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Phillies begin long, slow march to September vs. Mets

Look out, here comes the second half! I SAID LOOK OUT.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies: They're back, and you wouldn't believe how many more games they have to play! These second-half 2016 Phillies are really going to be something. Aren't we a "second half team," anyway? Or we were? Or was that the Astros? The point is, the concept exists. And maybe these 42-48 Phillies have been secretly good this whole time. Now, let's all pay for parking and go watch this team get shellacked.

The Mets: Yoenis Cespedes may not be back from his strained quad, so this remains less of a Mets team and more of a Mets skeleton, with the injury pandemic sweeping through their clubhouse that only effects the good, fun players like Cespedes, Matt Harvey, David Wright, and Noah Syndergaard. But a large part of the Phillies' game plan is "hoping for some horrific cataclysm to weaken opponents prior to the game." It's chiseled into the tunnel wall leading to the dugout.

Heavy Hitters

Curtis Granderson: Granderson doesn't care about his slow start. He doesn't care where he hits in the lineup. He doesn't care about his recent calf issues. He probably doesn't care what you named your Snorlax, either. Granderson just came to hit and be annoying.

Travis d'Arnaud: Apparently d'Arnaud's success can be credited to some awful secret that he refuses to share. So impressed by d'Arnaud was recently acquired infielder/smiling piece of crap Jose Reyes that he gave him a Rolex. What a sweet guy Reyes is! I'm just happy as a peach everything's working out for him; aren't you, Major League Baseball?

James Loney: "James Loney?" God, the Mets with injuries are boring.

Odubel Herrera: Juan Samuel thinks Herrera is going to come back from the ASG with star-shaped pupils, kicking over tables and spewing pure 'tude. Juan's going to do his best to keep the situation under control. In the mean time, this stud will keep hitting .300 and getting on base like some kind of sole All-Star representative.

Tommy Joseph: Remember before the break, Joseph had started hitting again? He had ten hits in the last six games before the break, including two doubles and three home runs. If only there hadn't been that pesky five-day break to wreck his momentum. Thanks a lot, MLB.

Peter Bourjos: Also, remember how Peter Bourjos has gone from desperately seeking .200 to being one of the Phillies top trade chips? Golly gee willickers [Wipes sweat from brown with eclectic, small town charm], you just can't beat baseball, can ya?

Probable Pitchers

Bartolo Colon vs. Jeremy Hellickson, 7:05 p.m.

Colon accepted his invitation to San Diego, however; he just went unused in the game by his own manager. So either he will be so downtrodden from the rejection that the Phillies walk all over him, or he will be so rested and ready to go that he just spits fire for 7-8 innings. Wait a second... you don't think that was Terry Collins' plan the whole time, do you?

So as far as innings pitched in the 2016 ASG, Colon and Hellickson are on the same level. Hellboy maybe hasn't been good enough to warrant an invite, but he is still considered the Phillies' top trade asset, and with each pretty adequate start, he gets all the more appealing to a contending team that missed out on most other available starters.

Logan Verrett vs. Jerad Eickhoff, 7:05 p.m.

Sadly, with the injuries pounding the Mets' rotation, Verrett is the new Matt Harvey. It's not going great, according to the New York Post.

Logan Verrett doesn’t look like the answer to the Mets’ problem at the back end of their starting rotation.

Not if they have serious aspirations of reaching October again.

The key to this game will be whether or not the Phillies can take advantage of Harvey not being anywhere near the mound, while putting their best current young hurler out to there to face the Mets.

We were all high on Eickhoff as the first half was ending, only to see him fall apart in the sixth inning of his last start against the Rockies in Denver. Prior to that, he'd had a 3.30 ERA, pitched a seven-inning gem against the Braves, and had appeared to be the most consistent of the Phillies' young starters. One hiccup in the sixth doesn't ruin that, but it was probably a tough note for the 26-year-old to go out on.

Jacob deGrom vs. Zach Eflin, 1:35 p.m.

Not many people are cool enough to turn an invitation to the All-Star Game. Jacob deGrom did, though. Pompous.

deGrom's snooty decision to "rest" and "probably spend time with his family and friends" is the direct antithesis to Eflin, who has the reputation of a logical guy who is just happy to be here. Eflin pitched one of the two good games the Phillies played in Colorado, getting help from a lineup that actually scored ten runs. He let two Rockies cross the plate in six innings, after a dynamite start vs. the Braves. This man better be careful or the expectations are going to reach dangerously high altitudes.

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