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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Preview: Game 50 - Phillies at Mets - Mets Look to Rebound with Hefner on the Mound

Philadelphia Phillies (26-24) at New York Mets (27-22) 7:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
J. Blanton (R) 9 4-4 4.556.01-35.405/24@STLND4.11071-115.28.04
J. Hefner (R) 1 0-2 6.173.20-18.105/24SDL3.2960-211.26.17

Though Ryan Howard and Chase Utley remain sidelined, the Philadelphia Phillies are starting to pick up the pace offensively.

Visiting Philadelphia tries to climb three games above .500 for the first time this season Tuesday night in the second of three road games against the New York Mets.

The Phillies (26-24) have won five of six while averaging 5.7 runs - 1.5 more than their season mark. Philadelphia continued its recent offensive prowess Monday in an 8-4 series-opening victory at Citi Field.

Ty Wigginton went 3 for 3 with his fourth homer and a career-high six RBIs while John Mayberry added a two-run shot. Cole Hamels also came up big, throwing eight innings to help save the bullpen and earn his eighth win a day after Roy Halladay lasted just two innings in an 8-3 loss at St. Louis.

Halladay will have his sore right shoulder examined Tuesday.

"You know when you miss someone like Halladay, you're missing him, but there's nothing you can do about it," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It might get hard, but we're definitely not going to fold tent. We're going to try to outplay everybody."

The Mets (27-22) had won five of six before dropping to 1-16 when giving up at least six runs.

Hitting a major league-best .405 as recently as Thursday, David Wright's average has dropped to .373 due to an 0-for-14 drought. He had gone 10 for 22 (.455) in his first five games against the Phillies this season prior to Monday's 0-for-4 effort.

"David showed he's human, he can fall into a little funk just like everyone else," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's been so good for so long that you come to expect that he's always going to get a hit and we know that's not going to be the case."

Wright will try to emerge from his slump against Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton (4-4, 4.55 ERA), who after going 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA in his first seven starts has been hit hard in each of his last two. The right-hander allowed seven runs and a career-high four homers in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to Boston on May 19 before giving up seven more runs and 10 hits - including two more homers over 4 1-3 innings Thursday at St. Louis, though the Phillies eventually won 10-9.

Blanton is 3-1 with a 3.71 ERA in 10 career starts versus New York.

The Mets will counter with Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17), who was knocked around Thursday in his first big league start. The right-hander yielded six runs and nine hits over 3 2-3 innings of an 11-5 loss to San Diego, with most of the damage coming after an hour-plus rain delay.

"It was pretty difficult (trying to get going again), but I still think I had the ability to go in and shut down the lineup, and I didn't," he said. "It's a learning experience, and if I ever have to face it again, I now know what I need to do."

Despite Monday's loss, New York has taken five of seven from Philadelphia this season.

"What you hope to do is, while Howard and Utley are still out, you want to try and get them while you can, because you know when they get back they're going to be really tough to beat," Collins said.

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz sat out Monday with a tight right hamstring, and his status for Tuesday is uncertain. Ruiz is batting .419 with five homers and 25 RBIs in his last 28 games.

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