Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Double play: Finish better than the Phillies?
Each week, ESPN.com senior baseball editor Matt Meyers and ESPNNY.com baseball blogger Mark Simon weigh in on topics related to the current week for the Mets.
Will the Mets finish with a better record than the Phillies in 2012?
Meyers: Yes. They are currently up eight games in the loss column and the Phillies have all sorts of issues. Plus, it would not surprise me if Cole Hamels and/or Shane Victorino are traded this month, further weakening the Phillies. (And yes, I realize the Mets were up seven games on the Phillies with 17 games to play back in 2007, but let’s not dwell on that. In reality, eight games halfway through the season is fairly significant.)
Simon: I’m not yet convinced. If the Phillies sweep this series, they’re right there with the Mets, with Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard’s returns pending. Plus, the baseball gods owe Cliff Lee some better baseball fortune than he’s gotten so far. A healthy 1-2-3 in the starting rotation can make up a lot of ground quickly.
I’ll reserve the right to change my mind with a sweep and a 5-1 week, but I’m not there yet.
What will be the biggest key for the Mets in July?
Meyers: The biggest key will be Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis continuing to hit like they have of late. David Wright pretty much carried the offense for the first three months of the season, and if the Mets are to contend they need a few more threats up and down the lineup.
Simon:The biggest key will be the health of Chris Young who has looked very good in his starts so far. He’s basically thrown five games of identical performance level. With a little bit better defense behind him, he’d have a sub-3 ERA.
A 4-2 mark in Young’s six July starts would be a heck of a lot better than going 1-5 in six games thrown by whichever replacement-level choices the Mets would utilize.
Make a prediction for the upcoming week
Meyers: Back in the lost 2010 season, R.A. Dickey squared off against Hamels and threw a one-hitter in what was probably the highlight of the season. The only hit he allowed was to Hamels, and I predict he will hold Hamels hitless on Thursday in what is sure to be a pitcher’s duel.
Simon: I’m gonna do an encore on a pick I made two weeks ago. The Mets are due for a walk-off hit (Murphy came close to fulfilling my pick of his hitting a walk-off homer but hit a game-ending flyout against Rafael Soriano). They haven’t had one since that kooky game against the Marlins on April 26 (Kirk Nieuwenhuis). I’ll take Nieuwenhuis to break his current slump and get another one, the Mets' first walk-off homer against the Phillies since Carlos Beltran’s 16th-inning shot in 2006.