Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big Mo: Who's Got It And Who's Lost It

Everyone connected to sports likes to talk about momentum and the role it plays in success. If it does, the Phils are in trouble the next three nights because they lost theirs long ago while the Mets have rediscovered theirs.

Right now the Phillies look like a team that expects to lose. There is little fire and even less plain common sense. Batters are not working the counts. Hitters cannot hit the other way. Base running is erratic. The Black Hole at the bottom of the lineup has resurfaced with a vengeance. Though the pitching remains generally strong, it cannot make up for the offensive deficiencies.

Last, but not least, the manager continues to make his share of mistakes not the least of which involve the lineup card he fills out every night. The drumbeat for removing Carlos Ruiz from the lineup if not the roster grows louder with each passing game. His substitute, Chris Coste, is also in a big funk.

The Mets just came off a tight series in Cincinnati where they split four games after winning ten straight. They, too, have had their problems, especially with injuries, but they have the look of a confident club particularly when going head-to-head with the Phillies. In the last meeting between the two the New Yorkers took three out of four from the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.

Tonight the Phils may get an edge when Joe Blanton, new to the league and to some of the Mets (he's faced the team twice in his career), gets the start. That edge is substantially dulled by his mound opponent, Johann Santana. Tomorrow night Brett Myers seeks redemption. I wouldn't bet on it. On Thursday night Jamie Moyer, aka 45-year old Jamie Moyer, gets the nod. Will the magic continue for him? The last time out he pitched a decent game against the Mets but was let down in part by his defense.

Two out of three would be sweet. One out of three would be realistic. None out of three would be bad.

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