Series Preview: Mets at Phillies

It's an early season battle for first place in the division as the Amazin's invade Citizen's Bank Park.

New York Mets (3-3, T-1st NL East) at Philadelphia Phillies (3-3, T-1st NL East)

 The Mets hit the road for the first time this season, as part of a 4-way tie for first with the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies.  The 5-2 win on Sunday night salvaged the series against the Marlins, while Philadelphia took 2 out of 3 from Washington. 

 In the off-season, Philadelphia added Clay Buchholz to begin to strengthen the starting rotation around Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Aaron NolaRyan Howard left the team after 12 years with the Phillies, but young stars Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco give hope for the future.

 Howie Kendrick leads the Phillies with a .427 batting average, while Galvis leads in Home Runs (2) and RBI (6).  The Mets luck out this week, in that they don’t have to face Jeremy Hellickson, who leads with a scant .90 ERA.  Velasquez has registered 10 Strikeouts on the young season.

 Asdrubal Cabrera 280 batting average is tops on the Mets.  Jay Bruce hit his second home run of the season Sunday to keep the team lead, and Lucas Duda has 4 RBI for the top spot. Noah Syndergaard leads the pitching staff with 16 strikeouts, since he has had the only second start of the season so far.  Matt Harvey, Syndergaard and Hansel Robles have each registered a win this year.

 Here are the pitching matchups this week:

 Monday 7:05pm: Jacob deGrom (0-0) vs. Eickhoff (0-1):

deGrom pitched well in his first game, allowing no Earned Runs while striking out 6 in the 3-1 extra inning loss on Wednesday.  Eickhoff gave up 2 runs on 5 hits over 6.2 IP vs. Washington.

Tuesday 7:05pm: Matt Harvey (1-0) vs. Buchholz (0-0):

Harvey earned a win in his first start since last July in his first outing this season, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits vs. Miami on Thursday.  Buchholz makes his second start with Philadelphia after coming over from Boston in the off-season.  His first start was not particularly a good one, as he allowed 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, en route to the 7-4 loss to the Reds.

Wednesday: Zack Wheeler (0-1) vs. Velasquez (0-1)

Here is matchup of 2 pitchers who did not have the best of starts the last time out.  Pitching for the first time in 2 years, Wheeler allowed 5 runs in 4 innings in the Mets 7-2 loss to the Marlins.   Velasquez allowed 4 runs in 4 innings, yet struck out 10 in that time during the Phillies’ 7-6 loss to Washington.

In 2015, the Mets were also 3-3 after six games, but then reeled off 12 straight wins on their way to the NL East title that year.  With 7 of the next 10 on the road in Philadelphia and Miami, one can wonder if the April success will continue.


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