Phillies (5-9) at Mets (8-7)
7:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App
The Mets might have to rename him Babe Bruce before it’s all over.
The Phillies move into the rubber match of their series at Citi Field against the Mets Thursday feeling like they probably should already have the series win.
They led 2-0 last night and Vince Velasquez was cruising until Bruce again victimized the Phillies with a three-run jack.
Let’s take a look at what to expect tonight:
1. Bruce Almighty
Bruce is not a superstar. He’s a power hitter who strikes out a lot, doesn’t hit lefties and has hit .234 with a .298 on-base percentage since 2014.
Just imagine what his numbers would look like if it wasn’t for Phillies pitching.
In 67 career games against the Phils, Bruce has hit .333/.383/.650 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs. Over the last two seasons alone, he’s hit .422 against them with eight homers and 22 RBIs in 19 games.
Bruce has driven in more runs (11) in five games against the Phillies than any Phillie has driven in all season. (Maikel Franco leads the team with 10 RBIs.)
Bruce is 2 for 6 with two strikeouts against Aaron Nola, who starts tonight.
2. Nola building momentum
Nola has opened his all-important bounce-back year with two solid starts. He allowed three runs in six innings and struck out seven in the Phillies’ 17-3 outburst over the Nationals, then limited the Nats to one run over five innings last Friday.
In the second start, Nola struck out six, walked none and generated 11 groundballs against a power-packed lineup.
More impressive than the numbers, though, is the fact that 49.7 percent of Nola’s pitches this season have been in the lower-third of the strike zone. That number was similar last season, but the difference was he was often missing off the plate low and falling behind in counts.
Low in the zone …
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