Phillies-Mets rivalry makes '09 debut
Philadelphia (11-9) vs. New York (9-12), 7:05 p.m. ET
The commercial for WPIX-TV in New York opens with a picture of Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and the infamous quote from his offseason appearance on WFAN radio: "For the past two years, they've been choke artists."
The screen flashes: "Choke on this!"
Ah, it must be time to rekindle the rivalry between the Phillies and Mets. The teams meet Friday, opening a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
"The Mets are a great organization," veteran Matt Stairs said. "I think sometimes people make comments from both sides and it just carries over. We're not going to approach the Mets any differently than Washington or San Diego or whoever it is. The crowd is into it. They enjoy it."
The recent histories of these two teams have been well documented, and for good reason. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies the team to beat in the National League East in 2007, and the Phils became the first team in baseball history to overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play to make the postseason.
The Phillies then overtook the Mets with another late-season surge in 2008 -- after trailing by 3 1/2 games with 16 games to play -- to win the NL East on their way to winning the World Series for the first time since 1980.
"We've played everybody [in the NL East] except the Mets," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm sure this weekend is going to be real exciting, like always."
These teams do not like each other very much, which means it should be another interesting summer.
It all begins Friday in Philadelphia.
PHI: RHP Chan Ho Park (0-0, 7.16 ERA)
Park showed some of the promise he displayed in Spring Training during his start Saturday against the Marlins. He allowed four runs in seven innings, but he retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, and 12 of the final 14. His only problems against the Marlins came in the third, when he allowed a couple of home runs. The Phils are hoping Park can continue to pitch like he did in that game. If he does, they will feel better about their decision to award him the fifth spot in the rotation.
After missing a start because of tendinitis in his right forearm, Pelfrey resumed his season Saturday, throwing the Nationals to the ground in a lopsided Mets' victory. With his "bowling ball" working, Pelfrey achieved 14 of 17 outs on ground balls and allowed six hits and three walks. He was removed after throwing 95 pitches -- 54 strikes -- in 5 2/3 innings. Now, with an extra day of rest, he is to confront the Phils, who have beaten the Mets in three of the four career starts he has made against them. Pelfrey has pitched merely 22 innings in those four games, allowing 32 baserunners and four home runs. He has allowed three homers in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park, an average of 30 per 100 innings, compared to an average of six per 100 innings in all other parks. Tidbits
Hamels (mild left ankle sprain) and closer Brad Lidge (right knee inflammation) are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions Friday. If everything goes well for Hamels, he could pitch as scheduled Monday in St. Louis. If everything goes well for Lidge, he could be available to pitch Friday night against the Mets. ... The Phillies are hitting .522 (12-for-23) with the bases loaded. That includes three grand slams, nine walks and 38 RBIs. ... The Phils entered Wednesday ranked third in the National League in total attendance (464,215) and fourth-best in the Majors. Tickets
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WPHT 1210, WUBA 1480 (Español) Up next
Saturday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 3-1, 5.09) vs. Mets (Oliver Perez, 1-2, 9.31), 3:40 p.m. ET
Sunday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 0-2, 8.41) vs. Mets (John Maine, 1-2, 5.40), 1:35 p.m. ET
Monday: Phillies (Cole Hamels, 0-2, 7.27) at Cardinals (TBD), 8:15 p.m. ET
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.