After bouncing back from a rough trip to Houston with a 3-1 victory against R.A. Dickey and the Mets on Monday, the Phillies look to make it two consecutive wins on Tuesday night at Citi Field. At 74-74, they are 3 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League's second Wild Card spot, with a couple of other teams still ahead of them.
Philadelphia's Tyler Cloyd will take the mound on Tuesday to face a struggling National League East foe that's lost nine of its last 10 games. The Mets have not scored more than three runs in a game at Citi Field since Aug. 12., a span of 14 home games, a franchise record.
Pitching on three days' rest Thursday, Cloyd struggled in a loss to the Astros. The 25-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.95 ERA since his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
This will be Cloyd's fifth Major League start, but second against the Mets, whom he debuted against. He pitched well but took the loss in that game, a 3-2 New York victory on Aug. 29 at Citizens Bank Park.
The winning pitcher in that game was Matt Harvey, who on Tuesday will make his final start of the season before he is shut down on an innings limit. The rookie right-hander has impressed over his nine Major League starts, owning a 2.92 ERA and recording 63 strikeouts over 52 1/3 innings.
Though Harvey (3-5) has pitched well enough for a victory in each of his three prior home starts, he is still seeking his first home win.
"He's been so impressive," Mets manager Terry Collins said after Harvey's last start, a 2-0 loss to the first-place Nationals on Wednesday. "We've got something special."
Phillies: Utley works out at third base again
Chase Utley, the Phillies' five-time All-Star second baseman, worked out yet again at third base before Monday's series opener at New York. Utley and the Phillies are contemplating the position move to open up second base for talented 22-year-old Freddy Galvis and fill a position that lacks many good free-agent options.
"I think I've been out there three or four times," Utley said, referring to his pregame workouts at third base. "Every time, I get a little more comfortable. But I think there's still a lot of work to be done. So far it's going well. I feel like I've progressed a little bit, but there's still more room for improvement."
Though Utley continues to put in the work at the hot corner, he will likely only see game action at the position this year if the Phillies are out of contention for the National League's second Wild Card spot.
But could the Phillies learn enough about Utley at third base if he plays merely a couple games there before season's end?
"Realistically, I don't think so," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "But if he really dedicates himself to doing it, I think the probability of him being able to do it is much higher than it is with other people. I think more than anything else, this is finding out if in fact he feels comfortable enough doing it. Having him play third base just gives us another option. And what's wrong with giving us another option?"
Cliff Lee recorded his 1,500th career strikeout in Monday night's 3-1 win over the Mets. It came on a 1-2 cutter that caught New York's Jason Bay looking at strike three. Lee struck out 10 over eight innings en route to his sixth win of the year.
Mets: Dickey denied 19th win
R.A. Dickey was yet again denied his 19th win on Monday night, though he pitched well in a 3-1 loss to the Phillies.
The righty knuckleballer allowed just three runs (two earned) on five hits over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two. It was Dickey's second consecutive loss when allowing three runs.
Dickey (18-6) is set to make three more starts this season. He trails Washington's Gio Gonzalez by one for the Major League lead in wins, but his 2.67 ERA leads the NL.
Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 4.99 ERA) will start Wednesday's series finale. It will be the rookie right-hander's 11th start of the season.
The Mets have agreed on a two-year player development deal with the Las Vegas 51s, the club announced on Monday. The 51s, who had most recently been affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays, play in the Pacific Coast League. New York's Triple-A club had been based in Buffalo, N.Y., for the last four years.
David Wright is seven hits shy of passing Ed Kranepool for most in Mets history. Derek Jeter, Todd Helton and Michael Young are the only three active players to lead their franchise in hits.
This is Jimmy Rollins' fourth season in which he registered at least 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Bobby Bonds (nine seasons) and Barry Bonds (seven seasons) are the only players to accomplish that feat more times.
In advance of the Mets' final homestand of the season that began on Monday, about 60 temporary seats were installed down the first- and third-base lines at Citi Field. The chairs are also expected to seat fans during next July's All-Star Game festivities.