Well, we had to wait a little longer than anticipated but Opening Day is finally here once again. The Mets first series with the Nationals was postponed due to COVID issues with the Nationals making this upcoming series with the Phillies their opening series. So how will the Mets do? Will this extra four days off have them fully rested and ready to dominate? Or will they be rusty and stumble out of the gate? Since the Mets have yet to play a game, let take a look at what the Phillies have done so far and preview the series.
The Phillies opened up the 2021 season as well as you possibly can with a series sweep of the reigning NL East Champion Atlanta Braves. The team with one of the worst bullpens in history in 2020 is off to a strong start allowing 0 runs over 7.1 innings. That’s not to say the starters have done bad either as Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin all had quality starts with Wheeler especially having a good game allowing only one hit and striking out 10 over 7 innings and going 2 for 3 with an RBI. JT Realmuto and Bryce Harper were the standout hitters for the Phillies this series with Realmuto going 4 for 9 and Harper going 3 for 10. Now that we see what the Phillies have done so far, lets take a look at the pitching matchups for the weekend.
Game 1: Jacob deGrom vs Matt Moore
This is both guys first start of the season but to say this is an even matchup would be a lie. Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball winning two Cy Youngs in three years and finishing in the top 10 every year since 2017. He led the NL in strikeouts the last two seasons and has finished top 10 in ERA the last 3 years. I can go on and on about how great deGrom is but you all already know how good this guy is. Matt Moore however, isn’t on the same level. Moore last pitched in the majors in 2019 for the Detroit Tigers and spent last year pitching for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japans Nippon Professional Baseball League. His 6-3 record and 2.65 ERA was good enough for the Phillies to offer him a one year $3 million contract. He had an up and down spring with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP but he’ll have his work cut out for him today as he faces a staked Mets lineup.
Game 2: Marcus Stroman vs Chase Anderson
This will be Marcus Stromans first regular season start in over a year after opting out of the 2020 season. He pitched in 11 games for the Mets in 2019 after being traded from the Blue Jays at the deadline. He had an up and down stint with a 4-2 record, 3.77 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. He looked to have no rust on him this spring pitching to a 3.44 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 18 innings while also introducing a new changeup. The Phillies will be throwing out Chase Anderson. Anderson pitched for the Brewers for most of his career and had respectable numbers pitching out of the middle of their rotation. However, he didn’t enjoy the same success in 2020. In 10 games (7 starts) he had a 7.22 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP for the Blue Jays. A solid spring campaign netted him the 5 spot in the Phillies rotation.
Game 3: David Peterson vs Aaron Nola
David Peterson was a nice surprise for the Mets last year. The rotation outside of deGrom was a mess last year but Peterson stepped up in a big way and proved to a reliable arm all year. He didn’t have the stuff that will blow you away and generate a ton of strikeouts but he was very good at limiting runs and getting out of jams. He won the 5th spot in the Mets rotation after backing up his solid debut last year with the same results this spring. On the other side is Aaron Nola who is one of the premier pitchers in the league and the only projected starter to have actually pitched a game this year. He pitched to a no decision against the Braves on opening day going 6 1/3 with giving up two runs on six hits and striking out six. Nola has been the consistent ace of this Phillies staff for the past five seasons and looks to be in the Cy Young conversation again this year.
The Mets have the advantage of going up against the Phillies back end of the rotation with their top guys. The Mets are the better team regardless but this makes this series tip a little more in the Mets direction than it would’ve have they been going up against the Phillies top 3. Just based off these pitching matchups the Mets have a 2-1 advantage but this will come down to both teams bullpen and if they will be able to keep the game close when the starters leave the game.