New York Mets: John Mayberry Jr.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 6, Mets 2

August, 28, 2013
NEW YORK -- Daisuke Matsuzaka has the second-longest time between pitches among qualifying MLB starting pitchers since 2007. His 25.3-second average only is quicker than Josh Beckett (25.5 seconds).

Mets fans learned just how slow that feels on Wednesday night.

Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsDaisuke Matsuzaka threw 110 pitches in 4 1/3 innings.

In a three-hour, 32-minute game in which Matsuzaka threw 110 pitches before departing with one out in the fifth inning, the Philadelphia Phillies ultimately beat the Mets, 6-2, at Citi Field.

Philadelphia retook a one-game lead over the Mets for third place in the NL East.

Matsuzaka already had thrown 82 pitches through three innings, but somehow had kept the Phillies off the scoreboard by twice stranding the bases loaded.

His tightrope walk ended an inning later, with Jimmy Rollins delivering a game-tying RBI double.

Tied at 1, Matsuzaka also loaded the bases in the fifth, then forced in Philadelphia’s second run by plunking John Mayberry Jr. with one out.

Terry Collins summoned Robert Carson for the southpaw’s first major league appearance since June 9. He struck out pinch hitter Darin Ruf, but then surrendered a two-run single to opposing pitcher Cole Hamels as the Phillies took a 4-1 lead.

Matsuzaka’s final line: 4.1 IP, 6 H 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HBP.

The last Mets pitcher to throw 110-plus pitches while failing to complete five innings: Oliver Perez, on Sept. 16, 2007, also against Philadelphia. That was game No. 3 of the Mets’ coughing up of a seven-game division lead with 17 to play.

Family ties: Eric Young Jr. stole two bases, Nos. 30 and 31 of the season. In reaching the 30-steal plateau for the first time in his career, Young and father Eric Young Sr. became the fifth father-son combination to each have a 30-steal season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other families: Sandy Alomar Sr. and Roberto Alomar, Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds, Jose Cruz Sr. and Jose Cruz Jr., and Maury Wills and Bump Wills.

What’s next: The Mets complete a four-game series with Philadelphia with a Thursday matinee. Carlos Torres (2-2, 2.96 ERA) takes Matt Harvey’s turn in the rotation. Torres opposes rookie right-hander Ethan Martin (2-2, 6.33) at 1:10 p.m.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 18, 2013

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Cole Hamels (Saturday), Kyle Kendrick (Friday) and Cliff Lee (Sunday) in the second-half-opening series.
METS (41-50, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (48-48, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.33) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.68), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies are 6-3 but averaging only 3.6 runs a game since losing Ryan Howard to left knee surgery. The debridement surgery is expected to cost Howard six to eight weeks. Rookie Darin Ruf has handled first base in Howard’s absence. Ruf slugged 38 homers last season with Double-A Reading. He has reached base safely in 18 straight games at the major league level.

Michael Perez/Associated PressBen Revere suffered a broken right ankle on foul ball while batting.

• Center fielder Ben Revere underwent surgery Tuesday for a broken right ankle and also is expected to miss six to eight weeks. It is a big blow to the offense. Revere, the team’s leadoff hitter, had been hitting .305 with 22 steals. Revere suffered the injury fouling a ball off the foot. He had two screws inserted.

GM Ruben Amaro has said the Phillies will shop for a fill-in center fielder. John Mayberry Jr. has handled the position the past two games. Prospect Cesar Hernandez has moved from second base to center field in the minors to provide another option.

• First-time All-Star Domonic Brown is third in the National League with 23 homers, trailing Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (25) and Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (24). Brown’s 67 RBIs rank fourth.

Cole Hamels has a 1.57 ERA with 19 strikeouts and one walk in his last three starts.

Cliff Lee is the only active left-hander to pitch in four All-Star Games.

• The Phillies could be buyers or sellers depending upon the direction their season takes before July 31. They reached .500 on Sunday for the first time since June 7, when they were 31-31. Before the first-half-closing win, they had spent only five days at or above .500 this season. They have won five of their past six series.

Potentially on the block if things go south: centerpiece players Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and Lee as well as Delmon Young and Michael Young. Utley and Ruiz are eligible for free agency after the season. Lee is owed a combined $50 million in 2014 and ’15, and also has a $12.5 million buyout owed if a $27.5 million club option for 2016 is not exercised. Papelbon is signed at $13 million a season through 2015. He also has a vesting option at that amount for 2016.

Kyle Kendrick limited the Washington Nationals to one run in seven innings in a win in his last start, despite four errors committed by his fielders, including three by Utley.

