Category: Philadelphia Phillies

Bruce is The Boss Again – Two Home Runs and All Five RBI as Mets Beat Phillies, 5-4

By Paul DiSclafani

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Last week, Jay Bruce hit two home runs to help the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies.  It was the first time in his Met career he had gone deep twice in a single game.  Tonight, he did it again.  This time he hit a three-run home run with the Mets down 2-0 in the sixth and after the Phillies tied it 3-3, Bruce un-tied it with a two-run laser beam in the bottom of the 8th.  The Mets (8-7) snapped a four-game losing streak with the 5-4 win.

Bruce, who now has six home runs in the first 15 games of the season, hit only eight home runs in his 50 games with the Mets last season.

Starter Robert Gsellman (ND), put the Mets in a hole, allowing the Phils to score single runs in the fourth and fifth innings for a 2-0 lead while Vince Velasquez was having his way with the Mets offense.  The Mets had just one hit, a double by Bruce in the first inning, and two walks as they batted in the bottom of the sixth and Velasquez had retired 10 in a row.

Then Gsellman, of all people, led off the sixth with a single, but was erased on Curtis Granderson’s 1-6-3 double play.  But the Mets finally got to Velasquez before he could get the third out.  Asdrubal Cabrera singled to center and Yoenis Cespedes worked out a walk to keep the inning going.  Then Bruce hit a line drive over the right field wall for his fifth home run, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.

Gsellman got the Phillies 1-2-3 in the seventh and had already thrown 98 pitches, but with manager Terry Collins using 6 pitchers last night in the final three innings, he sent him back out there to start the eighth.  Aaron Altherr greeted Gsellman’s first pitch and hit a ground rule double to left, prompting Collin to have a quick hook and bring in Jerry Blevins.

Blevins got Osdrubal Herrera on a grounder that moved Altherr to third for the first out, then struck out Maikel Franco.  But light hitting Michael Saunders fisted a ball into short left that Cespedes dove for but couldn’t come up with and the Phillies tied the game 3-3.  Once again, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.

With gloom and doom settling into the minds of the dwindling number of fans toughing it out at a cold, wet Citi Field, Cespedes greeted Edubray Ramos (L, 0-2), who relieved Velasquez, with a single to center on a 3-0 pitch.  That brought up Bruce, who took the first pitch for a ball, then lined a shot to the same part of the ball park in right field, just clearing the right field wall for his sixth home run and giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.

Addison Reed came on in the ninth and gave up a run on a sacrifice fly after Freddie Galvis tripled, but earned his fourth save and made a winner of Hansel Robles (3-0), who got the final out of the eighth, a strikeout.

Noah Syndergaard (1-0) starts the rubber game tomorrow against Aaron Nolan (1-0).  Syndergaard is 4-0 lifetime against Philadelphia with a 1.37 ERA and 30K in four career starts.

TWO INJURIES IN THE FIFTH

Both Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda left the game with injuries suffered in the fifth inning. D’Arnaud banged this throwing hand on the batter’s bat as he attempted to throw out a runner stealing.  Duda left the game with a hyperextended left elbow after he made contact with runner Cesar Hernandez on a throw from Gsellman that was offline.  Later in the inning, with Altherr hitting, d’Arnaud hit his bat on this follow through, bruising his right wrist.

FAMILIA READY TO RETURN

Jeurys Familia will return to the Mets on Thursday night after sitting out the first 15 games during his suspension for domestic violence.

POSITIVES:  Bruce had three hits (2-HR and a 2B) and five RBI on the night and leads the Mets in home runs (6) and RBI (14).  He has his average up to .309 … Mets pitchers struck out 11 Phillies … Jose Reyes went 0-3 and his average dropped to .094 … David Wright went through drills with the team during the day and even took batting practice … Renee Rivera, who took over for d’Arnaud in the sixth, had another hit and is batting .316 for the year

NEGATIVES:  Cespedes ran through a stop sign in the first inning and was thrown out at the plate on Bruce’s double, as he tried to score from first.  At least this time he slid …

Paul DiSclafani is a featured writer on “A View From The Bench”, which has been recognized by Major League baseball as one of the top 100 blog sites.

