Tuesday, April 13, 2021
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How Nationals-Mets Postponements Affect Phillies’ Next Series

Phillies notes: How Nationals-Mets postponements affect Phils’ next series originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Zack Wheeler is on the mound this afternoon for the Phillies as the three-game series against the Braves continues.

Wheeler faced the Braves twice last season and pitched well, allowing three earned runs in 12⅔ innings with 11 strikeouts and one walk. Both were no-decisions and the Phillies lost one of the games when the bullpen served up three runs in eighth and one in the ninth.

That was last year’s bullpen. This year’s ‘pen got off to a nice start, with Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon picking up 10 outs without allowing a run in the opener. 

The Phillies face veteran righty Charlie Morton, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Braves this offseason after going 47-18 with a 3.34 ERA the last four seasons with the Astros and Rays. He pitched just as well in the playoffs for those two teams, going 7-2 with a 3.40 ERA and 10.2 K/9 in a dozen games.

The Alvarado experience

The Phillies got a taste of the full Alvarado experience in his first regular-season appearance. He threw 21 pitches and 12 were strikes. He walked a batter, hit a batter, loaded the bases but avoided damage by striking out the side. Alvarado threw two pitches at 100 mph, six at 99 mph and six at 98.

The Braves looked extremely uncomfortable in their at-bats against him. Marcell Ozuna struck out swinging at a fastball at his forearms and Dansby Swanson struck out two batters later, a pitch after taking a center-cut 99 mph heater. Neither looked like they knew where the ball was going. 

Next series

With the Mets and Nationals having their entire opening series postponed because of COVID issues within the Nats, the Phillies’ game against the Mets Monday will be “opening day” for New York.

That means the Phillies will have to deal with Jacob deGrom Monday in the series opener. The Mets will go with deGrom Monday, Marcus Stroman Tuesday and left-hander David Peterson Wednesday. 

The Phillies will counter with lefty Matt Moore in Game 1, followed by Chase Anderson and Aaron Nola.

It will be the Mets debut for shortstop Francisco Lindor, who signed a 10-year, $341 million extension a day before the season began. Most Phillies pitchers have little to no experience facing Lindor, though Moore saw a lot of him in the American League. Lindor is 8 for 13 with a homer and three RBI against him.

If the Mets stay on rotation and don’t skip their No. 5 starter the first time through, the schedule change would mean deGrom makes his second start Sunday, April 11 against the Marlins and the Phillies would avoid him in their four-game series at Citi Field April 12-15.

As far as the Nationals, they’ve had four players test positive so far, according to general manager Mike Rizzo. Three are asymptomatic. Five other players and a staff member are also quarantining after being deemed close contacts, per NBC Sports Washington.

The Nationals are scheduled to face the Braves on Monday and will do so without their full opening day roster. They’ll have to make multiple moves ahead of that game. The Phillies do not face the Nationals until May 11-13 in D.C.


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