• Since June 17, Papelbon has five blown saves in 12 chances. Manager Charlie Manuel told SiriusXM that Papelbon was dealing with occasional hip soreness. Papelbon nonetheless has reached 20 saves for the eighth straight season. That is the longest active streak in the majors and the eighth-longest in major league history. Mariano Rivera holds the record with 15 straight 20-plus save seasons, from 1997-2011.

Jimmy Rollins has gone 156 at-bats without a homer.

• Infielder John McDonald was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on June 27 for a player to be named or cash.

• Backup catcher Erik Kratz was activated from the disabled list Sunday after missing 4 weeks with a left knee injury.

• Manuel has 995 career wins. He is due to become the 59th manager in major league history to reach the 1,000-win plateau. There are seven active managers at that level: Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona, Davey Johnson, Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia and Buck Showalter.

Morning briefing: Aiming for thump of Cole

April, 28, 2013

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Jon Niese pitches this afternoon for the first time since getting struck in the right ankle Tuesday.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets will try to avoid getting swept as Jonathon Niese heads to the mound at 1:10 p.m. today opposite winless Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels.

Niese will be making his first start since getting nailed on the right ankle by a comebacker Tuesday off the bat of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mark Elllis.

Hamels is 5-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 career starts against the Mets.

Terry Collins suggested outfielders Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares likely would be in the starting lineup.

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is due to be activated after serving a 25-game suspension related to amphetamines.

Sunday’s news reports:

Shaun Marcum surrendered three runs in four innings and was dissatisfied with his Mets debut. Robert Carson then served up homers to Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. in the fifth as the Met lost to the Phillies, 9-4, Saturday at Citi Field. The Mets have now lost eight of their past nine games against Philadelphia. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer and

• The Mets demoted Josh Edgin to clear the roster spot for Marcum. Edgin reported to Binghamton, not Las Vegas, because the offense-first Pacific Coast League is not conducive to getting on track. Read more in the Record, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday and

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
John Buck has eight homers in April, matching the most ever by a Mets catcher in the month.

• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with John Buck, who homered in the ninth inning Friday. It was Buck’s eighth long ball in April, matching Mike Piazza (2001) and Todd Hundley (1996) for most by a catcher in the opening month in franchise history. The overall Mets record for April is nine homers, by Carlos Delgado (2006) and Dave Kingman (1976). Among Buck’s exchanges with Serby:

Q: You and your wife grew up together in Salt Lake City. How did you propose?

A: “I was at one of her last volleyball games [at Snow College]. They called her to the 10-foot line at a volleyball game. ... I proposed to her at the 10-foot line in her volleyball game."

Buck also notes that Harvey reminds him of Zack Greinke.

• Cody Derespina in Newsday goes inside the numbers of Buck’s April production, which has tailed off despite Friday’s long ball.

• Attendance seems to get a modest bump at Citi Field with Harvey on the mound. As for ratings on SNY, they’re 14 percent higher in games Harvey starts, according to Bob Raissman in the Daily News.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record suggests waiting a little while before erecting a statue in Harvey’s honor.

Frank Francisco and Jenrry Mejia are progressing after injuries.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests there is “no relief in sight” for the Mets.

• Columnist Tim Smith in the Daily News says Marcum fit in with all the other Mets starting pitchers not named Harvey.

• Terry Collins stuck to his reconfigured lineup for a second straight day Saturday. Read more in the Post.

• Logan Verrett improved to 4-0 as Double-A Binghamton beat Akron 7-2. Rainy Lara tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in low-A Savannah’s 1-0 win against West Virginia. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Gregg Sarra in Newsday chats with St. Lucie catcher Cam Maron, who hails from Hicksville, Long Island.

R.A. Dickey faces the Yankees in the Bronx today. Read more in the Post.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing thought extended spring training continued Saturday at Citi Field … Shannon from Mets Police is watching his favorite baseball team and thinks, "I have a bad feeling about this."

BIRTHDAYS: Dillon Gee turns 27. … Jorge Sosa, who is pitching in Japan for the second straight season, is 35.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Whom should Terry Collins start in the outfield today against left-hander Cole Hamels?

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 9, Mets 4

April, 27, 2013

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets demoted Josh Edgin to Double-A Binghamton before Saturday's game against the Phillies to clear a spot for Shaun Marcum.

Both of the left-handed relievers to survive that cut now have experienced meltdowns in recent days.

