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Another crack at Steven Matz: Phillies vs. Mets series preview

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The Phillies will get another shot at the Mets - including the pitcher they roughed up last week

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Phillies will make their first trip of the season to New York to face the Mets. After taking two out of three from the Mets last week, this is a great opportunity to show that their Mets-related struggles are in the past. At the very least, after four games in Colorado, the Phillies’ pitchers should welcome pitching in Citi Field.

New York Mets

Record: 11-10, Second place in National League East

The last time they met

The Mets visited Citizens Bank Park last week, and despite the series getting off to an auspicious start, the Phillies managed to take the final two games. Optimists took that series as a sign that the days of Mets dominance are now over. Pessimists are worried about the long-term health outlook for Joel Embiid.

And since then

The Mets traveled to Saint Louis where they lost two of three to the Cardinals. So they’re not exactly coming in hot.

Hate to see it

The Phillies aren’t the only team dealing with some injuries right now. Perhaps the Mets’ two most prominent players - Robinson Cano and Jacob deGrom - are also hurt. deGrom is on the injured list and will miss the series, while Cano’s status is unknown after getting hit on the wrist by a pitch.

New York Mets v St Louis Cardinals
Robinson Cano’s wrist may need some time to heal
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Are the other pitchers stepping up?

With staff ace deGrom out of action, the Mets need their other starting pitchers to step up. Have they? Well, Noah Syndergaard had another shaky start on Sunday, and has a 5.90 ERA for the season. That’s actually better than Zack Wheeler, whose ERA is 6.35. And somehow that’s better than Jason Vargas who has actually surrendered more runs than innings pitched this season.

Door Matz

The best ERA in the rotation actually belongs to Steven Matz, which might surprise anyone who watched his start against the Phillies last week. In case need a reminder as to how that went:

Unfortunately, unless Major League Baseball changes its rules (and we all pray that they do), none of those runs will carry over to this start. Still, I wouldn’t blame the guy if he looked a little shell shocked out there.

All in the Familia

Jeurys Familia has had some solid seasons in his career, but 2019 is not shaping up to be one of them. The former closer has surrendered runs in his three most recent appearances, and five of his last six. When he faced the Phillies last week, he walked three batters, and only a spectacular play by Jeff McNeil prevented the appearance from being a complete disaster.

Stupid Jeff McNeil

Speaking of Jeff McNeil, he’s become quite the pain in the ass for the Phillies. In last week’s series opener, he had three hits and made two great defensive plays at third base that helped seal the win. Even though the Mets lost the next two games, McNeil still picked up two hits in each.

In his young career, McNeil is batting .473 against the Phillies with a 1.136 OPS. It would be great if the Phillies could figure out a way to get him out this time around.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game One
I’m already sick of Jeff McNeil
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Rhys in the Citi

Rhys Hoskins has been slumping lately, but a trip to Citi Field might be what he needs to turn things around. In 12 career games there, he has a slash line of .311/.404/.556 with four home runs.

Prediction

It was a rough series for the Phillies in Colorado, but I have a feeling they’ll have better success back on the East coast against a Mets team that hasn’t been playing very well themselves. Phillies take two of three.