Major League Baseball

Tension surrounds Phillies-Mets series finale

PHILLIES (46-43) AT METS (40-49)
1:10 p.m. ET; WPIX, NBCSP, MLB.TV

Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday night that he’s not thinking about tensions between the Phillies and the New York Mets escalating further on Sunday afternoon. He might be the only person in uniform at Citi Field not thinking about it.

An intra-division rivalry could hit the boiling point Sunday afternoon, when the Mets host the Phillies in the finale of a three-game series and the last game for both teams before the All-Star break. New York’s Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.42 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola (7-2, 3.89 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

The Mets evened the series Saturday, when Tomas Nido’s three-run double capped a wild fifth inning and gave New York the lead for good in a 6-5 victory.

Phillies starter Jake Arrieta set the stage for Nido by giving up a Dominic Smith double in between plunking Todd Frazier and Amed Rosario with changeups.

Frazier, who was also hit Friday night and has been hit by the Phillies three times this season, had plenty to say as he went down the first-base line. Then, when home plate umpire Tripp Gibson warned both benches, Frazier earned an ejection by bolting off first base to argue.

When Arrieta plunked Rosario but was not ejected, Callaway stormed out of the dugout and was also ejected.

“He didn’t think he was intentionally throwing at him,” Callaway said. “And I get that part. But I mean, damn, we just got one of our guys thrown out because of the whole debacle and then their guy gets to stay in.”

Kapler said he didn’t want to speculate on whether Frazier’s reaction was rooted in the tensions between the teams that date back to April 23, when Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins took exception to a pair of up-and-in pitches from Mets reliever Jacob Rhame in the ninth inning of Philadelphia’s 9-0 loss.

The next night, Hoskins homered off Rhame in the ninth inning of a 6-0 win and took 34 seconds to round the bases.

Nor did Kapler want to discuss whether there might be spillover Sunday.

“It’s not something that is even on my mind,” Kapler said. “We’re a baseball team that lost an important game.”

But Kapler spoke before Arrieta’s postgame press conference in which he suggested he’d like to settle things with Frazier.

“If Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me and I’ll put a dent in his skull,” Arrieta said.

“He didn’t say (anything) to me. Talking to the umpire 25 feet away. I said come out there. He didn’t come out there.”

Frazier was not in the Mets’ clubhouse afterward.

“It’s a rivalry,” Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil said. “Some guys have gotten hit on both sides. But you know, a rivalry’s always good.”

Wheeler didn’t factor into the decision Tuesday, when he gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings in the Mets’ 4-2 win over the New York Yankees. Nola did get a win Tuesday, when he tossed eight scoreless innings as the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0.

Wheeler is 5-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 career starts against the Phillies. Nola is 6-1 with a 3.48 ERA in 11 starts against the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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