Tonight, the Mets begin a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets play the Phillies, who, up until this point, have been unable to get on any kind of a roll. Many thought before the season that due to the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, as well as the age of Jimmy Rollins, their offense would struggle but no one thought it would be this bad. The Phils are in the bottom third in baseball in runs scored, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Catcher Carlos Ruiz has been their best hitter, which is a little odd considering he is a career number seven or eight hitter.
The decent pitching the Phillies have has been the only thing keeping them alive. Despite Cliff Lee (eho will return on Wednesday) hitting the DL, the Phillies’ staff is in the top ten in baseball in quality starts, WHIP, and ERA. Cole Hamels has been stellar, but luckily will not face the Mets in this series.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
Game 1- Tonight 7:05
Jon Niese- Niese finally had a bad start in his last outing in Houston. He went only three innings, but that was due to a desparation pinch-hitting move that Terry Collins made in the fourth inning. Niese allowed five earned on six hits in the start.
Roy Halladay- At 35 years old, Halladay is still going strong this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.110 WHIP. He is averaging about seven innings per outing this year.
Game 2- Tuesday 7:05
Miguel Batista- Here we go with Miguel Batista. The 41 year-old has been awful this year, but somehow got the nod from Terry Collins to join the rotation in place of Chris Schwinden. Batista is 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA this year.
Joe Blanton- You would think that you would have an easy go of it against a team’s fifth starter. That’s not the case with Blanton. He threw a shutout against the Braves in his last start, and has been looking good on the mound thus far in 2012.
Game 3- Wednesday 7:05
Dillon Gee- Gee pitched well on Friday against the D-Backs, tossing six innings of two-run ball. He also walked three and struck out six.
Cliff Lee- Lee, who has been suffering from a strained left oblique, will come off the DL on Wednesday to face the Mets in his first start since April 19. In three starts this year, Lee is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA.
— Ruben Tejada left yesterday’s game with a strained right quad. Tejada hit the DL today and will be replaced on the roster by Jordanny Valdespin.
— Even with Valdespin in the big leagues, we will probably not see much of him. Terry Colins has expressed his liking for Justin Turner. Turner, not Valdespin, will likely get the majority of the playing time at shortstop. I’m not the biggest fan of having Valdespin ride the bench in the majors. I’d much rather have him getting playing time in Buffalo, developing. For those of you wondering, the rule that states a player cannot be recalled until ten days after they were sent down does not apply if they are replacing an injured player.
— Ike Davis is hitless in his last four games, going 0-11, which brings his batting average down to .168. Ike has shown signs of coming back to life, only to return to struggling.
—Daniel Murphy, on the other hand, had a great series against Arizona. Murphy was 7-12 in the three games, and had two RBI. It’s great to see that maybe Murphy’s fantastic run at the plate last year may not have been a fluke. Terry Collins has moved him up in the lineup in place of Ike Davis.
—Tonight’s and Wednesday’s pitching matchups should be pretty interesting to watch. Both Niese and Gee have pitched well this season. Their ERA’s don’t quite say that, but each of them had one bad outing that basically ruined their ERAs. Other than that, they have pitched well this season. Of course, they will both be going up against two of Philly’s aces, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
—Jonathon Paplebon has been great so far for the Phillies, saving nine games and pitching to a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings pitched. Just something to look out for if any of these games are close.