This evening begins the biggest series in a very young baseball season. We still have a lot of baseball to be played, but this week's NL East series will go a long way to determining the outcome in the standings.
The Mets swing back to Shea coming off a two week period in which they won 10 games in a row, and then took the final game against the Reds, splitting that series. They have won 11 of 13 over the past few weeks.
The Phillies have been very up and down over the past few weeks. They have been on a roller coaster over the past month. During the first week of July they swept the Braves, and since then have won some and lost some.
As the two teams roll into Queens for the three-game series, one team will have their pitching rotation in order and set up to win. The other team comes in with a rotation that has not performed in the least, and is not set up to put their best pitcher on the mound.
Game 1 will feature one of the game's best against the new guy in town. The Phillies will bring Joe Blanton in to make his first start for the Phillies. What better time than now to step up and pitch well against a team that he has done very well against.
Johan Santana will be on the mound for the Mets. The new ace in town has pitched very well, but not up to expectations. He is still yet to pitch that great signature game. Again, just like Blanton, he still has something to prove, and what better stage than against the Phillies to do it.
Game 2 will feature another two pitchers looking to make an impact. They both need to prove something to their respective teams. John Maine will go up against Brett Meyers.
Maine has come off of a few bad starts, and needs to keep his pitch count down in order to succeed against the Phillies.
Brett Meyers will come back up from the minors and make his first start in a month. His last win came on May 30th against Florida. Meyers needs to pitch well or he might be sent to the bullpen or even down to the minors again.
Game 3 is a very interesting matchup of two lefties. One has been dominant in the past, and the other seems to be the most dominant lefty out there right now.
Jamie Moyer will be up against Oliver Perez, who is coming off four solid starts. He has given up less than two runs per start over the last four games, and has been ace-like against the Phillies.
Jamie Moyer has been Jamie Moyer. You almost always know what your going to get out of the 40+ soft throwing lefty. His ERA is lower than its been since 2005 and is on pace to win his 14 games that he always seems to get.
As far as the hitting goes in this series, the bats have been complete opposites. The Mets' bats have been red hot with Carlos Delgado leading the charge.
At the same time, the Phillies' bats that had been there the whole first half have been silenced. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have been particularly ineffective.
My predictions for this series are as follows:
Johan Santana defeats Joe Blanton
- Delgado has a big game against Blanton
- Johan Santana pitches seven solid innings
- Johan gives up a solo home run to Burrell accounting for the only run by the Phillies
John Maine defeats Brett Meyers
- Beltran finally explodes, hitting two home runs
- Ryan Howard homers in the loss
Oliver Perez defeats Jamie Moyer
- Oliver Perez pitches deep into the game
- David Wright homers early
- The Mets shutout the Phillies