Inserted for Marcum to open the fifth inning with the Mets trailing by a run, Robert Carson surrendered five runs, including a three-run homer to Domonic Brown and solo shot to John Mayberry Jr.

Jason Szenes/Getty ImagesShaun Marcum allowed three runs in four innings in his Mets debut.

The Phillies ultimately beat the Mets, 9-4, at Citi Field.

Carson's subpar appearance came two days after Scott Rice, the other lefty in the bullpen, was charged with two ninth-inning runs and suffered his first major league loss.

The Mets' MLB-worst bullpen ERA rose to 5.28.

The Mets (10-12) dropped to two games under .500. They are 5-0 in games started by Matt Harvey and 5-12 otherwise.

FOUR-LORN: Marcum lasted four innings in his Mets debut. He allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three in a 71-pitch effort.

Marcum departed for pinch-hitter Justin Turner with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the fourth and the Mets trailing, 3-2. Turner took a called third strike from Phillies rookie starter Jonathan Pettibone (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER).

Could Marcum have continued? Perhaps for another inning. But the Mets have been struggling for runs. And Marcum barely had ramped up in preparation for his Mets debut anyway.

Marcum threw only 52 in-game pitches in an extended spring training game Monday in Florida, but was declared ready for a regular-season game.

Marcum's fastball sat at 85 mph, with an occasional 86 mph Saturday. All three runs against him came in the third inning -- on Chase Utley's RBI double, a wild pitch and Ryan Howard's sacrifice fly.

BUCK SHOT: John Buck had a solo homer in the ninth, giving him 23 RBIs. That's the most April RBIs since David Wright also had 23 in 2008. The franchise record for the month is by Jeff Kent (26 in April 1994). Buck has eight homers.

WHAT'S NEXT: Jonathon Niese starts on turn after being forced from his last outing in the third inning because he was struck in the right ankle with a sharp comebacker. Niese (2-1, 3.81 ERA) opposes winless Cole Hamels (0-3, 5.40) in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. series finale as the Mets attempt to avoid getting swept.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 3

April, 9, 2013
Dillon Gee had the shortest start of his major league career and the New York Mets had a three-game winning streak snapped with an 8-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Gee allowed six hits in a four-run second inning, then surrendered solo homers to Ryan Howard, Michael Young and John Mayberry Jr. the following frame. He became the first Met to allow three homers in an inning since Johan Santana on June 8, 2012 at Yankee Stadium, in the southpaw’s first start after the historic no-hitter.

Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsDillon Gee had the shortest start of his major league career.

Gee ultimately was charged with seven earned runs on 10 hits while striking out two in a 56-pitch effort. The three-inning performance replaced a 3 2/3-inning start in Philadelphia on Aug. 22, 2011 as the shortest of Gee’s career.

The seven runs allowed by Gee were one shy of matching his career high, which came in that 10-0 loss to the Phillies two seasons ago.

Howard, who had not produced an extra-base hit this season before going deep to open the bottom of the third, now has three hits against Gee in nine career at-bats -- all homers.

Lee (2-0) came within an out of tossing a complete game. Three of the past six complete games against the Mets have been produced by Phillies (Roy Halladay 2011, Roy Oswalt 2010, Cole Hamels 2010).

BUCK SHOTS: John Buck continued his torrid start, belting a two-run homer in the fourth against Cliff Lee to pull the Mets within 7-2.

Buck now has four homers and 14 RBIs. Mets catchers combined to produce five homers and 48 RBIs all of last season.

The Mets have now homered in eight straight games -- matching the franchise record to begin a season. They also went deep in eight straight to open the 1987 season.

LEFT OUT: Lucas Duda was double-switched out of the game for the bottom of the fourth inning when Greg Burke replaced Gee. Jordany Valdespin entered in left field, tripled in his first at-bat and scored on a passed ball to pull the Mets within 8-3 in the fifth. Lee passed on getting retribution in Valdespin's next at-bat, after Valdespin demonstrably celebrated his triple.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.94) in Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. rubber game.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

September, 17, 2012

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Cliff Lee, Tyler Cloyd and Cole Hamels at Citi Field.
METS (66-80, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (73-74, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP R.A. Dickey (18-5, 2.88) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (5-7, 3.36), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 4.99) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (15-6, 3.06), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Philadelphia, which catapulted back into the wild-card race after being 10 games under .500 thanks to 15 wins in a 19-game stretch, then proceeded to lose three of four during the weekend at lowly Houston. The Phillies (73-74) are now four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (77-70) for the second wild-card slot. The Los Angeles Dodgers (76-71), Milwaukee Brewers (74-72) and Pittsburgh Pirates (73-72) also are ahead in the standings.

