Monday, April 18, 2016

Series Preview: Mets at Phillies

You'd have been pretty excited if, back in Spring Training, I'd told you at the beginning of the season, the Phillies would be 6-7 after 13 games, having won 2-of-3 against the Mets, and the pitching staff having hurled three shutouts.
But there's a problem.
It's not the rotation. Even after getting smacked around by the Nationals in 2-of-3 games, the team still has a very respectable ERA (3.86) and stingy WHIP (1.137).
The defense has been solid, if you take away Ryan Howard's play at first base.
But the offense - including the base running - has been terrifying.
The Phillies have scored more than three runs twice so far this season. The offense has been limited to two or fewer runs seven times. They've gone 2-5 in those games.
This team really misses Aaron Altherr.
I kid.
I had high hopes for him, but he was as untested as some of the other guys in camp.
But there's no denying this team is in need of another bat or two.
OF the starters, only Odubel Herrera (.805), Ryan Howard (.769) and Maikel Franco (.771) have an OPS above .750.
Carlos Ruiz is pulling off an .815 coming off the bench and Andres Blanco has an .862.
But the outfield, aside from Herrerra, is pathetic.
Tyler Goeddel has a .154 OPS, Cedric Hunter has a .315 OPS, Darin Ruf has a .376 OPS.
At least Emmanuel Burriss (.503) and Peter Bourjos (.535) are above .500.
I'm not sold Nick Williams is ready for prime time, so I'm glad his .192 average will keep people from knocking at the doors to call him up ahead of time.
There are times I look at this team and think its closer to contention than everyone expected. But the offense is clearly holding it back. Anyway, let's look at the series against the Mets that starts today.


The Games
Monday, April 18: 7:05
Tuesday, April 19: 7:05
Wednesday, April 20: 7:05
The matchups
Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.69) vs Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 1.50)
Logan Verrett (0-0, 1.29) vs Vincent Velazquez (2-0, 0.00)
Bartolo Coloon (1-1, 2.13) vs Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 4:30)
What to know about the Mets
This series might not see many runs because New York has struggled as much with the sticks as the Phillies have. The teams set at the bottom of the National League in runs scored.
Yeonis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and David Wright are the only Mets with OPS above .750.
Key matchups
Curtis Granderson has been off to a rocky start, hitting .156/.255/.311. Yes, he's 35, but he's coming off of a .259/.364/.457 season that included three World Series home runs. He's going to face three right-handed starters. I wouldn't be shocked to see him warm up.
What we can't wait to see
Vincent Velazquez is coming off of his 16-strikeout, 3-hit shutout.  This will be his second time facing the Mets in this young season.
Now that they've got a look at him, what will happen? Does he replicate his six innings of three-hit ball or does he get touched up a bit?
This will be an important start going forward.
Interestingly, he's thrown 99 and 113 pitches in his two starts. Last year, he surpassed 90 pitches in a start four times in his seven starts.

 

9 comments:

GM-Carson said...

Velasquez has me excited. As does Odubel's new walk rate - 12 walks already after only 28 all of last season.

jhilton32 said...

What Herrera is doing is extraordinary. If not unprecedented. You just don't see 23-year-old free swingers turn their KW rate upside down like this. Bodes well for his long term growth as a multidimensional offensive force.

GM-Carson said...

Cedric Hunter down, David Lough up.

Alfredo Marte acquired from O's for outfield depth in AAA. Wouldn't be surprised to see him soon in Phillies uniform if outfielders continue to sputter.

Bob D said...

I foresee a rotating door in the outfield. Goeddel will likely stay all year being a rule 5 - but equally as bad outfielders Hunter (now Lough), Burris, and Bourjos could easily be replaced. Asche will likely make his way back by June sometime and Altherr could be back in August. Nick Williams and Roman Quinn are likely to be September call ups only so I'm not holding my breath for them.

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