Mets-Phillies Preview

Cliff Lee turned in a remarkable performance before spending

nearly three weeks on the disabled list.

The Philadelphia Phillies would surely love to see a similar

effort from their star left-hander – especially given their recent

inability to contain the surging New York Mets.

Lee tries to help the Phillies avoid getting swept by the Mets

at home for the first time in almost six years Wednesday night.

On the disabled list retroactive to April 19 with a strained

left oblique, Lee (0-1, 1.96 ERA) is expected to be activated and

take the hill for his fourth start this season. He declared himself

ready to go after a successful bullpen session Saturday.

In his most recent outing before getting hurt, Lee allowed seven

hits and struck out seven over 10 scoreless frames but didn’t

factor in the decision of a 1-0, 11-inning loss at San Francisco on

April 18.

“It’s the first time I ever threw 10 innings. It was neat,” said

Lee, who only threw 102 pitches and doesn’t believe the length of

the outing played a role in his injury.

The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner had gone 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA

over his first three starts against the Mets (17-13) before

yielding four runs in seven innings of a 5-2 loss April 13. Lee is

expected to throw around 80 pitches Wednesday.

It’s safe to say New York has had Philadelphia’s number of late.

One night after Jordany Valdespin had a pinch-hit three-run homer

with two outs in the ninth inning of a 5-2 victory, the Mets posted

a 7-4 win Tuesday – their 10th in come-from-behind fashion.

“We’ve been doing it for the past couple of weeks,” Lucas Duda

said. ” … The team battled, that’s what we want to do all

season.”

On the verge of a season-best fifth consecutive win overall, New

York has taken four of five from Philadelphia (14-17) this year.

The Mets haven’t swept the Phillies on the road since June 13-15,

2006.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, has lost four of five overall and

dropped to 5-7 at home.

“I think we’re tight, I think we try too hard,” manager Charlie

Manuel said. “That’s why we chase bad balls out of the strike zone

ahead in the count, that’s why we swing at first-pitch bad balls

and so on. I think we’re trying too hard.”

The Phillies look to bounce back against Dillon Gee (2-2, 4.50),

who gave up two runs, four hits and struck out six over six innings

Friday, but didn’t factor in the decision of a 5-4 loss to Arizona.

The right-hander has gone at least six innings each of his last

four starts – his longest such stretch since a five-game run May

19-June 10.

“Lately I’ve been making good pitches late in the game,” he

said. “I think I’ve grown as a pitcher.”

While Gee has won both his road starts while compiling a 2.57

ERA, he was hit hard during a pair of outings at Citizens Bank Park

last season, yielding a combined 12 runs over 5 1-3 innings. Hunter

Pence and Placido Polanco are each 1 for 6 against Gee.

Pence homered Tuesday for the fourth time in five days.

Mets catcher Josh Thole was placed on the seven-day disabled

list Tuesday with a concussion after taking an elbow to the head

during a home plate collision the night before.