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Mets Geek » Upcoming Series: Philadelphia Phillies Pitchers

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May 9, 2006
  
Upcoming Series: Philadelphia Phillies Pitchers
by: Andrew Hintz on May 9, 2006 4:30 AM | Filed under: Articles

Though it’s always fun to play the Braves — well, as long as we’re winning that is — the real rival so far in the NL East has been the impressive 17-14 Philadelphia Phillies. On the strength of an imposing offense the Phillies have been on a roll since almost getting swept in Pittsburgh, and now welcome the Mets to Philly with open arms. Luckily, the Mets have their two reliables ready to go in the first two games of the series. In Citizen’s Bank Park offense usually rules the day, so with the good pitchers the Mets will be throwing they’ll hopefully have the upper hand in the contest. Either way, it should be a knockdown, drag out brawl between two very good NL East teams. To kick us off, in a battle of the aces, the undefeated Pedro Martinez (5-0, 2.72) takes on the Phillies up-and-coming number one Brett Myers (2-1, 3.11). In the second game of the series, soft-throwing Tom Glavine (4-2, 1.94) looks to keep that ERA under two when he takes on Cory Lidle (3-3, 4.17). And, in the finale, Steve Trachsel (2-2, 4.96) looks to get back on track against the ever inconsistent Gavin Floyd (3-2, 6.16).

Game 1: Brett Myers

What’s the Story? Myers has been the Phillies most consistent starter this season, and is developing into the pitcher the Phillies envisioned when they drafted him twelfth overall in the ’99 draft. So far this year he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game, but more importantly he’s finally throwing strikes. Coming into the season last year his inconsistencies in the strike zone was the biggest flaw in his game, and though he’s still walking about two guys a start, he’s able to throw a strike when he needs too — which makes him a pretty dangerous pitcher to face. Myers features a low-to-mid 90’s fastball, a notoriously nasty curveball, a solid changeup, a solid cutter and an average slider.

Last Year: (2-1, 4.07) Myers got four starts against the Mets last season, and pitched fairly well against them. In twenty-four innings he allowed eleven runs on twenty-four hits, including three homeruns (Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran, David Wright). He walked four and struck out a whopping twenty-eight.

What to Expect: Myers has definitely matured past the Josh Beckett comparisons. While Beckett still seems to get flustered on the mound and quick to anger, Myers has developed into a far more composed pitcher. The inability to get a pitch over for a strike no longer results in a hissyfit and an overthrown fastball, and he has far more control over his ridiculous curveball than before. As such, he tends to throw the curve far more often, with the pitch taking up about a quarter of his gameplan. He’ll throw both his fastballs for strikes, but every hitter should expect a knee-buckler when he’s got two strikes on ’em. Myers tends to throw his slider and changeup just to keep hitters honest, as they’re not anything special. He likes to throw up and in at righthanders.

Game 2: Cory Lidle

What’s the Story? Lidle’s been pitching way over his talent level these past few starts, but he’s pitching well nonetheless. Lidle’s made a career on getting outs by changing speeds and working the corners, and he’s been fairly successful keeping the ball on the ground so far this year. Either way his stuff hasn’t gotten better or more deceiving, he’s allowed three or more runs in every start this year, and his ERA is about two points higher when he pitches at home, so all those things should coincide with a nice night for the Mets offense. Lidle throws a high 80’s fastball, a nice splitter that he’s relying more on this year, an average curveball and an average changeup.

Last Year: (1-1, 4.61) Lidle pitched like Lidle last season against the Mets — a bad start one day, and an average start the next. In fourteen and two thirds innings, he allowed seven runs on thirteen hits, including three homeruns (Cliff Floyd, Jose Offerman, Doug Mientkiewicz). He walked two and struck out eleven.

What to Expect: The fact of the matter is, Lidle’s just a very, very average pitcher. He pretty much always has been, and though he credits his splitter for his newfound success, I just don’t see a career renaissance from a 34 year old with an 87 MPH fastball and a flat curve. Sorry, Phillie fans. Though Lidle’s not walking anybody he’s still putting a lot of balls in play, so the Mets are going to have to swing their way on base, which could be the kick start the Mets offense has been looking for. Add to the fact that he’s awful at holding runners and it makes the chances of a Mets run barrage even more likely. Lidle throws a lot of pedestrian fastballs and a fair amount of curves (though more to righties than lefties). Lidle will try and work the outside corner with his changeup to get outs from lefthanders. He works low and away, but his offspeed stuff isn’t good enough to chase.

Game 3: Gavin Floyd

What’s the Story? I don’t even know what to put here. Gavin Floyd was drafted fourth overall in the 2001 draft. His upside was huge. The Phillies weren’t willing to trade him for Carlos Beltran. He was ranked the ninth best prospect in baseball in 2003. He rocketed through the minors with one of the best curveballs I’ve ever seen, got called up to the bigs, and then when he was finally depended on to be a reliable starter, he completely fell apart. In nineteen career games he’s been hit to the tune of a 6.46 ERA, but even worse — when he was expected to be a key cog in the rotation he’s posted an ERA of 8.10. Watching Floyd pitch in Reading two summers ago was phenomenal, so what’s happened is a total mystery to me. Though it’s one the Mets can probably capitalize on. Floyd throws a low 90’s fastball, a really ridiculous curveball, and an average changeup.

