New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (4/2-4/4)

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

The New York Mets welcome the young upstart Philadelphia Phillies into Citi Field for their first National League East series of the season. The Phillies lost two out of three games against the Atlanta Braves in their opening series. The Mets won the season series last year 12-7, this will be the first time new managers, Mickey Callaway and Gabe Kapler faceoff.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(4/2, 7:10 PM) Ben Lively (0-0, -.–) vs. Matt Harvey (0-0, -.–)
(4/3, 7:10 PM) Aaron Nola (0-0, 1.69) vs. Seth Lugo (0-0, -.–)
(4/4, 1:10 PM) Nick Pivetta (0-0, 6.75) vs. Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 6.00)

The Mets started the season off strong by taking two out of three from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Phillies bring in a very young team lead by their big bats of Carlos Santana and Rhys Hoskins. Young pitchers Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez with the new addition of Jake Arrieta gives the Phils a rotation that has high potential.

Kapler has already been second guessed for his managerial style. He wants everybody to play and will yank his pitchers’ way before they hit 100 pitches. Even if a pitcher is cruising, he will pull them out early so they do not have to face the lineup a third time. Losing a game 15-2 and blowing a five run lead on opening day has blown open the floodgates for second guessing.

The Mets have beat up on the Phillies the last few seasons but pitchers will certainly have their work cut out with Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Santana, and Maikel Franco in the middle of their lineup. With Pat Neshek on the disabled list, their bullpen is lackluster at best but Hector Neris is their lone bright spot.

Matt Harvey will try to work through the conditions on Monday in his highly anticipated first start of 2018. Last year was one to forget but the Mets feel he has regained his confidence and most importantly his Cy Young caliber stuff. Over the years no Mets pitcher has drawn more attention from the media and admiration from the Mets fans. When Matt Harvey is on top of his game it is certainly fun to watch.

Matchups to Lookout For

Maikel Franco has terrorized the Mets over his career. His nine home runs against the Mets are the most he has against any other team. Noah Syndergaard has been dominant against the Phillies, he has a 1.78 ERA in 35.1 innings against them.

Aaron Nola has struggled in his career against the Mets. He has a 6.19 ERA and has allowed 18 hits in 16 innings against the Mets. The Phillies have put up good numbers against A.J. Ramos in the past. He has a 4.62 ERA and has walked 27 batters in 37 innings against the Phillies.

Interesting Stats

To support Kapler’s idea of taking pitchers out early, Adrian Gonzalez has hit .312 in his career when a pitcher is pitching through the order for the third time. Nick Pivetta has a 3.65 ERA during day games, compared to his inflated 7.73 ERA at night.