Aug 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (16) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies vs. Mets Series Preview: The Battle for Third Place!


The good news is, thanks to outscoring the Marlins by eleven runs in the just completed series, the Phillies are no longer last in the league in run differential!  The bad news is, they couldn’t complete a sweep of the Marlins, losing Wednesday night’s game in ten innings.

I know that in a season that has seen plenty of Phillies losses, I shouldn’t get frustrated by a mid-September loss.  I know that I especially sholdn’t get frustrated when they lose a game in which they had to use Zach Miner as an emergency starter.  (Honestly, I’m not surprised when they lose any game in which Miner makes an appearance.)  And yet, Wednesday night’s loss felt like it should have been a victory.

Oh well.  The Phillies need to put that loss behind them as they take on the Mets.  Third place in the National League East is still up for grabs, so if you care about things like that, then you’ll want to see the Phils do well in this series.

What’s New With the Mets

These teams have played each other quite a bit this season, so I think we know just about everything there is to know about the Mets.  Tonight’s starter is Daisuke Matsuzaka, and based on how poorly he fared the last time he faced the Phillies, you’d be surprised to learn that he’s done well in his last two starts.  Saturday’s starter is Dillon Gee, and the Phillies knocked him around the first two times they saw him.  Finally, the Mets will use Carlos Torres on Sunday.  Torres has mainly been used in relief this season, only receiving the occasional fill-in start.

Based on those pitchers, the Phillies have no excuse not to score some runs this weekend.  Then again, considering the lack of run support that Friday’s starter Cole Hamels has received this season, that’s far from a given.

Mets Player Who Isn’t Entirely Horrible

Aug 2, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) stretches before pinch running for New York Mets third baseman David Wright (not pictured) during the tenth inning of a game at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Royals 4-2 in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

He hasn’t gotten much publicity due to the Mets’ poor season, but third baseman David Wright is having a strong season.  His .904 OPS is sixth best in the league, and he has added 16 home runs despite missing some time with injury and playing his home game at notorious pitchers’ park Citi Field.

Mets Player Who is Horrible

I’ll admit that I don’t want to see Travis d’Arnaud succeed.  The young catcher was once a Phillies minor leaguer before he was traded as part of the Roy Halladay deal.  Obviously, his career is just beginning, but d’Arnaud is not off to an especially strong start.  In 25 games, he’s batting just .163 with one home run.

Tweet of Optimism

I mentioned that the Phillies should have no problem scoring runs.  Apparently their pitching staff should manage just fine as well.

Tweet of Importance

Lee will be pitching on Sunday.  Can he possibly top what he did in his last start?

Final Take

Third place is on the line!  Can the Phillies do it?  Stay tuned!

Tags: Baseball Cliff Lee Cole Hamels Daisuke Matsuzaka David Wright Dillon Gee Mike Lacy MLB New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies Phillies Series Preview Series Preview Travis D'Arnaud Zach Miner