Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 4, 2011

AP Photo/Steve Mitchell
The Mets face (l to r) Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Roy Halladay during the three-game series.
METS (2-1, second place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (3-0, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young vs. LHP Cole Hamels, 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 10.38) vs. RHP Joe Blanton, 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jon Niese (0-0, 2.57) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (0-0, 1.50), 3:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Luis Castillo was released after a final-week tryout in spring training. Fellow ex-Met Wilson Valdez handles the bulk of the second-base duty while Chase Utley deals with a chronic knee injury. Michael Martinez, a switch-hitting Rule 5 pick from the Washington Nationals, should get one or two starts a week at the position. Utley has started taking groundballs but is not yet running, and there is no timetable for his return.

Kim Klement/US Presswire
Ex-Met Wilson Valdez handles the bulk of the second-base duty with Chase Utley out.

• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins is due to be a free agent after the season, and the sides have resolved not to have in-season extension talks. He is hitting third with Utley out of the lineup, with Shane Victorino in the leadoff spot.

• Victorino pinch-hit for Roy Oswalt in the sixth inning Sunday, a day after leaving in the fifth inning with left-calf soreness. Minus Victorino in the starting lineup, the 28-year-old Martinez made his major league debut by manning center field. Martinez primarily had been a middle infielder in the minors with the Nats. He appeared in only 29 career games in the minors in center. In his debut, Martinez went 1-for-4 with an RBI, with strikeouts in his first two at-bats and a sixth-inning single off Houston’s Enerio Del Rosario. He had no chances in center field. Victorino, after entering the game, had two chances in his first inning back at the position.

• With Jayson Werth signing with the Nationals for seven years, $126 million, and with Domonic Brown out with a broken bone at the base of his hand until mid-April, defensively challenged Ben Francisco handles right field. He hit .361 and tied for the team lead with five homers in the Grapefruit League, and may have beaten out Brown anyway. Brown started spring training 0-for-15 before breaking the hamate bone fouling off a pitch during the at-bat in which he produced his first hit.

• With Brad Lidge opening the season on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain and possibly missing the entire first half, ex-Yankee Jose Contreras handles the closing duties, not Ryan Madson. "There's no question that we think that Ryan is a great fit for us, but Ryan has not proven to us he can be a closer in the major leagues," GM Ruben Amaro told the Wilmington News Journal during spring training. "Can that happen? That's possible. Can we necessarily rely on him? I don't think so." Contreras, 39, had four saves for the Phillies last season.

• Left-hander Cole Hamels is the fourth starter in Philadelphia’s deep rotation. He went 0-4 against the Mets last season. However, the Phillies were shut out in the first three of those starts, including twice by a 1-0 score in a week span in August. In the latter of those consecutive summer blankings at the hands of the Mets, Hamels had the lone hit in R.A. Dickey’s one-hit shutout, on a one-out single in the sixth. Hamels became the first pitcher ever to start two straight games against the Mets and lose 1-0. Chicago Cub Ferguson Jenkins in 1968 and Pittsburgh Pirate Nelson Briles in 1972 also lost consecutive 1-0 games against the Mets, but their losses were interrupted by starts against other opponents, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Hamels is 2-8 against the Mets for his career. With Scott Olsen’s relief win against the Mets in September improving him to 2-6 in his career, no active pitcher with at least 10 starts against them has a worse win percentage than Hamels’ .200. The only pitcher in Phillies history with a worse record against the Mets, using the same criteria, was Terry Mulholland (1-6, .143).

• After listening to trade offers last offseason, the Phillies retained Joe Blanton as fifth starter. Blanton had a slow start in 2010 after straining his oblique last in spring training, but went 6-1 with a 3.48 in the second half. He is earning $8.5 million this season, and again in 2012.

Roy Halladay received a no-decision on Opening Day. He allowed one run and five hits while striking out six and walking none against the Houston Astros.

