In all the years I have watched Mets baseball, this might be the strangest, and there have been a lot of strange seasons recently.

After an awful start to the season, a torrid eight-game winning streak, and a slump, the Mets are on another winning streak again.

This time, the Mets have won three in a row to get back to .500 at 23-23 on the season, and actually find themselves tied for last place.

The NL East has been so up and down this season and anything could give. Anything, meaning the Mets can win their series against the first-place Phillies today if they can get some solid pitching once again from Hisanori Takahashi and some perfectly executed offense like last night.

Takahashi was pretty darn impressive in his first Major League start against the Yankees on Friday, shutting them out over six innings of work, only allowing five hits and striking out five.

The Yankees had some tough right-handed hitters in there as in Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez, and Takahashi had no problems.

Now, the left-handed Japanese import will face a Phillies team that is predominantly left-handed in the likes of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez, so you’d figure Takahashi should throw a good game.

Taking a look at yesterday’s results, those aforementioned Phillies left-handed hitters didn’t fare well against a soft-tossing right-hander. Chase Utley had a very hard time getting around R.A. Dickey’s knuckler, so we’ll see how they can do against a lefty who’s having a good season.

If Takahashi can hold the fort down, the Mets should feast off of Phillies starter Joe Blanton.

This season, since returning from injury, in four starts, Blanton is 1-2 with a high ERA of 5.06. In only 26.2 IP he’s allowed five home runs, which is about one home run every five innings.

He may not have to worry about the long ball at Citi Field, other than Rod Barajas, but he’ll have to worry about the Mets’ suddenly streaking offense.

The Mets are starting to do things offensively that they haven’t done all season. That’s hit with RISP and drive in the runs with runners at third and less than two outs.

Last night, the Mets got an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly, plus all the hitting from Jose Reyes that has all of a sudden sparked this team.

Over the last few games, the Mets have gotten production from Reyes, who had a classic Reyes game last night, Jason Bay, and David Wright.

If the Mets can put together a good offensive showing and pitch solidly every game, they will be in many and can win many.

The Mets currently have the most home wins in the entire National League with 17. So they have an oppurtunity to take a home series from the Phillies and further cut into their first-place advantage.

Another advantage the Mets have, besides the starting pitching, for this game is the bullpen. With Raul Valdes coming in for the final three innings last night, that gave the key five relievers in the Mets bullpen a full two days rest.

The Mets were off on Monday and yesterday Jenrry Mejia, Pedro Feliciano, Fernando Nieve, Ryota Igarashi, and Francisco Rodriguez all rested.

That, coupled with the Phillies having a not-so-decent bullpen without their closer Brad Lidge means the Mets have the bullpen advantage.

So with the starting pitching, bullpen, and home-field advantages, the Mets should come away with a victory and series win over the Phillies.

Hisanori Takahashi vs. Philadelphia (May 2 in relief)
ND, 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 hits, 0 BB, 1 SO

Joe Blanton vs. New York (career)
2-0, 1.59 ERA, 28.1 IP, 20 hits, 7 BB, 16 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Philadelphia)
April 30: New York 9, Philadelphia 1
May 1: Philadelphia 10, New York 0
May 2: Philadelphia 11, New York 5
May 25: New York 8, Philadelphia 0
Series tied 2-2

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