On July 29th, the New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 8-5 to move to 55-51 on the season. Since then the Mets are 5-15 have fallen to 60-66 and 21.5 games out of first place after getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers. While the Mets were never in contention for a playoff spot, the road to a respectable record is quickly falling by the wayside if they don’t recover. The biggest reason for the Mets’ 5-15 stretch probably has a lot to do with 5.25 team ERA in the month of August. The two best pitchers for the Mets this season have been R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese. Dickey, the knuckleballer, has a poor W-L record, but his ERA is 3.72, and hasn’t given up more than three runs in his last six starts. Niese is 11-10 on the season with an ERA just over 4 and strikeout rate close to 8 per 9 innings pitched. The Mets are actually 7th in baseball in runs scored. Jose Reyes, currently on the DL, is leading the National League in hitting. Carlos Beltran, who was traded to San Francisco, is still leading the team in home runs, RBIs, and OBP. The 81-44 Phillies come off a losing series to the Washington Nationals, their first series loss since July 26th-28th. The two Phillies’ losses this weekend came via the walkoff variety. Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off grand slam on Friday and also scored on a walk-off by hit-by-pitch on Sunday. The Phillies are 8-4 against the New York Mets this season.
Game 1- Dillon Gee (11-4, 3.92) vs. Cliff Lee (13-7, 2.82 ERA) Since Gee started off by winning his first seven decisions, he is only on 4-4. Gee has an ERA of over 5 in the month of August and post a 4.60 ERA in July. While Gee has struggled the last two months, he did become the first Mets rookie pitcher to win 11 games since Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling did it in 1984. Dillon pitched relief against the Phillies this year and was tagged for four runs in 1 2/3 innings. No one on the Phillies has more than four at bats against Gee in his career. While Cliff Lee’s scoreless streak is over, he was still outstanding against Arizona in his last start. Lee struck out seven and gave up three hits, picking up his 13th win of the season. Cliff is 2nd in the National League in strikeouts, third in innings pitched, fifth in wins, and seventh in ERA. Lee pitched against the Mets once this year and only gave up a run in seven innings. The Mets haven’t faced Cliff a lot, Jason Bay and Scott Hairston have the most at bats against him with nine each. The Phillies have won Cliff’s last five starts.
Game 2- Jonathan Niese (11-10, 4.05 ERA)vs. Vance Worley (8-1, 2.76 ERA) Niese has lost his last two starts, both vs. the San Diego Padres, but he didn’t pitch terrible, giving up five runs in 13 2/3 innings. Niese has four starts against the Phillies, going 2-2 with 3.42 ERA. Niese’s last start against the Phillies was on July 16th where he gave up one earned run in seven innings, picking up the win. Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez have the best numbers against Jonathan Niese, each hitting over .350 against him. Valdez will likely get a lot of at bats at shortstop this series with Jimmy Rollins having a right groin strain. Worley’s season turned around on May 29th. He gave up 12 hits and 8 runs in three innings against the Mets. The Phillies haven’t lost a Vanimal start since. One of those starts came against the Mets again, throwing 5 1/3 innings of one run ball last month. Despite his bad outing in May, Worley is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA lifetime against New York. No Met has more than eight at bats against Vanimal, but as a team they are hitting .320 against him.
Game 3- Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.61 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (7-5, 3.24 ERA)- Pelfrey’s season continues to spire in mediocrity. He took the loss in his last start against the Brewers only going five innings and allowing twelve baserunners. His ERA in the month is 4.98. This season, Pelfrey is 0-2 against the Phillies with an ERA of 7.58 Ryan Howard has had the most success against him in his career, hitting .375 in 40 at bats. Chase Utley owns Mike Pelfrey with four home runs lifetime against him including several into Utley’s Corner at Citi Field. Kendrick got the “start” on Friday after Roy Oswalt didn’t come out after the rain delay. Kyle will be making the start for Cole Hamels, who can’t pitch because of a shoulder problem. Hamels is scheduled to miss just one start. Kendrick made a start against the Mets in July and allowed just one run in seven innings. He has a losing record against the Mets in his career, but posts a 2.88 ERA. Josh Thole and Willie Harris have the highest averages against Kendrick, Thole at .385 and Harris at .358.