• With their weekend sweep of the Astros, including their ninth-inning comeback against closer Brandon Lyon on Friday for a 5-4 victory, the Phillies opened 3-0 at home for the first time since 1970.

• The Phillies signed manager Charlie Manuel through 2013 in March. He will earn about $7.5 million over the final two years of the new deal.

• Versatile Pete Orr beat out Delwyn Young for the final bench spot.

• Philadelphia’s payroll is roughly $170 million, an organization record.

• Third baseman Placido Polanco suffered a hyperextended elbow during spring training, which was still sore as the team broke camp.

• First baseman Ryan Howard had a big series against the Astros, with seven hits in 13 at-bats, a homer and six RBIs.


Young vs. Phillies (career: 2-2, 4.50 ERA)
Wilson Valdez .400, 1 RBI, 5 PA
Brian Schneider .375, 1 BB, 9 PA
Shane Victorino .333, 1 K, 9 PA
Raul Ibanez .269, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 28 PA
Ryan Howard .250, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K, 12 PA
Jimmy Rollins .111, 2 K, 9 PA
Carlos Ruiz .000, 3 PA
Pete Orr .000, 1 K, 1 PA
Ben Francisco --
Ross Gload --
Michael Martinez --
John Mayberry --
Placido Polanco --

Pelfrey vs. Phillies (career: 6-4, 4.52 ERA)
Pete Orr .500, 4 PA
Ryan Howard .367, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 35 PA
Shane Victorino .297, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 39 PA
Raul Ibanez .280, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 26 PA
Jimmy Rollins .259, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 28 PA
Carlos Ruiz .250, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 23 PA
Brian Schneider .222, 1 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Ross Gload .167, 6 PA
Placido Polanco .091, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 13 PA
Ben Francisco .000, 1 PA
Wilson Valdez .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Michael Martinez --
John Mayberry --

Niese vs. Phillies (career: 1-1, 2.14 ERA)
Carlos Ruiz .333, 1 RBI, 3 K, 9 PA
Raul Ibanez .222, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 10 PA
Placido Polanco .200, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Ryan Howard .167, 1 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Shane Victorino .167, 1 BB, 1 K, 7 PA
Wilson Valdez .143, 2 K, 7 PA
Jimmy Rollins .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 4 PA
Ben Francisco .000, 2 BB, 3 PA
John Mayberry .000, 1 K, 1 PA
Ross Gload --
Michael Martinez --
Pete Orr --

Hamels vs. Mets (career: 2-8, 3.83 ERA)
Ike Davis .400, 1 K, 5 PA
Scott Hairston .375, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K, 16 PA
Daniel Murphy .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Carlos Beltran .323, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 33 PA
David Wright .314, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K, 37 PA
Angel Pagan .286, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 30 PA
Jose Reyes .250, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 35 PA
Willie Harris .000, 1 BB, 4 K, 7 PA
Lucas Duda --
Brad Emaus --
Chin-lung Hu --
Mike Nickeas --
Josh Thole --

Blanton vs. Mets (career: 1-1, 4.19 ERA)
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 1 K, 9 PA
Scott Hairston .500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Angel Pagan .444, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 9 PA
Willie Harris .333, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K, 19 PA
David Wright .263, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 20 PA
Josh Thole .167, 1 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Carlos Beltran .143, 1 BB, 2 K, 15 PA
Jose Reyes .111, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 20 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 2 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 PA
Brad Emaus --
Chin-lung Hu --
Mike Nickeas --

Halladay vs. Mets (career: 6-2, 3.86 ERA)
Josh Thole .667, 1 K, 9 PA
Jose Reyes .421, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 20 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 1 BB, 2 K, 7 PA
Carlos Beltran .316, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 10 K, 42 PA
Ike Davis .250, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 13 PA
Angel Pagan .200, 2 RBI, 1 K, 15 PA
David Wright .133, 1 RBI, 8 K, 15 PA
Willie Harris .000, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 7 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Brad Emaus --
Chin-lung Hu --
Daniel Murphy --
Mike Nickeas --

