Right-hander Kyle Kendrick can provide himself a late birthday present on Tuesday night when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the New York Mets for the second test of a four-game series at Citi Field.
Kendrick, who turned 29 on Monday, is winless in three starts since an Aug. 6 defeat of the Chicago Cubs in which he pitched six innings and allowed four earned runs in a 9-8 triumph.
He's gone 0-2 in three outings since, allowing a combined 12 runs on 12 hits in 15 1/3 innings while falling to Washington and the Los Angeles Dodgers and getting a no-decision against Colorado.
The Phillies were blanked, 6-0 and 5-0, in the two losses.
He last faced the Mets on July 19 at Citi Field and was a 13-8 winner in spite of being nicked for six runs on nine hits in just 5 2/3 innings.
Lifetime against New York, he's 8-7 in 21 appearances.
For the Mets, lefty Jonathon Niese can continue a four-game unbeaten string since his last loss.
The Ohio native was dealt a 5-2 loss by the Chicago Cubs on June 15 at home, but is 2-0 with a pair of no-decisions in four outings since - in which he's allowed just nine runs in 22 1/3 innings.
He picked up wins at Arizona and San Diego and no-decisions at Atlanta and home with the Braves while lowering his earned run average a bit from 4.15 to 4.03.
Niese is 5-6 in 14 career starts against the Phillies.
On Monday, Cliff Lee pitched eight solid innings and Cody Asche hit a two-run triple as the Phillies took a 2-1 win.
Lee (11-6) gave up just one run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts to win for the first time since July 5 against Atlanta. Michael Young had two hits and scored once, while Darin Ruf also scored for the Phillies, who have won seven of their past nine games.
Zack Wheeler (6-3) was the hard-luck loser as he worked 6 2/3 innings and gave up just two runs and five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Andrew Brown drove in the lone run of the game for the Mets, who have dropped five straight.
The Phillies won seven of the first 12 games with the Mets in 2013, though New York won two of three at Citi Field from July 19-21.