FRIDAY: Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 3.92 ERA) vs Bartolo Colon (7-4, 3.28 ERA): Everyone knows Bartolo. Everyone loves Bartolo, baseball’s rolly-polly, cuddly, aged All-Star. Everyone loves Bartolo – except Phillies fans this weekend. Colon has been a savior for the injury-ravaged Mets pitching rotation. He has allowed 103 hits over 98.2 innings with a 65/17 K:BB ratio. 10 of his 18 outings have been Quality Starts. Just before the break, however, Colon was ravaged by the Nationals. A sign that he is ready to collapse in the 2nd half at 43 years of age? The 19-year veteran who has won 225 career games is pivotal if New York wants to reach the postseason again, let alone return to the World Series. For the Phils, there is perhaps no more important starting pitcher over the next two weeks than Hellickson, the club’s primary trade chip as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
SATURDAY: Jerad Eickhoff (6-10, 3.80 ERA) vs Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.34 ERA): Verrett is a 26-year old righty in his third big league season, but receiving easily his most exposure in MLB. Another key with all the front-line rotation injuries, he has delivered six starts among his two dozen total pitching appearances. However, only two of those starts proved to be of the QS variety, and those were his first two, all the way back in April. Over his last six appearances, three as a starter and three in relief, he has allowed 20 hits over 19.2 innings with an 11/13 K:BB ratio. This is a guy that the Phillies should pound, especially in the warm summer South Philly heat. Eickhoff was the Phillies best pitcher in June, began July with another strong outing, but was pounded out in Coors Field just before the break. That can happen to anyone, so here’s hoping it didn’t damge his psyche.
SUNDAY: Zach Eflin (2-2, 4.08 ERA) vs Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.61 ERA): deGrom was the Mets’ 9th round pick in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of Stetson University who became the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year. The 28-year old righty followed that up with a 14-win season a year ago. This year he has allowed 81 hits over 93 innings with a 91/22 K:BB ratio, establishing himself as one of the top starters in the National League. 11 of his 15 outings have been Quality Starts, and a couple others were just short of that official stat, so he is likely to keep the Mets in the game. Eflin needs to do the same. The 22-year old rookie right-hander has been impressive, and has recorded four consecutive Quality Starts coming in to this big test of a matchup.
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