Advertisements

Mets Sweep Phillies, Head To Miami For The Weekend

by Paul DiSclafani

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

It’s not like the Mets are going on vacation, although four days in Miami sounds pretty good to most North Easterners.  The First Place Mets (6-3) are taking their four-game winning streak into Miami this weekend for a four-game series against the Fish (4-4) who took two out of three last weekend at chilly Citi Field.

Although they hate to leave the friendly confines of Citizen’s Bank Park, where they just hit 10 home runs, banged out 30 hits and scored 23 runs, they also do very well at the Marlins Park.  In 2016, the Mets went 6-3 in South Beach, scoring 45 runs in their nine games.

Everything seemed to change for the Mets after Asdrubal Cabrera was buzzed by Edubray Ramos in the eight inning of a 2-2 tie in the opening game of the Phillies series.  Cabrera, who had hit a game winning home run off Ramos in extra innings last September 22nd at Citi Field, threw his bat in celebration as the Mets were making a charge for a Wild-Card spot.  Apparently only Ramos felt the need to throw a purpose pitch over Cabrera’s head.

His manager and most of his teammates admonished the second-year player for putting his own agenda ahead of the team.  Although the pitch didn’t hit Cabrera, it seemed to send a message to the Mets more than Cabrera, who rallied around their shortstop.  After Cabrera worked out a walk, Jay Bruce cracked his second home run of the game to give the Mets a 4-2 lead in a game they eventually won.  Then the Mets put up 14 runs and bashed 14 extra base hits, including seven home runs, the next night.

Robert Gsellman (0-1) will start the four-game weekend series in Miami against Wei-Yin Chen (1-0) on Thursday night.  Gsellman was roughed up on Saturday at Citi Field by the Marlins, who scored three times in the first three innings, but then he settled down to keep the Mets in the game until the bullpen imploded in an 8-1 loss.

The Mets are expected to get Juan Lagares back at some point this weekend as he continues his rehab of his strained left oblique in Port St. Lucie, just a 2-hour drive away.  The Gold Glove center fielder has been appearing in rehab games since Monday and could be a welcome addition in the cavernous outfield in Miami.

But if Lagares does come back, who goes?  OF-Michael Conforto, who batted leadoff in the final game in Philadelphia has two home runs in his only two starts in the crowded outfield of Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce.  But he is the only left-handed power hitter on the bench, which has only four players right now (one is the other catcher) as the Mets are carrying 13 pitchers.

With question marks about the durability of Zach Wheeler still unanswered and the fact that the other starters can’t seem to make it through the seventh inning yet, they need a lot of arms in the bullpen.  They no longer have Bartolo Colon to eat up innings and the absence of Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are more daunting than originally thought.  How many times can you run Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins out there?  Salas has already appeared in six of the Mets nine games and Blevins has appeared in five.  By The Way, they have combined for 8.2 innings of shutout relief with 12 strikeouts.

The most likely candidate is rookie Paul Sewald if only because Rafael Montero (7.71 ERA) was a former starter and might be able to provide innings.

Let’s hope the Mets training staff brings lots of SPF-50 on this trip as the Mets play three night games down here and may want to take advantage of the sunshine before they return home for a nine-game home stand and welcome the Nationals into Citi Field next Friday.

Seven Home Runs And A Hat Trick From Cespedes, As Mets Bash The Phils, 14-4

By Paul DiSclafani

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

Entering the game hitting .154 with just one RBI on a solo home run, Yoenis Cespedes cranked up the volume with three home runs and five RBI in the Mets 14-4 thrashing of their favorite punching bag, the Phillies.  The First Place Mets (5-3), who love hitting at Citizens Bank Park, banged out a season high 20 hits, hit a total of seven home runs and have now won three straight.  Lucas Duda, who hit his first home run of the year yesterday, hit two more today.  Asdrubal Cabrera and Travid d’Arnaud hit their first homers of the year.

