They went up there hacking. And based on early results from their MLB trade deadline deal-making, the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets are glad they did.
The pickups helped each earn a weekend victory, fueling optimism for both clubs in the Who-Wants-It NL East.
Javy Baez, acquired from the Chicago Cubs, homered for the Mets on Saturday. That launched the team’s comeback from a 4-1 deficit in an eventual 5-4 triumph over the Cincinnati Reds.
Kyle Gibson, obtained from the Texas Rangers, pitched smartly for the Phillies on Sunday. He thwarted a looming meltdown and earned the W in the team’s 15-4 laugher against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
More importantly, how will these moves impact the National League East standings?
The Phillies and Mets enter the first week of August with New York leading the NL East by 3.5 games. And the teams are set to face each other for a three-game weekend set in Philadelphia this weekend.
How NJ sportsbooks see it
The Phillies odds remain a long price of +450 to win the division and +2800 to capture the National League pennant at Caesars Sportsbook (formerly William Hill).
The Mets, a prohibitive -260 to secure the NL East, stood at +500 to win the National League pennant and +1100 to capture the World Series.
Both teams regressed slightly on the board because the New York Yankees (landing Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (getting Max Scherzer and Trea Turner) were considered the victors of the trade deadline.
DraftKings Sportsbook took the Dodgers all the way down to +300 to win the World Series.
BetMGM dropped the Yankees from + 1400 to +950 to win the American League, a huge decrease.
The Yankees also moved from +2500 to +2200 to win the World Series. Yes, the Yanks entered the week still trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by seven games. However, BetMGM dropped the Yankees odds from +1300 to +1000 to win the American League East.
The Bronx Bombers utilized Rizzo, two homers and a game-tying single in three separate games, to obtain a weekend sweep of the Miami Marlins.
Phillies and Mets try to parlay trade-deadline moves
The Phillies aggressively pursued two pressing needs. We’re talking a bottom-end starter and a closer. Gibson and Ian Kennedy, who came in a deal with the Texas Rangers for Spencer Howard, among others, now have their first appearances in Phillies pinstripes.
Gibson pitched to contact Sunday, allowing only seven baserunners in 6.2 innings. He struck out five and walked two in tossing 113 pitchers. Gibson feasted on the Phillies’ season-high 20 hits.
The best of Gibson: he got ahead of the hitters and knifed through the first eight batters.
The lone negative came in the third inning. He walked the opposing pitcher with two outs, allowed four-straight baserunners, and flirted with an ugly inning.
But as he hung on the ropes, having yielded a run and walking the bases loaded, Gregory Polanco bailed him out. The Pirates outfielder swung at a 2-0 pitch and grounded out. Gibson escaped a jam. However, one more hit would have made it a three-run inning.
Gibson was effective after that and the Phillies put the game away late.
So what’s the verdict, you ask? Gibson was a money pitcher in his Phillies debut, but one bad stretch nearly hurt him. This has been a career sign for him.
Gibson usually starts well and finds trouble the second time through the order. The question is whether he can get the out he needs at the big moment.
Sunday, he did.
Gibson has a 76-77 lifetime career record and an ERA approaching 4.50. His July ERA was over 6. If Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Zach Eflin pitch well in the top-three spots, Gibson could be a good fourth starter.
But if Efflin remains sidelined with knee tendinitis, Gibson must be even better.
Kennedy could be the answer Phillies bullpen needs
Kennedy once was an ace starter, going 21-4 and leading the National League in wins for Arizona in 2011. Now a closer, he had 16 saves in 17 chances for the Texas Rangers. His fastball has hit 95 mph and he averages more than a strikeout an inning.
Sunday, he yielded a two-run homer in mop-up duty in one inning of relief.
Was it wise to use him for 25 pitches in a contest already decided when the Phillies now have seven games in seven days, three against the Mets?
And now that Ranger Suarez joined the starting rotation for Monday’s game against the Nationals?
MLB betting notes
Rhys Hoskins (groin) is scheduled to return this week for the Phillies. They opened the week with a four-game set against the now-irrelevant Nationals, who traded Scherzer and Turner to the Dodgers.
Andrew McCutchen’s injury may take longer. The best recent hitter in the Phillies’ lineup left Saturday’s game against the Pirates with a left-knee issue. He took an MRI Sunday.
McCutchen was lost to the Phillies with an ACL tear for most of 2019. It was a major factor in the Phillies’ decline from a 33-22 start to finish 81-81. He always seems to be in the middle of major rallies, including his walk off three-run homer to beat the Nationals last week.
No Sympathy from the Mets
The Mets are happy to have Baez, who can play shortstop or second base.
Why did they need him?
Off-season acquisition Francisco Lindor is hurt. And he’s been a bust.
Off-season pickup Carlos Carrasco just pitched his first game, and ended up with a no-decision.
Noah Syndergaard hasn’t pitched.
Jacob deGrom, enjoying an all-world season, won’t pitch until September.
Rich Hill, whom they obtained just before the trade deadline, has given up seven runs in 10 innings. Each start was five innings. Just average
But the Mets maintain betting respect on the belief that they will eventually take the division and be healthy in October.
The Mets visit the Miami Marlins for four games before heading to Philadelphia for a big series.