Ken Babbitt/Associated Press
September call-up Darin Ruf produced 38 homers at Double-A Reading this season.

• All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz returned Sept. 9 after missing more than a month with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. Ruiz should start every other day down the stretch because the foot is not 100 percent.

• Third baseman Placido Polanco is on the DL with lower-back inflammation and is unlikely to return this season. Kevin Frandsen primarily has handled the position in Polanco’s absence -- although Michael Martinez started seven straight games last week because Frandsen is playing through pain from a stress fracture in his left shin, which resulted from fouling a ball off himself.

Ryan Howard is four homers shy of 300. Chase Utley needs two homers for 200.

• First baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf made his major league debut Friday as a pinch hitter at Houston. Ruf, who does not really have a position, produced 38 homers at Double-A Reading this season, including 20 in August. The long ball total led all of minor league baseball in 2012 and topped Howard’s Reading-record 37, set in 2004. Ruf, a 20th-round pick in 2009 out of Creighton, is expected to see some action in left field for the Phillies.

• Since the trades of Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants, lefty-hitting Juan Pierre and righty-hitting Ty Wigginton have shared left field, John Mayberry Jr. has manned center and Domonic Brown primarily has handled right field. Pierre is due to be a free agent after the season. Mayberry is hitting .347 with four homers and 18 RBIs in his past 27 games.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citizens Bank Park, Aug. 28-30 (AP game recaps)

Mets 9, Phillies 5 (10 innings): Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking double during a four-run 10th inning and Kelly Shoppach added a two-run homer. Shoppach hit a tying double in the eighth and then connected off B.J. Rosenberg (0-2) to finish a triple shy of the cycle. Mike Baxter also hit a two-run shot. More

Mets 3, Phillies 2: Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer and Matt Harvey had another sharp outing. Duda, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo three days earlier, also made an excellent catch in left field to preserve the lead and even stole a base. Harvey (3-3) allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six in 6 1/3 innings. He also had an RBI single. Tyler Cloyd (0-1) was decent in his major league debut filling in for Cole Hamels, who was scratched from the start because of a gastrointestinal illness. Cloyd allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. More

Phillies 3, Mets 2: Kyle Kendrick (8-9) allowed solo homers in the first two innings to Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston, but did not permit another run before leaving with two outs in the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 30th save as the Phillies avoided a three-game sweep. Jimmy Rollins was pulled for the start of the seventh inning. He failed to run hard on a dropped popup that could have put him on second base. He stole second base, then was caught in a rundown on a grounder and was tagged out. More

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

August, 27, 2012

US Presswire
The Phillies conceded 2012 with the trades of (l to r) Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Jim Thome.
METS (59-69, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-67, third place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (3-7, 4.33) vs. RHP Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jon Niese (10-7, 3.51) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12), 1:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies’ five-year run as division champs will come to an end. Philadelphia’s dismantling included trading:

Aug. 3: Right-hander Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ryan O’Sullivan.

July 31: Center fielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom and a player to be named or cash.

July 31: Right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for Nate Schierholtz, Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph.

Benny Sieu/US Presswire
Cole Hamels committed to the Phillies long term, signing a six-year, $144 million extension.

July 1: Right-hander Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees for a player to be named or cash.

June 30: First baseman Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon.

• Left-hander Cole Hamels agreed to a six-year, $144 million extension on July 25, after the Phillies explored trades.

• Philadelphia swept the Nationals in a three-game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Cliff Lee had been winless in his past 12 home starts (0-6) before limiting Washington to one run in seven innings. The ex-Dodger Lindblom notched his first career save with closer Jonathan Papelbon having worked the previous three days.

• Left fielder Juan Pierre stole his 586th base Sunday, tying Maury Wills for 19th on MLB’s all-time list. Pierre is the majors’ active leader in steals.

• Outfielder Domonic Brown has missed two straight games with a sore left knee. Brown had started 22 straight games since a promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which coincided with the trades of Victorino and Pence. Brown initially started in left field, then in right field once the ex-Giant Schierholtz suffered a broken right big toe. Schierholtz began a rehab assignment Sunday. He is not expected to rejoin the Phillies until after the series against the Mets. John Mayberry Jr. has taken over for Victorino in center field.

• Despite being activated from the disabled list last Monday, Placido Polanco has started only two games in the past week because of continued lower-back inflammation. Kevin Frandsen has subbed for Polanco at third base.

