Phillies at NY Mets: Series Preview
Fresh off winning 2 of 3 over the division favorite Washington Nationals (2-4) this past weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies (3-3) head to Flushing, NY to begin a 3-game series with another NL East division rival, the New York Mets (3-3), beginning with the Mets home opener this afternoon.
The Phils suffered a tough tenth inning loss to the Nationals yesterday, while the Mets picked up their only win in a series against the Braves.
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The Mets made headlines this past week when their closer, Jenrry Mejia, was suspended 80 games for testing positive on Stanozol. In that linked Washington Post article, Mets 3rd baseman and team leader David Wright commented, “We love Jenrry as a teammate, but when you make a mistake, you’re going to be punished. Once Jenrry serves his suspension and comes back, we’ll welcome him and do whatever we can to make him feel like he’s part of this team. But for right now, he messed up, and he needs to be punished.”
The Mets have only three hitters batting over .300 so far this season. Lucas Duda, in the midst of a contract dispute, leads the team with a .381 batting average and has 2 RBI. Former Phillies prospect Travis d’Arnaud is the team leader in RBI with 5 and is has a strong .333 batting average. Wright, always a threat, is batting .320 with 4 RBI and 1 homerun.
The Phillies bring along their own three players batting above the .300 mark. Cody Asche is hitting .429 with just 1 RBI. Carlos Ruiz and Freddy Galvis join him, batting .385 and .318 respectively.
The Phils, going on their first road trip this season, are obviously going to have to combat the home opener excitement at Citi Field, which has pretty similar dimensions to Citizens Bank Park. The Bank has outfield fence dimensions that run 329, 401, and 330 feet to left field, center, and right respectively. Citi Field is about 335, 408, and 330 feet to those points.
Harang makes his 2nd start on Monday afternoon in Mets home opener.
(Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Game 1: Aaron Harang v. Jacob deGrom – Harang looks to build on a tremendous start in which he earned the win did not allow a run in 6.1 innings. Jacob deGrom, on the other hand, is looking for more than 1 run of support this time around after only giving up 2 earned runs in 6 innings of work his last start. Manager Terry Collins commented, “He got the ball in the hot zone to Zim and paid for it… But other than that, he threw the ball very well.”
Game 2: David Buchanan v. Matt Harvey – Buchanan is looking for a serious recovery after giving up 6 earned runs and 7 hits in just 3 innings, but faces a tough opponent in Mets’ ace Harvey. In his return from Tommy John surgery, Harvey picked up where he left off with 9 strikeouts in 6 shutout innings. Wright commented on the outing, “He was throwing strikes… That’s what makes him so good, he can rear back and throw the ball by you, or he can outpitch you.” On a pitch limit his last time out, Harvey likely plans to go even deeper into the game on Tuesday.
Game 3: Jerome Williams v. Jon Niese – Williams seeks a start similar to his last outing where he gave up only 1 earned run and 5 hits over 6 innings. Niese is also looking to build on his last start where he only surrendered 1 earned run over 5 innings of work. He was the victim of poor defense his last game, so the Mets would love to get him some support in that regard on Wednesday.
Keys to the Series:
- Be Mentally Tough for the Met’s Home Opening Series – Baseball is back in Flushing, and the Mets are finally entering a season with expectations. The fans will be in full force, so the Phils will have to come into Citi Field prepared to play in the midst of excitement and be ready to act as spoilers.
- Get Utley and Howard Going – Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are hitting a combined 5 for 39 (.128). To win games, the 3 and 4 hitters have to hit. Hopefully they will begin to do so over the next few days.
- Be Patient and Knock out the Met’s Starters Early – The Mets are bringing forth a pretty formidable trio of starting pitchers this series, and the Phillies will have to find ways to get around them. They need to be willing to take pitches, drive up pitch counts, and knock the starters out sooner, then rally against the pen, as they did a couple of times this weekend.
Game 1 (Monday) – 1:10 PM, TV: NBC10, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1480AM (Spanish language)
Game 2 (Tuesday) – 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1480AM (Spanish language)
Game 3 (Wednesday) – 7:10 PM, TV: TCN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1480AM (Spanish language)