Mon, 04 Dec 2023

Phillies feeling positive ahead of opener vs. Mets

Field Level Media
21 Sep 2023, 21:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

After winning two of three on the road against the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies will return home to open a four-game series against the New York Mets on Thursday night.

The Phillies (83-69) strengthened their hold on the first National League wild-card spot with a stirring 6-5, 10-inning win over the Braves on Wednesday.

Philadelphia right fielder Nick Castellanos homered twice and threw out a runner at home plate to help secure the key victory over the NL East champions.

Last season, the Phillies ousted the Braves in four games in the National League Division Series.

"We want to play some tight baseball because October is getting pretty close," Castellanos said.

Bryson Stott delivered a go-ahead, two-run double for the Phillies in the 10th on Wednesday.

"One swing determines each game, it feels like," Stott said. "We want it to be our swing."

Ranger Suarez (3-6, 3.80 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Phillies in the opener against New York. In his latest outing, against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, the left-hander allowed four hits and one run in six strong innings.

"I feel healthy, which is the most important thing," Suarez said. "I'm able to compete. I missed (time due to elbow and hamstring injuries), so I want to make up for it. If it's tomorrow, in a week, two weeks, in the postseason, whenever I have to make up for it, I'll be ready for that."

Suarez is 1-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 12 career games (five starts) against the Mets. He took a tough-luck loss in his lone appearance against New York this year, when he gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings as the Phillies fell 2-0 on May 30.

The Mets are coming off winning two of three games in a series at Miami, capped by an 8-3 victory on Wednesday.

New York (71-81) ripped four home runs, two by Mark Vientos for his first career multi-homer game. Brandon Nimmo had three hits, including a homer, and Brett Baty also went deep.

"We push each other to hit the ball hard," Baty said of a friendly rivalry with Vientos. "It's fun."

It was the type of victory that has been rare for the Mets, who have struggled for much of the season under 67-year-old manager Buck Showalter.

Showalter is under contract through the 2024 season, but there have been whispers about his exit.

"Buck holds everybody accountable, he's a great leader, he's outstanding at quieting the noise here in the clubhouse, which sometimes can be tough in New York, and he cares for the players," shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "He checks in with the players, he listens, he gathers information.

"There's a lot of things I like about him. He's been through good things and bad things, and I think he's an amazing manager, a Hall of Fame manager."

Showalter will hand the ball to left-hander David Peterson (3-8, 5.22 ERA) on Thursday.

In his most recent start, on Friday against the Cincinnati Reds, Peterson gave up six hits and three runs, two earned, in 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and tied his career high with 10 strikeouts.

"Pete presented himself well," Showalter said after the outing. "Very competitive outing, one that we should have taken better advantage of."

Peterson is 1-2 with a 4.83 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against the Phillies, though he hasn't faced them this year.

--Field Level Media

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