Cespedes hit a three-run home run in the first inning after Curtis Granderson walked leading off the game and Cabrera got the first of his four hits, a double.  Phillies starter Clay Buchholz (L, 0-1) was down 3-0 before he even got an out.

Matt Harvey (W, 2-0) was the recipient of the early lead, but the Mets tacked on runs in every one of the next five innings, building a 10-1 lead, before Harvey left the game with hamstring tightness after racing to cover first with two outs in the sixth.  Terry Collins said Harvey felt fine after the game, but will be evaluated tomorrow.

But this night belonged to hitters as they battered the Phillies pitchers.  Buchholz lasted just 7 outs, charged with six earned runs and giving up eight hits.  Adam Morgan was rocked for four home runs, two from Cespedes, and seven runs in his 3.2 Innings.

Jay Bruce, who hit two home runs last night, drove in two runs with a single in the second inning to up the Mets lead to 5-0.  D’Arnaud made it 6-1 with an RBI single in the third.  Cabrera and Cespedes went back to back leading off the fourth to make it 8-1.  Cespedes with a 450-foot monster made it 9-1 in the fifth and Duda hit his first of the night leading off the sixth to put the Mets in double digits, 10-1.  D’Arnaud went yard in the 8th to make it 12-1 and Duda finished things off in the ninth with a home run to make it 14-4.

Mets go for the sweep on Wednesday as Zach Wheeler (0-1) makes his second start after returning from TJ Surgery in 2014, facing Vince Velasquez (0-1).  Both pitchers got battered in their first starts of the season.

POSITIVES:  Cespedes is the 13th Met to hit three home runs in a game, but the first to do it twice … Mets had 20 hits, 14 of them were extra base hits … Cabrera, Cespedes and Duda all had four hits … Mets have hit seven or more home runs at Citizens Bank Park four times, hitting eight in 2015 … First time in Mets history that three Mets have had a single, double and home run in the same game (Cabrera, Cespedes and Duda) … Mets have hit 46 home runs in their last 21 games in Philadelphia … Duda’s home run in the sixth hit off the brick wall in center field, about 448 feet away … Every starter in the lineup had a hit, including Jose Reyes.  Unfortunately, he was 0-5 in his other AB’s …

NEGATIVES:  What can you complain about on a night they hit seven home runs?

Bruce Goes Deep Twice, Mets Top Phillies, 4-3

By Paul DiSclafani

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

Jay Bruce went deep twice (for the first time as a Met), including a game changing 2-run home run into the second deck in the eighth inning, as the Mets (4-3) come back and beat the Phillies, 4-3.  The win puts the Mets into First Place in the National League East.

Bruce, with his third home run of the season in the fourth inning, bailed out starter Jacob deGrom (ND), who struggled in the first inning, putting the Mets into a 2-0 hole.  Batting cleanup for the first time this season, Bruce cut the lead to 2-1.  With the scored tied 2-2 in the eighth, Bruce hit a bomb well into the second deck at Citizens Bank Park, with two strikes and two outs, putting the Mets ahead, 4-2.  He already has four home runs in just seven games.

When Bruce was traded to the Mets on July 31st last year, he had already hit 25 home runs with the Reds.  He then hit two home runs in his first five games, but didn’t hit another one until September 1st.  Bruce hit just eight home runs with the Mets in his 50 games.

Prior to the home run, Asrdubal Cabrera was buzzed by Phillies pitcher Edubray Ramos (L, 0-1) with a pitch well over his head and into the backstop.  The pitch was payback for Cabrera’s bat flip last September, when he hit a walk-off home run in extra innings against Ramos.  Although the pitch didn’t hit Cabrera, it caused a stare down and some finger pointing, resulting in a walk to Cabrera, who scored on Bruce’s home run.

Both benches were warned and Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was ejected for arguing after the warning was issued.

