Welcome to this Years First Edition of “Chatter Up”, Throughout the season we will be asking 5 questions to each teams affiliate blogger concerning their respective teams and the upcoming series. We open up with the hottest rivalry in the division for the last few seasons, The Philadelphia Phillies Vs. The New York Mets.
Answering our questions concerning the Mets and this upcoming series we have James Figueroa from “The Real Dirty Metsblog”
Q: What do you see the Mets doing Long Term with their open spots in the rotation behind Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana?
A: If by long term your referring to this season, I would say the rotation will be as it was on opening day. Realistically, I see Oliver Perez back in the rotation soon followed by Jon Niese. The real question mark is John Maine. I think the Mets will take a hard look at a guy like Milwood and perhaps make an offer for his services but thats about it. I do not think Roy Oswalt is coming to the Mets.
Q:Â Has this rivalry become the second biggest in baseball behind the Yankees vs Red Sox?
A: If both our teams are playing well and are healthy, absolutely. No rivalry in ALL of sports is going to top Yanks/Sox, everyone knows this. Due to our recent history and the close proximity of our towns, it is the second biggest rivalry in sports. Id say the twins/sox/tigers is a close third.
Q:Â After this weekendâ€™s attendance for the Subway Series do you see the Mets fans packing the stadium this week for this rivalry as well?
A: I think it will be packed. Philly fans are very loyal to their team and they do not have a problem showing up in other peoples houses. I expect a similar crowd to the subway series, especially since we beat the Yankees 2 times in a row and we are playing good baseball.
Q:Â If and When Carlos Beltran comes back, Do you see the Mets keeping Pagan in the starting line up using him in right field rather than the struggling Jeff Franceour?
A: That is an option. Due to Pagan’s awesome play this year, there is no doubt the Mets have to keep him when Beltran comes back. The obvious odd man out when that happens should be Gary Matthews Jr(im sure nobody will shed a tear at this point). The good thing about Pagan is his ability to play all the outfield positions and play them well, not to mention he can handle a bat. Pagan has played himself into the long term plans of this team.
Q: What do you feel will be Daniel Murphyâ€™s Ultimate role to the Mets once he is ready to return?
A: His role should be what it was always supposed to be, a utility player. Daniel Murphy is a grinder who’s hard work is something that makes him a good role model for guys coming up, which seems to be the direction the Mets are going in. The players like Murphy and management likes Murphy. The other thing about Daniel that is great is his great attitude toward doing whatever the team needs him to do. Right now, he is learning other positions in AAA to help our club. A guy with that work ethic is hard to come by and is one they should try to hold on to.
Answering our questions about the Phillies and the Upcoming series we have Matt Smith from “Phillies Phandom”
1) Have the Phillies considered yet that Jimmy Rollins Calf injury might just be a lingering injury that could affect him most of the season?
It’s a definite concern, but I think Rollins and the team feel that the injury won’t hinder him throughout the year. Right now it’s considered a mild calf strain, which isn’t as severe as the first time. He should be back after the 15 days. Then again, his game is based largely on his speed, so you never know.
2) Do the Phillies handle series against the Mets any different now that they have owned the rivalry for the past 3 seasons?
It’s still a huge rivalry to the Phillies. The Mets are feeling good after taking two of three from the Yankees, while the Phillies have to regroup following their worst two games of the year against Boston. As far as I’m concerned, this is an important series. If the Mets sweep, they would be only two games out of first place.
3) Are the Phillies worried about the Back end of their Bullpen with the recent struggles of Ryan Madson and the durability of Brad Lidge?
Jose Contreras has done a fantastic job in Lidge’s place. Danys Baez is just another guy. The bullpen is average at best, but not bad. I think the team realizes it can get by without Lidge and Madson for a while. Right now, the bullpen situation is not a concern.
4) Who do you feel will be the biggest threat to the Phillies in this yearâ€™s NL East Race down the road?
The Braves are playing really well right now. With their starting pitching, they can get hot and stay hot. I would say they are the No. 1 favorite to knock off the Phils.
5) Are there any problems the Phillies are concerned about for the rest of this season, despite looking as the class of the NL once again thus far?
Injuries. We’ve managed to be OK without J.A. Happ and Rollins virtually the entire season. We’re hanging on right now, but one more major injury would kill us. Every team has its issues, but at this point, I don’t see how the Phillies lose the NL East unless major injuries are a factor. This is a team that knows how to win when it has to win.
Special Thanks to both James Figueroa and Matt Smith
Check out there blogs for more information on these teams:
The Real Dirty Mets Blog
Phillies Phandom Blog