Matt Harvey will try to lift the spirits of the New York Mets when he puts his unblemished record on the line Wednesday in the middle test of a three-game series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field.
Harvey is a perfect 4-0 in his first four starts with a sparkling 0.93 earned run average and has pitched at least seven innings in each outing.
The young right-hander is holding opposing hitters to a .108 batting average and is trying to become the first hurler since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to begin a season with five straight starts of seven or more innings allowing just one run or less.
In his last start on Friday against Washington, Harvey held the visiting Nationals to a run and four hits in seven innings and struck out seven. He did walk a season high three batters.
Harvey leads the National League in wins and is tied with Boston's Clay Buchholz for the major league lead.
New York was handed a 7-2 loss in Tuesday's series opener with L.A. as Daniel Murphy finished with two of the Mets' four hits. Murphy and David Wright both had an RBI for the Mets, who have lost five of seven games. Mets starter Jon Niese lasted only 2 1/3 frames, giving up one run and three hits, and had to leave the game after taking a comebacker off his leg.
"He's fine. He's getting better as the night goes on, so he'll be OK," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Niese.
Brandon Lyon was dealt the loss in relief and surrendered a three-run homer to Mark Ellis in the seventh inning.
The Mets are 2-2 on a nine-game homestand.
Los Angeles has won back-to-back games since losing six straight and got four hits and four RBI out of Ellis. Matt Kemp added two hits, Justin Sellers went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and Adrian Gonzalez scored twice.
"It felt good to get hits when we needed them," Ellis said of the 12-hit night.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did not record a decision and gave up two runs and three hits in five innings. Ronald Belisario struck out two in a scoreless sixth inning for the win.
Taking the mound for the first time this season for Los Angeles will be Ted Lilly. Lilly is the eighth different starter for manager Don Mattingly and began the season on the disabled list due to left shoulder surgery. Lilly last started May 23 at Arizona and went 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts a year ago.
The left-hander pitched at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on April 16 in a rehab assignment and permitted four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in five innings. In seven career games (6 starts) against the Mets, Lilly is 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 36 2/3 innings.
New York was 3-4 against the Dodgers a season ago and has lost the last five meetings between the two clubs.