Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pre-Game: New York Mets (16-13) @ Philadelphia Phillies (14-16)

The New York Mets will look to extend their winning streak to four in a row this evening in Philadelphia on the heels of one of the most feel good wins of the season.

If things were ever to be considered bizarre in the National League East, look no further than tonight as an example. The third place Mets (16-13), given their death certificate less than two months ago, are playing against the last place Phillies (14-16), who were slated as division favorites for the sixth consecutive year. While the season is still early and anything can and will happen, the Phillies have not displayed the same poise without Ryan Howard or Chase Utley. Oh, and tonight's starters include 41-year old journeyman Miguel Batista and Joe Blanton.

Miguel Batista (0-1, 6.92 ERA) will make his second start of the season as he replaces Chris Schwinden.  During his first start of the year, Batista allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants and hasn't given many encouraging signs that he'll improve. In his last eight innings, Batista has surrendered seven runs on 11 hits, walking eight.

Joe Blanton (3-3, 2.83 ERA), meanwhile, is coming off of one of the most impressive outings of his career. Blanton allowed practically nothing against the Atlanta Braves during his last outing, pitching a complete game shutout while scattering three hits. Stanton has been very good against New York, pitching to a 3.50 ERA in nine career starts.

Rob Johnson has been called up from AAA-Buffalo to replace Josh Thole, who was placed on the 7-day disabled list this afternoon after being diagnosed with a concussion. Johnson just returned from an injury of his own but has gotten off to a hot star in Buffalo with a .291/.317/.491 line with two long shots and seven RBIs in only 60 plate appearances. Despite this, Mike Nickeas will get the starting assignment tonight.

New York Mets Starting Lineup:
1. Andres Torres CF
2. Kirk Nieuwenhuis LF
3. David Wright 3B
4. Lucas Duda RF
5. Daniel Murphy 2B
6. Ike Davis 1B
7. Jordany Valdespin SS
8. Mike Nickeas C
9. Miguel Batista P