Halladay seeks rebound effort in opener with Mets

Nothing beats putting a rough start on the mound behind you than going out the next time and dominating opposing hitters.

Roy Halladay is in that situation and gets the call tonight for the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game series versus the National League East-rival New York Mets from Citizens Bank Park. Halladay and the Phils will commence an eight-game homestand this evening with visits from San Diego and Houston as well.

Halladay was crushed in his previous start, a wild 15-13 loss in 11 innings to the Atlanta Braves last Wednesday in which he gave up six runs in the fifth inning alone and eight overall over 5 1/3 frames. He avoided the loss, however, but is still winless (0-2) in his past three trips to the hill.

"You always talk about short-term memory, but you never forget those," Halladay said after the rough start in Atlanta. "It's happened. You don't forget about them."

The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.40 earned run average in six starts and has been especially successful in his career against the Mets, going 9-2 in 11 starts with a 2.88 ERA.

Philadelphia's other ace, Cole Hamels, got some decent run support in Sunday's 9-3 win over the Washington Nationals to help his club avoid a three-game sweep. Hamels struck out eight batters and yielded one run in eight innings to improve to 4-1. Hamels got some help from Hunter Pence, who belted a pair of homers and finished with four RBI.

Rookie Freddy Galvis knocked in a pair of runs and Placido Polanco added three hits and an RBI, as the Phillies finished with a 3-3 mark on their road trip.

New York enters south Philly on a high note after taking the last two tests of a three-game home series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Mets registered a 3-1 victory in Sunday's finale, as R.A. Dickey pushed his record to 4-1 with eight innings of one-run ball, four strikeouts and four walks. Tim Byrdak and Frank Francisco both shut the D'Backs down in the ninth inning with the latter notching his seventh save of the season for getting the final two outs.

Dickey talked about his performance after almost going the distance.

"I was much more angry about putting [New York manager] Terry [Collins] in a tough spot. I felt like I was good," Dickey said. "A leadoff walk in the ninth. That's my game. I got to land the blame there. I was a little bit upset with that."

Daniel Murphy had two runs batted in and Josh Thole added an RBI for the Mets, who lost four in a row, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Astros, before posting back-to-back wins.

Taking the mound for the Mets in Monday's series opener will be Jon Niese. Niese lost his last outing and is winless (0-2) in the past three starts, and is coming off Tuesday's 6-3 setback at Houston. He lasted just three innings and was reached for five runs and six hits, falling to 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in five starts.

The young lefty won at Philadelphia on April 14 this season with 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 5-0 triumph. Niese owns a 4-4 mark and a 3.58 ERA in nine career starts against the Phillies. New York took that series, 2-1, from April 13-15 and was beaten by Hamels in the series finale. The Mets have prevailed in five of the last seven matchups in this series.