NEW YORK — It was the Zack Wheeler show Tuesday night at Citi Field, in a game Phillies manager Gabe Kapler described as "important" hours earlier in his office.
Wheeler dominated the Phillies on the mound, striking out 11 over seven innings in a 9-0 Mets win.
At the plate, Wheeler hit a two-run double and a solo home run off of Zach Eflin. Wheeler entered the game with a .129 batting average and no home runs in just under 200 career plate appearances.
Todd Frazier broke the game open in the fifth with a grand slam off of Drew Anderson. It came after an intentional walk of Phillie-killer Jeff McNeil.
Kapler referred to it as an important game because of how flat the Phillies had looked in their previous two against the Rockies and Mets. They scored one run in each of those games, and Jake Arrieta had some fiery things to say after Monday's loss.
This was the Phillies' first shutout loss of 2019 and they've been outscored 18-2 since Sunday.
The Phillies certainly did not impress, but from an offensive standpoint, this one was more about Wheeler's electric stuff. From the first inning on, Wheeler threw his fastball consistently at 98 and 99 mph, had a low-90s splitter that was falling off the table and a mid-80s slider that kept hitters off balance.
You have to remember that Wheeler was 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA after the All-Star break last year. He's a major key not just to the Mets but to this entire NL East race.
The Phillies have lost five of the last six games and are 12-11. The Mets are 13-10.
With two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning of a 9-0 game, Mets reliever Jacob Rhame threw two pitches over Rhys Hoskins' head in the same at-bat. After the first one, Hoskins took a few steps toward the mound and both benches began to come out on the field. The situation was diffused.
A few pitches later, Rhame threw ball four over Hoskins' head. Hoskins slammed his bat against the ground.
It looked like a message from the Mets after they were hit twice in the same inning last night (more on the story here).
Get well soon
The Phillies' offense has been anemic with the hamstring injuries of Jean Segura, Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery. Segura is likely to return Saturday, and Herrera could be back soon after his 10 days on the injured list are up on April 28.
Unlike the first two weeks of the season, there are currently several easy outs to be had in the Phillies' lineup. Roman Quinn has been lost at the plate, going 2 for 21 with 13 strikeouts since being called up. Phil Gosselin is 0 for 12 since his three-run double in Colorado.
The Phillies' only offense against Wheeler came from Maikel Franco, who singled between short and third and later doubled to the opposite field.
Nick Pivetta made his first start at Triple A Tuesday against Pawtucket. He overcame a wild, 28-pitch first inning to strike out nine over six innings. He allowed four runs.
Bryce Harper hasn't done much hitting in the five games against the Mets, going 2 for 16 with a pair of singles and eight strikeouts.
What about Williams?
It sounds like Nick Williams will get his first start of the season in the Phillies' upcoming four-game home series against the Marlins. Kapler wants to get Andrew McCutchen off his feet for a day and identified one of the middle games of that series as an opportunity to do so. The Phils face a left-handed starter Thursday in the series opener and in Sunday's finale vs. Miami.
The Phillies-Mets series concludes Wednesday night with Vince Velasquez (0-0, 2.55) opposing veteran soft-tossing lefty Jason Vargas (1-0, 9.58).
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