The New York Mets simply own the Philadelphia Phillies this season, and will shoot for a three-game sweep when the two NL East rivals collide this afternoon from Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets are 10-4 against the Phillies this season and have taken the first two installments of this series, including last night's 3-2 victory. Lucas Duda put the visitors ahead for good with a two-run homer in the top of the third inning and starting pitcher Matt Harvey had an RBI single.
Harvey also allowed both runs in 6 1/3 innings for the win, and four relievers kept the Phillies off the board the rest of the way. Frank Francisco fanned a pair of batters in the ninth inning for his 22nd save and secured New York's fifth straight win in Philly. The Mets are 7-1 as the guest in this series.
"He has extraordinary stuff," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Harvey. "He kept the damage down and pitched very well."
New York, which squeezed out a 9-5, 10-inning win on Tuesday, has won four in a row overall and is unbeaten (2-0) so far on a nine-game road trip through Philadelphia, Miami and St. Louis. Last night's win for the Mets marked the first time they have prevailed in at least seven games in Philadelphia since 1972, when they won eight of nine at Veterans Stadium.
The Mets look for another win in the City of Brotherly Love with Jonathon Niese on the mound Thursday. Niese is 2-0 with a 2.55 earned run average in four starts against the Phillies this season and last faced them in an 11-1 victory on July 3, when he fired eight innings of one-run ball.
Niese is 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 12 career starts against Philadelphia. He was on the losing end of a 3-1 decision his last time out in a 3-1 loss to Houston on Friday, as he gave up all three runs in seven innings to fall to 10-7 in 25 starts with a 3.51 ERA. Niese had won two straight and three of four starts entering the Astros matchup.
Philadelphia has dropped two in a row since winning four straight, and will close out a 10-game homestand this afternoon. Tyler Cloyd made his major league debut for the Phils last night and was tagged for three runs and seven hits in six innings of work. Cloyd, who was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, took the place of an ill Cole Hamels and threw 102 pitches, 70 for strikes.
"I thought he did fine, kept the ball down, had good location," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He gave us a chance to win the game. He looked in control and his command was good."
Cloyd could stay in the rotation after the Phillies placed Vance Worley on the disabled list with a balky right elbow. Worley is expected to undergo surgery for loose bodies in his elbow.
"It's something I thought I could make it through," Worley said on the club's website. "We all kind of talked it over. We feel like this is the best thing to do right now, have the surgery now and prepare for next season. [I'll] get a couple extra weeks to work on making sure my arm's good and conditioning myself."
Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins had an RBI apiece last night for Philadelphia, which is 5-4 so far on the homestand and 10 games off the Wild Card lead. New York is also 10 games off the pace.
The Phillies will begin a six-game road trip against Atlanta and Cincinnati this weekend, starting with three games at Turner Field.
Taking the mound for Philadelphia today will be Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick has been on fire lately with three straight wins, allowing a total of two runs in that span, and is coming off Friday's 4-2 triumph over Washington in which he gave up a pair of runs in 6 2/3 innings. Kendrick is 7-9 with a 4.12 ERA in 30 games (18 starts) this season.
The right-hander is 0-1 in two relief appearances against the Mets this season and 4-7 with a 3.68 ERA in 17 career matchups, 11 of which have been starts.