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Who’s afraid of the big bad Mets? Phillies vs. Mets series preview

The Mets are winning now, but happiness is fleeting - especially in Queens

New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals
Pete Alonso, shown here possibly diving for safety from a Cardinals coach
Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

A lot of pundits were high on the Mets heading into the season, and in the early going, the Mets have rewarded that optimism. But let’s be real here: This is the Mets we’re talking about. Getting out to an early lead is absolutely zero guarantee of continued success.

New York Mets

Record: 14-6 (First place in National League East)

The last time they Met

The Phillies visited Citi Field earlier this month, and after a comeback victory in the opener, they faltered in the final two games.

Since then?

The Mets have been rolling, going 9-4 in the games since. They’ve won every series they’ve played, and they currently rank first in the NL in scoring and fourth in runs allowed.

All smooth sailing from here?

Let’s remember that at one point in 2021, the Mets led the NL East by 5.5 games and were in first place as late as late as August 13. So, forgive me if I don’t get too worked up about a few good weeks of play in April.

Who’s cold?

Just because the team is playing well doesn’t mean everyone is. Over the past two weeks, Pete Alonso has an OPS of just .634 and been worth -0.2 wins above replacement. He also got taken down by a Cardinals coach during a brawl:

They don’t like being hit?

That brawl was sparked because the Mets have been hit by a lot of pitches, and they apparently don’t enjoy it that much. If that’s how the Mets react to getting plunked, they may not like facing the Phillies’ pitching staff.

The Phillies and Mets are scheduled to play seven games against each other in the next week and a half. If familiarity breeds contempt, and the Mets are this upset about getting plunked, there’s a decent chance we might get to see some fisticuffs at some point.

Now for some real competition

It was great that the Phillies swept the Rockies, but I honestly can’t tell if the Phillies won due to improved play on their part, or because the Rockies played spectacularly poorly. A series against a first place team should give us a much better indication of where the team actually stands.

But even if the sweep was mostly due to Colorado incompetence, I’ll give the Phillies credit for taking advantage of their opponent’s mistakes. That’s not something the team has consistently done in recent years.

Celebrating the average Phillies

Since the Phillies have a very average .500 record, I wanted to celebrate some of the average players who have played for the team. Feel free to chime in.

Trivia

Last series’ answer: Jason Giambi hit three home runs against the Phillies on May 19, 2011. SteveH2331 got it first.

This series’ question: Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004. That season, two former Phillies hit home runs in the park while members of the Mets. Who were they?

Commercial analysis: Rally House

Every so often, I’ll take a look at one of the commercials that is (endlessly) played during Phillies broadcasts. Today, I’ll watch this earworm from Rally House:

I want to like Rally House. Considering Fanatics has mostly cornered the market on official team merchandise, and they mostly suck, it’s nice to have an alternative available when I want to buy some Phillies gear.

The jingle is catchy, but I can’t decide if it’s a good kind of catchy, or if I’ll want to stick a drill bit in my skull by the time June rolls around. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Non-Phillies thought

As mentioned in my recap of the last Rockies game, Thursday had a chance to be a very good day for Philadelphia sports...or a very bad one. It turned out to be a good one. The Phillies swept the Rockies, the Sixers took care of business against the Raptors, and the Eagles walked away with two excellent players.

Let’s hope the Phillies can carry those good vibes through the weekend!

Closing thought

The Phillies will play seven of their next nine against the Mets. It’s still early, but this is a great chance for the Phillies to stake their claim to being the best team in the division, or at least show the Mets that they should hold off on ordering that NL East champs merch (Available at Rally House!)

It could also result in them digging a hole for themselves, but in the spirit of the aforementioned good vibes, I’ll assume that the Phillies will play well. Besides, does anyone really expect the Mets to have an easy, angst-free season? That’s not really a Mets thing.