DeGrom uncharacteristically walked leadoff batter Cesar Hernandez to start the game and found himself in a base loaded, one out situation after consecutive singles.  Michael Saunders then singled to right for the third straight hit, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.  Again, deGrom was facing the bases loaded and issued a 3-2 walk to Cameron Rupp to make it 2-0.  With deGrom struggling, Brock Stassi then hit it right back to the pitcher and deGrom started the 1-2-3 double play to get out of the inning.

The Phillies (3-4) wouldn’t score again.

DeGrom willed his way through six innings (2 ER, 2 W, 3K), giving the Mets a chance to get back in the game.  Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Bruce led off with a walk and went all the way to third on an infield single by Curtis Granderson when the throw to first skipped past Stassi.  Neil Walker then brought Bruce home with a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game, setting up the fireworks and heroics in the eighth.

The Mets bullpen did the rest, with a little drama along the way.  Jerry Blevins (W, 1-0) finished off the seventh inning for Josh Smoker, who put two runners on with a single and a walk as the Mets caught Howie Kendrick off first base in a run-down play after a pitch escaped Travis d’Arnaud.  Blevins then needed a double play to end the eighth after a two out single put the tying run at the plate.

In the ninth, Addison Reed came in for the save and gave up a home run to Stassi leading off the inning to make it 4-3, as Stassi got revenge for hitting into the double play in the first inning.  Reed then got a strikeout before Daniel Nava got a base hit to put the tying run on base.  But Hernandez filed out to center and Reed struck out Kendrick for his second save of the year.

Matt Harvey (1-0) gets the start tomorrow against Clay Buckholtz (0-0) as the Mets try to make it three in a row.  Mets complete the series with the Phillies on Wednesday, then travel to Miami for a four-game weekend series.  The Mets play their first 24 games of the season against the NL East, including six with Washington.

POSITIVES:  DeGrom got his 500th career strikeout in only his 77th career game, the third fastest Met to 500K behind Doc and Harvey … Mets had only four hits and Bruce had two of them.  Three of their hits went for extra bases … Granderson’s hit got him up to .208 … Blevins still hasn’t allowed a run

NEGATIVES:  Reyes went 0-4, dropping down to .037 … Phillies had 10 hits and Mets issued four walks … Mets were 0-5 with runners in scoring position

Paul DiSclafani is a featured writer on “A View From The Bench”, which has been recognized by Major League baseball as one of the top 100 blog sites.

They’re Back! Mets Clinch NL Wild Card With 27-12 Finish

Paul DiSclafani:

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

Come on, raise your hand if you thought this was even possible in the middle of August?

The Mets (87-74) get a chance to defend their National League Championship crown after beating the Phillies 5-3 and clinching the top Wild Card spot. They will now host the Wild-Card game on Wednesday night at Citi Field against either the St. Louis Cardinals or the San Francisco Giants.  The Wild-Card winner will head to Chicago to play the 100+ win Cubs in the best of five National League Divisional Series.

On August 20th, the Mets were sitting at 60-62 and had just lost the first two games of a four game series against the Giants in San Francisco.  They were 4.5 games behind the Cardinals for the final Wild-Card spot and both the Pirates and Marlins were ahead of them.  They were 7.5 games behind the Giants (68-55), who were in First Place in the NL West at the time, ahead of the Dodgers by a game.

Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard won the final two games to split the Giants series, then the Mets went into St. Louis and won two out of three. The Mets went on to win 9 of 11 to close out what started out to be a miserable August, then posted a 17-10 September.  They only needed one win in October to make up almost eight games in the standings.  They had a major league best 27-12 over that period of time.

Now they Mets face a one game playoff for the right to play in the NLDS, setting up a rematch with the Cubs, whom they swept in the NLCS last year.

This is only the second time in franchise history that the Mets were able to get to the post season in consecutive seasons. In 1999 and 2000, they lost in the NLCS to the Braves in 1999, then lost to the Yankees in the 2000 World Series.

