On the eve of May and the PHillies first series with the New York Mets, there are a few questions that I’ve been thinking about. (That picture from Newsday always makes me laugh. I love it)
1. How great was that Mets game last night? The Mets made such a big deal out of them getting two of the top closers from last season, only to go and watch their starting pitching collapse so far this season. The bullpen was the problem last season, but the starters aren’t pulling their weight so far this season. I tweeted about this yesterday, but I think it’s time for the Mets to learn that you can’t buy a World Series. The Yankees tried it for a few years until they realized it doesn’t work. Now they’re trying to groom their young prospects and get back to the World Series that way. As long as Omar Minaya is the GM of the Mets, they won’t learn that lesson.
2. How amazing has Raul Ibanez been? I know it’s been all over the place, including on this very site, but the start for Ribbie has been incredible. I’ll admit that I was skeptical when the Phillies signed him, but he has erased all the doubts that Phillies fans had. A few words of caution however. Pat the Bat had many a hot April before fading considerably down the stretch. Ribbie is also 36 years old and will be approaching 40 when his 3 year deal is up. I’m very happy that he’s started off the way he has, but can he maintain this pace, not only this season, but 2 years from now?
3. Can we officially tag Cole Hamels as “injury-prone?” It seems as if we can so far this year. First, he had shoulder issues in spring training. Then, he got hit by that line drive off of Prince Fielder’s bad. In his latest incident, he rolled his ankle fielding a bunt. I think the shoulder issues had to do with how much he pitched last year. He’s still relatively young and hasn’t really worked that much in his professional carer up until last season. The line drive and ankle roll were simply bad luck. Hamels was pitching well before he got injured against the Nats, so hopefully he is back to the form he was at when he was the World Series MVP.
4. What should be done when Carlos Ruiz comes off the DL? The Phillies face a roster decision this week when Carlos Ruiz comes back from the DL. Chris Coste and Lou Marson have been splitting the time behind the plate with Ruiz out. Marson has been doing a decent job while Coste has been terrible offensively. I think his offensive struggles are a result of his increased playing time. Coste is a backup catcher and pinch hitter. He’s not used to playing this much and the effect it has had on him is obvious. Marson is young and needs a little more time to develop, but I think he might just stick around, rather than being sent back down to Lehigh Valley. The best move, in my opinion, would be to cut Migue Cairo loose and let Marson stick around. That way, Coste could be the right-handed bat off the bench and 3rd catcher, while Marson backs up Ruiz and gets some playing time at the big league level. It might make more sense to have him play everyday at AAA, but it would also be beneficial to upgrade both the Phillies’ offense and defense at the same time.
5. Will the now “un-retired” Jimmy Rollins follow through on his claim to hit .400? At the beginning of the season, J-Roll said he was retiring from the prediction game. I was glad that he said that, because all of the stuff with the Mets was getting old and they needed to move on. However, Jimmy backed down from that statement by predicting that he’d hit .400 in the month of May Rollins made a similar claim back in August of 2005. He said that he would hit .400 for the month of September. As we all found out, he batted .402 and finished the season on a 36 game hitting streak. I really hope Rollins can at least come close to that next month because he is absolutely dreadful right now. If it wasn’t for his defense, he’d be on the bench right now. Charlie Manuel has already benched Rollins the past two Sundays in order to try and break him out of his slump, but it really hasn’t happened yet.
This series is going to be a big early test for both teams. The Mets need to do well in order to shake off the notion that the offseason acquisitions weren’t enough. The Phillies need to do well in order to firmly establish themselves as legitimate division contenders.
Neither of the teams’ ace pitchers are going during the series, but ti will be exciting nonetheless. Mets pitcher Oliver Perez gets one last shot to keep his rotation spot on Saturday, so here’s hoping the Phillies knock him around a bit.
As our guest poster rfom earlier said, Phuck the Mets.