All you need to know about Game 2 of London Series

June 8th, 2024

LONDON -- The London Series is now officially in full swing.

In front of 53,882 fans, the Phillies had 11 hits, including three home runs, to win the first game of the series, 7-2, over the Mets on a crisp Saturday evening at London Stadium.

“I think it was great. There were [nearly 54,000 fans], which obviously speaks volumes to the support out there and how great a job MLB has done in creating these tours,” Mets center fielder Harrison Bader said. “I think they're a lot of fun to play in, but even more so for the fans -- they're really important for the fans. So it's just been a great experience so far.”

The energy from the fans was contagious, and Bryce Harper’s soccer slide celebration added to it. Following Harper’s game-tying dinger in the fourth inning, the Phillies rallied for five more runs in the inning, complete with a three-run homer by Whit Merrfield.

“It was fun, being able to put people on their feet and put joy in people,” Harper said. “That's what it's all about. Being able to do that today was a lot of fun.”

Game 1 of the series was an exhibition of what America’s favorite pastime is all about: having fun and hearing the connection between bat and ball. There is one more game to be played Sunday.

Here’s a primer about Game 2 between the Phillies and Mets:

What is the London Series?

The London Series is part of the MLB World Tour, which was created to bring Major League teams and players to a global fanbase. It is the league’s and the MLBPA’s largest international plan, formed with the intention of playing as many as 24 regular-season games and as many as 16 exhibition games in Asia, Europe, Mexico and Latin America through the 2026 season.

When is the game and how can I watch it?

First pitch for Game 2 is slated for 10:10 a.m. ET on Sunday and will air on ESPN. It can also be watched on MLB.TV.

Where is the game being played?

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a sporting complex that was initially built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The complex includes what is now known as London Stadium, a multi-use facility that hosts concerts and sporting events. Currently the home of West Ham United FC of England’s Premier League, London Stadium has been reconfigured to host this weekend’s baseball games.

Who are the starting pitchers?

Mets: LHP Jose Quintana (1-5, 5.17)

The Mets’ most consistent starter in the second half last season, the 35-year-old veteran Quintana has struggled to find that same level of consistency so far this year. One of his best starts came last month in Philadelphia, where Quintana held the Phillies to two runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Phillies: RHP (3-1, 5.73 ERA)

Walker started the season on the injured list because of an impingement in his right shoulder. He hasn’t hit his stride, which has Phillies fans wondering if right-hander Spencer Turnbull could rejoin the rotation at some point. Walker’s best pitch is his splitter, but he hasn’t been throwing it effectively this season. He promised to throw a bunch on Sunday in an effort to keep the ball on the ground.

What might the starting lineups look like?

Mets: The team will tweak its lineup with the right-handed Walker on the mound for the Phillies, giving second baseman Jeff McNeil his first chance to start since last weekend. The lineup should look something like this:

Phillies: Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Johan Rojas will start in center field on Sunday, after Cristian Pache started there Saturday.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?

Mets: Although the Mets used five relievers Saturday, including long man Adrian Houser for 2 2/3 innings, they’re still in fine shape given two off-days before this series. Reed Garrett, Drew Smith and Dedniel Núñez are all operating on four-plus days of rest, and only Houser is likely to be unavailable given Saturday’s workloads.

Phillies: The Phillies’ bullpen should be in good shape on Sunday. Orion Kerkering pitched 1 1/3 innings Saturday, and Seranthony Domínguez pitched one inning. But high-leverage relievers José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm remained rested and ready.

Any injuries of note?

Mets: The Mets have dealt with significant injuries throughout the first two-plus months of the season. Currently, they’re missing All-Star closer Edwin Díaz, who didn’t make the trip due to a right shoulder impingement. He should be back next week. Starting catcher Francisco Alvarez is also out recovering from left thumb surgery and could return within the next week. Ace pitcher Kodai Senga has missed the entire campaign to date due to a shoulder capsule strain, and the Mets’ top left-handed reliever, Brooks Raley, is done for the year after undergoing elbow surgery.

Phillies: Shortstop Trea Turner has missed more than a month because of a strained left hamstring. He is moving closer to a return, but it won’t happen until the Phillies are home from London. Outfielder Brandon Marsh (strained right hamstring) and utility player Kody Clemens (back spasms) are also on the injured list.

Who is hot and who is not?

Mets: No Met is hotter than Lindor, who entered Saturday’s play with a 1.000 OPS over his previous 15 games before doubling in his first at-bat and scoring. On the other side of things is Baty, whom the Mets demoted to Triple-A Syracuse last week but brought back for the London Series as their 27th man. Before going to the Minors, Baty was in a 6-for-47 (.128) slump with 19 strikeouts.

Phillies: Harper fell a triple short of the cycle on Saturday. He doubled in the first inning, homered in the fourth and singled in the fifth. He has hit 15 homers this season, which is tied for second in the National League with Shohei Ohtani. … Castellanos hit a towering homer to left in the eighth inning Saturday. He entered the game batting .333 with two homers and a 1.083 OPS in his past seven games.

Is there anything else fans should know?

McNeil, who has been out of the starting lineup for four consecutive games, will return Sunday against Walker. Since Jose Iglesias arrived from Triple-A on May 31, the Mets have utilized a traditional platoon at second base, with McNeil starting against right-handed pitchers and Iglesias facing lefties. The problem, for McNeil, is that Walker will be just the third right-handed starter they’ve seen in eight days. As a result, he has amassed only a handful of at-bats since Iglesias arrived on the scene.