What's Your Language?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Preview: Game 51 - Phillies at Mets - Mets try to win another series against Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies (26-25) at New York Mets (28-22) 7:10 PM ET

SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
C. Lee (L) 7 0-2 2.826.10-01.575/25@STLND7.0830-122.03.68
D. Gee (R) 9 4-3 4.926.01-35.935/25SDW7.0412-119.05.21

The last time Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee was on the mound he got into a verbal spat with center fielder Shane Victorino.

Lee will try to get through his eighth start of the season without any conflict when Philadelphia closes out a three-game series with the New York Mets tonight at Citi Field. In Friday's 5-3 win at St. Louis, a pair of fly balls landed in play in what could have been a distraction by the lights at Busch Stadium.

As Victorino was preparing to bat in the top of the fifth inning, he was seen exchanging words with Lee in the dugout before manager Charlie Manuel intervened. No physicality ensued and the two seem to have buried the hatchet.

"They had some heated words. Baseball's baseball," Manuel said. "That's good sometimes. There's nothing wrong with that. They didn't see eye to eye on something and that stays in here."

Lee tossed seven innings against the Cardinals, allowing three runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts and a season-high three walks for the no-decision. Lee came into the contest having allowed just five walks total through his first six starts. He is still winless on the season as evidenced by his 0-2 mark in seven starts and has pitched to a respectable 2.82 ERA over 51 innings. This is the longest winless drought to start a season for Lee.

"It's just one of those things," Lee said of his winless record. "My job is to get deep into the game, give my team a chance to win and put up as many zeroes as I can. That's what I'm going to try and do every time. If I get a win ... great. If the team gets a win ... even better."

The Phillies did not grab a series victory after dropping a 6-3 decision last night, as Joe Blanton put forth a third straight poor performance and allowed six runs on nine hits over five innings. Catcher Brian Schneider homered and started again in place of Carlos Ruiz, who is nursing a sore right hamstring.

Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins had two hits apiece in the loss. The Phillies left five men on base, going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

"The only way we're going to fix it is by starting to knock men in," said Manuel. "That's the only way I know. ... You gotta execute in the game. We've been leaving guys out there and we've been leaving them out there since Day 1."

The Phillies learned some bad news Tuesday with starting pitcher Roy Halladay. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list with a Grade 1/2 strain of his right latissimus dorsi and is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action. He is 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 starts this season.

"We hate to have him down," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said, "but it's nothing that requires anything other than rest."

Philadelphia, which is last in the NL East at four games off the pace, will return home after tonight's game for a seven-game residency versus Miami and Los Angeles.

The Mets improved to 4-2 on a season-long 11-game homestand with Tuesday's victory, as young starter Jeremy Hefner earned the first win of his career by holding the Phillies to three runs and six hits in six innings. He also homered at the plate to help his own cause.

"I almost missed first base watching the ball," said Hefner. "I was just trying to get a hit and I happened to get lucky and caught it good."

After Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch tossed a scoreless inning of relief, closer Frank Francisco posted his 14th save in the ninth. Omar Quintanilla, who was called up earlier in the day, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored for the Mets, who have won seven of 10 games and are tied with Miami at 1 1/2 games off the NL East lead.

New York will close out the homestand with a four-game series against St. Louis.

Mets starter Dillon Gee will try to win three straight trips to the hill for the first time since a five-game run from last May 19-June 10 when he toes the rubber this evening.

Gee posted his second straight victory in Friday's 6-1 pounding of San Diego by tossing seven innings of one-run ball with a career-high nine strikeouts and three walks. The 106-pitch effort lifted his 2012 record to 4-3 in nine starts to go along with a 4.92 earned run average.

The young right-hander hasn't fared so well at home this season, going 1-3 in five starts, and is 8-8 in 23 career games (21 starts) at Citi Field. Gee did not post a decision in a 10-6 win at Philadelphia on May 9, as he gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. In five career meetings (4 starts) with the Phillies, Gee is 2-1 with a less-than-stellar 7.50 ERA.

New York has won six of eight meetings with Philadelphia this season and swept a three-game series in south Philly from May 7-9. The Mets are 9-3 in the past 12 contests against their division rivals.

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