The Mets begin a three-game series with the Phillies tonight at 7:05.The Phillies have been playing much, much better of late. They have won seven of their last ten and are 15-10 this month. They traded away Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Joe Blanton, but have actually played better recently. The offense hasn't been spectacular since they traded their stars away, but the pitching has been spectacular. Four of the five starters for Philadelphia have been very good this month. Here is a look:The Phillies are probably still a more talented team, even without Victorino, Pence, and Blanton. Part of the reason they struggled early on is the injuries. Ryan Howard an Chase Utley both missed significant time in the first half. Roy Halladay an others also missed time. It's too late for them to make a run at the playoffs now, but they are certainly (even now) a much better team than we saw in the first half.
Pitching MatchupsGame 1- Tonight 7:05Chris Young
(81 IP, 88 ERA+, 2.20 K/BB)vs.Vance Worley
(128.2 IP, 99 ERA+, 2.19 K/BB)Game 2- Wednesday 7:05Matt Harvey
(36 IP, 139 ERA+, 2.87 K/BB)vs.Cole Hamels (177.1 IP, 134 ERA+, 3.82 K/BB)Game 3- Thursday 1:05Jonathon Niese
(159 IP, 108 ERA+, 3.35 K/BB)vs.Kyle Kendrick
(118 IP, 98 ERA+, 2.05 K/BB)
- Chase Utley- 177 AB, .247/.357.452, 8 HR, 11.9 BB%, 12.9 K%
- Ryan Howard- 151 AB, .245/.329/.450, 8 HR, 10 BB%, 35.9 K%
- Jimmy Rollins- 508 AB, .244/.303/.407, 15 HR, 7.9 BB%, 13.7 K%, 23 SB
- Jimmy Rollins has been struggling this month. He is hitting just .217 in 92 at-bats. However, he has hit five home runs this month.
- Ryan Howard hasn't been the same since returning from an ankle injury. He is striking out in 35.9% of his at-bats, compared to a 27.7% rate for his career.
- Chase Utley has also struggled since returning. However, his struggles may be more about luck. He has lost a step or two but he's gotten very unlucky at the plate. His BABIP is just .250, compared to .306 for his career, which suggests that he's due to catch fire soon.
- The Phillies will be without Carlos Ruiz, who carried the team offensively through the first half of the year. He was leading the majors in hitting for quite a while but has been out since August 2.
- The Phillies will also be without Dominic Brown, Freddy Galvis, and Nate Schierholtz in this series.
- Let's go Mets!!