By: Stache Staff

PreGame: Philadelphia Phillies (26-24) at New York Mets (27-22)


Coming off a Memorial Monday loss at home, the Mets take the field again tonight looking to even the series with the surging Philadelphia Phillies. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. and the game can be seen on SNY or heard, as always, on WFAN 660AM.  Join the conversation on Twitter by following @dailystache or yours truly, @DevOnSports.

Jeremy Hefner toes the rubber for New York, aiming for a bounce back effort after rain altered his first career start last Thursday. The Phillies counter with veteran Joe Blanton, who will be making his 11th career start against the Mets and second this season.

The Tuesday Mets lineup against Blanton gets a makeover from Monday’s lineup against Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Lefties Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis return to the top two spots while Mike Nickeas starts at catcher, hitting seventh. The lineup also features the Mets debut of Omar Quintanilla, who will wear No. 6 and play shortstop. Quintanilla was called up when Justin Turner was placed on the DL with an ankle sprain. He takes the 40-man roster spot of Manny Acosta, who was designated for assignment after another poor performance on Monday. Chris Schwinden takes Acosta’s spot in the bullpen.

Mets Lineup:

Baxter - Nieuwenhuis - Wright - Duda - Murphy - Davis - Nickeas - Quintanilla - Hefner

Small Sample Stache: Since plateauing at a .415 average on May 21, David Wright is 4-for-26 over his last seven games and hitless in his last four, dropping his average all the way down to .373.

Phillies Lineup:

Rollins - Pierre - Pence - Wigginton - Victorino - Polanco - Galvis - Schneider - Blanton

Small Sample Stache: Pesky Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre is 8-for-16 this season against Mets pitchers. It should shock no one that all eight of those hits are singles.

Pitching Matchup:
NYM: Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 8 K) – Hefner makes his second start of the season with the hope that he’s allowed to get through this one unimpeded. In his first start on Thursday night, Hefner rolled through the first two innings allowing just one hit. But after a 68-minute rain delay, Hefner came undone, allowing four runs in the third inning and another two in the fourth.

Prior to last Thursday’s game, Hefner had appeared in two games in long relief, totaling eight innings with just two earned runs allowed on seven hits. Tonight will be a good test to see if Hefner was truly impacted by the delay or if he’s just not an MLB caliber starter right now.

PHI: Joe Blanton (4-4, 4.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 44 K). – Blanton enters tonight’s game looking to right the ship after two straight dreadful starts. Blanton hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning in either of his last two outings, allowing seven runs in each on nine and 10 hits against the Red Sox and Cardinals respectively.

The Mets last saw Blanton earlier this month on May 8 in Philly and scratched four runs off of him on five hits in six-and-two-thirds innings. The game saw the Mets rally from a 4-0 deficit to win 7-4. Nieuwenhuis was 2-for-3 with a walk off Blanton that night and Wright also had two hits. Wright and is 7-for-26 lifetime off Blanton and Ike Davis has five hits in 14 career chances against the Philadelphia righthander.

Stache Keys to the Game:

  1. Early and Often – The Mets can’t be sure what they’re going to get out of Hefner tonight, so it’s going to be the duty of the offense to put them in position to win the game. Blanton is clearly vulnerable, but he doesn’t walk many so the Mets would be wise to ditch the overly patient approach and be aggressive.
  2. The Hef – New York could use the version of Hefner that pitched five innings of four-hit, two-run ball against a talented Blue Jays team two weeks ago rather than the one that got rocked by the light-hitting Padres last week.
  3. Don’t Get Hurt – Injuries are starting to mount again for this team and though players can’t play like they’re afraid to get hurt it might be wise to just be careful. Until Tejada, Thole and Bay get back, depth is going to be an issue.

This Date in Mets History:
On this date in 1971, Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan each went nine, combining for 26 strikeouts and allowing just one run each as they pitched the Mets to a doubleheader sweep of the San Diego Padres. The ’71 season was Ryan’s last as a Met. Also on May 29, 1990, a member of that ’71 team, Bud Harrelson, was named the 12th manager in Mets history, succeeding Davey Johnson as skipper.

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