The New York Mets (11-14) may have just seen their six-game winning streak snapped by the Washington Nationals, but at the end of April they have a chance to make an early statement with a strong showing against the first place, 16-8 Philadelphia Phillies on the road.
Over the past week the Mets have played some improved baseball, but let's remember it was against the Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks and Nationals. Now is their chance to really turn some heads with a solid series against one of their hated rivals.
There isn't a better pitcher for the Mets to start today than Mike Pelfrey. Sure he's 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA and 1.94 WHIP on the year, but he's coming off his best outing of the season: allowing one run in seven innings against the D'Backs. There was some doubt as to whether he'd start today because he's been battling the flue, but had a successful bullpen session to prove he was good to go. The fact is he's the team's No. 1 starter for a reason and he has a chance to set the tone of the series against the Phillies. He is 6-4 with a 5.08 ERA against the Phillies in his career.
Opposing Pelfrey -- and giving the Mets a prime opportunity to take an early game in the series -- is Vance Worley. Worley is taking the rotation spot of Joe Blanton who recently went on the disabled list. Worley threw 22 2/3 innings, allowing 19 hits while striking out 25 with a 2.78 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in the minors this year. With Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee due up next for the Phillies, the Mets really have to take this game if they want to win the series.