To the left are our aces for this series, hard at work during spring training. After a disappointing rain-shortened series against the Phillies, where Aarons Rowand and Heilman stole wins from our grasp, the Mets square off against the Milwaukee Brewers in a series that is sneakily important. This series could put the Mets and Phillies perilously close in the NL East standings if the Mets can't get hot again. It is also worth noting that the Mets will face the Cardinals and Yankees in the two ensuing series. This makes this seemingly meaningless Wisconsin three-gamer 2003 Mo Vaughn-huge in terms of momentum. For the sake of the blue-'n-orange, this series will hopefully be something of an easy one. Here's why it won't.
Game 1: Friday, 8:05 (EDT)
Jose Lima, RHP (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Dave Bush, RHP (2-4, 4.13 ERA)
Game 2: Saturday, 7:05 (EDT)
Jeremi Gonzalez, RHP (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs. Dana Eveland, LHP (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Game 3: Sunday, 2:05 (EDT)
Pedro Martinez, RHP (5-0, 2.89 ERA) vs. Doug Davis, LHP (2-2, 5.32 ERA)
MIL Breakdown: Record- 17-18
This team is okay. They've been inconsistent and are streaky without a doubt. As of now, they're a squad buoyed by young production from Bill Hall, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy. However, they would be nowhere without the 15 HR and 30 RBI of Carlos Lee. His production is the difference between a record of nearly .500 and a markedly worse one. This Brewers squad is not a pushover by any means. The only everyday players on the team below a .275 BA are J.J, Hardy and Brady Clark, two players with suberb defensive capabilities. And Clark, to his credit, has still managed a .331 OBP. The Mets saw this group earlier this year, in a series where viewers were treated to Glavine's brilliance, Trachsel's underwhelmingness (along with Jorge Julio pre-success) and Bannister's magic acts. This time around, the Brewers are long separated from their torrid start and are proving to be a team with a moderately good outlook for the ensuing years. Their pitching has been about average, considering their injury-prone ace Ben Sheets has done what he does best: get hurt. Chris Capuano, the left-hander with dirty changeups and pickoff moves, has been strong. Innings-eater Tomo Ohka has done exactly that and Dave Bush has held his own. While Doug Davis has been disappointing, his performance is offset by a dominant bullpen, spearheaded by closer Derrick Turnbow (11 SV, 1.38 ERA) and reclamation project Dan Kolb (2-0, 0.93 ERA). Change-up artist Matt Wise (2-2, 3.65 ERA) completes a tough triumverate in the endgame.
Players to Watch for:
MIL: Carlos Lee. El Caballo, a notoriously streaky hitter, has gotten off to a good and surprisingly consistent start. Watch for him to hit some balls really, really far.
NYM: Jose Reyes. No SB in the last 11 games. Killing my fantasy team? Yes. Hurting the Mets? Yes. Let's go, Jose.
Player of the Series: Carlos Lee
Picks: The Beermakers take two of three in this one, with the Mets salvaging the final start of the series on a strong show from Pedro. Pero no, they get swept.