OK, before I start talking Phillies-Mets, I have to say how amazing that Bulls-Celtics game was last night. Seven overtime periods in six playoff games. WOW!!!!
Now on to the business at hand.
The two teams don’t like one another. Their fans CERTAINLY don’t like one another. So when the Phillies-Mets series starts tonight, it will start a season-long battle with the winner having a great chance to win the NL East.
When the prognosticators started picking the NL East Champion, most picked the Mets or the Phillies. Even after the Phillies swept the Marlins last weekend, Florida is hanging in there and should be a factor in the race.
As for the two teams playing this weekend, Jimmy Rollins stoked the fires the last two years. And Cole Hamels comments on a NY radio station over the winter about the Mets being “choke artists” added some more fuel.
So this weekend will be Round 1 of one of the best Heavyweight Title fights you will ever see.
The six starting pitchers this weekend have a combined 7-7 record with an ERA near 7.00. Heavyweight Title??? Tonight, Chan Ho Park makes what might be his last start for the Phillies (if he struggles). Not many Phils starters have pitched well to start the year, but Park is the one with his spot in jeopardy with young lefty J.A. Happ waiting in the wings. The Mets counter with Mike Pelfrey who is 2-0, but hasn’t hit his stride. And he comes into one of his “House of Horrors” in Citizens Bank Park (allowed 3 HR in 10 IP there).
Saturday will be a nationally televised Fox games with Jamie Moyer (3-1, 5.09) going against Oliver Perez (1-2, 9.31), who desperately needs a good start. Sunday, Joe Blanton (0-2, 8.41) goes for the Phils against the Mets’ John Maine (1-2, 5.40).
The Phils have a great chance, with a sweep, to push the Mets six games under .500. The Mets need to play well to get back into the NL East Race. And, yes, I know it is still early. But a sweep by the Phils will do so much to the psyche of both teams… and maybe make it a two-horse race in the division.
I don’t expect a Phils sweep, but taking two of three is a definite possibility.
In the end, this series will come down to the hitters. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard or Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Delgado, especially in the hitter friendly park like CBP.
No matter what, it will be a fun weekend to be In Philly.