Mets’ deGrom, Phillies’ Wheeler set to square off Wednesday

MLB Baseball

The Philadelphia Phillies will look for their second consecutive victory when they host the New York Mets on Wednesday.

The Phillies moved back ahead of .500 at 24-23 following a 4-1 victory over the Mets on Tuesday.

Prized free agent acquisition Zack Wheeler will take the mound after missing several extra days with a torn fingernail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Wheeler suffered the bizarre injury putting his pants on.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.

Wheeler — who signed a $118 million free-agent contract after completing last season with the Mets — is 4-0 with a 2.47 ERA in eight starts this season.

Wheeler is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season.

The depleted Phillies remain without injured outfielder Jay Bruce, first baseman Rhys Hoskins and catcher J.T. Realmuto. Jake Arrieta suffered an apparent hamstring injury as well on Tuesday.

All the Phillies can do is push forward with 13 games remaining.

“Obviously, we’re still in a sense in control of our destiny to get to the playoffs and our guys can’t forget that,” Girardi said. “We won’t forget that. We’ve been here before where we haven’t played so well and we’ve bounced back and played really well and that’s what we need to do.”

After losing five of seven in a crucial series on the road against the Miami Marlins, the Phillies didn’t seem fazed against their National League East rival in another huge series.

“This is the life we live,” Girardi said. “This roller coaster in this game of baseball. You have good streaks and you have bad streaks and you have to limit the length of your bad streaks.”

The Mets (21-27) will be hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss when they hand the ball to their ace right-hander Jacob deGrom.

In what will be deGrom’s 10th start, he’ll bring a 4-1 mark and a miniscule 1.67 ERA into Wednesday.

For deGrom’s career, he has been dominant against the Phillies, going 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 16 starts.

“I try to treat everything like a 0-0 game,” deGrom said.

Each time deGrom pitches, Mets manager Luis Rojas remains immensely impressed with his Cy Young candidate.

“He is the best version of Jacob deGrom that I’ve seen,” Rojas said. “Stuff-wise, demeanor-wise, confidence-wise, he wants the ball. He wants to be out there. He’s pushing.”

First baseman Dominic Smith echoed similar thoughts.

“He goes out there every fifth day and he grinds every start,” Smith said. “For him to be so tough on hitters, we just want to back him up with some runs.”

The Mets’ offense will need to produce more than it did on Tuesday when it had one run on 11 hits and finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Jeff McNeil had three hits while Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis added two hits each. But Pete Alonso continued to slump with an 0-for-4 performance, dropping his average to .216.

As the amount of games lessen, the Mets realize that every game is vital. Statistics don’t matter.

“Hopefully, we can just focus on what we can control — and that’s executing pitches, executing plays, having good approaches at the plate,” reliever Seth Lugo said.

–Field Level Media

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