While the shutout losses and injuries have continued to accumulate, the Philadelphia Phillies still have managed to win enough games to remain in playoff contention.
Beginning Friday, the Phillies will host a crucial four-game series against National League East rival New York Mets.
The Phillies just completed a six-game road trip against the Mets and Cincinnati Reds and finished 3-3.
Philadelphia has been besieged with injuries to key players such as reigning NL Most Valuable Player Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Brandon Marsh and Zach Eflin.
The Phillies' last three losses have all been shutouts, including a 1-0 defeat to the Reds on Wednesday.
But Schwarber, who was out of the starting lineup for all three of those losses, expects to return from a strained calf on Friday.
"We're battling," Schwarber said. "We've been in striking distance in every single game and we've had traffic on the bases. That's just kind of the game of baseball there, where you look to try to get that big hit. Unfortunately today that didn't happen, but I think we walk away with a positive outlook going into the series."
The Phillies are looking for their first playoff berth since 2011 -- and this four-game series is clearly vital.
"It's always important to play well, especially against the good teams," interim manager Rob Thomson said. "But I think we've proven, by beating the Dodgers, beating the Padres, beating the Cardinals -- all those teams in season series -- that we're a good club."
The Phillies will hand the ball to Aaron Nola (8-9, 3.07 ERA). Nola has had quite a bit of success against the Mets, going 9-6 with a 3.09 ERA in 24 career starts, including four this season.
The Mets will look to rebound after a narrow 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. After winning 17 of 20, the Mets suddenly have lost three of the last four.
Mark Canha hit two doubles on Wednesday and followed with two hits, including a two-run home run, on Thursday.
"We won four when we were back at our place, and they won three when we were here," Brandon Nimmo said. "I am not that disappointed. I am just more disappointed in that I feel like there were some things in this game we could have done a little slightly better -- and maybe we pull away with this one."
Chris Bassitt (10-7, 3.27) is scheduled to start for the Mets. Bassitt's last start also came against the Phillies; he allowed four hits and no runs in five innings.
"I think there's no secret how good our pitching staff is, especially when you have guys like Jake (deGrom) and Max (Scherzer)," Bassitt said after his last outing. "It's hard to score on us, and it's kind of what we're built for."
Bassitt is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies, all coming this season. He has given up two runs in 16 2/3 innings.
The Mets claimed Gold Glove infielder Yolmer Sanchez, who had played a chunk of the season for Triple-A Worcester for the Boston Red Sox.
"Versatile player, switch-hitter, can play a lot of positions, do a lot of things," Mets manager Buck Showalter said of Sanchez. "He's really well-regarded in a lot of ways. We'll see how he fits."
If Sanchez joins the Mets on Friday, they'll need to make a roster move before the game.
--Field Level Media