New York Mets young fireballer Matt Harvey hasn't put together back-to-back winning starts in over two months and looks to achieve that goal Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Harvey ended a five-start winless drought (0-1) his last time out in a 4-3 victory at Atlanta on Tuesday, as he struck out a career-high 13 batters and allowed three runs in seven innings. Harvey hasn't prevailed in consecutive outings since opening the campaign 4-0 with a 0.93 earned run average. He is 6-1 overall in 15 starts to go along with a 2.16 ERA.
The right-hander sports a 4-0 mark in six road assignments and defeated the Phillies back on April 8 with seven innings of one-run ball to back his team's 7-2 triumph. Harvey is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three career starts against Philadelphia.
Philadelphia hopes John Lannan can match the youth and energy Harvey brings to the mound when he toes the rubber in the finale of this series. Lannan was activated off the disabled list in time to start Monday's 5-4 win over Washington and the former National gave up two runs in five innings.
Lannan, a left-hander, made his first start since April 17 and is 0-1 with a 5.49 ERA in four appearances. The first-year Phillie has made 12 career starts against the Mets, going 5-4 with a 3.46 ERA over 75 1/3 innings.
The Phillies blew a 7-1 lead in Saturday's middle portion of this three-game series, but were able to come back in dramatic fashion for an 8-7 victory. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon blew his third save of the season in the ninth and was soon credited with the win when Kevin Frandsen blasted a Carlos Torres offering to deep left field to win it.
The Mets rallied for four runs in the seventh and evened the score at 7-7 with two more in the ninth. Mets third baseman David Wright talked about coming up short afterward.
"We did a nice job of battling back and in one pitch it was over," Wright said. "That's the way the game goes."
Ryan Howard had a big afternoon by going 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBI, while Michael Young also went deep for the Phillies, who ended a two-game slide and won for the fifth time in nine tries. Before leaving the game with a balky back, Phils starter Jonathan Pettibone hurled six innings of one-run ball. Michael Stutes also left with a shoulder problem and allowed four runs, three of which were earned.
Philadelphia is 6 1/2 games off the NL East lead and will start a 10-game road trip Monday against San Diego, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
New York can still grab a series victory over the Phillies with a win Sunday and had won two straight and four of five games until the recent defeat. The Mets put forth a valiant effort to erase a six-run deficit, then, as Wright said, it was all over.
Torres took the loss and starter Dillon Gee was roughed up for six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in five innings. Gee surrendered three homers.
"It definitely stinks to know that if I had just been a little better, we would have won this game," Gee said. "This loss was totally on me."
The Mets are 4-3 on an 11-game road trip and will next visit the Chicago White Sox for two games, followed by a matchup with Colorado.
Philadelphia is a solid 6-2 against the Mets this season and 10-2 in the previous 12 meetings between the NL East rivals.