Phillies-Mets: What you need to know

Phillies-Mets: What you need to know
April 9, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Phillies (2-5) vs. Mets (5-2)
7:05 p.m. –PHL17

As the Roy Halladay situation gets more and more difficult to watch (see story), so does the product of April baseball the Phillies are putting out. The Phils have lost the opening game of each of their three series in convincing fashion, and through seven games they’ve been outscored by 21 runs, third-most in baseball. Only the Astros and Padres have started slower.

Turning to the stopper
For the second straight start, the Phillies turn to Cliff Lee in hopes of breaking a two-game losing streak. While Halladay and Cole Hamels are struggling with command in the early going, Lee looked precise and dominant in his season debut last Thursday, striking out eight and allowing just two baserunners over eight scoreless innings in Atlanta.

Like Halladay, Lee has handled the Mets in his career. Unlike Halladay, Lee is pitching to his career standard. In eight starts vs. New York, Lee is 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 56 Ks in 56 innings.

Plate patience has been the hallmark of the Terry Collins-Sandy Alderson era, but Lee doesn’t give teams time to be patient. He led baseball in first-pitch strikes and strikes thrown last season, and against the Braves last Thursday threw 78 strikes in 106 pitches.

Several Mets hitters have had individual success against Lee, though. John Buck, whose opposite-field three-run homer off Halladay was the biggest blow in Monday’s 7-2 loss, is 14 for 48 (.292) against Lee with three homers and three doubles. David Wright, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Marlon Byrd are a combined 30 for 100 (.300) with 10 doubles.

Through seven games, Phillies pitchers not named Lee have an 8.15 ERA and 1.74 WHIP.

Conquering situational woes
Excluding the Kevin Frandsen walk-off game, the Phillies are 1 for 17 with one RBI with two outs and runners in scoring position. Through seven games, the Phils have scored five two-out runs. Their opponents have scored 18.

Two-out hitting was actually one of the rare areas in which the 2012 Phillies did damage. They were third in baseball with 237 runs with two outs and men in scoring position.

Scouting Dillon Gee
Feels like we keep seeing this Lee-Gee matchup.

Dillon Gee has not been very good against the Phillies in his four seasons with the Mets. He has a 6.46 ERA against the Phils and a .302 opponents’ batting average. At Citizens Bank Park, he’s allowed 18 earned runs in 18 innings.

Jimmy Rollins is 6 for 9 off Gee, Ryan Howard has two homers in seven at-bats, and Phillies regulars are 14 for 33 (.424) off the 26-year-old right-hander.

Gee’s stuff is nothing special -- four-seam fastball and sinker at 90-91 mph, a changeup and slider in the low-80s and a curve in the mid-70s. He uses the sinker to get ahead and the changeup with two strikes.

Lifetime, the opposition has hit .325 against Gee’s sinker, .260 off the four-seamer, .224 against the curve, .221 vs. the changeup and .183 off his slider.

Playing from behind
Opponents have held a lead on the Phillies in 39½ of 63 innings played this season.

Hassled at home
The Mets have beaten the Phillies in nine of the last 11 games at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils’ last series win at home over New York was Aug. 22-24, 2011. That series began with a 10-0 Phillies win in a game started by Lee and Gee.

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