Thankfully, baseball is back in action. With 7 games last night and a full slate tonight, the “stretch run” is finally upon us. The 57-34 Phillies start their 2nd half against the 46-45 New York Mets at Citi Field for a three game weekend series. The Mets traded KRod on All-Star night to the Brewers for two players to be named later. Many experts believe that Bobby Parnell will likely be the closer for the time being. With the trading of KRod, despite the Mets saying they’re still in it, it’s pretty obvious they know they aren’t. This series is the beginning of a 6 game road trip for the Phils as they head to Chicago after the Mets series.
Game 1- Vance Worley (4-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (4-7, 3.61 ERA). Worley has had two starts against the Mets this year with polar opposite results. In his first start of the year, he went 6 innings, allowing 4 walks, and only 2 hits. However, 1 month later the Mets blew him up for 12 hits in 3 innings of work, which included 8 runs (5 earned). Editors note- Not a fun game to attend. Since that horrific start against the Mets, Worley has been incredible. In his last four starts, he’s gone 25 innings allowing only 2 earned runs. Safe to safe, Worley has been more than an adequate replacement for Joe Blanton. R.A. Dickey is one of my least favorite Mets. It all stems from the 1 hitter I saw him throw last August in Citi Field. The only hit was from Cole Hamels and the Mets only run came on a missed played ball by Bill’s favorite baseball player. Dickey is coming off a few small injuries which likely won’t affect him for his start. Lifetime against the Phillies he’s only 2-2, but with an ERA of 2.25. Raul Ibanez, last week’s NL player of the week, has two homers off of Dickey, but the only two players with any success off of R.A are Ross Gload and Brian Schneider, though neither has face the pitcher more than 7 times.
Game 2- Cole Hamels (11-4, 2.32 ERA) vs. Jonathan Niese (8-7, 3.88 ERA). One of the teams Cole Hamels isn’t that great against is the New York Mets. In his career, Hamels is 3-9 with a 4.22 ERA. This year, the Mets got to him in his first start. (6 runs in 2 2/3 innings) In his other start against the Mets, he was outstanding going 7 strong, scattering 7 hits, striking out 10, and allowing only 2 runs. Soon to be traded Carlos Beltran has taken Hamels deep three times along with Scott Hairston (random, but he owns Hamels). Jason Bay, in limited at bats, is hitting .429 against Cole as well. Jonathan Niese is 1-2 against the Phillies this year, but has pitched well in two of those starts. Niese has only given up 3 earned runs in his last 12 2/3 innings against the Phillies. The best Phillies hitter against Jonathan Niese? Of course it would be Wilson Valdez, hitting .357. John Mayberry has taken Niese deep before and is 3-7 against the pitcher in his brief big league career.
Game 3- Kyle Kendrick (4-4 with 3.58 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (5-8, 4.55 ERA). Kendrick has been a long reliever most of the year, but now that Roy Oswalt is out for good, he’s in as full-time starter. Kendrick isn’t very good. He still gives up a lot of hits and doesn’t strike out enough batters. With that being said, excluding the dumb decision by Charlie to not pull him vs Jose Bautista, he’s been a solid starter the last month and half. Carlos Beltran, Ronny Paulino, Willie Harris, and Josh Thole all have batting averages over .300 against Kendrick. So getting through 5 innings will be a job well done for KK. Mike Pelfrey has been pretty solid in his last three starts, posting 3.24 ERA. Every year people think Pelfrey will turn the corner, but he never does. He’s a solid, but a nothing special type of pitcher. While he has a winning record against the Phillies, his ERA against them is north of 5. (Sabermetrics people are smiling somewhere) Perhaps the reason he’s not good against the Phillies is because Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez all have really good numbers against him. Howard, with 4 lifetime home runs off of Pelfrey, and Utley with 3 will lead the way offensively for the Phils.
-No Jose Reyes. He’s on the DL. I despise him, but he’s having an incredible season worthy of the MVP talk.
-Placido Polanco was sent to DL today (I thought it wasn’t a DL injury?) and Ryan Madson was activated. Madson will obviously get his closer spot back, but how awesome has Antonio Bastardo been? Opponents are 1 for their last 52 against him. Think about that for a second. Simply amazing. Also, he’s working a 11 1/3 inning no hit streak. Ridiculous.
-I promise not to make fun of Jonathan Niese’s nose this weekend…maybe.
-With KRod traded, Beltran is likely to go, Reyes will have to go after his DL stint as well right?
-The Phillies are 6-3 against the Mets this year. I’ve been to two of those losses.
– The Mets are one game over .500. With the ownership problems (LOL), injuries, and trade talk surrounding them, job well done Terry Collins.
-Be sure to check out Mike O’s article about Von Hayes, it’s a good laugh.
With Dickey pitching well against the Phillies, the pitching matchups favor the Mets. However, the Phillies have been on such a good streak, I’m going to say Phils take at least two out of three. They’ll win tonight and Saturday.