Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets Preview and Pick – Kyle Kendrick vs. Mike Pelfrey

Philadelphia Phillies (4-4) Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 7.20) +120 at New
York Mets (2-4) Mike Pelfrey (ND) -135, 9.5 O/U, Shea Stadium, 7 PM
EST, Wednesday

by Badger of

On paper, tonights Phillies-Mets game looks like just another early
April clash between the two heavyweights of the National League East.
But its oh so much more than just another game.

There most obvious storyline developing for this game, one that is
suddenly reaching the level of late-season importance for both teams,
is how well the Mets react to losing their home opener yesterday,
5-2. When the Mets bullpen gave up all five runs in the late innings,
the collapse mirrored the Mets collapse to the Phillies at the end of
the 2007 season. The Mets have now lost nine straight to their
rivals, and how they react in tonights game will be crucial.

This game will also be a statement game for both of its young
starters, Phillies Kyle Kendrick and the Mets Mike Pelfrey. Both
teams really need these guys to pitch well and stabilize their
respective rotations, and to date neither of them has inspired much
confidence from their teammates. Which one, if either, of these young
right-handers steps up tonight could go a long way toward figuring
out which team is at the top come October.


Baseball Bookies have opened the game with the Mets as -135
favorites on the moneyline, with the Phillies as +120 underdogs. The
over/under total opened at 9.5.

On Tuesday, the Phillies tagged Mets lefty Scott Schoenweis with 3
runs in the seventh inning (only one earned), and his righty
counterpart Aaron Heilman for two runs in the eighth to steal another
victory from New York. Not only did it ruin a strong outing from
starter Oliver Perez (5.2 IP, 3 H, 3BB), but it also added more
layers onto the Mets-Phillies rivalry. Not only do the Mets have to
stop their current three-game losing streak tonight, but they also
have to win to shake the 300-lb. gorilla that is the Phillies off of
their back in the process too.

The Kendrick-Pelfrey pitching matchup is huge as well.

Kendrick, who was great down the stretch last season (2-0, 3.00 in
last three starts) for the Phillies, only pitched so-so in his opener
last Friday (an 8-4 loss at Cincinnati). Kendrick allowed four runs
on 8 hits and 2 walks in his five innings versus the Reds, but the
outing was a slight improvement after having a brutal spring training
(19 ER in 17.2 IP).

Pelfrey is making his first start of the season after having his own
brutal spring (35 hits, 19 ER in 21 IP). Pelfrey was named the Mets
5th-starter until El Duque is ready, so not only will he be pitching
to snap the Mets losing streak but also for his future MLB roster spot.

Ironically, these two have faced each other already back on July 1st
of 2007. The Phillies won the game 5-3 (the first win in their
current nine-game streak over the Mets), and Kendrick got the win
with six innings of 6-hit, 2-run baseball. Pelfrey pitched okay in
that game as well (5 IP, 4 H, 3 R), but hell have to do better
tonight with a lot more pressure riding on the game.

The Phillies are not just 4-4 on the season, but they are also 4-4 on
the runline bet and 4-4 on over/under bets this season. The Mets are
2-4 on the season and 2-4 on the runline, but their offense (and lack
of pitching) has propelled them to a 4-2 O/U record so far.

Badgers Pick: Im looking for more struggles for young Kendrick and
Pelfrey tonight, especially Pelfrey. The Mets will come out
determined versus Kendrick, but the Phillies will tag Pelfrey around
too. Take the over of 9.5.