The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t do themselves any favors in the
NL wild-card race by dropping three of four games in Houston over
the weekend. With time winding down, they’ll need to take advantage
of the next struggling team on their schedule.
Cliff Lee looks to continue his hot stretch while opposing Cy
Young Award contender R.A. Dickey in the opener of a three-game
series with the host New York Mets on Monday night.
Philadelphia fell four games behind St. Louis for the league’s
second wild-card spot after a 7-6 loss to the major league-worst
Astros on Sunday. With 15 games remaining, the Phillies (73-74)
have ground to make up – and four teams ahead of them – with little
time to go.
“It shouldn’t be deflating,” said Jimmy Rollins, who had three
hits. “We lose games. If we lose, we just don’t have any more
Manager Charlie Manuel has plenty of confidence his team can
make up the games necessary to sneak into the postseason.
“We have been in tougher situations than this,” Manuel said. “We
have to keep going and keep trying. We have to play like hell, but
we can do it. We aren’t going to give up. We are going to play it
out. We have done it before.”
Manuel-led Philadelphia overcame a seven-game deficit with 17
games remaining to win the 2007 NL East title by one game over the
Mets, but all New York can do this season is play spoiler.
It hasn’t been very effective in that role lately. The Mets
(66-80) have dropped eight of their last nine after mustering only
two singles while falling 3-0 in Milwaukee on Sunday.
Lee (5-7, 3.36 ERA) will look to take advantage of a New York
lineup that has been shut out three times during its slump.
The left-hander has been fantastic over his last four starts,
going 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA after allowing an unearned run and four
hits in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Miami. He’s pitched at least into
the seventh in his last 11 outings and hasn’t allowed more than two
earned runs in his last five.
Lee will be facing the Mets for the fifth time this season after
going 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA in the first four. He gave up two runs
and struck out nine in eight innings of a 9-2 victory July 4 at
Citi Field in the most recent outing.
He’ll oppose Dickey, who may be in line to add some hardware
after the season despite his team’s struggles.
Nearly one-third (20) of New York’s victories have come when
Dickey (18-5, 2.68) starts, and the knuckleballer surely will
garner plenty of Cy Young votes at season’s end.
Dickey gave up three runs in seven innings in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss
to Washington, matching the amount of runs he allowed in winning
his previous three starts.
“I felt really good with R.A. on the mound. You’re thinking he’s
going to get us to the ninth inning and we’re going to give
ourselves a chance here,” manager Terry Collins said. “It didn’t
The right-hander allowed one run over seven innings in beating
Lee and the Phillies on April 13, but he allowed five runs and 11
hits in seven before the Mets let him off the hook with a 6-5 win
Dickey is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in five career home starts against
the Phillies, including a one-hit, 1-0 victory Aug. 13, 2010.
The Mets have won 10 of 15 meetings this season.