Phillies-Mets: What you need to know
Phillies (36-45) at New York Mets (43-37)7:10 p.m. on CSN
Ruben Amaro said Monday that the Phillies’ goal is still to keep Cole Hamels, and that he hasn’t given up on the season. But, for what it’s worth, the Phils need to go 15-6 over their next 21 games just to reach .500, forget about pulling into a prime wild card position.
The best 21-game stretch they’ve had all season was a 14-7 streak from May 11 to June 1. Since then, the Phils are 8-20.
The first step is to win two series leading into the All-Star break, two important divisional series with the Mets and Braves.
Vance Worley (4-4, 2.92 ERA) takes on Jon Niese (6-3, 3.55 ERA) in what figures to be a fun pitching matchup.
Niese, a 25-year-old lefty the Phils have seen often, is 4-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his last seven starts. Worley, a 25-year-old righty who has seen the Mets more than any other team, has spun off four straight quality starts and leads all Phillies starters in ERA.
Worley is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in seven appearances (five starts) vs. the Mets. He’s allowed one or no runs in three of those five starts. On April 14, Worley took the loss against New York, surrendering two home runs and 12 baserunners in six innings.
Niese has faced the Phillies 11 times since debuting in 2008, going 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA. It’s been mostly boom-bust for the Phils against Niese – 18 of his 28 earned runs came in three starts, and he’s made five starts of one or no runs.
Niese is a 6-foot-4 lefty with relatively even platoon splits. He throws a 90-93 mph fastball, a cutter, curveball and changeup. The cutter has been his best pitch this season, according to Fangraphs
Niese loves to go down and away to lefties, and down and in to righties.
Tough test for Worley
Mets GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins installed a team theme of taking pitches, working deep counts and taking bases on balls. It’s a mindset one wishes the Phillies had.
As such, the Mets lead the NL in walks (276) and pitches per plate appearance (3.92). It could be a rough night for Worley if he’s not getting close strike calls by the home plate umpire. Worley relies on his two-seam fastball to shoot back over the plate against righties and paint the corner to lefties. If the zone is tight, Worley’s night won’t last long. He walked four Mets last time he faced them.
The Phillies are hitting .250 off Niese as a team.
John Mayberry has done some damage off the lefty, going 7 for 22 (.318) with three homers and seven RBI. Placido Polanco is 11 for 29 (.379) with five doubles.
No Johan… again
Johan Santana has made an inspiring comeback for the Mets this season, going 6-4 with a 2.76 ERA through the end of June, but the Phillies will miss him again. After Wednesday, the Phillies will have played 12 games against the Mets without facing Santana.
Will the Phillies go back over .500 at any point this season?E-mail Corey Seidman at email@example.com