Coming off a start in the All-Star game in his home park, New York Mets righty Matt Harvey faces a tough task Sunday afternoon going up against Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Harvey heads into the rubber match of this three-game series at Citi Field leading the National League with 147 strikeouts. He's also tied for third in ERA (2.35) and is limiting opponents to a batting average of .196, which is also a top-5 stat in the NL.
Aside from pitching two innings Tuesday at Citi Field, Harvey's last regular season appearance came in San Francisco on July 8, when he didn't get a decision after allowing three runs over seven innings during the Mets' 4-3, 16-inning win.
Harvey, who is 0-1 over his last three starts, has yet to lose in his career against the Phillies. He's 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four lifetime games.
It's been a long time since Harvey's had a winning decision at Citi Field. He's 0-2 over his last nine home starts and hasn't won in Flushing since April 19 versus the Nationals.
Lee was on an incredible roll, going 8-0 over a 12-start span until his final start prior to the All-Star break. That's when the lefty suffered a 5-1 loss to the Nationals. Lee gave up four solo homers over his seven-inning performance.
Over his career, Lee has fashioned a 5-1 mark with a 2.09 ERA in nine starts against the Mets.
New York evened this series yesterday thanks to a 5-4 victory.
Five different Mets knocked in a run and New York rattled Cole Hamels during a three-run first inning. Daniel Murphy and Marlon Byrd each had two hits and Juan Lagares went 3-for-5, all driving in a run apiece to help the Mets end the Phillies' seven-game run over the club in Queens.
David Wright and Anthony Recker each recorded an RBI as well, and the Mets survived in the ninth after Bobby Parnell served up a two-run homer to Chase Utley.
Zack Wheeler struggled with his command and exited with the bases loaded after working 4 2/3 innings, but Gonzalez Germen (1-1) put out the fire by recording the final out of the fifth.
Philadelphia put up 13 runs to capture the series opener on Friday, but the offense stalled in Saturday's middle test, going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Hamels (4-12) has never lost so many games in a season over the course of his career. He was lifted after five innings, charged with four runs on seven hits in the setback.
"The Mets have always been tough on him here," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Hamels. "They grind out their at-bats on him and make him pitch."
The Phillies are 7-4 versus the Mets this season, sweeping a three-game set in New York from April 26-28.