After David Wright went down with a broken pinky on Monday against the Nationals, the Mets lost two games in a row after winning their first four games. They had a much needed day off yesterday to collect themselves and to get some rest. Now the head to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies for a three series. The 3-3 Phillies are a different team this year compared to years past. This isn’t the same dominating team that was by far the best team in the National League anymore. They are a team with a very strong pitching staff… and that’s about it.
While the Phillies pitching staff is still the best in baseball, they have a lot of holes in their team. Without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the line-up, the offense is the weakest part of the team, which is a strange thing to think considering how dominating it was just a couple years ago. As a Mets fan I look at their line-up and I’m not concerned at all. The Mets line-up can out hit the Phillies line-up, pretty easily if I may add. The Mets bullpen is also better than the Phillies, and this is something I thought before the season even started.
Where the Phillies really separate themselves from the Mets is their ridiculous starting pitching. It’s led by the three-headed ace monster of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, and then finished off by rookie sensation Vance Worley, and Joe Blanton who for a number five pitcher isn’t too bad.
In their first series this year the Mets will send R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, and Mike Pelfrey against Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, and Cole Hamels, respectively. Almost every time the Mets play the Phillies this season the Phillies will have the advantage in the starting pitcher match-up. In order to beat them, the Mets will need to score early, play small ball, and work the starter to try to get into the bullpen.
I fell like the Mets and Phillies are similar teams. They both have mediocre offenses and good pitching. It’s just the Phillies are a playoff team, while the Mets are a .500 team. But somehow it’s still exciting when the Mets play the Phillies. Even though the Mets and Phillies have been on the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as success in the past few years, they still have a heated rivalry. It’s either a really exciting close game, or the Phillies will win in a blow out. That’s generally the two categories they usually fall into. The level of talent on the two clubs have been far apart the last few years, but a combination of the Mets building a better team and the Phillies getting older, they are starting to come closer together.
The Phillies have the second oldest team in baseball, only behind the Yankees. Their age is starting to catch up to them and the talent on this team is slowly declining. They are no longer the huge threat that they once were. When the Mets use to play the Phillies there was a lot of concern heading into a series. Now I have the feeling that if the Mets can put some runs on the board, they have a good chance of winning.