The late shiftThe Phillies own the late innings, right? Well, so far, the Phillies are performing adequately, outscoring their opponents 35-29 from the seventh inning on. The Mets, however, possess a 39-24 edge in the same window. Will those numbers hold up this weekend? Phillies closer Brad Lidge returns to the active roster.
Going deepWe usually mock the Mets for their lack of roster depth, but they have the edge in tonight's and Sunday's pitching matchups. The Phillies are missing Jimmy Rollins (strained right calf), and centerfielder Shane Victorino and leftfielder Raul Ibañez are slumping. The Mets might be catching the Phillies at the right time.
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Big Pelf's big testMike Pelfrey has been the Mets' Superman in the early going, winning all four of his starts and throwing in a save. Tomorrow's start will present Pelfrey with the challenge of pitching against Philadelphia's Roy Halladay. Will he ace this assignment like he has the rest?
The mental edgeThe Phillies won 12 of 18 games with the Mets last season, but most of those came in the second half. It's easy to forget that, in 2008, the Mets won the season series 11-7. Can their current upswing give the Mets any more of a swagger against the two-time defending NL champs?
The moody baseball godsLet's face it, the Mets' 9-1 homestand resulted from good play, but also luck. Remember Yunel Escobar's shaky baserunning? Sunday night's rain? Do the gods have E-ZPass to get through the New Jersey Turnpike to Citizens Bank Park?