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Series Preview: Mets at Phillies

A rematch! A rivalry! Hot dogs for a dollar! The battle for second place in the NL East has never been more recent.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies (6-7): Believers in momentum have every reason to think that following their dramatic, blood-pumping series salvage against the Nationals yesterday afternoon, these Phillies will give the Mets a fight they won't believe. Non-believers will roll their eyes and take another bite of their mayonnaise sandwiches.

The Mets: (5-6): After losing two games to the Phillies, the Mets traveled to Miami, where the trouncing continued. The Marlins fin-slapped Stephen Matz, and the next night, the Mets offense failed a sharp-looking Noah Syndergaard. But, New York would disgustingly bounce back, winning three of their next four games before arriving in Philly today.

Heavy Hitters

Asdrubal Cabrera (.308/.357/.359 in 39 AB): It's been long enough that people are willing to start deeming Cabrera "good." He can bunt. He can play defense.

Yoenis Cespedes (.286/.362/.548 in 42 AB): Cespedes' 3-for-5 night against the Indians with a two-run home run was enough for some to believe he was finding his stride. Perfect timing.

Maikel Franco (.267/.327/.444 in 45 AB): Look there are not a lot of hitters to choose from in this lineup. Franco is great.

Odubel Herrera (.244/.415/.390 in 41 AB): With the Phillies' leadoff hitters producing at record lows, one has to wonder why one guy in particular hasn't gotten a shot yet.

Probable Starters

Noah Syndergaard vs. Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff was the tip of the spear in his last appearance, throwing seven shut-out innings against the Padres. The Mets got after him earlier this season in his first start, scoring three runs in the first five innings before the bullpen came on and completed the loss.

Syndergaard is coming off the frustrating Marlins loss mentioned above, but that hasn't stopped the national outlets from slobbering all over him and his tricky new pitch that no one can decipher - the running theory is it's a cutter or a slider. Whatever it is, it's been used to strike out 21 hitters so far this year, and even when it's put in play, it doesn't do much good. The Phillies lineup, even as it switches out one AAAA outfielder for another, is probably not the offense that will figure it out.

Logan Verrett vs. Vince Velasquez

Few things are as anticipated in Philadelphia right now more than Vince Velaquez's next start. Did he make history when he struck out sixteen Padres in a complete game shut-out? Yes he did.

Are the Padres the first-ever team to be shut out five times in their first ten games? Yes they are.

Moving along, who is Logan Verrett? Well, I'm glad you asked. The good news is, he is not Jacob deGrom. The other good news is that in the one inning he's thrown against the Phillies this year in relief, he gave up a hit, a walk, and an earned run. Multiply that by six and the Phillies will be leading 6-0 by the sixth frame. Hooray!

Bartolo Colon vs. Jeremy Hellickson

"Hellickson? More like Shell-ickson," people were definitely saying during the veteran's last start. A promising pair of outings may have created an image of the 29-year-old that indicated he wasn't as capable of the three-inning, seven-hit, five-earned run disaster he put on against the Nationals. Fortunately, he's faced the Mets already this year and shut 'em down, throwing 91 pitches at them in 5.2 innings of a 5-2 win.

The Phillies beat Colon once this season, giving up a single Ryan Howard home run that turned out to be the only offense of the entire game. So, relying on that formula, the Phillies could theoretically beat him again. There's, like, four or five guys in the lineup on a given day who could, theoretically remember, hit a home run. So I'd say the odds are at least even.

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