Last Year: (0-0, 24.00) Floyd was demoted to mop-up duties at the end of the season, but as evidenced by that line, he couldn’t even do that very well. In three innings he allowed eight runs on six hits. Two homeruns to the cornerstones (David Wright, Jose Reyes). Three walks. One strikeout. Ugly.

What to Expect: The most surprising thing about what’s happened this season is that Floyd pitched really, really well in Spring Training. Originally slated to be headed back to Scranton, Floyd pitched himself not only back on the team, but into the rotation with a 4-0 record in four starts and an ERA of 3.16. But, like everybody always says, this is why Spring Training stats mean nothing. To be fair, Floyd’s pitched better of late (only four runs allowed in his last twelve and two thirds innings of work, though he still allowed three homeruns and an 8/5 K/BB). Floyd tends to pitch very badly at home, so that won’t help him either. He throws a lot of fastballs and a lot of curves. His curve is still a good pitch despite all else, and even very good hitters have trouble with it. It’s the rest of that repertoire that’s a walk in the park. He doesn’t really have a consistent gameplan, so all the hitters should just let him prove he can throw a ball for strikes, and then hack away. Enjoy!

Overall: Usually, with the arms the Mets have got going, I’d be confident predicting a 2-1 series win, but the Phillies have been hot lately. Eight wins in a row hot. Fifty-two runs in eight games hot. Their rotation isn’t great, and their bullpen’s even worse, but their lineup is filled with good hitters — arguably the best 1-6 (Rollins, Utley, Abreu, Howard, Burrell, Rowand) in baseball. With the roll the Phillies are on, and the Mets inability to score runs for Tom Glavine, I’m going to predict the Mets go 1-2. If the bats turn it on, then taking the series should be fairly easy. Let’s see them do it. Even if they drop all three, they’ll still be in first, but it’d be nice to see the boys in blue and orange increase that lead even more.

Predicted Record: 17-14
Actual Record: 21-10
Correctly Predicted W/L: 15-16


205 Responses to “Upcoming Series: Philadelphia Phillies Pitchers”

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  1. Comment posted by Wdwrkr35 on May 10, 2006 at 1:18 pm (#37856)

    What a bunch of winers, at the first sign of something going wrong, a bunch of theses guy start pointing fingers. Hey it was 1 loss, one where we came back in the ninth to tie it up, we took away thier starters win and gave thier closer a blown save. They know for sure theres a new sherrif in town and its the New York Mets!!! A spanking for Lidle and Floyd puts the mets back up 6 games going into milwalkie a team we already beat handily.

  2. Comment posted by AdamW on May 10, 2006 at 2:00 pm (#37864)

    I agree with Lunkwill: giving up three runs is hardly a bad performance for a starter going quite deep into the game against a very good offense, and it’s certainly a mischaracterisation to say that was what lost the game. Heilman lost the game.

  3. Comment posted by Wally Dykstra on May 10, 2006 at 3:15 pm (#37873)

    I think it’s harsh to blame Heilman for the loss. The Mets played like crap. The 3-run inning was the product of a dropped flyball by Nady. Probably no runs score that inning if Nady catches that ball. Then Pedro allows 3 more hits in a row to follow the flubbed fly ball. Then Pedro gets forced out at second from left field in the top of the third, possibly ruining a big inning (Myers got shaky everytime he threw from the stretch last night). The Mets fail to put anybody on base after the 3rd until the 8th, failing to put Myers in said stretch. Then Lo Duca fails to handle a throw in the 8th which he really should have caught and tag out the runner trying to score the 4th run. Then Nady can’t even come close to catching that triple in the bottom of the 9th which a decent right fielder might have caught and perhaps could have prevented from being a triple. Then Heilman flubs in the bottom of the 9th. I’d say there were plenty of goats last night.

  4. Comment posted by AdamW on May 10, 2006 at 5:27 pm (#37896)

    Wally: it looked to me like LD caught the ball; he just spilled it trying to tag a guy who wasn’t where he thought he was. If you’re reaching out your arm expecting to touch something when there’s nothing there, and at the same time being hit in the lower body by the guy you THOUGHT you were tagging three feet to the left, it’s not a surprise if you spill the ball :). His error was not knowing where the runner was…

  5. Comment posted by Wally Dykstra on May 10, 2006 at 5:36 pm (#37897)

    Adam, possibly you’re right; he was attempting to catch and sweep tag at the same time (thinking the guy was going to slide around him). It didn’t seem to me that he really ever had control of it. He did have enough time, though, to get the ball solidly in his mitt before attempting the tag, and you’d hope that he’d tag that guy out more often than not.

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