After sweeping the best team in baseball in an all-around impressive fashion, the Phillies start a crucial three game series with the New York Mets on Tuesday. The Mets have dominated the Phillies this season, going 8-4 in their season series, and 5-1 on the Phillies home turf at Citizens Bank Ballpark. 9.5 games out, the Phillies need to not focus on the margin behind in the Wild Card, but on just continuing to win the games in front of them. A sweep of the Mets would be great, but at least taking 2 of 3 is necessary for the Phillies to carry the momentum they gained this past weekend forward. Here’s a look at the matchups for the series.
Game 1 – Tuesday, 7:05 PM
Pitching Matchup: Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06 ERA) vs Chris Young (3-7, 4.44 ERA)
This will be a good test for the Phillies, as Chris Young baffled the team thus far this season. He is 1-1 against the Phils in three starts, but sports a 1.86 ERA. On the flip side, Vance Worley has had a roller-coaster season; the Phillies will need him to be better than he has of late—he’s posted a 5.63 ERA over his last three outings. If past pitching performances were the only factor, I’d give the advantage in this game to the Mets, given the Phillies’ struggles against the soft throwing, movement-driven Chris Young.
As we have seen though, the catalyst is always Jimmy Rollins—who surprisingly leads the team with 15 home runs this season (would’ve been Pence with 17, except that he’s now on San Francisco). Over the past 4 games—games that the Phillies have won handily—Rollins is 6-for-12 with one home run, 5 RBIs and two walks. His numbers lifetime against Young lifetime though are 2-15. This is the key matchup to watch, and it may be a huge deciding factor in what happens in this game. I say Jimmy has big game, he always does against the Mets.
Prediction: Phillies 6, Mets 4
Game 2 – Wednesday, 7:05 PM
Pitching Matchup: Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99 ERA) vs Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75 ERA)
With the way Cole Hamels has been pitching of late, everytime he is on the mound the Phillies expect to win. Pitching for the Mets is an interesting name though, hard throwing strikeout machine prospect Matt Harvey. Hard to know what the Phillies will do against Harvey, but with Hamels on the mound I give the Phillies a slight edge.
Prediction: Phillies 3, Mets 1
Game 3 – Thursday, 1:05 PM
Pitching Matchup: Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12 ERA) vs Jonathan Niese (10-7, 3.51 ERA)
Kyle Kendrick has recently looked more like Greg Maddux of late, changing speeds, throwing strikes, and working his change up and cutter for a lot of success. Jonathon Niese is also having a solid season, and could be just what the doctored ordered for the Mets in what could be the Phillies chance to sweep.
Prediction: Mets 7, Phillies 3
Looking at the matchups, this series should be a win for the Phillies. If the bullpen can continue its’ stable state from this past weekend, it leaves the Phils in good shape. Another key will be Jimmy Rollins. When Jimmy goes so do the Phillies, and if he can keep reaching base this series , we should see the Phils continue their improbable run.