Over the last week we have seen the return of Chase Utley, a 19 inning marathon where our other 2nd baseman was the winning pitcher and the sudden reappearance of our bats. The Phillies were able to take 3 of the 4 games from the defending NL Central Champs. It could have been a sweep as they led 3-1 in the game they lost on Tuesday night. The Phillies scored 28 runs during the 4 game series! This was the same offense that had just scored 9 runs in their previous 6 games. It’s hard to ignore the impact Chase has on their offense. He had just 2 hits and 1 RBI during the series, but his presence in the lineup and in the dugout instantly makes this team better.
Their tough 20 game stretch against some of the best teams in baseball is now over and they find themselves in the exact same position they were going into the stretch. By taking 3 of 4 from the Reds, they were able to go 10-10 during the 20 games. The Phillies are now 31-19 and are still 12 games over .500. Even with the best record in the National League and the most wins in all of baseball, they remain just 1 game ahead of the young Florida Marlins team. The NL East has been the best division in baseball so far this season as it possesses 3 of the top 5 winning percentages in the National League and 3 of the top 8 in all of baseball.
Now after playing some great teams, they will get to go to Flushing’s to visit their old friends in New York. The Mets have been playing decent baseball despite their own plethora of injuries. Center fielder Angel Pagan is expected to return tonight but has spent the majority of the season on the DL, SP Chris Young is done for the season with another shoulder injury, former Ace Johan Santana is eyeing a mid to late season return as he recovers from shoulder surgery and they have recently lost middle of the order hitters David Wright and Ike Davis to injuries. The Mets are now 23-26 and are 7.5 games behind the first place Phillies.
Friday May 27 7:10: RHP Roy Oswalt vs. LHP Chris Capuano
Oswalt fell victim yet again on Sunday to the Phillies lack of run support as he received the loss despite only allowing 1 run. He scattered 8 hits in 7 innings but was able to limit the defending AL Champs to just one run. Country Roy is now 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP on the season. With his personal leave and his brief stint on the DL, he has not won a game since April 21 and the team has lost his last 3 starts. But to his defense he has only not received much run support as his teammates have scored him 1 run over his last 2 starts. He has made 14 career starts versus the Mets; he is 6-5 with a 3.33 ERA in those starts. Roy has made just 1 start at Citi Field during his long career and that one start was a beauty as he pitched a complete game shutout while only giving up 4 hits. His start last September was his last start against the Mets and the only time he has faced them as member of the Phillies.
Oswalt will be opposed by former Brewer Chris Capuano. The 32 year old lefty was signed during the offseason has a cheap option for the team in their rotation. His season has gone like many have thought but maybe not the way the Mets had a hoped. He will go into tonight’s game 3-5 with a 5.36 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Capuano is coming off of a rough start against the Yankees in his last outing; he went 5.1 innings and gave up 6 runs as he earned his 5th lost of the season. He has made 4 starts (5 games) against the Phillies during his career; he has a respectable 3.20 ERA despite going 0-2 in those games. Right handed hitters are batting .312 on the season against him, so expect Charlie to have a heavy right handed hitting lineup tonight.
Saturday May 28 7:10: LHP Cole Hamels vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey
Hamels has the same problem that every Phillies pitcher except Wilson Valdez had, getting Jay Bruce out. The only runs he allowed Monday night were due to the 3 run home run by the hot hitting right fielder. He went 6 innings and only gave up 3 runs on 5 hits. Hamels is now tied for the NL lead in wins with 6 and tied for 6th in the league with 68 strikeouts. He is now 6-2 on the season with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Cole will look to rebound after his last start against the Mets in early April, he lasted just 2.2 innings while giving up 7 runs. The lefty has made 14 starts against the Mets; he is just 2-9 with a 4.35 ERA. He hasn’t had a lot of success had Citi Field either, in 4 starts he is 0-3 with a 4.07 ERA. Current Mets hitters are 35-116 (.302) while facing Hamels during their careers.
Pelfrey has been a major disappointment for the Mets and their fans during his career. He is a former 9th overall pick in the 2005 and they had hoped he could be a top of the rotation pitcher. But during his career he has proved he is nothing more than a 4 or a 5. He is now 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP on the season. Pelfrey is coming off of a poor start versus the Yankees on Sunday; he went 6 innings and gave up 5 runs. The big righty has not had a lot of success against the Phillies, in 15 starts he is 6-5 with a 5.25 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are 52-179 (.291) while facing Pelfrey during their careers.
Sunday May 29 1:10: RHP Vance Worley vs. LHP Jon Niese
Worley pitched great through 4 innings and entered the 5th with a 3-1 lead in Tuesday night’s game. But he squandered the lead and allowed 2 runs in the inning as he left the game with a no decision. Vance lasted 5 innings and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits. He clearly didn’t have his best stuff has he had command problems throughout most of the game but battled through his 5 innings to keep the team in the game. Worley is now 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP on the season. His last and only start against the Mets came on April 29 of this year; he went 6 innings and didn’t allow a run on just two hits. He also made a relief appearance against the Mets; he went 1 inning and didn’t allow a run or a hit. It will be the 1st time he will pitch at Citi Field during his career. Current Mets hitters are 1-15 (.067) while facing Worley during their careers.
Niese has always had individual success against the Phillies but the Mets can never seem to help him out. The Mets are just 1-4 in his 5 starts against the Phillies despite a 3.73 ERA against them (he is 1-3). His teammates didn’t help him out during his last start. A Paulino throwing error in the 2nd lead to 4 unearned runs in the innings. In the end, he went 5 innings and gave up 6 runs (2 ER) on 7 hits. Niese is now 3-5 on the season with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Current Phillies hitters are 23-83 (.277) while facing Niese during their careers.
The Phillies enter the series coming off of a difficult stretch of games where they went just 10-10. In the end, if you can split games with the good teams and sweep the bad teams, you will end the season with a pretty good record. Right now at this point in the season, the New York Mets are not a good team. This is not even my New York dislike fogging my mind, this current Mets team isn’t on the same level as the Phillies, Braves or even Marlins. It will be interesting to see what type of changes the Mets make later in the season, will try to keep their core intake or will they go for the fire sale? I except the Phillies bats to remain alive during the series; maybe Chase will deposit his 2nd homerun of the season down in Utley’s corner. My prediction is the Phillies will go into to Flushing’s with a broom and sweep the 3 game series.