starting pitcher: Taijuan Walker (RHP; 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.52 FIP)
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Philadelphia Phillies team news
The Phillies, meanwhile, are already a full six games behind the Mets, with a record of 11-14. The Phillies have been a bit unlucky in the early going, as their second-best run differential in the division (+5; the Mets lead with +31) suggests that their ‘deserved record’ is 13-12. At the same time, it’s worth noting that nearly two-thirds of Philly’s victories (7 of 11) have come against the wildly overperforming Colorado Rockies and the AL West cellar-dwellers, the Oakland Athletics. However we frame the results, the fact is that Major League Baseball’s playoff races are determined by how many game a team actually wins. Thus, despite being just a sixth of the way through the season, the Phillies’ greatest shot at postseason baseball is likely already one of the NL’s Wild Card spots – and they’re even already behind the eight-ball there!
Though the Phillies have hit the ball extremely well to start the season – as evidenced by MLB-wide rankings of seventh in wRC+ (weighted runs created) and fourth in runs scored – they have, unfortunately (though not the least bit surprisingly) been absolutely atrocious on defense. As it turns out, packing the roster with a crew of not-so-mobile, not-so-surehanded, beefy bat-first guys will, in fact, have that effect.
This, of course, calls for the pitcher to keep the ball out of play. The only positive way to do so is by striking out loads of batters. While the Phillies staff sits respectably in the middle of the pack, ‘middle of the pack’ is not enough to offset the liability of their defense.
Hoping to help the Phil both right the ship and make up ground this weekend is Thursday’s starting pitcher, Aaron Nola, who’s thus far posted fairly solid 3.90 earned run average (ERA) and 3.85 fielding-independent pitching (FIP) marks. Interestingly, this is also Nola’s third start of the season against the Mets. He’s not fared as well as his counterpart, having surrendered six earned runs in nine-and-a-third innings across the previous two starts.
Phillies predicted batting order: Alec Bohm, 3B; Nick Castellanos, RF; Bryce Harper, DH; Rhys Hoskins, 1B; J.T. Realmuto, C; Kyle Schwarber, LF; Jean Segura, 2B; Didi Gregorious, SS; Matt Vierling, CF
Phillies starting pitcher: Aaron Nola (RHP; 1-3, 3.90 ERA, 3.85 FIP)