Bartolo Colon (15-8) gets the clinching win, allowing just two runs and five hits in his five innings. Colon struck out four of the first eight Phillies he faced and will finish with the most wins on the team this season.

When asked about being the winning pitcher in the clincher, the 43 year-old Colon said, “This is very meaningful for me. It’s hard for me to believe I’m here at this age.”

Should the Mets advance to the NLDS against Chicago, Colon will most likely start the series. Colon was used exclusively out of the bullpen in the 2015 post season as Matt Harvey, Syndergard,  Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz made all the starts.  Now if the Mets expect to go deep into this post season, it will be Colon and Syndergaard sharing the bulk of the load.

James Loney put the Mets ahead for good with his 9th home run, a two-run shot in the 6th inning to make it 4-2.

Jeurys Familia got his franchise record 51st save of the season.

Sunday’s regular season finale will see most of the regulars getting the day off including Wednesday’s starter, Noah Syndergaard. There was talk Syndergaard might pitch a few innings, but that is not going to happen.

POSITIVES: Mets Bullpen put up 22 2/3 scoreless innings until Darin Ruf hit a home run in the 8th inning … Curtis Granderson is 12-23 this week …  Addison Reed got his 40th “hold” and finished the regular season with a 1.97 ERA …

NEGATIVES: Nah, not today!

Paul DiSclafani is a featured author at “A View From the Bench”, an official affiliate of MLB.com.  “A View from the Bench” is recognized in the Top 100 of MLB.com/blogs.

Mets Rout Phillies 17-0, Closing In On Wild-Card Berth

By Paul DiSclafani:

 AP Photo/Seth Wenig

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The Mets saved the best for last as they kicked a late Field Goal and beat the Philadelphia 17-0 in the last home game of the regular season. This was the largest shutout in franchise history.

The win, combined with a loss by San Francisco in San Diego, gives the Mets (83-73) a one-game lead over the Giants (82-74) and the lead for the top Wild-Card spot, which would result in the Wild-Card game being played in New York.  The Cardinals (81-73), who play the Cubs tonight, are in a virtual tie with the Giants for the second spot.

The Mets will head into Miami for three games starting tomorrow followed by a day off on Thursday, then to Philadelphia for the final weekend of the series. Although the series in Miami will have a heaviness to it after the tragic loss of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez early Sunday morning, the Mets just completed a powerful display hitting against the Phillies.

The Mets scored 43 runs in the four game series against Philly, matching a franchise record by scoring at least eight runs in four consecutive games. Of course, the Mets pitching gave up 23 runs in the first three games before rookie Robert Gsellman threw seven scoreless innings in the finale.

After falling behind 10-0 on Saturday and almost coming all the way back in a 10-8 loss, Gsellman was just what the doctor ordered for the Mets bullpen that was decimated in the previous three games. And what a three games it was.

On Thursday, Mets starter Seth Lugo gave up three runs in his five innings, but manager Terry Collins needed six other pitchers to complete the regulation nine innings, capped off by Jose Reyes crushing a 2-run dinger in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game 6-6 after Addison Reed gave up a go-ahead 3-run home run in the eighth to give the Phillies a 6-4 lead. Then the Phils got two runs off Jeruys Familia in the 11th, only to have Asdrubal Cabrera win it for the Mets with an improbable 3-run homer in the bottom of the 11th for a 9-8 Mets win.  Collins ended up using 10 pitchers in the game, nine of them in the final six innings.

Then on Friday, Collins burned through three pitchers in the first five innings before the Mets blew the game open with six runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh. Gabriel Ynoa threw 43 pitches in the first two innings and Logan Verrett followed with 46 more in the next two.  Josh Smoker needed 32 to get his three outs in the fifth, but he got the win.  Mets needed three more pitchers to finish the game, now having used 16 pitchers in two wins.

