The Cincinnati Reds are surging behind Brandon Phillips, and the
New York Mets – specifically Jason Bay – are hurting.
Phillips looks to continue his red-hot hitting and lead the Reds
to a fifth straight win while the Mets may again be without Bay for
an extended period starting Saturday night at Citi Field.
Phillips is 11 for 22 with three homers and nine RBIs in the
past five games, as Cincinnati (36-27) has won four in a row to
open up a four-game lead atop the NL Central.
The second baseman homered for a third consecutive contest
Friday, connecting on a two-run shot to power a 7-3 win over New
The Mets’ loss may have been compounded when Bay left in the
second inning with a possible concussion. The left fielder was hurt
when he crashed into the left-field wall trying to catch Jay
Bruce’s inside-the-park homer.
He’s expected to go on the disabled list Saturday, the latest
setback for a player who has been an injury-plagued disappointment
in New York since signing a $66 million, four-year contract before
the 2010 season.
Bay missed the final two months that season because of a
concussion he sustained while slamming into the left-field fence to
make a catch at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s a combination of the way he hustles, and bad luck. You
feel for him. You know the way he’s worked to overcome some of
these injuries,” third baseman David Wright said. “Obviously, with
the head injury, you know you’ve got to be very careful.”
Bay is batting .187 with four home runs and six RBIs. He was on
the disabled list from April 24 until June 6 with a broken rib and
is 2 for 25 since being activated.
Scott Hairston will likely step in with Bay out. He hit his
sixth homer in his past 14 games Friday after replacing Bay.
Giving the ball to Jonathon Niese (4-2, 3.69 ERA) may help the
Mets bounce back since he’s 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA and 28 strikeouts
in 25 2-3 innings over his past four starts. The left-hander has
been even better in the last two, allowing only two unearned
Niese didn’t get much help in Sunday’s 5-4 road loss to the New
York Yankees, as he left after the seventh with a one-run lead only
to watch three relievers allow three runs in the last two innings.
He cruised through six before a seventh-inning error by Wright was
followed by a two-run homer.
Niese is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in three starts against Cincinnati,
allowing five homers in 18 2-3 innings. Two of those have come off
the bat of Phillips, who’s 5 for 10 in their matchups.
The Reds counter with Homer Bailey (4-4, 4.35), whose last three
road starts have resulted in Cincinnati victories. The right-hander
is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in that stretch.
Bailey’s last two games ended in Reds home defeats, while he’s
0-1 with an 8.38 ERA. He allowed three runs and struck out seven in
6 2-3 innings Sunday against Detroit, leaving with a 6-3 lead
before the bullpen allowed four runs in the eighth.
Bailey struggled greatly in two starts against the Mets last
season, surrendering 13 runs and 21 hits over nine innings.