clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NL East Deathmatch: Mets vs Phillies

At his blog for the Daily News, Adam Rubin caught up with David Wright and got his thoughts on Jimmy Rollins's proclamation that the Phillies are the team to beat in the NL East. Remember, rollins said the following yesterday (per the Philadelphia Inquirer):

"We're the team to beat. I can't put it any other way ... Look at our team and what we're bringing. Look at the improvements we've made. You look at the rest of the division.

"If they needed motivation to play this game, then they are playing the wrong game ... The Mets had a chance last year to go to the World Series. They made it to the playoffs. They won the division. Congratulations, but last year is over. They can take that any way they want, but I'm just stating a fact.

"Their staff is a little older. We've seen those guys. It's going to be a battle, but we have the edge. Youth. Our pitchers are more intimidating than their pitchers. Last year, they had Pedro (Martinez) and (Tom) Glavine - you know he's going to find a way to win. You know he's still going to do that. But the youth and attitude of our pitchers gives us the edge."

Wright and the Mets apparently do things a little differently:
"If that's Jimmy's way of motivating the team, then that's his choice," David Wright said. "That's something you're not going to find around here. We don't need any motivation. We go out there and we're going to take care of business. We have the type of veteran leadership that isn't going to talk about it. We're going to go out there and back it up."
For what it's worth dajafi at The Good Phight thinks Rollins might be right, and compares the relative ages of each team's players as evidence to that point:
Combined with the Phils' seemingly large edge in the rotation, I'm now not sure they aren't the considerably better bet for 2007. Given the ages of both teams' core players, the Mets' superior minor-league system and deeper pockets, I think they're more likely to win multiple division titles over the next five years or so--but in 2007, the NL East is there for the taking.
Despite collectively getting on in years, the Mets' lineup is superior to the Phillies', and don't even get me started on the bullpens. As for the rotations, the Phillies have more stability while the Mets have the edge in upside. The wild card may be the questionable return of Pedro Martinez later in the season, but there is nothing intimidating about the Phillies' starting five, unless you count their unparalleled averageness.

Update [5:49 by Blackfish]: The Phillies-Mets rivalry that is quickly emerging was also covered by Patrick Sullivan at the Baseball Analysts today:

With Pedro Martinez injured and the Mets having played over their heads in 2006 according to their Pythag record, New York looks to me more like an 88-90 win team than a runaway favorite. The Marlins still are not quite there, Atlanta's starting pitching is too thin and the Nationals are just abominable. With a bolstered starting staff that is the class of the division, I see the Phillies just the way Rollins does - as the team to beat in the National League East.
The point about the Pythagorean records is a good one. Some of it was due to the Mets' phenomenal bullpen last year, but the pen likely won't be that good again. But the Phillies outfield is abysmal and their pen is worrisome. If the rotation--especially Cole Hamels and Brett Myers--stay healthy, they will still finish awfully close to the Mets.