Philadelphia Phillies Win Two of Three Against New York Mets as Offense Rolls On
The Philadelphia Phillies are playing a tough stretch of games, as 20 straight come against teams with records over .500. That hasn’t stopped the Phillies from winning six of the last eight, including taking two of three against the New York Mets.
What This Means: The Phillies (27-25) are still in last place in the NL East, although they are remarkably two games over the .500 mark. That’s a testament to the rest of the division, although the gap is growing closer, with the Atlanta Braves having lost eight of their last 10 to put them at 28-24 and just a game up on the Phillies. The Mets (28-23) are 1.5 games up on the Phillies still, the Miami Marlins (29-22) are 2.5 games up after a hot month of May, and the Washington Nationals are still holding onto first place, at 29-21.
Grading the Offense: Despite no Ryan Howard or Chase Utley, the Phillies led the National League in this for the month of May. This series against the Mets was one of the Phillies’ finest series, as they scored 21 runs in the three games, including nine in the ninth inning alone. The Phillies averaged over 10 hits per contest. Ty Wigginton led the way, going an incredible 6-for-11 (.545) with four runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, three walks, and eight RBIs. That’s probably the finest series by a Phillies offensive player this season. Carlos Ruiz missed the series with a hamstring injury, although a two-run pinch hit home run in his lone plate appearance was a pretty nice contribution. Juan Pierre went 4-for-8 with three runs scored, Jimmy Rollins went 6-for-14 (.429) with three runs and a three-run home run, Hunter Pence collected a hit in each game as well as two walks, and John Mayberry, Jr. went 3-for-6 with two RBIs. If the Phillies can continue to hit like that, they’re going to gain ground in the NL East in no time. Grade: A
Grading the Pitching: What was so satisfying about the Phillies winning the series was that the starting pitching was uncharacteristically off, but the offense picked up the slack. Cole Hamels gave up four runs in his worst start since his first one, Joe Blanton gave up six runs as he continues to regress to the mean, and Cliff Lee was good, but not great, giving up three runs in six innings. The bullpen was perfect, other than a Raul Valdes outing tonight that wouldn’t have happened had the offense not put the game away in the top half of the inning. Grade: C-
What’s Next: The Phillies get Thursday off, meaning they officially finish the month of May with 16 wins. The Phillies then host the Miami Marlins for a weekend series, beginning Friday night as Kyle Kendrick takes on Mark Buehrle.
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