PHILS ENTER STRETCH RUN FOR PLAYOFFS WITHOUT JAKE ARRIETA!

By Sam Bush

Jake Arrieta has been with the Phillies for three season, signed to a $75 million deal in hopes he would bolster their pitching staff.

He’s been hurt and he’s 34, and on balance he has been a disappointment.

Take last night against the Mets.

He pitched effectively into the sixth inning before leaving with a hamstring injury, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer and the Phillies beat the New York Mets 4-1.

Arrieta (4-4) allowed one run on Brandon Nimmo’s homer and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. But he walked off the mound, grabbing the back of his right leg, after hitting Andres Gimenez with a pitch to load the bases.

”I’ll be back for the playoffs, there’s no question in my mind about that. I think I can be back sooner than that,” Arrieta said.

The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner said he sustained a similar injury in 2017 with the Chicago Cubs.

”In 2017, I had to miss two starts but that’s because I tried to come back prematurely,” he said. ”There’s no need to rush this, but I’m going to do everything in my power with treatment with soft tissue work, making sure my tissue is hydrated and everything’s ready to go. If I continue to do that and take care of myself, I don’t intend to miss too much time.”

JoJo Romero entered after Arrieta departed and retired Wilson Ramos on a double-play grounder, with first baseman Alec Bohm making an excellent, backhanded pick.

Romero tossed two innings, Tommy Hunter got two outs and Hector Neris finished for his fourth save in seven chances.

”Our bullpen did an outstanding job today,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.

Mets starter Rick Porcello (1-5) yielded four runs and six hits in six innings as New York (21-27) lost its third straight and fell six games under .500, matching a season low.

Porcello retired the first two batters in the fourth before he walked Jean Segura. Scott Kingery lined a double to right and Andrew Knapp walked. Pinch-hitter Adam Haseley then lined a single to left-center for a 2-0 lead.

Nimmo answered quickly, driving Arrieta’s first pitch in the fifth out to right to cut it to 2-1.

”Everyone is a little down right now as I think is appropriate,” Nimmo said. ”We definitely wanted to come out and get a win today because we really need to win series from here on out.”

Gregorius connected in the fifth, launching one off the video board on the facing of the second deck in right. Bohm had reached on an infield single when third baseman J.D. Davis nearly made a sensational play. Davis’ glove and the ball went flying in the air as he tried to short-hop the sharp grounder. Davis looked up, saw the ball coming down, snagged it and fired to first too late to get Bohm.

”It wasn’t a bad pitch,” Porcello said of the homer by Gregorius. ”I would have liked it to be lower and outside. … I had gotten him out with the changeup a bunch of times this year. Honestly, that situation right there, I tip my hat to him for putting a good swing on it.”

The Phillies returned home after going 2-5 in a seven-game series at Miami that dropped them to third place in the NL East. They currently hold a wild-card spot.

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