Phillies-Mets: What you need to know

Phillies-Mets: What you need to know

April 27, 2013, 8:00 am
Share This Post

Over the Phillies' last nine games, Ryan Howard is hitting .370. (USA Today Images)

Phillies (10-14) at Mets (10-11)
1:05 p.m. – FOX

Kyle Kendrick was spectacular yet again, pitching a three-hit shutout to start the Phillies off with a win on their five-game road trip (see story).

Kendrick (2-1, 2.41) now has a 1.10 ERA in his last seven road starts. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in 31 of his last 45 starts. If Jeremy Horst strands those inherited runners in the home opener, Kendrick’s ERA this season is 1.60.

KK’s given the Phillies ace-like production, and it really extends all the way back to last July.

A solid cycle
Phillies starting pitchers have been brilliant this week, pitching to a 2.04 ERA but registering just one win because of struggles from the offense and bullpen. The offense did enough on Friday to win, and the Phillies hope that carries into the weekend.

Production from the top
Situational struggles have masked the fact that the top four hitters in the Phillies’ order have been raking lately. Over the Phils’ last nine games, Jimmy Rollins is batting .306, Chase Utley is hitting .344, Ryan Howard is at .370 and Michael Young .310.

They hadn’t been driving in runs, though, until Friday, when Howard blasted a three-run homer to center right after Young laced an RBI single with runners on the corners.

Pettibone, Part II
Coming off a very impressive debut in which he became the first Phillies starting pitcher since 1998 to not walk a batter in his first career start, Jonathan Pettibone takes the hill.

Pettibone allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts Monday against the Pirates. He took a no-decision in a game the Phils eventually won.

Pettibone was quite impressive, but he’ll need to keep repeating that success if he wants to be the fifth starter during John Lannan’s two-month absence.  Pitchers tend to do well in their debuts, when the rest of the league has no legitimate first-hand experience or video to utilize.

Against Pittsburgh, Pettibone showed a 90-92 mph fastball, a mid-80s slider and a low-80s changeup. He picked up three strikeouts on the slider.

Marcum debuts
A neck injury kept Shaun Marcum out until today, when he’ll make his Mets debut. The oft-injured right-hander signed a one-year, incentive-laden contract with the Mets at the end of January.

Marcum is always tough to hit, but he has trouble staying healthy and doesn’t go deep into games. For his career, he’s average 5.9 innings per start.

The Phillies have only gotten to Marcum once, and it was the last time they faced him. They put 13 men on and scored five runs off him in 6 2/3 innings on Sept. 9, 2011. In his other three non-injury-shortened starts against them, he allowed three earned runs in 18 innings.

Marcum is not a hard thrower –- everything is 88 mph or under. But he’s deceptive and crafty enough to keep hitters woefully off-balance when he’s feeling it. He owns one of the best right-handed changeups in baseball, and unlike most righties, he’s not scared of throwing it to same-handed hitters.

The opposition has hit .208 against Marcum’s change since 2007, with an ugly .303 slugging percentage. His platoon splits are dead even -– righties hit .207 off the change and lefties .208.

He also throws a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, slider to righties and a curve to lefties. Batters just never know what to expect. He pitches backwards and will turn to any offering in any count.

Marcum has struggled to keep Howard in the park. The Big Piece is 4 for 8 off him with three homers and three walks. Utley is 3 for 7 off Marcum, and also has him in his book.

Success at Citi
The Phillies struggled to score runs at Citi Field once upon a time, but Friday’s win was their eighth in the last 11 meetings with the Mets in Flushing.

More Team Talk