Philadelphia Phillies Weekend Preview: New York Mets

Jul 16, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) and relief pitcher Seth Lugo (67) prior to game at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 16, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) and relief pitcher Seth Lugo (67) prior to game at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the weekend series between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets

After a week which featured two off-days, the Philadelphia Phillies should be well rested as they take on the New York Mets. That’s a good thing since the bullpen has had a heavy workload lately, and with their rotation depleted, they didn’t seem likely to get a reprieve any time soon.

New York Mets

Record: 64-63 (3rd place in National League East)

Manager: Terry Collins

The last time they met

The Phillies and Mets opened the second half of the season with a three game series. After splitting the first two games – thanks in part to the start of Ryan Howard‘s resurgence – the Phillies offense went flat in the finale as they were limited to one hit by Jacob deGrom in a 5-0 loss.

What’s the deal with the Mets

The defending National League champions seem unlikely to defend that title this season. Sitting in third place and only one game above .500, the Mets will need to go on a huge stretch run to make it back to the playoffs.

Despite the injury and struggles of one-time wunderkind Matt Harvey, the pitching has largely lived up to expectations, ranking third in the NL in ERA. The offense has been the real weak spot. Despite the presence of star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets are 13th in the league in runs scored.

Reason to hate the Mets

The last time the Mets came to Philly, it was a scene out of the ’80s: The stadium filled with Mets fans doing their awful “Let’s go Mets!” chant. I could go without ever hearing that chant again.

More from Philadelphia Phillies

Mets player who isn’t entirely awful

Noah Syndergaard has established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Thanks to the existence of Clayton Kerhsaw, he probably won’t win the Cy Young Award, but he’s likely to be the runner-up. In his one start against the Phillies this season, he struck out eight batters in seven innings while only allowing one run.

Mets player who is awful

Philadelphia Phillies
Aug 16, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

His overall stats for the season are fine, but Curtis Granderson has not played well lately. Over the past 30 days, he has a weak .208 on-base percentage. He’s helped offset that with four home runs over that span, but for the most part, the 35-year-old Granderson looks like a player who is wearing down.

Phillies player who has played well lately

At the All-Star break, it appeared that Cesar Hernandez had played his way out of the Phillies’ plans. He could hit for a decent average, but his lack of power, shaky defense, and horrible baseball IQ were huge weaknesses.

Naturally, Hernandez has been one of the Phillies’ best players in the second half. His .355 on-base percentage is second among Phillies regulars, and he’s even shown some power lately, with three home runs in the past two weeks.

Reasons for optimism

  • Friday’s starter Adam Morgan had a strong start his last time out. Hopefully he can build on that.
  • Philadelphia Phillies
    Aug 23, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Robert Gsellman (65) pitches in his Major League debut to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

    Robert Gsellman will be making his second start for the Mets. Considering he only lasted 3.2 innings in his first start, this might be a chance for the Phillies to get into the Mets’ bullpen.

  • Jeremy Hellickson appeared to be healthy in his last start. That’s a good sign for an overworked Phillies bullpen.
  • Reasons for pessimism

    1. Bartolo Colon will be the Mets’ starter on Friday. That likely means we’re in for another soul-draining experience as the Phillies are shut down by Colon yet again.
    2. Hellickson may be pitching well, but he’ll be opposed by Syndergaard, so his margin for error will likely be thin.

    Tweet of importance

    The Mets are fighting for their playoff lives. They probably realize they need to win this series to stay in contention.

    Next: Bye Bye Chooch


    After getting shut down by (groan) Colon and Syndergaard, the Phillies show just enough offense on Sunday to pull out a win.