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Preview Game 56: Phillies at Mets

Kevin McGuireSenior Analyst IJune 9, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 16:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets pitches to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on May 16, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  The Mets won 9-6.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Whenever the Phillies face off with New York Mets ace Johann Santana, the general consensus is something along the lines of "Ok, so who do we have tomorrow night?" in anticipation of a loss. Obviously the team does not feel that way, but perhaps there is reason to be optimistic.

Santana may be the best pitcher in the National League. Entering tonight with a record of 7-3 even looks underwhelming. In Santana's three losses this season he has given up no more than three runs a game. He also received a no-decision in which he allowed just two runs to score. The biggest downfall for Santana has been the lack of offense he receives behind him. Santana also has yet to go past 7.0 innings, but the idea for the Mets is that their bullpen is so improved so their ace would not have to go deeper.

Santana is 3-0 against the Phillies lifetime in seven starts. In his only appearance this season against the Phillies he allowed just two hits and zero runs in seven innings, a game in which he was actually out-pitched by Chan Ho Park. The Phillies defense faltered and handed the Mets a 1-0 win.

The Phillies will counter with JA Happ. Happ enters with a 4-0 record and a 2.48 ERA. Happ actually has a lower WHIP than Santana this season, which includes his outings from the bullpen to start the year. In his last game against the Mets Happ pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Happ has pitched 5.2 innings against the Mets this year out of the bullpen and has yet to allow a run.

The Philles offense will likely struggle once again tonight against the ace lefty for the Mets. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley are a combined 6 for 55 against Santana. Ryan Howard on the other hand has a career .353 batting average against Santana with two home runs. Raul Ibanez has a career .351 batting average with 13 hits against Santana.

The Phillies enter this series with a three game lead in the division and can leave New York with no less than a tie for the NL East lead.

Phillies record: 33-22
Mets record: 30-25

NL East Standings (Team, Record, Games Behind)

  1. PHILLIES 33-22, -
  2. Mets 30-25, 3.0
  3. Braves 28-28, 5.5
  4. Marlins 28-31, 7.0
  5. Nationals 15-40, 18.0

Pitching probables: Happ (4-0, 2.48 ERA) vs. Santana (7-3, 2.00 ERA)

TV: MyPhl 17

First pitch: 7:10pm EST

Season series: Mets lead 3-1
5.01 NY METS L 4-7 Preview/Open Thread
5.02 NY METS W 6-5 (10) Open Thread
5.03 NY METS POSTPONED
6.06 @ NY Mets L 0-1 Preview/Open Thread/Recap
6.07 @ NY Mets L 5-7 Preview/Open Thread/Recap


Game open thread will be posted at 6:30 p.m. Game recap will be up tomorrow morning.

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