The Philadelphia Phillies open up the second half of the MLB season with an important seven game homestand against the division rival New York Mets and Miami Marlins.
The Phillies welcome in the NL East Division rival New York Mets for a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park that begins the traditional second half of the MLB season.
This series will also mark the beginning of an extremely important stretch of the season for the Fightin’ Phils, who currently sit just on the outskirts of the National League Wildcard playoff race.
The Phillies find themselves a half-dozen games back of the Mets and the Miami Marlins. It will be those two clubs who provide the opposition over these next seven games at home.
In fact, over the next 13 games, the Phils face off against the Mets, Marlins, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, two of the three clubs ahead of them in that race for the final postseason berth.
Are the Phillies really a playoff contender in the 2016 season? Probably not. But in what has already been a surprisingly competitive year, anything is possible. If that least likely of possibilities is to continue, then the Phils need to find a way to come out winners over these next two weeks.
Also highlighting the next two weeks will be the approach of the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. The Phillies have a number of players who could be moved, even if they remain in contention.
For the Mets, the defending National League champions who entered the season with high hopes of their own, it has been a season of injury and disappointment.
New York recently welcomed back longtime shortstop Jose Reyes to the team. Reyes had been serving an MLB suspension due to a high-profile domestic violence incident during the off-season while he was still with the Colorado Rockies.
Following his reinstatement by Major League Baseball on June 23rd, the Rockies released him, and New York signed him as a free agent just two days later. He has been inserted into manager Terry Collins‘ lineup at 3rd base in Wright’s place.
Featured in the Mets’ offensive attack is NL All-Star center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who leads the team with 21 homers, 52 RBI, 47 runs and a .302/.372/.583 slash line.
2nd baseman Neil Walker began the season hot, and his season numbers look strong. But he has cooled considerably over the last month, hitting for just a .197/.264/.250 slash line since June 18th with one homer and 9 RBI over that span.
The bottom line is that, as currently constructed, this New York lineup is a far cry from the one that stormed to the NL East crown over the last two months of the 2015 season, then fought all the way to the World Series before losing out to Kansas City.
The Mets lengthy list of wounded and missing for this series is fully covered in the “Injuries” page of the below slide show, but includes key performers Wright, Duda, Harvey, and Zack Wheeler. The Phils need to take advantage and win this series.
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