Series Preview -- New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies

Despite being the favorites to win the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies have already suffered injuries to right-fielder Domonic Brown, closer Brad Lidge, and All-Star second baseman Chase Utley. Luckily for them, they have Ben Francisco and Jose Contreras/Ryan Madson to fill the first two holes, but light-hitting Wilson Valdez doesn’t quite fill the shoes of Utley. Coming off two straight wins against the Marlins, the Mets are primed to continue their winning ways. While the Mets faced some pretty tough pitchers in the first series against the Marlins, but the Phillies staff might still throw their offense for a loop.

PITCHING MATCH-UPS

GAME 1: 4/5/11 (7:05 PM)
Chris R. Young – Chris R. Young was considered one of the better young pitchers in the National League, posting a 3.72 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 42 Wins, and 588 K’s in 655.6 IP for the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres. The one thing holding Young back from a fruitful career, however, has been injuries. Between 2008 and 2010, Young only pitched 198.3 innings, and looked over-matched in 2009 (5.22 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 1.25 K/BB ratio). Despite the long road back, Young returned towards the end of 2011, and posted a promising 0.90 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 2 Wins, and 1.36 K/BB ratio in 20 IP (4 starts). The Mets are hoping the 6′10″ right-hander can finally stay healthy, and contribute like his old self. (Career vs. Phillies: .248/.322/.410 line with a 2-2 record, 4.50 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and 1.92 K/BB ratio)

Cole Hamels – Hamels is one of the Phillies four aces, and the only one who is homegrown. At age 26, Hamels posted a dominant 3.06 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 12 Wins, 3.46 K/BB ratio in 208.6 IP last season. Unlike previous seasons, Hamels is no longer the anchor of the Phillies rotation. This is actually a good thing. Now as the 4th starter, Hamels can just focus on pitching as opposed to carrying a rotation–something that could result in a career year at age 27. (Career vs. Mets: .306/.350/.478 line with a 2-8 record, 3.83 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 3.32 K/BB ratio)

GAME 2: 4/6/11 (7:05 PM)
Mike Pelfrey – Pelfrey started the season opener against the Florida Marlins for the Mets, and looked pretty mediocre. The right-hander tossed 4.3 innings while surrendering 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB’s, and recorded 2 K’s. “Big Pelf” was a mixed bag last season for the Mets–often looking like the first round pick (see: March/April, August, and September/October), and just as often not (see: May, June, and July). Despite the two ends of the extremes, Pelfrey pitched an overall solid 3.66 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 15 Wins, and 1.66 K/BB ratio in 204 IP last season, so expect the good with the bad again in 2011. (Career vs. Phillies: .278/.341/.424 line with a 6-4 record, 4.52 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 1.46 K/BB ratio)

Joe Blanton – Joe Blanton is the obvious black sheep in the Phillies rotation, but he’s far from sub-par. In 2.5 seasons for the Phillies, Blanton owns a 25-14 record, 4.38 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 2.60 K/BB ratio. The portly right-hander was rumored to be on his way out of Philadelphia when the team signed Cliff Lee, but the Phils smartly kept him in the fold. Until the Phillies pick-up Walter Johnson, expect Blanton to respectably hold his own as the 5th starter. (Career vs. Mets: .228/.281/.345 line with a 3-1 record, 2.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 2.33 K/BB ratio)

GAME 3: 4/7/11 (3:05 PM)
Jon Niese – Niese looked more like an opening day starter than Pelfrey in his first start this season, hurling 7 quality innings, giving up just 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, and striking out 3 batters. The issue with Niese isn’t lack of talent or “stuff,” but just the journey that is a regular MLB season. The young lefty had difficulty maintaining success into the second half of 2010, as was evident by his second half 4.82 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 2.21 K/BB ratio split–as opposed to the 3.61 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 2.61 K/BB ratio he posted in the first half. If Niese can prove a season of consistency, he might be the Mets “ace” by season’s end. (Career vs. Phillies: .208/.282/.286 line with a 1-1 record, 2.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 2.50 K/BB ratio)

Roy Halladay – Speaking of “ace,” look no further than Roy Halladay, who pitched 6 innings, with 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 6 K’s against the Houston Astros last week. The veteran righty dominated in 2010 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 21 Wins, 9 CG, and a league-leaguing 7.30 K/BB ratio in 250.6 IP. At age 34, Halladay still doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The pitcher has such great command of his pitches, that even as his velocity goes, he’ll be able to lean on his impeccable control (1.1 BB/9 IP). (Career vs. Mets: .267/.301/.433 line with a 6-2 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 4.78 K/BB ratio)

BATTING LINEUP SPLITS

Mets vs. Righties (Roy Halladay and Joe Blanton)
SS Jose Reyes
LF Willie Harris
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Ike Davis
CF Angel Pagan
2B Brad Emaus (or possibly Daniel Murphy)
C Josh Thole

Mets vs. Lefties (Cole Hamels)
SS Jose Reyes
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Ike Davis
LF Scott Hairston
2B Brad Emaus
C Josh Thole

Phillies vs. Righties (Chris Young and Mike Pelfrey)
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
SS Jimmy Rollins
1B Ryan Howard
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Ben Francisco
C Carlos Ruiz
2B Wilson Valdez

Phillies vs. Lefties (Jon Niese)
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
SS Jimmy Rollins
1B Ryan Howard
RF Ben Francisco
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
2B Wilson Valdez

Next Mets Game View full schedule »
Tuesday, Sep 1616 Sep7:10Miami MarlinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Ben Berkon Chris R. Young Chris Young Cole Hamels Joe Blanton Jon Niese Mets Mets Phillies Mets Phillies Preview Mets Phillies Series Preview Mike Pelfrey New York New York Mets New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Preview Roy Halladay Roy Hallday

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