It's always nice start the year off right: winning the season's first series. Now that the New York Mets have done that, they'll face the NL East favorite Philadelphia Phillies (3-0, in Philadelphia at 7:05 p.m. EST (SNY).
This will be the first regular season look at the newly-acquired Chris Young, as he'll be opposed by the Phillies No. 4 -- who could be an ace on many other teams -- Cole Hamels, who is 2-8 with a 3.83 ERA and 1.51 WHIP against the Mets in his career, the worst win-loss ratio against any team in his career.
Following up the 20 solid innings he threw last season with the Padres after a shoulder injury, Young pitched very well this Spring Training (1.78 ERA) and he'll look to continue his success against the Phillies in a very hitter-friendly ballpark. Obviously, Young carries a huge injury risk this year, but the fact that he's shown he's been healthy since last September is at least somewhat encouraging. What may be going against Young in this one, though, is that he is a fly ball pitcher, about to take on a solid Phillies lineup in Citizens Bank Ballpark, which is prone to the homerun. It will be important for Young to work the corners and keep hitters off balance with his unique (towering) arm slot. He is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his career against the Phillies, with a 1-1 record and 6.50 ERA at Philadelphia.
The Phillies are without their All-Star second basemen, Chase Utley, who is dealing with knee woes and is on the disabled list. There's a chance he may have to undergo surgery, as his recovery has been extremely slow, but he was able to do some fielding drills a few days ago. As of now, Philadelphia's lineup isn't as stacked as its been in the past, but with Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez, it's still very dangerous. This team is built on its four ace pitchers, though, and that's how it will win games -- as three wins over the Astros has shown.
Carlos Beltran should be back in the lineup tonight after a day off, and Angel Pagan should return to the two-hole. Even though this is only the second series of the season, the Phillies-Mets matchup is always a fun one to watch. Let's see if the Mets have what it takes in game one.