• Journeyman Erik Kratz, 32, is the Phillies’ primary catch, with rookie Steven Lerud -- who has yet to make his major league debut -- the backup. Lerud has played in only nine career games above the Double-A level. Ex-Met Brian Schneider landed on the disabled list Friday with a strained left hamstring. He joined Carlos Ruiz (foot) on the DL.

• Right-handed reliever Phillippe Aumont, who had been the centerpiece of the deal that sent Lee to Seattle in December 2009, made his major league debut Thursday.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citi Field, July 3-5 (AP game recaps)

Mets 11, Phillies 1: Jon Niese had a two-run single to back his fine performance on the mound and David Wright hit a three-run homer. Niese (7-3) pitched a season-high eight innings and gave up three hits, one a homer to Carlos Ruiz. His hit in the second inning put New York up for good in front of 42,516, the highest attendance in the four-year history of Citi Field. Ruben Tejada had an RBI single among his three hits. He put on a show at shortstop, too. Daniel Murphy finished a homer short of the cycle, doubled twice, drove in four runs and made a leaping catch and diving stop at second base. Tejada led off the game with an 11-pitch out and it rarely got much easier for Vance Worley (4-5) and Philadelphia's bullpen. More

Phillies 9, Mets 2: Cliff Lee finally posted his first victory of the season and Philadelphia hit three late homers. Lee (1-5) had gone a puzzling 13 starts this year without a victory. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive home runs in the seventh inning against Chris Young as the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Ty Wigginton's two-run homer in the ninth against Jeremy Hefner capped the surge. More

Mets 6, Phillies 5: David Wright singled off Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Mets to a comeback that preserved R.A. Dickey's 11-game winning streak. Josh Thole prevented a run in the eighth when he held on to the ball despite being barreled over at home plate. Daniel Murphy lined a shot off Papelbon's leg for the tying run with two outs in the ninth, setting the stage for Wright. Cole Hamels outlasted Dickey in a matchup of All-Stars that fizzled from the start. More

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

May, 28, 2012

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and winless Cliff Lee this series.
METS (27-21, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (25-24, fifth place/NL East)

Monday: LHP Jon Niese (3-2, 4.29) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (7-1, 2.17), 1:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17) vs. RHP Joe Blanton (2-2, 4.55), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.92) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.82), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cliff Lee is winless on May 28 for the first time since 2003, when he did not make his season debut until June 30 and opened the season as a minor leaguer. During Lee’s most recent outing, center fielder Shane Victorino and the southpaw were caught on camera in a verbal altercation in St. Louis in the dugout. The spat came after Victorino and Hunter Pence each lost fourth-inning fly balls in the twilight at Busch Stadium.

• The Phillies remain without the duo of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Howard, who is trying to recover from an infection in his surgically repaired left Achilles’ tendon, has taken live batting practice at the team’s complex in Clearwater, Fla. Utley (knee) has started taking grounders, but has yet to run the bases.

Jeff Curry/US Presswire
Shane Victorino and Cliff Lee jawed in St. Louis after Victorino lost a fly ball.

In Utley’s absence, Freddy Galvis has heated up at second base. Galvis is hitting .314 (22-for-70) with 15 RBIs in his past 18 games.

Ty Wigginton, Hector Luna and John Mayberry Jr. all have seen time at first base of late. Luna was promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 11 when Laynce Nix landed on the disabled list with a strained left calf. He delivered a grand slam in his first at-bat as Phillie, while pinch-hitting five days later. Luna became the first player to produce a slam in his first at-bat as a Phillie since Gene Freese on April 18, 1959. Mayberry is 5-for-28 in his past 11 games (seven starts). Jim Thome (back) -- who also has logged time at first base this season -- has been on the disabled list for the past month, although he has resumed swinging a bat.

Cole Hamels’ seven wins are tied with R.A. Dickey, St. Louis’ Lance Lynn and ex-Met Chris Capuano for the National League lead. Hamels, a free-agent-to-be at season’s end, took a no-hit bid one out into the sixth inning in his most recent start. He ultimately tossed eight scoreless innings against the Nationals.

Joe Blanton has been knocked out in the fifth inning in each of his past two starts. He allowed seven runs apiece against Boston and St. Louis. The consecutive subpar outings have lifted his ERA from 2.96 to 4.55.

Roy Halladay departed Sunday’s game at St. Louis after two innings with right shoulder soreness. Halladay has logged 220 innings in each of the past six seasons. Since ’06, Halladay’s 1,487 innings are the most in the majors, ahead of runner-up CC Sabathia’s 1,463 and Dan Haren’s 1,429. Halladay had surrendered a grand slam to Yadier Molina before departing. Brian McCann also had a slam against Halladay this month. They are the first two slams allowed by the ace since Evan Longoria accomplished it in 2008. Fellow starter Vance Worley (elbow inflammation) may throw a bullpen session during the series in Queens but has yet to be activated from the DL.

