The Mets begin a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies tomorrow night at 7:10 at Citi Field.The Phillies come into this series having lost 9 of 19 games in June. They are now 11 games back of the Nationals for first place in the NL East.This year, with Chase Utley just coming back and Ryan Howard still injured, the Phillies have relied on a few players to carry them, especially on offense. Luckily for them, Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz are having the best seasons of their careers. Pence has 16 home runs and 46 RBI while Ruiz is leading the league in hitting. Past those two, however, the offense has been scarce for the Phillies.The starting pitching staff, once revered as the greatest one ever assembled, has not been what it used to be this season. The Phillies have been without Roy Halladay since May 27 and likely won't have him back until after the All-Star break. Cole Hamels, who was looking like a Cy Young Award candidate early in the season, hit a bump in the road recently and hasn't been nearly as dominant. Cliff Lee is still winless and has a 4.13 ERA through 13 starts. The Phillies needed the pitching staff to step up to carry them with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley out, but that hasn't happened.Pitching matchups:Game 1- Tuesday 7:10Jonathon Niese (6-3, 3.55 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (4-4, 2.92 ERA)Game 2- Wednesday 1:10Chris Young (2-1, 3.30 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (0-5, 4.13 ERA)Game 3- Thursday 7:10R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08 ERA)Notes:
  • Chase Utley returned this week after missing the first 76 game of the season with a knee injury. He has five hits in 13 at-bats since returning.
  • The Phillies also have one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Their 4.57 bullpen ERA is 28th in baseball, just two spots in front of the Mets.
  • The Phillies are one of the most impatient team in baseball. Their 204 walks are 27th in baseball.
  • Brush up on your Cole Hamels knowledge with Ted Berg's gallery, a must-see whenever Hamels is pitching. It's hilarious.
  • I don't mean to get too eager, but a sweep of the Phillies would be devastating for them. With the way the Nationals are playing right now, the Phillies would probably fall another two or three games back if swept. That's a hole I don't know they can get out of. If they find themselves 15 games back at the All-Star break, there's going to be a fire sale in Philly and no one will be safe.