What to look for: Phillies vs. Mets, 7:10 PM

Citi Field 1

The Mets will look for a series win against the Phillies on Tuesday night at Citi Field at 7:10 PM.

BaronHere is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:

Curtis Granderson – RF
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Daniel Murphy – 2B
David Wright – 3B
Michael Conforto – LF
Michael Cuddyer – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Ruben Tejada – SS
Jonathon Niese – LHP

Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:

Jon Niese (8-9, 3.95 ERA) will start for the Mets.

Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.79 ERA) will start for the Phillies.

Mets vs PhilliesHere’s what I’m looking for from the Mets tonight:

Smoother sailing for Niese.

It’s been two consecutive rocky starts for Niese, although the first one came in the hitters haven at Coors Field. But he got in his own way in his last start against the Phillies, and as has been the case in the past with him, he couldn’t stop the bleeding once he encountered adversity.

It’s important Niese put the last two starts in the rearview mirror and put in a solid effort tonight. His next start comes against Washington on Labor Day in Nationals Park, so going into that game and setting the tone in that series would be prudent for Niese and the Mets.

Who is closing?

The Mets need to get Jeurys Familia some rest. He’s had two long outings in a row, and he wasn’t particularly sharp on Monday night against the Phillies, nearly spilling the milk with a 3-1 lead.

Fortunately, the Mets have Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard (and dare I say, it Bobby Parnell) available to close, both of which have  a lot of experience in that role over the years. Hopefully the Mets offense can give the bullpen a little breathing room tonight to make things a little easier on the back-end, which has been heavily taxed over the last few weeks.

A cushion.

The Mets bats have been flat so far on this homestand. It’s not really a surprise after their incredible road trip, but the Mets haven’t really taken a lot of quality turns at the plate in their last four games, leading to struggles with runners in scoring position and a lot of strikeouts.

The good news is, in the last two games anyway, the Mets have found other ways to win thanks to some good pitching and stellar defense to go along with a scratch-and-claw kind of offense.

It would be nice if the Mets could build an early cushion against Harang tonight and give Niese some breathing room. But even more important is they get a big lead so to avoid having to use the aces in the bullpen, which again, are all very overworked.

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