Blowing leads seems to be the popular thing to do in Major League Baseball these days, and the New York Mets did it again last night. Up 4-0, the Mets allowed 5 unanswered runs to lose in extra innings. Jay Bruce was the hero, connecting on a walk-off double to notch the win for the Phillies. Bruce is a new addition to the Phillies and he’s immediately become a fan favorite.
Now I don’t think he is the answer to all of their problems in Philadelphia, but he gives the lineup a jolt. There are some other areas the Phillies must address if they want to catch up with the Braves in the NL East. Despite the Phillies signing Bryce Harper and everyone jumping on their bandwagon, they still trail by 5.5 games in the division.
A Philadelphia and Atlanta win doesn’t move the meter for the Phillies, but they keep pace. Beyond making trades and trying to improve the roster, there is only one other player in the majors making more money than Bryce Harper. I understand why Mike Trout is struggling to get his team into postseason contention.
Trout is doing his part, but Harper needs to become a leader and catch fire in the second-half. Harper will not be starting in the All-Star Game, and deservedly so. In fact, there will be no Phillies starting in the All-Star Game. A lot of times All-Star voting is terribly flawed and guys get in who definitely shouldn’t, but they got it right here.
Harper will not be able to defend his Home Run Derby award, which I feel, is a carnival games to begin with. Aaron Nola gets the nod in the driver’s seat for the Phillies on Thursday afternoon, while the Mets will go with Zack Wheeler. Head below for our free Mets vs. Phillies pick.
N.Y. Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick:
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Despite trailing the Braves and desperation written on the fans in Philadelphia, the Phillies are tied for the final wildcard in the National League. The Rockies, Brewers, and Phillies are all 42-38 going into the Thursday card. You would think things are a lot worse for the Phillies, so they have to put things in perspective. That said, the Bryce Harper signing was not supposed to put them on the fringe of a wildcard. Rather, the favorite in the NL East and bypass the Braves with ease. They also don’t look like a club ready to compete in the postseason.
The Phillies handed the Mets their fourth straight loss last night, as we inch closer to the trade deadline in July. That’s not until July 31st, but it might be the most interesting day on the calendar for the Mets and perhaps Zack Wheeler. They might be a 37-44 team, but there is still talent on it for other teams to chase after. Wheeler might be the most popular pitcher to go to a new team, but I don’t think any of them are safe, even Jacob deGrom. Having said that, the Mets are not giving up deGrom for cheap.
Wheeler has been okay with an ERA of 4.69 and 1.30 WHIP. He could be an arm that provides depth to a rotation, but will not fill into an ace role like deGrom or Syndergaard could. Although, Syndergaard’s value has plummeted with a rather pedestrian season. Wheeler has been dodgy on the road, with an ERA of 5.01 and 1.44 WHIP. He is coming off a nice start at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs are stuck in a slump right now at the plate.
Nola has been having a rather average year as well, but much of his failures have come on the road. He owns an ERA of 7.28 and 1.62 WHIP on the road, though that improves to a 3.19 ERA and 1.37 WHIP at home in Philadelphia. The Mets have been awful as visitors too, posting a record of 8-24 in their last 32 roadies. Philadelphia need a sweep badly to build up some confidence, and I think they will be able to achieve it on Thursday.