Tuesday is the kickoff of a three-game series between National League East opponents from Citizens Bank Park where the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies will renew their rivalry. Both of these teams have been absolutely brutal in June (and for the Mets, all season). New York is 9-12 this month and is 37-41 overall, nine games out of first place in the division and 3.5 out of the Wild Card. The Phillies are 6-13 this month, and 1-9 in their last 10 games. At one point, they were in first place in the division but now find themselves looking up to Atlanta in the division. They are, however, only one game out of the last Wild Card spot, currently held by the Colorado Rockies.
For the Mets, Walker Lockett will take the ball for the second time this season. He didn’t fare too well in his debut last time out, lasting only 2 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs and only struck out two en route to a 7-4 loss in Chicago. The former Padres’ fourth-round pick features three pitches in his arsenal: a fastball, a curveball, and a change. He does also have a cutter in his repertoire, but it is very rarely used. He is not a big strikeout guy, as most of his career he has been right around 6-7 K/9 and his fastball only reaches about 94 miles per hour.
For the Phillies, Jake Arrieta will get the ball for his 16th start in 2019. So far he is 6-6 with a 4.12 ERA. This year Arrieta has been very up and down; however, he has turned in two straight quality starts over the last two weeks. Against Arizona and Washington, he went six innings each time and gave up a combined four runs. Unfortunately, in the Washington game, where he gave up one run, he ended up taking the loss in a 2-0 final.
Arrieta is not the pitcher he used to be with the Cubs, and that is obvious, but he still is very reliable. His velocity has dropped a tad, and he isn’t getting the strikeouts he used to either. He is, however, giving up a lot of home runs and hard-hit balls. His FB/HR% is at 20%, and his hard-hit percentage is 38.6%. He is going to need to do some serious work to get the Phillies back on track.
Batter To Watch
Bryce Harper. He was supposed to be the savior for this Phillies franchise after signing a 13-year, $330 million deal in the offseason. Sadly enough for Philadelphia fans, he is having a miserable year. He is slashing only .248/.364/.461 with 13 home runs. What is weird is his BABIP is higher than his career norm, but he is striking out more than usual and walking less than usual. He is having an especially tough time with righties this year, batting only .241 compared to his career average of .284. If the Phillies have playoff hopes, Harper desperately needs to get back to his MVP form.
Walker Lockett? Really? If this Phillies team can’t get it going against a mediocre minor league pitcher, it is never going to happen. Take the Phillies.
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