• The Phillies are hitting .282 with 85 extra-base hits in May. They are averaging 4.8 runs per game this month. In April, they hit .247 with 47 extra-base hits and averaged 3.3 runs per game. Among the top May performers: catcher Carlos Ruiz (.410, 4 HR, 19 RBIs), Victorino (.288, 16 RBIs), Galvis (.283, 18 RBIs), Pence (.272, 8 HR, 18 RBIs) and left fielder Juan Pierre (.310). Ruiz has batted in the cleanup spot four of the past five games, with Pence moving to No. 3 and Victorino to fifth. Ruiz had never batted in the No. 4 hole in his seven-year career before this stretch.

• Philadelphia is carrying four left-handed relievers -- Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Joe Savery and ex-Met Raul Valdes. Bastardo has allowed one run over his past 12 appearances, spanning 10 1/3 innings. Diekman and Valdes were promoted immediately after the meltdown series early this month against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, when Philadelphia failed to hold a lead in three straight games and was swept.

Jonathan Papelbon’s 14 saves lead the NL. He has converted every chance this season. His lone loss remains May 7, when Jordany Valdespin delivered a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer.

Jimmy Rollins took until at-bat No. 136 to homer. That was the second-longest drought to start a season in his career, only shy of the 155 at-bats required in 2004. Rollins missed three games last week on paternity leave for the birth of his first child, a daughter. If Rollins starts all three games this series, he will match Larry Bowa in Wednesday’s finale with 1,667 games played at shortstop for the Phillies.

Last series results

Mets won, 3-0, at Citizens Bank Park, May 7-9 (AP game recaps)

Mets 5, Phillies 2: Jordany Valdespin had a pinch-hit three-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning for his first major league hit. David Wright hit a tying two-run double off Roy Halladay in the sixth. On the same day Ruben Tejada was placed on the disabled list, Josh Thole left with a concussion after colliding with Ty Wigginton at the plate. More

Mets 7, Phillies 4: Lucas Duda had a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh. The Mets took the lead with four two-out runs on four hits, including Duda's single off Antonio Bastardo (1-2). Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ RBI single pulled New York within 4-2. Chad Qualls replaced starter Joe Blanton and gave up an RBI single to David Wright. On Hunter Pence's throw home, Wright got caught in a rundown between first and second. After Jimmy Rollins threw to first while second base was uncovered, Pete Orr tried to get Nieuwenhuis off the bag at third. The throw bounced past Placido Polanco, allowing Nieuwenhuis to score. More

Mets 10, Phillies 6: Ike Davis hit a three-run homer and Andres Torres also connected as the Mets completed their first three-game sweep in Philadelphia in six years. The Mets rallied to win all three against slumping Philadelphia. They trailed after five innings against Roy Halladay in the opener, then after six against Joe Blanton, and after six against Cliff Lee in the series finale. The Mets (18-13) moved five games above .500 for the first time since July 19, 2010. The loss prompted manager Charlie Manuel to address his team. Lee left with a 4-2 lead, but Kyle Kendrick (0-3) quickly gave that up. More

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 2

April, 15, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: Ike Davis delivered a two-run homer in the first inning against Cole Hamels, but the Phillies rallied for seven runs against the Mets’ bullpen and avoided getting swept by the Mets at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since June 13-16, 2006.

In the seventh, Ramon Ramirez surrendered a game-tying sacrifice fly to ex-Met Ty Wigginton, then an RBI double to Laynce Nix that Scott Hairston could not reach in the left-field corner. The Phillies ultimately won, 8-2, Sunday afternoon. Jimmy Rollins, who scored on Wigginton’s sacrifice fly, had reached on a fly ball that dropped in front of range-challenged right fielder Lucas Duda.

Davis, who produced hits in each of his first two at-bats, entered the game 2-for-28 to start the season. He last had homered May 6, 2011 against the Los Angeles’ Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda, four days before suffering the season-ending ankle injury in the collision with David Wright in Denver.

Wright scored on Davis’ long ball and went 2-for-4. He is now hitting .571 (12-for-21). The Mets suffered their first loss in six games with Wright in the lineup.

Hamels tossed six scoreless frames after the two-run first. He struck out 10 and improved to 4-10 lifetime against the Mets. Hamels also had one of the three double-digit strikeout performances against the Mets last season. Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum had the others.

