It seems like the season just started, but we’re almost at the baseball season’s unofficial halfway point known as the All-Star break. To end the first half, the Phillies will visit Citi Field to play three games against the New York Mets. Considering how the last series these teams played went, that seems like a good way to end things.
New York Mets
Record: 39-48, Fourth place in National League East
The last time they met
Four games, four comeback victories by the Phillies, one epic on-air meltdown by Mike Fransesa.
Not completely awful
The Mets looked like they were in a death spiral, but since their series against the Phillies ended, they went 2-3 against two first place teams, which is better than most people expected. It would have been better had they actually won more games against the Braves, but it seems like everyone’s having some trouble with that these days.
First look at deGrom
The Mets will open the series with Jacob deGrom, marking the first time he’ll face the Phillies this season. In 2018, a game against deGrom would have been bad news, but in 2019, the Mets’ ace hasn’t been nearly as overpowering. I’m not saying his 3.32 ERA is bad, but he probably shouldn’t clear off space on the mantle for another Cy Young Award. He also has a losing record for the second straight year, which means, the Mets are just as likely to lose when he starts.
This kind of tweet has become common:
deGrom with another good start where he will probably be the losing pitcher #Mets— Josh Dublin (@dublindeuce) June 29, 2019
At least he has a winning record
On the other hand, Noah Syndergaard has a winning record, but very few people would describe his season as “good.” He’s got an ERA of 4.56, and the days of striking fear into opposing lineups are gone. His first start against the Phillies went poorly, which continues a trend from 2018.
And yet, it gets worse when the starters leave the game
Can you guess which team has the worst reliever ERA in the National League over the past month? (I hope everyone has guessed that it’s the Mets.)
The Mets’ relievers have been miserable. It’s scary to think that the Phillies were in discussion with the Mariners to trade for closer Edwin Diaz, because he’s been downright bad lately, with the lowlight being the meltdown he suffered against the Phillies. Setup man Robert Gsellman hasn’t been much better with some memorable blow ups of his own.
Edwin Diaz seemed to have problems with his slider and fastball.— metbaseball (@metbaseball) June 27, 2019
Only 6 of his 34 pitches were called strikes & only 4 were whiffs w/just 1 fastball whiff.
Maybe #Mets need new pitching & bullpen coaches.
Or could the pressure of pitching in NY be affecting him? #LGM pic.twitter.com/mxYzSEGnjE
A confusing offense
With names like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Michael Conforto in the lineup, it feels like the Mets should have a good offense. Instead, they’re just ninth in the NL in runs scored. Part of the problem is that the Mets aren’t particularly good at any one offensive aspects, and they also have players like Robinson Cano and Juan Lagares dragging them down.
Flashback of ineptitude: Ike Davis
Remember when Mets fans were convinced that Ike Davis was going to be a star? It was likely a combination of the usual New York-powered hype machine combined with an overall desire to see a guy named Ike succeed in the major leagues.
I will take Ike Davis over Mark Texeria any day. Age, potential and contract obviously factor into this. Ike is future star. #Mets— JetLife Stadium (@JetLifeStadium) February 14, 2012
Davis did hit 32 home runs in 2012, but things quickly went downhill after that. In 2014, the Mets dumped him off to the Pirates for a couple of guys you’ve never heard of.
The real tragedy of the situation is that it would indeed be cool to have a star baseball player named Ike. Can’t the Phillies scouting department uncover a good Ike or Isaac somewhere?
And here’s that Tom Glavine clip again!
Before the Braves series, I talked about how Tom Glavine was a choker, and showed the clip of him blowing up on the final day of the 2007 season. Since this clip is also relevant for the Mets, I figured I’d share it again.
Another big series for Maik?
Maikel Franco was the biggest hitting star for the Phillies the last time these teams played, going 7-15 with two home runs. Can he repeat that performance this time around? He doesn’t have particularly great career numbers against the Mets, but that was also true before the last series.
The Phillies will split the first two, and then win the series finale to close out the first half with a little bit of optimism.