The Diamondbacks roll out behind Ian Kennedy's red Nerf beard to open a three-game home series against the Mets.
First place is pretty much on the line now, every time the Arizona Diamondbacks take the field. They have a slim one-game margin which we well know could disappear fast. Then again, with the San Francisco Giants showing no signs of playing good baseball, the lead could grow (no jinx!).
The first test for the new NL West first place team is the New York Mets who come to town for a three-game weekend set that will hopefully draw more fans than the lowly Houston Astros. How bad are the Astros drawing? Their own mothers don't even watch them play! (thank you, we'll be here all week.)
Both the bean counters in the front office and the D-backs starting pitchers will be happy to see Houston depart. The normally solid starters -- Hudson and Saunders -- got shelled by the youngsters in what seemed like a classic case of unknown hitters doing damage in their first few times at the dish.
The D-backs were lucky to win 3-of-4 and they are lucky to have Justin Upton emerging into a star. We still can't get over his performance in that game on Tuesday. More good news for the Snakes, Chris Young looks like he's finally getting over his thumb / hand problem and getting back to being a productive offensive threat.
The Mets come to town to start a west coast roadie having won three of their last 10 games with a series split against the Padres, a series loss to the Braves and a sweep by Marlins. They are 58-59 and 19 games behind the Phillies...yikes!
Here's some more good stuff to consider about the Mets via AZ Snake Pit:
Series Preview #39: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Mets - AZ Snake Pit
They've scored five fewer runs than the D-Backs, and allowed four more.
Think about that for a second: what amounts to a one game's worth of runs is all that separates the two entirely different season trajectories. And what's more, the Mets have been a victim of circumstance in addition to random luck.
- Pitchers Johan Santana and Chris Young, who were expected to form a great 1-2 punch in the rotation, were both lost to the Disabled List for the season by the beginning of May.
- Key position players Jose Reyes, David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis and Jason Bay were so inspired by Santana and Young's example that they all missed significant time on the DL.
- The Mets play in the toughest division in the NL, which means that while we get to hang out with the Rockies, Dodgers and Padres, they have to play the Phillies and Braves 35 times this season.
So, in summation: the Mets are still kinda bad, but the aren't as bad as you (or I) remember them being, and they're just a couple of breaks from being downright contender-ish.
And here's the pitching match ups. We pretty much know what we'll get from Ian and Dan, but it sure would be nice to get a solid start from newly acquired Jason Marquis. Feel me?:
- Friday (6:40 p.m.) : Ian Kennedy (14-3, 3.20) vs. Dillion Gee (10-3, 3.93)
- Saturday (5:10 p.m.) : Daniel Hudson (11-8, 3.83) vs. Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.53)
- Sunday (1:10 p.m.) : Jason Marquis (0-1, 12.38) vs. Chris Capuano (9-10, 4.51)
All three games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona with live game threads at AZ Snake Pit.