Mets-Phillies Preview

A day after their longest home winning streak in 19 years ended,
the Philadelphia Phillies must be very confident they won’t lose
again Sunday at Citizens Bank Park with Roy Halladay on the
mound.

The Phillies ace has been brilliant at home recently, has
already dominated the New York Mets once this year and now faces
them in the first of two straight outings in this series
finale.

Halladay (13-8, 2.17 ERA) is 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in his last
three outings, striking out nine each time. His return to the site
of his perfect game May 29 was a successful one Tuesday, as he
allowed one run in seven innings of a 6-1 victory at Florida.

“You feel like every time he’s out there, good things should
happen,” right fielder Ben Francisco said. “He has lived up to it
this year. We’ve probably put a lot of pressure on him, but he has
been good every night out, and it makes it pretty easy on us.”

Halladay has been extremely tough in his last five starts at
Citizens Bank Park, going 4-0 with a 0.43 ERA. It’s where he faced
the Mets (55-55) in his lone start against them this year, pitching
a three-hitter in a 10-0 victory May 1.

The right-hander also is slated to pitch against New York next
weekend at Citi Field. Halladay didn’t face Carlos Beltran earlier
this season, and the Mets center fielder is 11 for 27 against
him.

The Phillies (61-49) had won 12 straight at home – their longest
streak since a 16-game run in 1991 – before losing 1-0 to the Mets
on Saturday. New York improved to 5-3 against Philadelphia this
year as Johan Santana pitched into the eighth inning to outduel
Cole Hamels, who gave up a homer to Jeff Francoeur in the
seventh.

Francoeur came up with his second go-ahead homer on this road
trip, having hit a solo shot in the ninth inning Tuesday in a 3-2
win at Atlanta. His latest came on a day when he was told by
manager Jerry Manuel that he would platoon with Fernando
Martinez.

“If my name is in the lineup, I’ll play,” Francoeur said.
“That’s all I can do.”

Philadelphia has been shut out four times by New York and scored
one run in the other defeat. The Phillies have totaled 28 runs in
their three wins over the Mets.

The Phillies managed five hits Saturday, including a single by
Raul Ibanez that extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Ibanez is
batting .418 with three homers and 13 RBIs in that span.

Philadelphia dropped two games behind the first-place Braves in
the NL East race.

The Phillies will get a second look at Mets starter R.A. Dickey
(7-4, 2.36), who baffled them by giving up seven hits over six
innings in an 8-0 win May 25.

That marked the second straight game the Phillies failed to
score against a knuckleballer after Tim Wakefield pitched eight
scoreless innings against them in Boston’s 8-3 win May 23.
Philadelphia fared better in its second game against Wakefield,
scoring four runs off him in a 5-3 win June 13.

The Phillies will look for similar improvement against Dickey,
who allowed two runs over six innings Tuesday and did not get a
decision against the Braves. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 2.63
ERA in his last six road outings heading into his first start at
Philadelphia.