Frank Doyle is looking forward to some high class pitching in this season’s first series between the Mets and the Phillies.
There has never been a more mixed up Major League franchise than the New York Mets. Founded in 1962 to replace the terrible void left in the city by the Dodgers and Giants’ western migration, the Mets have never been terribly lucky. Even though they’ve won two World Series, in 1969 and 1986, there has always been something about the Mets that makes them hard to trust when it comes to MLB betting.
In 2006 the Mets suffered a bad beat in the NLCS to St Louis, despite being the dominant team in the National League all year. In 2007, they blew a seven game lead with seventeen games to play that had two far-reaching repercussions.
Firstly, they set a Major League record for choking down the stretch, and secondly, they opened the door to the Phillies being the team to beat in the National League, a distinction that the Phillies are not about to relinquish lightly.
Now, after a terrible start to the season, those streaky Mets have won seven straight and visit Philadelphia this weekend eager to throw some weight around. Philly has been struggling this year, but when you’ve two Pennants and one World Series to your credit, people cut you some slack before writing you off.
Ryan Howard’s contractual woes are now settled, so that should make him a happier and better ballplayer (although the excellent Crashburn Alley blog is not all sure Howard is worth the dough), and the Phillies’ pitching remains excellent.
Today’s matchup sees the Mets’ Jon Niese, 0-1, 3.68 ERA, pitch against the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick, 0-0, 7.71 ERA, but the lick-your-lips-in-anticipation game is Saturday, when the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey 4-0, 0.69 ERA, faces the Phillies’ Roy Halladay, RHP 4-1, 1.80 ERA. Both men have been outstanding on the hill for their clubs, and Saturday will be a game for the true connoisseur.
And just in case it’s not, Sunday sees another classic pitching shootout when the Mets’ Johan Santana, 3-1, 2.08, ERA, pitches against the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer, 2-2, 5.25 ERA. Moyer is so old that rumor has it Connie Mack used to call him “gramps” but Charlie Manuel knows Moyer’s still got it and while Moyer’s got it, he stays in the show.
The Mets are the form team with that 10-2 recent record, but the Phillies like being kings of the National League and aren’t in a hurry to cede the throne to their Eastern rivals. They’ll play this one for keeps.