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After a tough West coast road trip in which the Phillies won five of seven, they come East to finish up the trip in New York. The Phils have dropped three of four to the Mets so far this season, splitting a rain-shortened series at the start of May, then dropped two more May 6-7. The Mets have outscored the Phillies 20-15 in the four games.
The Phillies get to face Johan Santana who is, as usual, having a great season. However, after allowing a total of only four earned runs in his first seven starts, he’s allowed 12 over his last four.
Santana will be opposed by J.A. Happ, one of two surprisingly-effective left-handers the Phillies have introduced into the starting rotation in the last couple weeks (the other being Antonio Bastardo). In 40 innings of work, Happ has a 2.48 ERA. He made his first start of the season in Yankee Stadium and dominated a potent Yankee lineup, allowing only two runs in six innings. He threw seven shut-out innings against the Padres his last time out in San Diego. The Happ-Santana duel should be an interesting one for sure.
Pelfrey and Hamels will duke it out in game two of the series. After seven straight quality starts from April 25 to May 29, Pelfrey surrendered eight earned runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates en route to a series sweep by the Bucs. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels is coming off of a phenomenal outing against the Dodgers — a complete-game, 95-pitch shut-out of the National League’s second-best offense. This is a match-up of two starters headed in opposite directions.
Game three will feature Phillie-killer Tim Redding against Jamie Moyer. Redding, as you will see in the tables that follow, has a career 3.29 ERA against the Phillies in nearly 66 innings of work. His career ERA is 4.98. Just call him Cy Redding when he’s facing the Phils. Moyer, who had an ERA of 8.15 in his first seven starts, has a 3.60 ERA over his last four during a spurt of overall outstanding Phillies starting pitching.
The Mets have had to deal with a lot of injuries so far this season. Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, and J.J. Putz are some notables that have spent some time riding the pine. Even Carlos Beltran and John Maine had a swine flu scare. They’re fortunate that the Phillies haven’t been able to put it together for any extended period of time and as such only find themselves three games behind in the NL East.
David Wright and Carlos Beltran, offensively, have been smoking hot. Wright had a .763 OPS on April 29. By May 20, it was at 1.004 and was still high at .933 going into today’s game with the Nationals in which he went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks. Beltran, meanwhile, was hitting .400 as late as May 5. He’s still hitting .342.
Aside of Wright and Beltran, however, no healthy player on the roster is hitting that well. Carlos Delgado was hitting, but hasn’t played since May 10. Gary Sheffield was hot for about a week, but now has one hit in his last 17 plate appearances.
The Mets bullpen has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Some relievers have been outstanding, such as Francisco Rodriguez and Bobby Parnell. Others have been pedestrian: J.J. Putz and Sean Green to name a couple. Of relievers who have pitched at least ten innings, four of eight have a WHIP of 1.5 or higher. Overall, however, the bullpen has been great with a combined WXRL of over four.
To the charts! (I have no idea why they are blurry.)