BY MICHAEL GANCI
Today, the Mets will start a series of epic proportions against their biggest rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets will be going into the bandbox of a stadium and there will be no smiles unless the Mets come out on top. In order to do so, they are going to need big performances from their big-time players, including Jose Reyes and David Wright, both of whom are in big slumps at the moment.
Wright needs to go with the pitch and take the bat straight to the baseball. If he continues to have a loop in his swing, he will remain as the league leader in strikeouts, but we all know he is capable of better. For Reyes, he needs to be patient, but also know when to swing the bat. When he takes the first strike, he needs to be ready to wallop, because he could get a meaty pitch, and in the small ball park in Philly, that could be one even Reyes could send for a home run.
Another guy that they are going to need is Mike Pelfrey, who is coming off of a strong outing his last time out. Although Pelfrey’s ERA is uncomfortably high at 6.32, his record is 2-0, and he will be looking to keep the Phillies in the ballpark tonight. With Pelfrey being a groundball pitcher, he would seem like the perfect candidate to succeed, but he is going to be facing a potent lineup that is not easy to find an automatic out in.
Another guy who will be pivotal in this game is Pedro Feliciano. With the likes of Raul Ibanez, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard likely to be in the lineup for Philadelphia, Felciano could be brought in for a crucial late-inning matchup. He has fared well against the Phillies in the past, and the Mets are going to need him to continue that trend.
This series is as big as they come for an early in the year matchup. The Mets are going to need all the cards on the table, and maybe they will finally start playing with some heart.