So of course, Saturday’s starter Sean Gilmartin couldn’t even get out of the first, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks. Rafael Montero came in to get the final out of the first inning, but he lasted only three more innings giving up five runs of his own to put the Mets in a 10-0 hole after just four innings.  You already know that the Mets AAA players took over and almost completed an improbable comeback, falling 10-8.  But it took five more pitchers to finish that debacle, bringing the total to 23 pitchers to complete three games.

It was up to Gsellman to save the day.  “Our bullpen was shot,” manager Terry Collins said. “When you run 23 pitchers out in three games, you’re out of gas. It was nice to be able to have comfortable innings at the end of the game.”

In the finale of the very entertaining series, the Mets pounded out 14 hits, had four players hit by pitches and worked out nine walks. They scores a season high 17 runs and even left nine runners on base.  Six Phillies pitchers threw 201 pitches in only eight innings.  Even Jay Bruce (remember him?) had two hits.

Curtis Granderson hit his 30th home run of the season, a career high and Jose Reyes drove in four runs, coming to bat four consecutive times with the bases loaded.  In the seventh, with the score 7-0, Cabrera hit a grand slam and in the eights, the Mets tacked on six more to complete the rout.

Now it’s on to Miami for what will unquestionably be an emotional experience. The Mets are banking on veteran Bartolo Colon to be up to the task.  “Tomorrow is going to be a rough one for everybody”, Collins said, “Because I’m sure they’re going to be all fired up not only to beat us, but in honor of Jose. But we’ve got to do what we’ve been doing — go out and play, execute. We’ve got to feel good because we’ve got Bart going tomorrow night, because if anybody can handle those situations, it’s him. We’ll see what happens.”

Six games left. The Mets have a Magic Number of 7 with the Cardinals, pending their game tonight.

REMAINING SCHEDULES:

  • Mets (6 games): 3 @ Miami; Thursday off; 3 @ Philadelphia
  • Giants (6 games): Monday off; 3 vs Colorado; 3 vs Dodgers
  • Cardinals (8 games): 1 @ Chicago; 4 vs Cincinnati; 3 vs Pittsburgh

HONORING JOSE FERNANDEZ

The Mets honored Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez before the game by hanging a #16 Mets jersey (Fernandez’ number) and his name in the dugout. The Mets will take the jersey with them to Miami for the series next week.

POSITIVES:  Mets home attendance (2,789,602) was the highest since the first season at Citi Field (3,154,262) … Four hit batters were a franchise record as Cespedes, Rene Rivera, TJ Rivera and Gavin Cecchinni were all bruised today … Two more home runs today gave the Mets 112 at home, a team record.  Their 212 overall is already a team record … Mets scored 28 runs (27 earned) against the Phillies bullpen in 17 innings … Jay Bruce, who hit the first pinch hit home run of his career in the Mets 10-8 loss, was 4-2 … TJ Rivera had two more hits and his average is up to .361 … Mets finished 44-37 at home this year. Mets were 49-32 at home in 2015.

NEGATIVES:  Granderson has just 56 RBI with his 30 home runs.  He needs 9 RBI in the final six games of the season or he will set an MLB record for the least amount of RBI for a player with at least 30 home runs – 64 set by Felix Mantilla (Red Sox) in 1964 and Rob Deer (Detroit) in 1992 …

Mets Ready to Raise Their NL Championship Flag as Phillies Come Into Town

By Paul DiSclafani

Citi fieldThe Mets (1-1) take on the Philadelphia Phillies (0-3) in the opener of the three-game series beginning on Friday night at Citi Field, where they will celebrate their 2015 National League Championship season with the raising of the NL Pennant and receiving their NL Championship rings.

With a rare two days off following Noah Syndergaard’s dominant performance against the Royals (6 innings, 2 hits, 9K, 0 runs) on Tuesday afternoon, helping them gain a split against the World Champs, the Mets take on a Phillie squad that got swept by the Cincinnati Reds in their opening series. The Reds (64 wins) and the Phillies (63 wins) posted the two worst records in all of baseball in 2015.

