Phillies

Phillies

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NEW YORK — Without Bryce Harper, the Phillies had no trouble hitting around Marcus Stroman in Saturday night's 5-0 win.

The Phillies pounded Stroman for five runs on 10 hits in the first four innings. Cesar Hernandez and J.T. Realmuto, batting 1 and 2, went 6 for 6 the first three times through the order against the Mets' big trade deadline acquisition.

The fading Phils needed a night like this because they were missing their most important player, had Drew Smyly on the mound and much of the bullpen was unavailable.

Smyly met the task with seven scoreless innings.

The win makes the Phillies 73-68. They are three games behind the Cubs for the second wild-card spot. They are 1½ games behind the Diamondbacks, tied with the Brewers and a game ahead of the Mets.

1. Mets questioning their trade?

Stroman has been disappointing in seven starts with the Mets, pitching well only once, last Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies were on him all night this time.

In 35⅔ innings with the Mets, Stroman has allowed 20 earned runs, 48 hits and 62 baserunners. Jason Vargas has out-pitched him since the trade deadline, which means nothing moving forward but is yet another example that acquiring a big name at the trade deadline does not always mean you're getting the best of that player over two months.

The Phillies, too, were in on Stroman. Just imagine what the reaction would be had the Phillies traded two of their top pitching prospects for him like the Mets did and he pitched this way.

 

2. Big night for the boys up top

Hernandez, Realmuto and Corey Dickerson went a combined 8 for 15 with five RBI and three runs scored. 

Hernandez began the game with a home run and singled in the Phillies' second run. 

Realmuto collected three more singles and is hitting 324/.374/.676 with 14 doubles, two triples, 11 homers and 33 RBI over his last 37 games.

Dickerson had a big hit to break the game open in the fourth, a two-run double down the right-field line. He has been a machine with runners in scoring position for the Phillies, going 15 for 41 (.366) with five doubles, two triples and 21 RBI. 

3. Sterling outfield defense

Adam Haseley made another tremendous catch, this time in right field. He did not rob a home run as he did in Cincinnati, but Haseley did save three runs and, in a way, the game for the Phillies. 

With the bases full of Mets in the bottom of the first, Todd Frazier drilled a ball to the gap in right-center. Haseley leaped after a full-out sprint to snag the ball, which had an expected batting average of .360, per Statcast.

If that ball drops, the Mets take an early 3-1 lead with the potential to do more. 

To begin the fifth, Pete Alonso crushed a sinking liner to left field and Dickerson made a catch going to his knees.

Smyly did successfully pitch around back-to-back no-out errors at third base by Brad Miller in the fourth, but he also had his outfielders to thank for the solid outing.

4. Smyly minimizes damage

Out of necessity, the Phillies have overworked and overexposed pitchers like Mike Morin, Blake Parker, Jared Hughes and Nick Vincent in recent days. Because of this, the Phillies wanted to stay away from most of their relievers Saturday. Nick Pivetta, Austin Davis, Edgar Garcia and Cole Irvin were available.

Thus, a lengthier outing from Smyly was critical. He delivered, pitching seven scoreless innings. 

Over the Phillies' last 55 games, Smyly has two starts of seven scoreless innings and the rest of the rotation has zero. (Yes, that includes Aaron Nola.)

It's been an interesting ride so far for Smyly as a Phillie. He's made nine starts. Four were excellent, four were bad and one was OK. It's hard to know which Smyly you're getting on a given night, but that kind of volatility is acceptable from a No. 5 starter. The issue is that right now, the Phillies have three No. 5 starters.

Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.80) opposes Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 3.97) in Sunday's series finale.

Syndergaard has a 2.80 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 10 starts since the All-Star break.

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