Tuesday, July 3, 2012
W2W4: Phillies at Mets (July 3)
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Jonathon Niese Stats To Watch
We neglected to mention Niese in our list of Mets MVPs for June and perhaps that was a mistake, as he was 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA in five starts.
Niese’s strikeout-to-walk ratio for the month was resemblant of R.A. Dickey, 34-to-5.
The key to that was fastball command. Niese threw his fastball for strikes 72 percent of the time last month, up from 61 percent in April and May.
There was a significant increase in called strikes. He got strikes on 52 of 126 fastball takes in June, compared to 52 of 162 fastball takes in May.
Niese has won three of his last four decisions against the Phillies. He’ll likely have to work around two hitters who will give him trouble. Placido Polanco is 11-for-29 with five doubles, and John Mayberry Jr., who has three homers against him.
Vance Worley Stats To Watch
Worley is 3-2 in five starts against the Mets and has allowed three runs or fewer in six straight starts overall. He allowed four runs in a loss to Jonathon Niese and the Mets on April 14.
Worley is very good at getting called strikes when hitters take a pitch and is particularly adept at nailing the outside corner, or just off it, for a strike against left-handed hitters.
Worley’s 38 strikeouts looking rank third in the majors behind David Price (44) and teammate Cliff Lee (39). The Phillies actually have the top three in the NL, with Joe Blanton next at 35.
At the Wright Time
Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that David Wright won’t start the All-Star Game. Because it makes it more likely he’ll play in the late innings.
For the first time in a long time, Wright is among baseball’s best end-of-game players. He’s 28-for-74 in the seventh inning or later this season, good for a .378 batting average.
That’s come with him being pitched extremely carefully. He’s drawn 17 walks in this part of the game, five of them intentional, resulting in a .500 on-base percentage.
He only has one late-game home run, but he has six doubles and two triples.
Wright and the NL's leading hitter, Carlos Ruiz will go head-to-head in this series. Ruiz is hitting .356, two points better than Wright.
Lucas Duda may be due for a long ball. He’s 7-for-39 with no homers, one RBI and 12 strikeouts in his last 10 games. That’s partly due to facing an abundance of left-handed pitching (he’s 2-for-21 against lefties in this span).
Duda’s last game against the Phillies was a good offensive one for him. He went 3-for-4 with two homers against them on May 30.
Rollins not rolling vs. lefties
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is 0-for-his-last-12 against left-handed pitching, dropping his batting average against them to .237 this season.
Remember that the Mets shifted against Rollins when he hit left-handed against righties in the last series at Citi Field. He’s a borderline shift candidate from the right side, with 22 of 27 ground balls hit either up the middle, or to the third base side of second base.