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citizens Bank Park, Sept. 24-26, 2010 (AP game recaps)

Phillies 3, Mets 2: Joe Blanton threw seven strong innings, Carlos Ruiz hit a tie-breaking RBI single and the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies won their 11th straight game. The winning streak is Philadelphia's longest since a 13-game stretch in 1991. Blanton (8-6) allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six. Ryan Madson worked a perfect eighth, and Brad Lidge finished for his 27th save in 32 chances and fourth in four games. Lidge allowed a one-out double to Ike Davis. He retired Angel Pagan on a fly out to deep left-center and walked Josh Thole before pinch-hitter Jesus Feliciano struck out to leave the tying run at third. Feliciano bounced out to Lidge two pitches earlier, but the play was waved off because Mets manager Jerry Manuel called a timeout to insert Luis Castillo as a pinch-runner for Thole. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel argued with first-base umpire Jerry Layne to chants of "Charlie! Charlie!" from the sellout crowd, but wasn't ejected. Meanwhile, the Mets were still angry over Chase Utley's hard takeout slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth. Shane Victorino homered on knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's second pitch, and had an RBI double. Dickey (11-8) gave up three runs (two earned) and eight hits in six innings. Pagan hit a two-run homer for the Mets.

Mets 5, Phillies 2: The plastic hanging at the top of the lockers in the Phillies clubhouse remained unfurled. Philadelphia will have to wait at least one more day to celebrate a return to the playoffs. Lucas Duda hit a three-run double in the Mets' five-run seventh inning, and New York snapped the Philadelphia Phillies' 11-game winning streak. Rookie Dillon Gee (2-1), making his fourth big league start, limited the Phillies to two runs on five hits in seven innings, helping the Mets end a season-high six-game losing streak. Hisanori Takahashi worked the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Philadelphia. Kyle Kendrick (10-10) cruised through the first six innings before the Mets rallied. Carlos Beltran singled ahead of David Wright's fielder's choice. Ike Davis then hit a single. An error by Ryan Howard loaded the bases. Josh Thole singled in the first run, chasing Kendrick. Chad Durbin came on and gave up a pinch-hit double to Duda. Two batters later, Jose Reyes hit an RBI double to make it 5-2. The game was played without incident a day after the Mets were angered by Chase Utley's hard takeout slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth inning. There were a few hard slides in the second game of the season, including one by Wilson Valdez into Reyes in the fifth, but no tempers flared. "He's too good to be doing that," Beltran said about Utley. "He's such a good player, but I guess that's the way he plays."

Mets 7, Phillies 3: Carlos Beltran hit a pair of homers, David Wright also connected and the Mets prevented the Phillies from clinching their fourth straight NL East title at home. The two-time defending NL champions came in needing a win and a loss by Atlanta to secure the division crown. The Braves lost 4-2 to Washington, dropping Philadelphia's magic number to one. The Phillies later became the first NL team to lock up a playoff spot when San Diego lost to Cincinnati. Chase Utley hit a three-run homer for the Phillies. The Mets roughed up Cole Hamels (12-11) again. Hamels allowed five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, falling to 0-4 against New York this year. The lefty had been dominant recently. He gave up just four runs in his previous six starts, a span of 43 2/3 innings. Manny Acosta (3-1) tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Mets starter Pat Misch had a 5-0 lead going into the fifth, but couldn't finish the inning. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings to remain 0-4.

Adam Rubin

ESPN Staff Writer
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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Asdrubal Cabrera
.280 14 59 66
HRJ. Bruce 29
RBIJ. Bruce 75
RJ. Reyes 75
OPSA. Cabrera .785
WJ. deGrom 15
ERAJ. deGrom 3.53
SOJ. deGrom 239