Coming off a poor performance in his first start, Roy Halladay faces the best possible situation he could be placed in -- he faces the Mets, a team he's 7-0 against with a 1.78 ERA as a Phillie.
David Wright, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada are a combined 9-for-63 off Halladay with 21 strikeouts. The Mets have struck out 53 times against Halladay with just six walks.
No, this isn't the same Doc, but he still holds a competitive edge over a lot of these hitters, and let's face it, the Mets have very little talent in the lineup or in the bullpen. This is a series the Phillies should win and one they need to win.
This is an important week. The Phils have three at home with the Mets, then three in Miami. A 5-1 record would be ideal, and it would put them at 7-5 through 12 games.
The toughest game on tap is probably tonight's, because Matt Harvey is simply that good. Harvey one-hit the Phillies the last time he faced them and he one-hit the Padres with 10 Ks last week. He throws a 95-99 mph fastball, and has two other out-pitches. To righties, he throws a slider that misses bats 37% of the time and generates ground balls 50% of the time the pitch is put in play. Against lefties, he has a changeup that does the exact same thing, give or take a few percentage points.
Ryan Howard, who isn't seeing pitches well at all right now, is 0-for-5 off Harvey with 3 strikeouts, so it's not the ideal matchup for him.
But if the Phils can work the count on Harvey -- a tall task -- they can get to a mediocre Mets bullpen that has been OK so far (3.57 ERA) but has only one or two guys with nasty, putaway stuff.
Will this be our first opportunity to see the starter go six or seven innings, followed by Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon? It would be nice to see. The Phils are allocating $19 million per year to those two relievers but haven't yet been able to utilize them the way they planned at the end of the game.
1) Ben Revere, CF
2) Jimmy Rollins, SS
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Ryan Howard, 1B
5) Michael Young, 3B
6) Domonic Brown, LF
7) Laynce Nix, RF
8) Humberto Quintero, C
9) Roy Halladay, P