Additionally, New York will aim to extend Cliff Lee's disappointing start, as the left-hander remains in search of his first victory of the season. At 0-5 with a 4.13 ERA, Lee comes off his shortest outing of the season in which he allowed six earned runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Marlins on Friday. Yet despite his empty win column and struggles over his last four starts (20 ER, 35 hits allowed in 24 2/3 innings), Phillies manager Charlie Manuel retains his confidence in the left-hander.
"I think that he keeps his cool real well, but he's such a competitor that he thinks about it, knows it's there and is trying a little too hard," Manuel said. "He'll get through this. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. You ask how does this happen? It's baseball. Denny McClain won 32 games, then lost 22 with the Senators. How do you explain some things?"
Meanwhile, Mets manager Terry Collins remains as mystified as the rest of baseball when it comes to Lee's lack of victories.
"They've had big injuries. They've got a great lineup, two big pieces are out. We know how that feels," Collins said. "But the reason that's made them so great, at least one of the reasons, is that pitching staff. And I just can't figure out why Cliff hasn't won a game yet. It just doesn't add up, he's too good. The times we've faced him this year, you don't score many."
Lee is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA, 20 strikeouts and three walks in three starts against the Mets this season. His last outing against New York came on May 30 at Citi Field, when he surrendered three earned runs on seven hits over six innings in a no-decision.
While Lee has struggled to gain his first victory, Chris Young returns to the bump for the Mets looking to continue a string of positive performances since returning to the rotation on June 5. Through five starts this season, Young is 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA, including a 6 1/3-inning effort with two earned runs allowed in his last outing against the Dodgers on Thursday.
Young has allowed just two earned runs in four of his five starts (three earned runs in the other), and walked eight over 30 innings of work. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA in seven career starts against Philadelphia.
Phillies: Pence pounding the ball
Hunter Pence has transitioned from June to July by hitting .357 (15-for-42) with three home runs, seven RBIs, nine runs scored, five walks and three doubles since June 23. That run includes five multihit games, and Pence scored a run in eight consecutive games from June 24-30. Pence is hitting .325 (39-for-120) since June 1, after hitting .262 (53-for-202) in April and May combined.
Mets: Murphy finding his groove
The first 10 weeks of Daniel Murphy's season were notable for his lack of power production. However, Murphy has turned his season around in the last week by filling up the stat sheet. Since June 26, Murphy is hitting .481 (13-for-27) with three home runs (his first three of the season), 13 RBIs, six runs scored and four doubles. It took Murphy from May 30-June 24 to knock in his previous 10 runs. He also had just three doubles during that stretch.
The Mets have scored 178 runs with two outs this season, which is best in the NL.
The Phillies have converted 62-of-75 (82.7 percent) stolen-base attempts this season. Juan Pierre needs one more theft to reach 20 stolen bases for the 12th consecutive season.