Series Preview: New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Hunter Martin

The Mets head down the turnpike for the final time this season for a weekend series in Philadelphia.

What's going on with the Philllies?

Geez, what IS going on with the Phillies? This team seems all kinds of screwed, but we'll get to that in a second. In actual baseball terms, Philadelphia has been pretty decent lately. Since we last saw that team from down south, they've lost a pair of series to the Cubs and Nationals, but then the Phils picked themselves up and swept Atlanta, won two of three over San Diego, and split six games with Washington and Miami. Okay, not that great, but not awful either. Doesn't that describe Philly's entire season?

Anyway, even though Ryne Sandberg seems to be doing a fine job as manager, there are rumors that a ghost of the past might be returning in some capacity. That's Larry Bowa if you don't feel like clicking the link (which in turn leads to more links! link-ception!). A better option for bench coach than Bowa? Probably Genghis Khan (as long as we're digging up old relics, why not reach waaaaay back?). His ruthless style would fit the blue-collar city quite well.

Back to on-diamond action really quick: Adeiny Hechavarria went nuts on defense in Philly's most recent game, a 4-3 loss in 10 innings.

Who are these guys?

Cesar Henandez is a prospect from Venezuela who has been starting for Philadelphia in center field recently and batting leadoff as well. He'll probably keep playing against the Mets because he has just been tearing the cover off the ball with six hits in Philly's recent series versus Miami. This year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Hernandez hit .309/.375/.402 with 32 stolen bases at age 23. It looks like the Phillies could have a future leadoff hitter on their hands. At the very least, it will be more fun to watch Hernandez develop than to watch Jimmy Rollins hit .252/.322/.345 again.

Kevin Frandsen is a guy I'm not sure I've mentioned in my previous Phillies previews this season. That makes sense, because he's a pretty anonymous guy. Frandsen is a utility player who has been kicking around in Triple-A and the majors since 2006, when he made his unspectacular major league debut with the Giants. After brief stops with the Angels and Red Sox in 2010, Frandsen has played second base, third base, and shortstop for the Phillies for the past two seasons. With a career major league line of .259/.316/.360, you know Frandsen has to be doing something right in the clubhouse to be getting major league at-bats at age 31. Either that, or he is blackmailing the Phillies' front office. Hitting walk-off home runs against the Mets probably helps, too.

Who's on the mound?

Friday: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Cole Hamels

The good news is that this is the penultimate Matsuzaka start of the season. The bad news is that l just checked the dictionary, and "penultimate" means there is one more after this. Jokes aside, Matsuzaka has been fairly effective in his last two starts for New York with nine strikeouts, just four walks, and two runs allowed in 12.2 innings. Those solid performances have lowered the Cleveland cast-off's ERA to 6.12 for the season! Meanwhile, Hamels continues to roll through a wonderful second half. He'll need to be just as good for all of 2014 if the Phillies hope to contend, because it's just him, Cliff Lee, and a bunch of "meh" on the payroll next year.

Saturday: Dillon Gee vs. Tyler Cloyd

I had the "pleasure" of watching Cloyd pitch back on September 10 against San Diego and if you can't already tell from the quotation marks, he was dreadful. Of course, I'm not especially fond of the Phillies, so maybe the quotation marks don't really need to be there, but no one needs to see the Padres get that many hits. In his last two starts, Cloyd has allowed a ridiculous 12 runs in eight innings while striking out five and walking none. Always a control guy in the minors, Cloyd hasn't been able to miss many bats in 53.1 MLB innings this season. Saturday is a game that the Mets should win even if Gee wasn't scheduled to pitch. In case you missed it, he was just as sexy as ever in his last start against Miami with eight strikeouts and two walks in 7.1 shutout innings.

Sunday: Carlos Torres vs. Cliff Lee

What do you do with a problem like Torres? The West Side Story tune reflects a Mets baseball dilemma, and not only because dis is New Yawk. Torres was brought in over the winter to be a minor league body, but instead he's been a delightfully effective swingman at the major league level! How did this happen? Just look at his walks-per-nine for the last three seasons in which he pitched: 5.93 in 2010, 4.42 in 2012, and 1.57 this season. Are the Mets just getting lucky or do they actually have a back-of-the-rotation starter on their hands? That's a question that is going to get analyzed way too much this winter.

What about some GIFs?

Josh Satin ripped an RBI single to left field that gave the Mets a 5-4 walk-off win on Wednesday night. Hooray for everyone!

2013-09-18_josh_satin_game-winning_rbi_medium

To come from behind on Wednesday, the Mets first had to fall behind. Andrew Brown helped with that.

2013-09-18_andrew_brown_can_t_catch_medium

Against the Phillies on Wednesday, Giancarlo Stanton hit an Ethan Martin offering all the way to Ashburn Alley. Wow.

2013-09-18_giancarlo_stanton_to_ashburn_alley_medium

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