New York Mets (13-9) at Philadelphia Phillies (12-9)
Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.68 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 7.71 ERA)
Time: 7:05 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Sunny, 71
Meet the Mets! Meet the Mets! Step right up and greet the Mets! Bring your kiddies, bring your wife! Guaranteed to have the time of your life. Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball, knockin’ those home runs over the wall. East side, West side, everybody’s coming down to meet the M-E-T-S Mets, of New York town!
If you’re either too young to remember the 1990s or are a newcomer to the Philly baseball scene, you’d be inclined to believe that our northern neighbors represent the absolute nadir of baseball culture, with their creepy mascot and affinity for hard drugs.
This weekend marks the Metropolitans’ first visit to Philadelphia in 2010, and the first opportunity for Phils fans to boo the bejeezus out of one of the most dysfunctional teams in baseball.
The Phillies, who came out of the gate like a rocket, are on a bit of a slide right now, avoiding the sweep in San Francisco only by pulling out a narrow victory in the 11th inning of a truly bizarre game Thursday afternoon.
While the Phillies have been lollygagging the ball around the infield, the Mets have opened up a can on the Cubs, Dodgers, and Braves, winning seven in a row to crawl back from their 2-9 start to first place in the division. In short, it’s time for the Phillies to get their collective act together.
Jonathon Niese takes the ball for New York tonight against Kyle Kendrick, of whom I spoke ill the last time I wrote one of these. That was two starts ago, against the Braves, and he responded by tossing eight shutout innings. Since then he’s come back down to earth some, but it’s not like he’s squaring off against Johan Santana or Mike Pelfrey.
One underrated stat coming into this game is Niese’s absurd 4.09 BB/9 ratio, which is a good omen for a Phillies lineup stacked with players who will only swing if the KGB threatens to send their families to Siberia if they don’t. In short, expect a lot of walks.
Some good news–as the bodies (Rollins, Blanton, Happ, Romero, and now Madson) seem to pile up, someone’s finally coming back from injury. The Phillies have activated everyone’s favorite slider-slinging son of Sacramento, Brad Lidge, which may or may not mean that Madson will keep getting the chance to lose games in the 9th inning. Now that Lidge is (reportedly) healthy, Uncle Cholly might let him blow a few saves going forward.
Lineup: Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Castro (SS), Ruiz (C), Kendrick (P)
Your Gameday Beer: Victory Donnybrook Stout
This evening’s beer is a pleasant offering from a local brewery. The makers of the face-inverting Hopdevil and other potent potables have turned down the volume some and produced a rather pleasant Irish stout. As a connoisseur of such beers, I have to say that this is the best stout that you have a chance of finding on tap around here, apart from Guinness. Its creamy smoothness and rich taste make it a truly enjoyable beer, and excellent with bar food. -By Michael