A big series with the Phillies starts tonight and all eyes will be on Billy Wagner. The current Met and former Phillies closer had an MRI today after feeling some discomfort on Sunday. He’s been diagnosed with a muscle spasm and is considered day to day. Wagner is a big part of the Mets bullpen (obviously) and if the Mets have any shot at winning the division he’s got to be running on all cylinders.
The Mets will send Johan Santana to the mound in game 1. The Phillies will be throwing new acquisition Joe Blanton. You have to give the Phillies kudos for trading for Blanton. Their rotation really needed help for them to be able to contend for the division (much like then Mets needed but didn’t get late last season) so they went out and got a quality pitcher. Although Blanton has underachieved this season he is a winning pitcher and they got him for almost nothing. (The centerpiece of the deal was a minor league second baseman that is blocked by Chase Utley.)
Other players to watch this series include Carlos Delgado (can he continue his hot hitting and Oliver Perez (will he be the pitcher he was against the Phillies on July 6 or the one he was when he against the Giants on June 2).
The second half officially heats up from here on out. Both teams had a tune up after the All Star break (even the Phillies got swept by the Marlins) but with a tie for first place and 63 games left (the season is almost 2/3 done) the race is officially on.