Phils' Nola seeking progress vs. Mets, Syndergaard
The Philadelphia Phillies will turn to their struggling ace Aaron Nola when they open a three-game series Monday night against the visiting New York Mets.
Nola, who finished third last season in Cy Young voting in the National League, will enter with a 1-0 record and 6.46 ERA.
The Mets will counter with Noah Syndergaard, who's 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA.
The Phillies improved to 9-5 after winning two of three on the road against the Miami Marlins. On Sunday, it took 14 innings for Philadelphia to outlast Miami, 3-1, as Jean Segura drilled a two-run home run to left field in the top of the 14th.
Philadelphia's offense had been scuffling, but it did just enough to pull out win No. 9 on Sunday.
"I think hitting is one of those things that can be a little bit hit and miss," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters in Miami. "Sometimes, you have to give credit to the opposition for pitching well. I think that we have the ability to score lots of runs in consecutive games. And I think that's going to happen for us."
The bullpen, which has struggled mightily at times, stepped up as a whole in the 14-inning marathon. Victor Arano was especially impressive, striking out all six batters he faced in the 12th and 13th. Arano was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.
"In Triple-A, that was my main focus, I wanted to work on my slider a lot," Arano told reporters. "I wanted to get it back to where it was last year. It was just a small adjustment I had to make. I wasn't grabbing it hard enough."
The Mets (9-6) arrived in Atlanta and won the first two games of a four-game series. Then the Mets fell 11-7 on Saturday and 7-3 on Sunday night.
New York's offense didn't come through on Sunday. Aside from a solo home run by J.D. Davis, the Mets managed little else on their way to a road loss.
The bullpen continued to have control issues, and its collective ERA ballooned to 6.50.
Syndergaard will look to get the Mets back on track against the Phillies.
Through three starts, he has struck out 20 while walking only two. In his last start, a 9-6 win over Minnesota, Syndergaard threw seven innings and gave up seven hits and four runs.
In 10 career starts vs. Philadelphia, Syndergaard is 5-3 with a 3.23 ERA, but he struggled against the Phillies last season, going 1-2 with a 5.75 ERA in four starts. He also walked 12 batters in those games, compared to just 22 strikeouts.
Nola is 6-1 in his career against the Mets, posting a 3.35 ERA across nine starts. That includes a sparkling 4-0 record with a 2.15 ERA in six starts last season, as Nola struck out 46 in 37 2/3 innings.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters that third baseman Todd Frazier could join the team during the series against the Phillies. Frazier, who has a strained left oblique, is scheduled to play a minor league game Monday at Class-A St. Lucie.
--Field Level MediaHome