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Phillies, Mets scheduled to play one another for next three days

You strain to hear the whisper of a rivalry where once there was a roar.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets (49-55): Fellow deranged inhabitants of the Phillies occupying the NL East's sub-basement while clutching a soggy notebook full of revenge fantasies and claiming that they've mastered time travel and hail from the planet Mercury.

Things are not as stark in New York, where talks of young pitchers and constructing the greatest left side of the infield in recent memory are keeping folks alive.

The Phillies (45-59): The Ryan Howard Issue is becoming less of a Sandberg/Howard thing and more of a Amaro/Sandberg thing, as Howard seems in better spirits, while the manager remains unafraid of reprisal for not playing him and the GM remains positive that he is the first baseman of the future. Something's gotta give. Or, something will seem like it is going to give for a long time but never actually give, leading to many, many months of benign, bloodshot baseball.

Heavy Hitters

Lucas Duda (.260/.357/.494)

Duda has kept his OPS over 1.000 for the last two weeks, while leading the team in home runs (17) and RBI (54). He's hit three home runs in the past week. Look out for Lucas Duda!

David Wright (.278/.340/.402)

I mean, obviously. Wright is channeling his powers away from hitting .300 and into recruiting Troy Tulowitzki.

Ryan Howard (.226/.307/.378)

Ryan has hit one home run at Citizens Bank Park in the last two months. However, said home run happened yesterday vs. Vidal Nuno. Ryan Howard is back!

RYAN HOWARD IS BACK.

Probable Starters

  • A.J. Burnett/Bartolo Colon
  • Cole Hamels/Dillon Gee
  • Kyle Kendrick/Zack Wheeler

None of this really matters, given the likelihood that Antonio Bastardo will somehow infiltrate the game and create his patented brand of slow-moving chaos, but still. Somebody's got to take the mound first.

Burnett's trade to the Pirates is inevitable, according to a guy who knows about the Pirates. A recent trend has been Phillies most likely to be traded suddenly being very unattractive to a team preparing to trade for them. Burnett seems "in" with the Buccos, who have hopefully reached a point at which they can't be talked out of getting him. Colon is the subject of trade rumors as well, but in the mean time, threw 6.2 innings of a perfect game and wound going 7.1 with only two hits in his last start.

Cole Hamels is more than just a free t-shirt. He's given up three runs in 15 innings and nine in the last 33.2. One walk in the last two weeks! One! On the other side, Dillon Gee is not even a free t-shirt.

And that brings us to Kyle Kendrick, who in his last start did what he couldn't do the last eight times he's faced Arizona and defeated the Diamondbacks, having now defeated all NL teams at least once. You've done, it Kyle. You've won the world's respect.

Zack Wheeler (1.41 ERA, 30 SO, 12 BB, 32 IP in last five starts) is a hot young pitcher on a struggling team, putting together solid performances while the league tries to figure him out. KK sure can relate to that! He can also relate to the part of his career where it turns out he's a back of the rotation/spot starter! That part is coming, Kyle assures you. It has to be.