NEW YORK – The Phillies suffered one of their most disappointing – and probably damaging – defeats of the season in a 10-5 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field on Saturday night.
The Mets tagged starting pitcher Zach Eflin for six runs in three innings.
The Phillies were unable to build on the positive vibes of Friday night’s 4-3 win and now have the most difficult task of facing Cy Young frontrunner Jacob deGrom in the series finale on Sunday.
The Phillies have not won a series since Aug. 2-5 when they swept the Marlins. They are 11-19 since then and are still in the NL East race only because first-place Atlanta has been inconsistent and not run away with it. The Phils entered Saturday night’s debacle trailing Atlanta by 2 ½ games. The Braves were playing in Arizona. The Phils have 21 games remaining, including seven against Atlanta.
Eflin struggles again
Eflin was the Phillies MVP in the month of June. He went 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in that month. He allowed six runs the entire month. He gave up that many in three innings of work Saturday night. The Mets feasted on Eflin’s flat slider. He gave up a three-run double to Tomas Nido and a three-run homer to Todd Frazier on the pitch. Both of those big hits came with two outs. Eflin also gave up a triple on the pitch.
Over his last five starts, Eflin has given up 36 hits and 20 earned runs for a 7.71 ERA. These struggles have coincided with his controversial 10-day “demotion” to Triple A last month. The front office sent Eflin to the minors so it could manipulate the roster and add an extra player. Eflin never actually missed a start because he was allowed to come back to the majors for a doubleheader. He initially was not happy with the move, but later said he understood it. He has not been the same pitcher since the move.
A wasted chance
Eflin’s inability to keep the Phillies in the game early hurt because the bats did come alive to produce 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings against Mets starter Noah Syndergaard. The right-hander also issued five walks, one intentionally. Despite all those base runners, the Phillies scored just four runs against Syndergaard. They left the bases loaded twice. Jose Bautista pinch-hit with the bases full and the Phils down five runs in the seventh. The Phils needed a big hit from Bautista, but he struck out swinging at what would have been ball four.
Rhys Hoskins homered for the second straight game. Carlos Santana had two hits as he continues to swing a hot bat. Cesar Hernandez had four hits.
The Mets are 47-25 against the Phillies since the start of the 2015 season.
They are 9-6 against the Phillies this season.
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deGrom, Sunday’s Mets’ starter, leads the majors with a 1.68 ERA. He 7-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 14 lifetime starts against the Phillies. He struck out nine and walked none in a complete-game win over the Phillies last month in Philadelphia. Vince Velasquez pitches for the Phillies.