Mets starter Jacob deGrom manhandled the Phillies on two hits over six shutout innings. He walked none and struck out 10. Now, he was leaving the game and the Phillies would get the chance to try to get something going against the Mets’ bullpen.
That unit proved to be just as tough on the Phillies, who were 1-0 losers to the Mets in front of a sellout crowd of 43,857 Citi Field.
DeGrom and Aaron Nola hooked up in a brilliant pitchers’ duel.
Nola pitched eight innings, scattered four hits, walked one and struck out eight. The Phils’ offense did nothing behind him. Mets pitching, of course, had a lot to do with that. Four Mets pitchers allowed just three singles, walked two and struck out 14. Both walks were issued by closer Edwin Diaz in the top of the ninth, but the Phillies could not capitalize. Diaz struck out Nick Castellanos with runners on second and third to end the game.
“It's tough,” Nola said after the gut-wrenching loss. “It was a good battle. Facing deGrom, we knew it would be a low-scoring game. We knew it would be a battle all night and it was.”
Bryson Stott had one of the Phillies’ two hits against deGrom. The young shortstop tipped his cap to both pitchers.
“DeGrom has an elite fastball and an elite slider,” he said. “Nola was unbelievable like he always is. It sucks we couldn’t scratch together a couple for him. But that’s baseball. I can’t get over how good Nola was.”
Two of the Phillies’ best bats were not in the starting lineup. Jean Segura was out on a planned maintenance day as he continues to recover from a broken right index finger.
Kyle Schwarber was held out due to a mild right calf strain. He is improving and was able to pinch-hit late in the game. He could be a go for Sunday’s series finale.
DeGrom missed the first four months of the season with a shoulder injury. This was just his third start since coming off the injured list so he was lifted after six innings and 76 pitches. During his time on the mound, he was completely dominant. He came out of the gate throwing a strike on a 99.8 mph fastball.
He was just getting warmed up.
DeGrom threw 40 fastballs and 10 of them were 100 mph or more. He averaged 99.2 mph on the pitch and got eight swings and misses. He complimented his fastball with a hard slider that averaged 92.6 mph. He threw 30 of them and got nine swings and misses.
Both of the hits that deGrom allowed were singles. Rhys Hoskins stroked a fastball to right in the first inning and Stott served a slider to right in the sixth.
DeGrom had four 1-2-3 innings.
“He’s tough,” manager Rob Thomson said. “A 100-mph fastball and a great slider. He had good stuff. He comes as advertised. Nola does, too. He pitched great.”
Nola didn't have the octane that deGrom did, but that’s not to say he wasn’t very impressive.
The only run he gave up came in the first inning after Starling Marte reached base on a one-out single. Marte stole second as Nola was striking out Francisco Lindor for the second out. Catcher J.T. Realmuto’s throw got by Stott and skittered into center field, allowing Marte to take third. The next batter, Pete Alonso, singled to right to score Marte with what turned out to be the game’s only run.
The Phillies have faced some elite pitching this week. They beat NL Cy Young candidate Sandy Alcantara on Wednesday and hung in against three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on their way to a 2-1 win in Friday night’s series opener against the Mets.
Both games against the Mets have been played in front of big, loud crowds, the kind you see in October.
“It’s good to see guys performing in this atmosphere,” Thomson said. “This has been playoff atmosphere, deGrom going, the crowd into it, packed house, and we’ve been relaxed and poised the first two games and played great.”
The Phils are 4-10 against the Mets this season and have lost all four series between the two teams. There’s still hope for the Phils to get this one. They will send Zack Wheeler to the mound Sunday afternoon against Chris Bassitt.
“We've got to dust ourselves off and try to win a series,” Thomson said. “Wheels is as good as anybody.”