The Mets salvaged the final game of their three-game series against the Phillies as the bats finally came alive. The first two losses were tough to take, as the Mets held leads after seven innings in both games. They both fall into the category of toss-up games that I mentioned how the Mets are struggling in earlier in the month.

But instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s instead focus on what good came out of this weekend. The obvious was the return of Angel Pagan, who raised his AVG 26 points over the weekend. But the hitting of Pagan was hardly the only bright spot. In fact, all of the Mets who were struggling with the bat seemed to perk up against the Cubs and Phillies. Let’s look at what these players had done before and after their respective hot streaks:

Before After
Josh Thole .207 4-6, double, 2 RBIs
Daniel Murphy .233 13-33, .394/.429/.576
Jason Bay .227 6-19, .409 OBP
Angel Pagan .159 4-12, 3 runs, 2 SB

When Ike Davis and David Wright went on the disabled list, the Mets offense went into the tank, as they scored 14 runs in seven games before tallying 25 in their last five.

A pessimist may point out that their two big offensive games came when the opposing starting pitchers were Casey Coleman and Vance Worley. But there’s nothing wrong with scoring runs when the other team does not trot out its ace. Each team should have two or more pitchers like this and good teams should tee off against the bottom of their opponents’ rotation.

The Mets now open up a four-game set against the Pirates and square off against pitchers who will not be confused with Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Here are the pitchers they are about to face:

Charlie Morton – He’s having a super year so far because a change in pitching style has made him tough on RHB, who he has limited to a .443 OPS. But the Mets will face him with a lineup featuring five of their eight batters batting from the left side. Morton allows lefties to post a .921 OPS this year. Three of the four hitters listed above bat from the left side, including the switch-hitting Pagan.

James McDonald – The Pirates had high hopes for McDonald coming into the year based on some strong outings down the stretch in 2010. But so far he’s been the weak link in their rotation with a 5.23 ERA. McDonald has been walking too many batters and allowing too many HR, a certain recipe for disaster.

Kevin Correia – A free agent signing from the Padres, Correia has put up better numbers this year than he did last season pitching half his games in Petco Park. A .259 BABIP has helped him to a solid 3.44 ERA this year. But he does not strike out any batters ( 3.82 K/9, the second-lowest total of the 113 qualified starting pitchers) and his xFIP is three-quarters of a run higher than his ERA.

Paul Maholm – He leads Pirates pitchers with a 1.2 WAR but has just a 2-7 record. He’s always posted peripherals better than his actual ERA and this year he once again has strong component stats. Maholm has strong FIP (3.39) and xFIP (3.67) numbers but this year his ERA is even better (3.18). The lefty is succeeding thanks to a BABIP 54 points below his career average.

It will be interesting to see if the Mets can continue their recent five runs per game output against this foursome. They certainly seem like pitchers the Mets should be able to handle. While the 1-2 record against the Phillies was disappointing, the Mets can still have a productive homestand if they take care of business the next four days against the Pirates.


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