At a time of year in which they are typically considered sellers on the trade market, the New York Mets could consider buying if they can continue their recent home success. The Mets eye their ninth victory in their last 10 home games Tuesday when they continue their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Although New York (51-55) finds itself 7 ½ games out of first place in the National League East, it capped off a 10-game road trip with wins in five of its final seven contests.
The Mets carried that momentum into Monday's 7-1 series-opening win, defeating the division-worst Phillies for the 11th time in their last 14 meetings. Philadelphia's inability to generate hits at critical times resurfaced as the Phillies collected 13 hits but stranded 12 runners, marking the 12th time they tallied at least nine hits but scored three or fewer runs. "It's just about getting that one extra hit, whether it's just a single or a ball driven to drive in a couple runs. That was the case tonight for sure," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg told the team's official website.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Philadelphia. SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies LH Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72 ERA) vs. Mets RH Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49)
Much like last season, Hamels has flashed his vintage form following the All-Star break. The 2008 World Series MVP improved to 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last two starts after holding the San Francisco Giants to one run in eight frames in Thursday's victory and is 6-3 with a 2.72 ERA in the second half of the season over the past two years (7-16 with a 3.54 ERA in the first half). Hamels is 0-1 in three turns versus the Mets this season and has not fared well in 29 all-time starts against them, going 7-14 with a 4.38 ERA.
Gee has struggled mightily in both of his outings since the break, losing both of his starts while allowing 10 runs over 10 innings. The 28-year-old Texas native turned in perhaps his worst effort of the season in Thursday's 9-1 setback in Milwaukee after surrendering a season-high six runs on six hits in five frames. Gee did not factor into the decision in his only turn versus the Phillies on May 10 - giving up three runs over six innings - and is 3-3 despite a 7.15 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against them.
1. New York is one of three teams in the majors - the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds are the others - with a losing record that has a positive run differential (plus-11).
2. The Phillies have been held to two or fewer runs 40 times - only the San Diego Padres (51) have posted more such games this season.
3. David Wright (24-for-73) and Daniel Murphy (17-for-44) are among five Mets with 20 or more at-bats versus Hamels that are hitting at least .290 against him.
PREDICTION: Mets 6, Phillies 5