First place on the line in Mets-Phillies

National Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are peaking at just the right time.

With the New York Mets coming to town for a key weekend series, the Phillies will be looking for their sixth consecutive victory.

The winning streak placed the Phillies just one-half game behind the Mets in the National League East. The Phillies capped a four-game sweep on the road against the Washington Nationals with a four-run ninth inning to complete a 7-6 win Thursday.

“We never feel like we’re out of the game,” Rhys Hoskins said on a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia soon after he hit the game-winning two-run double in the ninth. “This is fun, man. We’re right in the race.”

Hoskins led the Phillies with three hits while J.T. Realmuto provided a clutch two-run double to tie the game in the ninth. Bryce Harper also homered, the 250th of his career.

“We’re healthy. That’s a first,” Hoskins said. “It just seems like we’re playing really, really good team baseball.”

The Phillies will send recently acquired Kyle Gibson to the mound. Gibson is 7-3 with a 2.86 earned run average and 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA with the Phillies. In Gibson’s career against the Mets, he’s 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA.

If the offense can continue to produce, it will take some pressure off Gibson. Despite falling behind 5-3 in the ninth, the Phillies kept battling. This has been a trend during the five-game winning streak.

“They grind out at-bats,” manager Joe Girardi said. “They don’t give at-bats away.”

The skidding Mets dropped three of four against the Miami Marlins, including a frustrating 4-2 loss on Thursday.

The Mets left 15 runners on base in the defeat.

“This is a team that fights and is very resilient and has the ability to fight through any type of situation,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “If you’re going through a so-called tough situation right now, that’s not new for us. … This is just another one, and we’re going to face it the same way we faced the ones that we faced this season.”

New York is just 2-4 since trading for Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs. Baez went 0 for 5 with five strikeouts in Thursday’s loss.

“Javi is a free swinger. That’s something we know we can probably work on and get better at,” Rojas said. “He’s going to be out there taking hacks. It’s a fight between him and the pitcher and those are the type of swings he takes.”

Marcus Stroman (7-10, 2.80 ERA) will start for the Mets. Stroman is 4-3 with a 2.50 ERA in his career against the Phillies.

Neither Brandon Nimmo nor Jeff McNeil were in the Mets starting lineup Thursday, but both are expected to be available on Friday.

“Both of those guys are getting rest and getting the extra day of not starting so they can be fresher for the next few days,” Rojas said.

Michael Conforto said that the team won’t be fazed despite the recent struggles.

“You get into the clubhouse, we flush it,” he said. “We’re going to be upset for a little bit, but we get on the plane, go to Philly and it’s out of our minds when we get there.”

–Field Level Media

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