Mets-Phillies always an early-season rivalry - Metro US

Mets-Phillies always an early-season rivalry

The Phillies have won four NL East division titles the last four years. They’ve also surpassed the Mets in virtually every way.

But that doesn’t mean the rivalry is any less fierce, particularly early in the season. Both teams are tied atop the division at 3-1 after the Mets’ 7-1 victory over Cole Hamels and the Phillies last night.

“Sure, I think it adds some drama because it’s New York-Philadelphia,” said Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton, who starts the second game of the series tonight. “The fans are into it even more. You can feel the buzz in the dugout and on the field. You have to treat it like just another game, but you can tell the buzz is there.”

The buzz for the Phillies started when Cliff Lee rejoined the team during the winter. After a 3-0 start with a sweep of the Astros, having the Mets in town only adds to the excitement.

“I think you have to be here to experience it,” said right fielder Ben Francisco. “You hear about it when you’re playing in another city. It’s cool to be in the middle of it. Every game is important.

“You just feel something extra when you play the Mets either here in Philly or in New York. You want to beat them maybe just a little bit more.”

The teams split 18 games last season.

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