Wednesday’s MLB schedule is highlighted by a battle between NL East rivals as the Philadelphia Phillies host the New York Mets. The Phillies won the series opener on Tuesday night but are underdogs on Wednesday night as the Mets have a moneyline of -155.
The Phillies won on Tuesday after losing five of seven games in a crazy, seven-game series with the Marlins over the weekend. Those head-to-head battles with Miami dropped Philadelphia to third place in the NL East.
However, Tuesday’s win pushed the Phillies back above .500 and kept them in one of the National League’s two Wild Card spots. Of course, the Phillies are just half a game behind the Marlins for second place in the NL East, guaranteeing them a playoff bid.
Meanwhile, the Mets are quickly approaching must-win territory. Tuesday’s loss was their third in a row and dropped them six games under .500. However, New York is just 2.5 games out of the last Wild Card spot, so the Mets are still within striking distance of a postseason spot. On the other hand, eight of their 12 remaining games are against teams with a winning record, which means the path to the playoffs isn’t easy.
The only piece of good news for the Mets is that Jacob deGrom is starting on Wednesday. The winner of the last two Cy Young Awards in the National League is making a strong bid for his third in a row. Over nine starts, deGrom is 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP.
Over his last two starts, deGrom has yielded just two runs on six hits in 13 innings of work while striking out 21. That includes a win over the Phillies in which he struck out 12 in seven innings while allowing just one run on three hits.
Of course, Citizens Bank Ballpark is a lot less forgiving than Citi Field. The Phillies also have an outstanding lineup led by J.T. Realmuto and rookie Alec Bohm, who are red-hot in September.
Also, Rhys Hoskins has already hit four home runs since the calendar flipped to September. Finally, while deGrom has handled most of Philadelphia’s hitters in his career, Bryce Harper is a career .306 hitter with two doubles and two home runs in 36 career at-bats against New York’s ace.
Hello, Old Friend
The Mets will also have to contend with former teammate Zack Wheeler, who will start on Wednesday for Philadelphia. Wheeler has been huge for the Phillies this season, going 4-0 with a 2.47 ERA in his eight starts.
Of course, his last start came against the Mets nearly 10 days ago after he lost a nail on his middle finger and needed to be pushed back a few days. In that start against his former mates, Wheeler allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings. In an earlier start against the Mets, Wheeler scattered six hits over seven innings but allowed only two runs.
Keep in mind that the Mets are capable of hitting against anyone. Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith are both posting MVP-type numbers. Jeff McNeil is also one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, hitting .449 with an OPS of 1.314 in September. The Mets have also received five home runs from Pete Alonso this month despite his continued struggles hitting for average.
Snap Out of It
Look for the Mets to snap out of their skid with deGrom on the mound on Wednesday. Not only will the Phillies have to deal with deGrom, but their bullpen remains a daily concern.
With some concern over Wheeler’s fingernail potentially putting more pressure on the Philadelphia bullpen, bet on the Mets to win on Wednesday.