5 things to watch as Mets and Phillies play four-game series

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Max Scherzer side angle pitching grey uniform in Philadelphia
Max Scherzer side angle pitching grey uniform in Philadelphia

Here are five things to watch when the Mets and Phillies play a four-game series in Philadelphia...

Who will help be the bridge to Edwin Diaz with Trevor May out?

With May out for the next eight-to-12 weeks, the Mets' bullpen -- and specifically their bridge to Diaz -- has taken a serious hit.

Aside from Diaz, who has been close to untouchable this season, the Mets' most reliable and most called-upon late-inning relievers have been Seth Lugo and Drew Smith, whose emergence has helped immeasurably.

Beyond those three pitchers, things get murky.

Adam Ottavino and his frisbee slider have had his dominant moments, but also some meltdowns. Chasen Shreve has been strong against lefties, but isn't a true back-end option. Joely Rodriguez has been better since some early hiccups, but shouldn't face tough right-handers. Trevor Williams is a long man and has struggled badly, and Adonis Medina is an unknown.

Translation: Someone is going to have to step up. Or the Mets are going to have to dip into the minors or trade market for some help.

Francisco Lindor is ice cold

Since a hot start to the season, Lindor has cooled off considerably.

He enters play on Thursday hitting .243/.336/.408 with four homers, five doubles, 15 runs, and 15 RBI in 27 games, and the funk he's in right now is deep.

May 2, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) look up after making an out during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.
May 2, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) look up after making an out during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Over his last 10 games, Lindor is batting .128/.209/.154, with just five hits in 39 at-bats. During that stretch, he has struck out 10 times and walked just twice, and has just one extra-base hit.

Only one more trip to Philadelphia this season

This is the second-to-last time the Mets will play at Citizens Bank Park this season, with their final trip to Philadelphia coming in August.

That should be welcome news for any team, with CBP being one of the ballparks in baseball where no lead is ever safe and wild things can happen in the late innings.

For the Mets specifically, CBP has been a house of horrors at times over the last 15 years. So getting most of these games out of the way early is nice.

Max Scherzer and the gopher ball

Scherzer has been mostly terrific this season, with a 2.61 ERA and 0.80 WHIP as he prepares for his start in Philadelphia on Friday night. But one of the things that has haunted him a bit throughout his career -- a penchant for giving up home runs -- reared its head the last time he faced the Phillies.

In that game, on Sunday night at Citi Field, Scherzer gave up a pair of homers to Kyle Schwarber and one to Bryce Harper. And those homers accounted for the only damage as Scherzer allowed four runs in the Mets' victory.

In Philly, where the ball flies out of the park even when hitters to make great contact, Scherzer will have to make some adjustments to avoid a recurrence of what happened in New York on Sunday.

Bryce Harper is in a funk

Much like Lindor, Harper is cold. But Harper's funk isn't quite as deep.

Harper has just two hits in his last 22 at-bats as his batting average has dipped from .274 to .232 and his OBP has dropped from .329 to .292.

Harper has yet to fire on all cylinders this season (his OPS has been below .800 for the majority of the season), but it's just a matter of time before he breaks out and starts hitting like the MVP-level offensive force he is.

The Mets will hope that doesn't happen against them.