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Series Preview/Discussion: Phillies at Mets, August 30-Sept. 1, 2005

Aug. 30: Phillies 4, Mets 6 WP: Juan Padilla (1-0) LP: Ugueth Urbina (3-2)
Aug. 31: Phillies 8, Mets 2 WP: Brett Myers (12-6) LP: Pedro Martinez (13-6)
Sept. 1: Phillies 3, Mets 1 WP: Jon Lieber (13-12) LP: Tom Glavine (10-12)

Overview/Season Series
After disappointing weekends out west, the Phillies and Mets both start the stretch run in earnest at Shea Stadium this week. The Mets had won 9 of 11 games before losing two straight in San Francisco, scoring just one run in each ofthose defeats; similarly, the Phils had put together a 12-5 stretch but lost their last two games in Arizona.

Pitching has powered the Mets' recent surge. New York has a 3.22 team ERA for the month of August, and Tuesday starter Jae Seo has been the best of the bunch with a 4-0 record and 0.89 ERA since being recalled a few weeks back. Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine, whom the Phils will see later in the series, have both posted ERAs under 3 this month as well, and starter-turned reliever Aaron Heilman has allowed just one run in 13 innings this month. Youngsters David Wright and Victor Martinez have carried the New York offense of late; Wright has hit .387 with six homers in August, while Diaz is at .305 since being recalled to replace injured RF Mike Cameron.

The Mets are probably playing their best baseball of the year, but if they hadn't done so well against the Phils earlier in 2005, they might not be close enough for it to matter. New York has taken 8 of 12 games between the two teams this year, including five of the seven games played at Shea. Seo recorded one of those wins back on May 4, one-hitting the Phils through seven shutout innings to spark New York's 3-2 win... and getting demoted after the game. Martinez has won both his starts against the Phillies as well, allowing just 9 hits and 3 runs in 13 innings.

Head to Head

  • Jose Reyes might be an out-making machine against the rest of the league, but against the Phillies this year he's seemed more like the demon stepchild of Juan Pierre and Rickey Henderson. Reyes is 16 for 48 (.333) against the Phils, with 10 runs scored and a perfect 7 for 7 in steal attempts. Two of his six homers, and three of his 20 walks, have come against Phils pitching.
  • Then there's Cliff Floyd. If it seems like this guy always tears up the Phillies, that's only because he does: 18 for 40, 5 homers, 1.350 OPS. Frankly I can't remember the 22 times we did get him out.
  • Philly-area native Mike Piazza has also continued his career-long abuse of his favorite childhood team: he's 16 for 40 (.356) with four homers against the Phils in 2005. Piazza won't get the chance to add to those numbers this week, as he's on the DL with a hand injury.
  • The Phils have mostly handled Carlos Beltran, who's just 9 for 47 (.191) against them in 2005. Beltran's one home run offbor Phils pitching was a game-turner, however, as he broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run, 7th-inning bomb off Terry Adams back on May 2 in an eventual 5-1 Mets win.
  • Chase Utley has been the Phils' most productive hitter against the Mets this season, going 11 for 34 (.324) with three homers.
  • Average-wise, the Phils' offensive leader has been--surprise--David Bell, who's 15-43 (.349) with two homers vs. New York. The presence of lefties Glavine and, for much of the season, Kaz Ishii in the Mets' rotation presumably explains this.
  • Though Mets fans dread Pat Burrell the way Phils supporters do Floyd, Piazza or the terrible Tomo Okha, Burrell has actually struggled against his favorite division foe in 2005. He's just 8 for 42 (.190) facing Mets pitching, though three of the hits left the ballpark.