Image via WikipediaNew York Mets (11-14) at Philadelphia Phillies (16-8), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Mike Pelfrey (1-2, 7.23) Philadelphia - Vance Worley (0-0, 0.00)
Injuries are starting to pile up for the heavily-favored Philadelphia Phillies and their pitching staff has been hit the hardest.
Joe Blanton is the latest victim to land on the disabled list, as he was slated to pitch Friday's opener of a three-game series versus the despised NL East-rival New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Instead, Blanton will head to the DL and Vance Worley will begin a nine-game homestand on the hill tonight.
Blanton is battling a right elbow problem and will join fellow hurlers Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero on the infirmary list. Starter Roy Oswalt has been given a leave of absence to deal with family issues involving disastrous storms in his hometown and catcher Carlos Ruiz is expected to miss some time too with a balky back. Worley, meanwhile, was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and went 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA in four starts for the Iron Pigs.
Worley, a right-hander, got his first taste of major league action last season when he compiled an 0-1 mark with a 1.38 earned run average in five games, two of which were starts. Worley faced the Mets in an inning of relief on Sept. 26 during a 7-3 loss and recorded a walk and a strikeout.
Phillies starters were amazing in a four-game sweep at San Diego, as Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay each came out victorious against the Padres. The buzz wore off in a three-game set at Arizona with Cliff Lee and Oswalt losing the first two tests of the series. Hamels avoided the sweep with a solid performance in Wednesday's 8-4 victory over the Diamondbacks and yielded three runs and four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.
"I don't necessarily think it was a pickup," Hamels said of lifting his team to victory. "It's just what we try to do. We try to go out and win as many ballgames as we can. You're not necessarily going to have good games all of the time. These are some of the best pitchers in the game. Just knowing that, you have to earn your end of the bargain and come away with the victory."
Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard all homered, while Rollins went 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored for the Phillies, who have won six of eight games and have a chance to post their best mark for wins in April. They set the club record for wins in the month with 17 back in 1993, when they captured the NL pennant.
The Phillies will also host the Nationals and Braves on the homestand.
New York had a season-high six-game winning streak stopped with Thursday's 4-3 loss at Washington in the finale of a three-game series. Chris Capuano had a subpar outing on the mound last night and surrendered all four runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
Jose Reyes and Ike Davis each had two hits and an RBI for the Mets, who got three hits out of Josh Thole. Davis is riding a career-best 10-game hitting streak in which he's batting .472 with three homers and eight RBI.
"It's not a good feeling, but we won the series," said Reyes. "We have to feel happy we won two out of three."
The Mets were happy to see starter Mike Pelfrey get back on track in his previous outing and he will get the nod again tonight. Pelfrey was able to find the win column for the first time this season and had been 0-2 with a 9.72 earned run average in his first four starts before defeating Arizona exactly a week ago.
Pelfrey limited the visiting Diamondbacks to one run and five hits in seven innings with four K's and two walks. The right-hander was able to lower his ERA to 7.23 in the process.
Pelfrey, who is 0-2 in three away starts this season, owns a 4-6 record to go with a 4.22 ERA in 16 career starts against the Phillies.
Philadelphia won two of three meetings with New York earlier this month at Citizens Bank Park and has been victorious in seven of the past 11 matchups between the two clubs.