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.