Yes, the Mets are already headed back to Philadelphia after winning two out of three games at Citizens Bank Park back in April. This time, though, the Phillies will lead with their ace on the hill and Roy Halladay will likely be out for redemption after giving up eight runs in only 5.1 innings the last time he started.
It wasn’t even that bad of a start if you look at the peripheral numbers. Halladay struck out five batters and walked just two. He also only gave up one home run. That means that nearly everything Atlanta put into play against him landed in for a hit. The Braves had 12 hits, and Halladay only recorded 11 outs that weren’t strikeouts, so the BABIP against Halladay that day was over .500. That’s not likely to happen again.
Mets starter Jon Niese is also coming off a lousy start. Last week in Houston, he allowed a pair of home runs that allowed the Mets to fall behind 5-0 in the first two innings. Niese might have been able to recover, but manager Terry Collins decided to pinch hit for him in the top of the fourth to try to give the offense a boost. That didn’t work, but Niese is pitching against an easier opponent tonight, so hopefully he’ll get back on track.
Yep, the Phillies have been worse on offense than Houston this season so far. The Astros are actually fourth in the National League with 132 runs scored, while Philly is eighth with 110. The Mets are 10th with 106 runs, but they outpace Philly in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, so hopefully the Metsies will start getting more runs in soon.
Of course, pitching is where the Phillies have an advantage over the Mets. With a 3.39 team ERA, the Phils allow nearly a full run less per nine innings than New York does. The good news for the Mets is that with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley still recovering from injuries, Niese will face a lineup tonight that features John Mayberry Jr. (.471 OPS) and Freddy Galvis (.527). The Phillies don’t have a regular with an OPS above .800 and catcher Carlos Ruiz leads the team with an OPS of .909.
The news today out of New York is that Ruben Tejada will indeed go on the disabled list with his strained quad. That means Jordany Valdespin is back on the 25-man roster. Justin Turner will get the start at shortstop, though.
First pitch is shortly after 7:00 tonight, so make sure you’re ready to rock by then.