Ruben Tejada had three of those strikeouts and also committed an eighth-inning error Sunday afternoon. That error led to five unearned runs as Manny Acosta walked Hunter Pence with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth, then Wigginton delivered a three-run double against Miguel Batista. The final damage came when Wigginton scored from second base on a John Mayberry Jr. trickler up the first-base line that actually was foul until Batista let it roll back fair before picking up.

The Mets had limited the Phillies to three runs through the first 24 innings of the series.

IT’S A START: Mike Pelfrey limited the Phillies to one run in six innings, although it was a tightrope performance. Staked to 2-0 lead, Pelfrey surrendered singles to each of the first three batters he faced. He limited the damage to one run in the first inning by retiring Carlos Ruiz on a bases-loaded grounder to first base. Catcher Mike Nickeas halted another threat in the fourth by throwing out Juan Pierre at third base on the front end of a double-steal for the inning’s final out.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets head to Atlanta to face the Braves, whom they swept in New York to open the season. Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.06 ERA) opposes right-hander Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.70) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 0

April, 14, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: David Wright is back. After a three-game absence, Wright homered on the first pitch he saw from Vance Worley on Saturday while playing with a fractured right pinkie. The Mets went on to beat Philadelphia 5-0. On Sunday afternoon, the 6-2 Mets will bid for their first series sweep in Philly since June 13-15, 2006.

Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch combined on only the Mets' second shutout at Citizens Bank Park since the ballpark opened in 2004. The other came Aug. 7, 2010, when Johan Santana combined with Francisco Rodriguez, who had a five-out save.

WRIGHT STUFF: Wright went 3-for-5, with one out coming on a hard-hit smash up the middle that deflected off Worley to shortstop Jimmy Rollins for an unlucky double play.

The first-inning homer gave Wright 730 career RBIs, within three of matching Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record. Wright is now hitting .588 (10-for-17) with two homers and five RBIs on the season.

Matt Slocum/Associated PressIke Davis congratulates David Wright after the third baseman homered on the first pitch he saw since Monday.

Wright had quipped pregame that his throwing is generally subpar anyway and wouldn't be affected as much as hitting by the broken pinkie on his right hand. He nonetheless had a couple of rough throws.

The first came in the second inning with an off-line toss to Ike Davis after Wright fielded John Mayberry Jr.'s grounder, although Davis reached down the line for the throw and made the play. The second off-the-mark throw came in the sixth, when Wright fielded Placido Polanco's grounder and tried to initiate a double play. Wright bounced the throw to second baseman Daniel Murphy, but Murphy scooped the ball and the Mets got the out at that base.

No worries, though. Wright then made consecutive 5-3 putouts to end the inning, including ranging wide to his left to field Hunter Pence's grounder, spinning and throwing on target to Davis for the final out of the sixth.

DUUUDE: Lucas Duda snapped an 0-for-15 drought with a two-run homer off Worley in the fourth that staked the Mets to a 4-0 lead. The Mets had loaded the bases with none out in that inning before Jason Bay grounded into a run-scoring 6-4-3 DP that set up Duda's at-bat with one runner aboard. It was Duda's third long ball of the season. He had a two-homer game against Atlanta on April 7, with the shots coming against Jair Jurrjens and Chad Durbin.

THAT'S NIESE: Coming off a season debut in which he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against Atlanta, Niese did not have comparable drama this time, surrendering a single to No. 2 hitter Polanco in the first inning. Yet Niese took a scoreless effort into the seventh for a second straight outing. This time, he was pulled with his pitch count at 102, two out in the frame and one runner on base after Carlos Ruiz was announced as the pinch hitter. Parnell recorded the final out, then pitched a scoreless eighth as well. Niese's line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

THIEF: The Mets stole their first base this season when Mike Baxter walked and swiped second in the ninth. Baxter then scored the Mets' fifth run on an RBI by Ruben Tejada. The Mets' first steal coming in Game 8 was the third-longest drought to start a season in franchise history. It took 17 games in 1963 and 12 games in '62.

WALLBANGER: Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a reputation for not fearing walls, which contributed to his suffering injuries in the minor leagues. That fearless play was on display Saturday. Nieuwenhuis went deep into the right-center gap to track down Brian Schneider's shot near the wall and end the second inning.

