Posted by Kevin Durso
The Phillies have won their last six games. At least that’s the way this preview of the Phillies upcoming series with the Mets should start. The Phillies actually posted a 3-3 record this past week. The reality of things is that after managing to take two of three from the D’Backs, in a series they should have swept, they dropped two of three to the Nationals. All three losses came in the ninth inning. A 2-1 lead wasn’t safe for the opener against Arizona last Tuesday. A 4-2 lead was wasted on Friday night. And finally, a 4-3 lead with one out left to get didn’t hold up yesterday. Needless to say, and putting the three victories aside, it was a frustrating week for the Phillies, who return home to face the Mets for three games.
The Mets have plenty of offensive power. David Wright leads the charge, but after the trade of Carlos Beltran and an injury to Jose Reyes, he seems to be alone in the superstar category. The Phillies catch a huge break with Reyes not at the top of the lineup. He’s hurt the Phillies all season, so he’ll be a welcome absence to the lineup. But, don’t forget a strong supporting cast featuring players like Justin Turner, Ike Davis, Angel Pagan, and Josh Thole. All of them have been picking it up lately, and have had success against the Phillies.
Here are the pitching matchups for this series.
In the opener, Cliff Lee (13-7, 2.82 ERA) goes against Dillon Gee (11-4, 3.92 ERA). Lee allowed two runs over seven innings in picking up the win over the Diamondbacks last Wednesday. He has won four straight starts. Gee allowed a run over 6 2/3 innings to the Padres his last start. He has just one loss since taking back-to-back losses to open July.
In the middle game, Vance Worley (8-1, 2.76 ERA) faces Jon Niese (11-10, 4.05 ERA). Worley pitched three scoreless innings and allowed just a hit to the Diamondbacks on Thursday before leaving due to a rain delay. It was Worley’s second straight outing of fewer than five innings. Niese allowed three runs over six innings in a loss to the Padres his last start. His last win came on August 6th.
In the finale, Kyle Kendrick (7-5, 3.24 ERA) gets the start against Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.61 ERA). Kendrick worked six innings allowing two runs in a no-decision against the Nationals on Friday. He has limited opponents to three or fewer runs in all starts since allowing six runs to the Blue Jays on July 1st. Pelfrey allowed three runs over five innings in a loss to the Brewers Friday. His last win came on July 27th, and he has only two wins since the end of June.
Prediction: August 22 – Phillies 4, Mets 1 August 23 – Phillies 2, Mets 3 August 24 – Phillies 5, Mets 2
The Phillies and Mets are another pair that still find a way to play some close games even with quite a margin between them in the standings. The Phillies have the edge over just about any team you can name, and yet, with the way the weekend just went, it proves anything goes.
The Phillies have the advantage on the mound for the opener, and that will help them bounce back. Mainly, the Phillies are just a team that doesn’t get caught up in one loss, and goes right back out there the next day and win. They haven’t lost consecutive games since July 28th, and they haven’t put three losses together since June 5th, when they were on a four-game losing streak. That trend should hold up.
The second game could go the Mets way, even with the Phillies rookie specialist on the mound. Vance Worley will throw a very good game. The problem is the suddenly vulnerable bullpen will have another shaky go. The team that has dealt with no real problems with their play, from a pitching standpoint, is starting to experience them. They are vulnerable right now, and if I was a National League foe, now’s the time to play the Phillies, simply if you are looking for a moral victory. The Nationals just got two, and did it dramatically. That type of thing will stick with the Phillies for a bit. This series will not be a sweep if the Phillies let other losses get to them, like I think they will here.
The finale looks like another one in the Phillies favor. Kyle Kendrick has been very good in starting games lately, and he gets one more start to try to add to his totals. He was in complete control of Friday’s game, well on his way to a win, before the unbelievable occurred. Now, he has a chance to keep proving his worth even with the rough ending to the last game he started.
The Phillies stay home following this series to face the Florida Marlins for three games.