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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM

ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball this week features a pair of teams who may have trouble competing with the Washington Nationals in the NL East. The Phillies continue to show signs of age without replenishing the lineup. The Mets continue to show signs of having no idea what they’re doing at the management level! This telecast will give handicappers a good look at teams they might want to consider fading against quality opposition.

Let’s take a look at how the seasons have started for these two big market, big money, potentially big headache teams for fans in New York and Philly…

 

CURRENT RECORDS

NY Mets: 4-2 (market projected 74-88 in Preseason)

Philadelphia: 2-4 (market projected 84-78 in Preseason)

 

OPPONENTS SO FAR

NY Mets: San Diego (3) and Miami (3), all in New York

Philadelphia: at Atlanta (3), vs. Kansas City (3) in Philadelphia

The Mets lucked into home games against two teams who were supposed to be equal to worse than they were this season. And, then they also lucked into a Sunday victory vs. Miami that should have been a loss. Nothing wrong with a 4-2 start…but you can’t really consider San Diego or Miami as tests right now, particularly if you’re playing them at home.

Philadelphia dropped two of three to likely contender Atlanta out of the gate. They needed a fortunate ninth inning Saturday to avoid getting swept by the Royals. Sure, Kansas City is supposed to be improved this year (and they look like they really have improved!). But, you can’t be a contender and play that poorly against the Royals.

Based on this first week of action in the NL East, the Washington Nationals don’t have much to worry about…

 

TONIGHT’S PITCHERS (stats from 2012)

NY Mets…Matt Harvey: 3-5, 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP

Philadelphia…Roy Halladay: 11-8, 4.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

Harvey made 10 starts last year, and certainly looked like he belonged in the Majors. Maybe he’ll be one of those guys with a big home/road split, which would spell trouble for Mets fans tonight. But, he could turn out to be one of the value pitchers of the first half of 2013, so scout him aggressively this evening. Halladay appears to have lost much of what made him so dominant. He’s made it clear he’s trying to re-learn how to pitch with lesser stuff. Atlanta hit him hard last week. And, that full season 4.49 ERA in 2012 was an obvious sign of trouble. The legal betting markets announced their skepticism about Halladay when they projected a win total barely above the .500 mark for the season.

It sounds ridiculous to give Matt Harvey the pitching edge over Roy Halladay. Let’s dig a little deeper…

 

INNINGS PER START AND K-RATE (stats from 2012)

Matt Harvey: 5.9 IP per start and 10.6 K-Rate

Roy Halladay: 6.3 IP per start and 7.6 K-Rate

The good news for Halladay is that the K-Rate is still decent. And, he got a lot of K’s in Atlanta last week. If the Braves made contact, the ball fell in for a hit! That 10.6 for Harvey should grab your attention. If he can maintain anything over 9.0 with adequate control this year he’s going to be a breakout story. The indicator stats today are making a pretty good case for Harvey all things considered.

Interesting pitching matchup because we may have a fading former star trying to hold on against an up-and-comer who’s about to really make a splash. Have the two ships already passed in the night? Or, is this where Halladay makes it clear that he’ll be okay when not facing top contenders? JIM HURLEY has some ideas about that. You can purchase Monday’s MLB slate plus the NCAA Championship game matching Louisville and Michigan right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Look for big game previews (with an emphasis on national TV showdowns) every day in MLB and the NBA through the Spring right here in the VSM blog. Another big money-making opportunity is always about to start!

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