The Mets went 14-5 against the Phillies in 2015 and scored the most runs against them (111) than any other team. The Mets averaged almost 6 runs per game against the Phils (5.84).

With all the pomp and circumstance expected for the Mets 55th Opening Day on Friday afternoon, the Mets have compiled a league best 33-21 in home openers, including a 2-0 win over the Phillies last year.

PITCHING MATCHUPS:

With the impending birth of pitcher Jacob deGrom’s first child hanging in the air, the Mets rotation is a little in flux. Manager Terry Collins announced that if deGrom is unavailable Bartolo Colon will get the start against Jerad Eickhoff (3-3, 2.65).  Eickhoff (part of the Cole Hamel trade last July) started 8 games for the Phillies in his rookie season in 2015 and struck out 49, walking 13 in his 51 innings.

DeGrom (14-8, 2.54), the 2014 NL Rookie Of The Year, had 205 K in his career high 191 innings last year. He did not have his best stuff against the Phillies in 2015, pitching just 16 innings in his three starts (1-0) and surrendering 21 hits and 8 earned runs.  He will be at Citi Field on Friday, but should he get the call from his wife, he will depart and head down to Florida for a few days.

The veteran Colon (14-13, 4.16) is penciled in as the fifth starter, and won on Opening Day last year in Washington, but he made a relief appearance in Kansas City on Sunday night. The 43 year-old Colon has always feasted on the Phillies, going 4-1 against them last year with a 2.81 ERA.

That leaves Matz for game 2 on Saturday night. Matz (4-0, 2.27) made just six starts for the Mets in 2015 regular season due to injuries (34K in 35 inn), but made three post season starts (one in each series) with mixed results.

Matt Harvey, the Opening Day starter in Kansas City on Sunday, would then start the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

The Phillies are scheduled to throw Vince Velasquez in Game 2. Velzaquez came over from Houston as part of the Ken Giles trade in the off season.  The rookie started 7 games for the Astros last year (1-1, 4.37) and struck out 58 in 55.2 innings.

Jeremy Hellickson (0-0) started on Opening Day for the Phillies, throwing six innings with just three hits and one unearned run. He will start the series finale on Sunday afternoon.  Hellickson was 9-12 for the Diamondbacks in 27 starts last year.

WHO’S HOT

You couldn’t really use the word “hot” to describe any of the Mets batters after just two games. They managed just 13 hits against the Royals in the opening series and just two of them were for extra bases.  Michael Conforto drilled a double and Neil Walker hit the Mets lone Home Run.  Walker leads the team with 3 RBI and David Wright was on base four times (3 walks and a hit).

The Phils weren’t much better at the plate against the Reds in their 3-game disaster. They managed just 11 hits and four runs in the three games.  Freddy Galvis and rookie Maikel Franco each hit a HR and drove in 2 runs.

WHO’S NOT

Travis d’Arnaud is the only regular still looking for his first hit, going 0-6 against the Royals. Curtis Granderson is not that far behind him, going 1-8 and four strikeouts.

The Phils Odubel Herrera (1-6) and Peter Bourjos (0-7) helped the team to a .175 batting average coming into the series.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Looks like the best day, weather wise, might be on Sunday. The home opener will be cloudy and windy.  But it is Opening Day and that is usually a good day for the Mets.  You know, they did lose their first six opening day games and then eight of their first nine.  That means they are 31-13 since 1971.  This will be their 10th home Opener against the Phillies, the most against any franchise, breaking the tie against the Cardinals.  The Mets are 8-1 in home openers against the Phillies.

Want some more numbers? In home openers, the Mets are 10-6 in 1-run games and thrown 10 shutouts (including last year against the Phils) while being shut out just 3 times.

Mets are honoring long-time broadcaster Ralph Kiner with a pre-game tribute and unveil a Kiner logo on the left-field wall. I guess that now makes it a real Kiner’s Korner.  John Franco, Rusty Staub and Edgardo Alfonzo will be part of the NL Pennant banner raising ceremony and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will throw out the first pitch.