Mets-Phillies Preview

While the Philadelphia Phillies remain all but certain to miss

the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, their recent play

has left them with a small glimmer of hope.

Philadelphia tries to win five in a row for the first time in

more than three months Tuesday night when it opens a three-game set

against the visiting New York Mets.

Despite sitting 16 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington

and a ways back in the wild-card standings, the reigning five-time

division champions don’t appear ready to give up on their season

just yet.

The Phillies find themselves in the midst of one of their better

stretches of the season, winning seven of nine – including a

three-game sweep of the Nationals over the weekend.

“Crazier things have happened,” Cliff Lee said after throwing

seven strong innings during Sunday’s 4-1 victory. “All we can do is

try to win each day. For the most part, we underperformed a

majority of the first half. We’ve only recently started to play the

way we should have. It’s not a surprise to us.”

Winner of 14 of 20 at home, Philadelphia now looks for its

momentum to carry over versus New York (59-69). The Mets have taken

eight of 12 in the series this year, going 5-1 at Citizens Bank

Park.

New York is coming off back-to-back victories over major

league-worst Houston, winning 2-1 on Sunday on Ike Davis’ solo home

run in the bottom of the ninth.

Davis has picked up the pace of late, going 11 for 32 with four

homers in his last 11 games, raising his average 10 points to

.223.

“Obviously, I don’t want to be a .220 hitter,” he told the Mets’

official website. “For having such a bad start – and possibly the

worst I’ve ever been on a baseball field in my entire life – right

now, I’ve really grinded it out. … As long as I play well enough

to get a job next year and keep playing baseball, that’s what I’m

excited about.”

Davis is 1 for 7 versus Phillies scheduled starter Vance Worley

(6-9, 4.06 ERA), who’s gone 0-3 with a 6.41 ERA over his last four

starts. The right-hander made it through six innings for the first

time over that stretch Wednesday, yielding two runs and eight hits

in a 3-2 loss to Cincinnati.

“I did get to six today, didn’t I?” Worley told the Phillies’

official website. “That felt good. It’s just part of the game, I

guess. I kept the team in it … so I can say that I did my

job.”

Worley has compiled a 9.00 ERA and .429 opponent batting average

in losing both matchups against New York this season. He’ll face a

Mets team, though, that’s scored 15 runs in its last nine

games.

Opposing Worley on the hill is Chris Young (3-7, 4.33), who

retired the first 15 batters he faced last Tuesday against Colorado

before coming undone during a 6-2 defeat. The right-hander gave up

four runs – two earned – and five hits over seven innings.

Since joining New York in 2011, Young has gone 1-1 with a 1.86

ERA over three starts versus Philadelphia. He’s limited Jimmy

Rollins to two hits in 16 at-bats, but the Phillies shortstop is 6

for 12 with five RBIs during the four-game win streak.