Before we get into the analysis of this one, let me just say this: WOW!!!!!!!! What a win the Phillies put together tonight in their series opening game with the rival New York Mets. Basically from jump street it looked like this game was not meant to be for the Phils. Ranger Suarez, who had an exceptional 2021 campaign, got his first start of the 2022 season in this one, but had trouble finding the zone throughout his short start. There was certainly fault on his shoulders, but when your starting pitcher is struggling a bit, the margin for error on defense decreases. Unfortunately, Alec Bohm did his starter no favors, committing 3 errors through the first 3 innings of play tonight to add to the frustrating first appearance for Suarez. Thanks to an early one of those errors, the Mets took a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st, and seemed to be in complete control from that point forward. The offense for New York stagnated a bit following that opening frame, but the Phillies at bats did not give a lot of confidence to the home crowd.
Mets starter Taijuan Walker was perfect in his 2 innings of work on the evening, but yes, you read that right, he only made it through 2 innings before a right shoulder irritation caused him to exit action early. David Peterson came on in long relief, and tossed 4 innings of shutout ball to help out his starter, though. By the time the 7th inning rolled around, a 3 run lead felt insurmountable, even more so when the Mets added a 4th run on a Francisco Lindor RBI single. But that is where the Mets scoring would end on the night. As we would quickly learn, 4 runs is not a safe enough lead against the 2022 Phils. It took until the 8th inning, but the Phillies offense finally broke onto the scoreboard, and in a big way. A Kyle Schwarber fielder’s choice got the home team on the board, and then JT Realmuto followed that up with a huge 2 run homer to cut the lead to 1. After Bryce Harper struck out to give the Mets their 2nd out of the inning, Nick Castellanos walked and then scored from 1st on a Rhys Hoskins double that tested Castellanos’ cardio a bit to say the least. Didi Gregorius then traded places with Hoskins on a double of his own, and the game was now in the Phils’ favor at 5-4.
With Corey Knebel seeing action multiple times last series against the Athletics, Joe Girardi opted to go with Brad Hand in a save situation, and the choice paid off. Hand retired 3 straight Mets to complete the comeback win for the Phils and elate the home crowd at Citizens Bank Park. All of that action was amazing, but none of it would’ve been possible without the player of tonight’s game, Nick Nelson. Nelson was masterful in early relief of Ranger Suarez. Nelson threw 4 innings of 1 hit ball, and was only saddled with 1 earned run that was allowed prior to his removal from the game. It was exactly what you need from a long reliever when your starter doesn’t have his best stuff, and it allowed the Phils the opportunity to comeback. Overall, it was an outstanding effort from the Phillies on a night no one seemed to be at their best. They move to 3-1 on the year, and 1-0 in the NL East. Tomorrow will see another face off with the Mets with Zack Wheeler taking the mound against Tylor Megill. First pitch is at 6:45pm