Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Steven Matz pitched four hitless innings but allowed two runs and four hits in the fifth, including two straight two-out RBI singles. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with one strikeout in 5 2/3 innings, which stretched his winless streak to eight starts.
2) Yoenis Cespedes gave the Mets a 1-0 lead with his second homer in as many days in the fourth. He struck out on three pitches with two runners on to end the eighth inning. Amed Rosario had a double in the third, but he was thrown out to end the inning trying to steal home on the front end of a double steal.
Postgame reaction from Michael Avallone...
Considering he entered tonight's start with an ERA over 11 since mid-July, it's fair to say Matz showed improvement. But the competition and a continuing and mystifying lack of swings-and-misses continue to conspire against the 26-year-old, who is now without a victory going back to June 28.
Matz looked strong through four innings, holding the Phillies without a hit. But again, this is a team that is already 30 games under .500 and really has no one in the lineup that is currently a legitimate threat. Whether it's pitch selection, diminished velocity or an injury of some sort, Matz just can't generate the overpowering stuff needed to put hitters away. Even on a night when he allowed six baserunners, the lack of strikeouts and the ability to miss bats was striking and perhaps contributed to the loss.
It's hard to get on the Mets too much on the offensive side. This is a team that has routinely pounded the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, including the first two games of this series. So, giving them a mulligan is probably acceptable, to a point. By the same token, New York has been held to three hits or fewer three times this week...which is not so good.
Last but certainly not least...can Terry Collins let Dominic Smith hit in the ninth inning representing the tying run? You pinch-hit one for one of your top prospects in his second big league game simply because a left-hander is on the mound and you're down two runs? Are you kidding me? Let the kid show what he can do in that situation. Predictably, the Phillies brought in a hard-throwing righty who notches the final two outs. I can't think of a more bone-headed decision considering the club is playing in a game that means virtually nothing. Gimme a break... >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
Highlights from the game...
News and notes...
The Mets lost for the first time in seven games at Citizens Bank Park dating back to last season. New York won six straight games in Philadelphia in 2015 and 1971, which is the longest single-season streak at an opponent's ballpark in team history.
Cespedes has homered four times in his last nine games and has hit 14 career long balls in 36 games against Philadelphia.
Matz (2-6) pitched into the sixth inning for the third consecutive start after completing five innings once in a four-start span from July 9-26. He has five losses during his eight-game winless streak that dates back to June 28.
The Mets (52-62) and Phillies (43-71) close out their four-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on SNY.
Chris Flexen (1-1, 8.49 ERA, 2.14 WHIP) looks to follow up his first Major League victory with another in the series finale. The 23-year-old allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Rangers on Monday in his third career start. Flexen has never faced the Phillies.
Zach Eflin (1-3, 5.67 ERA 1.39 WHIP) makes his 10th start of the season coming off his first win. The 23-year-old allowed two runs over seven innings against the Braves on Tuesday. Eflin is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts against the Mets, including his first outing of the year when he surrendered one earned run over five innings.