Dodgers-Mets Preview

At just 24 years old, the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey has taken

the game by storm in his first full season in the majors.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, are counting on veteran Ted

Lilly to give their injury-plagued rotation a much-needed lift.

Looking to become the first Met to win his first five starts in

seven years, Harvey takes the mound opposite Lilly, who’s set to

make his season debut Wednesday night when these clubs continue a

three-game series at Citi Field.

Harvey (4-0, 0.93 ERA) has been lights out thus far, striking

out 32 over 29 innings while limiting opponents to a .108 average.

He is the first pitcher in baseball’s modern era to win his first

four starts while yielding a combined 10 hits or fewer.

The right-hander gave up one run, four hits and struck out seven

in as many innings Friday in a 7-1 win over Washington.

“There’s going to be a lot of years you’re going to talk about

this guy,” manager Terry Collins said. “He pitched great, but

that’s the mark of a true ace. Games like that can spread to great

seasons.”

Harvey, who walked off to a standing ovation after outpitching

Stephen Strasburg, improved to 2-2 with a 1.42 ERA over six career

home starts.

“He functions on such a high octane already,” catcher John Buck

told MLB’s official website. “To be honest, I really don’t think he

cares who he’s facing.”

Harvey has a chance to become the first Met to win his first

five starts since Pedro Martinez in 2006. He’ll try to get the best

of Lilly, who’s eager to get back on the hill for the first time

since May 23 after recovering from shoulder surgery.

The left-hander, entering his 15th season, will help fill in for

the injured Zack Greinke and Chris Capuano.

“I spent plenty of time on the DL last year and I can’t wait to

get off it,” he said. “Unfortunately, to be completely frank, the

last thing we needed was something like what happened to Greinke

and Cappy going down. I hope they get back as soon as

possible.”

Lilly’s contributions will prove all the more crucial with Chad

Billingsley now out, too. Billingsley is set to undergo Tommy John

surgery Wednesday.

“We’re still in good order,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ll

end up with five guys that are accomplished starters (Clayton

Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Lilly and Capuano) and Greinke

on top of that. Nobody wants to hear our complaints. A lot of teams

would like to have five accomplished major league starters.”

Lilly is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA over six starts versus New York

(9-9). He can’t be looking forward to facing Marlon Byrd, who’s

gone 8 for 17 with a homer in their matchups.

After managing 13 runs over a six-game losing streak, Los

Angeles (9-10) has scored seven in each of its last two contests,

winning both. Mark Ellis did most of the damage in Tuesday’s 7-2

series-opening victory, going 4 for 5 with a pair of homers and

four RBIs.

“We’ve been lacking some big hits lately,” he said. “We haven’t

done a great job early on this season.”

Matt Kemp, who went 2 for 5 with a double, is a career .370

hitter (20 for 54) at Citi Field.

The Dodgers have outscored the Mets 38-19 during a five-game

winning streak. Los Angeles has also won five straight in New

York.