MLB’s regular season is a 162-game marathon that takes six months to complete. Sometimes, a divisional race is over well before the dog days of summer hit. Other times, every single game on the schedule is needed to determine a winner. If we had to guess, the National League East race will probably drag into September between the Mets, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies.
How things start isn’t as important as how they finish. However, no team wants to start the year like the Phillies. New York and the Miami Marlins are three games into the new year, while Atlanta, Philadelphia, and the Washington Nationals have each played two.
The Braves are in first place with a 2-0 record, and the Mets are right behind them at 2-1. Following the 1-2 Marlins are the winless Phillies and Nationals. It’s not just that Philly is winless, though. How they’ve registered those two losses is what’s eye-popping.
They lit up Jacob deGrom in his Rangers debut, but the pitching staff couldn’t keep the Texas bats quiet in an 11-7 loss. On Saturday, it was a much more convincing win for the Rangers, improving to 2-0 after a 16-3 shellacking. And they did this while facing the Phillies’ two aces: Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.
Those 27 runs the defending National League champs have surrendered to start the year is something they haven’t done since the 1800s. Literally:
Rangers 16, Phillies 3. The Phillies have allowed 27 runs in the first two games — their most to start a season since 1895. A hideous way to begin it all. The Phillies are 0-2.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) April 1, 2023
That’s not what you want if you’re Philly. But, it’s perfectly fine if you’re a Mets fan… or a fan of any other NL East team, for that matter.
Look, the Phillies will eventually get on track. After sneaking into the 2022 playoffs as the final NL seed and riding a hot streak all the way to the World Series, though, this wasn’t how they drew it up in the clubhouse.
Due to the change in MLB schedules, the Mets and Phillies don’t link up for the first time in 2023 until a three-game set at Citi Field that starts on May 30th. Just in case you’re curious.
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You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.