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Mets Series Review Two in Philly

The Mets ended their first road trip at 5-2 and head home for their home opener in first place after winning a three-game series in Philadelphia. The start is good for the Mets, but it could have been better as the bullpen is quickly becoming a concern, especially with the ineffectiveness of Joley Rodriguez, the injury of Trevor May, and the lack of command from Seth Lugo.

The Mets came into Citizens Bank Park with a 3-1 record, losing the series finale in Washington. They had surrendered a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning on Sunday as Pete Alonso had a pair of poor throws leading to three runs. The Mets scored three runs in the first inning against the Phillies as Alec Bohm committed three errors in the first three innings leading to a video of Bohm saying that he hated this place. The Mets got two strong innings from Taijuan Walker before bursitis flared up in his shoulder. Walker is expected to miss a month. David Peterson came on and pitched strong innings as the Mets held a 4-0 lead in the eighth inning. 

Trevor May had a strong seventh but left with an injury after walking Bohm to start the inning. Joely Rodriguez came in, and the game began to slip away as he gave up a two-run bomb to J.T. Realmuto. Seth Lugo came in next and was shelled, giving up three hard hits and two doubles as the Phillies scored five runs and won the game 5-4, with Brad Hand slamming the door shut in the ninth inning. 

Reeling after two bullpen meltdowns, the Mets needed a good start from Tylor Megill on Tuesday as Zach Wheeler, who finished second in Cy Young voting, made his season debut for Philadelphia. Megill was strong again for the Mets allowing three hits in five and one-third innings. He struck out five and gave the Mets the big start that they needed. Brandon Nimmo, meanwhile, dented the scoreboard and chased Wheeler with a two-out home run in the fifth to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Unlike Monday, the Mets got terrific relief on Tuesday; Chasen Shreeve retired all three batters he faced, while Drew Smith struck out three and allowed one hit to get the game into the ninth with the Mets holding a 2-0 lead. In the eighth, Francisco Lindor got an RBI single, benefiting from a Starling Marte stolen base. Returning from bereavement leave, Edwin Diaz pitched the ninth. He gave up a pair of infield hits but threw strikes and earned the save as the Mets won 2-0 to even the series. 

The series finale saw Max Scherzer take the mound. Scherzer did not have his command as he walked three batters in the first but escaped with no damage setting the tone for a game that would take four hours to play. Aaron Nola was no better, as Brandon Nimmo homered again to give the Mets the lead in the third inning. The Mets added two runs in the fourth on a double by Pete Alonso, while Nola plunked two Mets, including Jeff McNeil, with the bases loaded. Scherzer gutted his way through five, allowing one run as the Mets took an 8-1 lead with Pete Alonso, hitting a three-run home run and finishing the game with five RBI.

After three Mets batters were struck by a pitch, Sean Reid-Foley came in and hit Jean Segura, maybe it was intentional, but Reid-Foley had no command as the Phillies scored two runs and clawed back in the game. Joely Rodriguez was next to enter and also struggled to find the plate, as the Mets and Phillies combined walked 12 batters. With the lead down to 8-5 in the seventh, Adam Ottavino stopped the bleeding and got the game into the eighth, as Bryson Stott narrowly missed a game-tying homer while flying out to Starling Marte in right. 

Seth Lugo was shaky but retired all three batters he faced; Eduardo Escobar led off the ninth with a triple and scored on a sac-fly by Dom Smith. Edwin Diaz gave up an opposite-field home to Bryce Harper to start the ninth but retired the next three batters with ease as the Mets won the game 9-6.

The Mets head home at 5-2; they have had tremendous starting pitching, as they have a 1.29 ERA through seven games, with the Mets recording two shutouts. In the early going, Pete Alonso is hitting well with ten RBI as the Mets have been much more productive with RISP, especially delivering in two-out situations. All three additions to the lineup Mark Canha, Starling Marter, and Eduardo Escobar, have hit will and made big contributions; if they can get the bullpen in order, the Mets could be in line for a big season.