WHAT'S NEXT: Mike Pelfrey opposes Cole Hamels on Sunday as the Mets bid for their first series sweep in Philly in six years. Pelfrey's career ERA at Citizens Bank Park: 8.60, in eight starts. Hamels, though, has 10 losses against the Mets, more than against any other opponent. The southpaw's lifetime 4.46 ERA against the Mets is better than his ERA against only two National League opponents -- the Houston Astros (5.02) and Colorado Rockies (5.09). Of course, much of the career damage against Pelfrey has been inflicted by injured Ryan Howard (.372, 3 HR) and Chase Utley (.333, 4 HR).

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 2

April, 13, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets’ two-game skid is over, thanks to a 5-2 victory in Philadelphia in their first road game of the season.

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay had no RBIs in spring training. Zero. And he drove in one run on the Mets’ season-opening six-game homestand.

He finally delivered Friday night.

Bay produced a two-run homer in a three-run first inning against Phillies ace Cliff Lee. Scott Hairston then had a solo homer in the fifth, as the Mets took a 4-1 lead.

Bay's last homer: Sept. 8, 2011, off Atlanta southpaw Mike Minor. Before going deep, Bay had a 17-start homerless drought -- the 10th-longest streak of his career. He also recorded his second outfield assist of the young season Friday, retiring John Mayberry Jr. trying to stretch a hit into a double in the second inning.

Lee’s final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K.

The southpaw had entered with a 0.97 ERA over his last 11 regular-season starts, during which he had not allowed more than two earned runs in any game. The last time Lee had yielded three or more earned runs in a regular-season game: July 30, 2011 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (He did allow five runs in six innings in a Game 2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in last year’s NLDS.)

Lee had not allowed multiple homers in a game since the Blue Jays took him deep three times in Toronto on July 3, 2011.

STREAKING: R.A. Dickey tossed his 14th straight quality start, the longest active streak in the majors. In a 102-pitch effort, Dickey limited the Phillies to one run, nine hits and a walk while striking out seven in seven innings. The lone damage came on a third-inning solo homer by Freddy Galvis, the first long ball of the Chase Utley fill-in’s major league career.

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT? Intentionally or unintentionally, Josh Thole got fooled by Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

After Thole reached on an infield single in the second inning, Dickey bunted toward first base and seemingly sacrificed Thole into scoring position. But as Thole made his way toward second base, Rollins put up his right hand -- either signally to Thole to slow up because there was no play … or to indicate a foul ball if intended more sinisterly.

Thole apparently interpreted the hand gesture as the latter. He began to jog back to first base as if the ball were foul. Rollins motioned for Lee to throw the ball to him. And by the time Thole realized the ball was live, he was a sitting duck and tagged out at first base for a double play.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (1-0, 4.50), who took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in his first start, opposes Philllies right-hander Vance Worley (0-0, 1.50 ERA) at 4:05 p.m. Saturday. Before the game, David Wright could land on the disabled list with a fractured right pinkie. That would pave the way for Daniel Murphy to play third base, Ronny Cedeno and Justin Turner to share second base and, according to a team source, Josh Satin to be promoted for a bench role. Murphy drove in the game's opening run with a double, but also prolonged the game with a two-out error in the ninth that allowed Philadelphia's second run to score.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 12, 2012

Howard Smith/US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Cole Hamels this weekend in Philly.
METS (4-2, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (3-3, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP R.A. Dickey (1-0, 3.00) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-0, 1.50), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jon Niese (1-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Vance Worley (0-0, 1.50), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 4.76) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 5.06), 1:35 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• First baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future. Howard was examined Tuesday by foot and ankle specialist Mark Myerson in Baltimore. He developed an infection in the back of his left heel as the result of surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon. That prompted a Feb. 27 surgical procedure to address the infection. Utley has dealt with chronic knee pain and is rehabbing in Arizona.

The Phillies already have used four different first basemen in Howard’s absence -- Ty Wigginton (twice), John Mayberry Jr. (twice), Laynce Nix and Jim Thome. Thome’s start was his first at the position since June 13, 2007. Nix previously had started only six career games at first base. Rookie Freddy Galvis has started all six games at second base. Michael Martinez, a Rule 5 pick last season, who now is Phillies property, started seven games at second base last season, but has a broken right foot. Martinez suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Jim Johnson in a March 20 spring-training game.

Howard Smith/US Presswire
With Chase Utley out, rookie Freddy Galvis is manning second base for the Phillies.

Galvis, 22, became the first player to make his major league debut on Opening Day with the Phillies since shortstop Larry Bowa and second baseman Denny Doyle in 1970. He exclusively played shortstop in the minors and shifted to second base during spring training. Galvis hit a combined .278 with eight homers and 43 RBIs last season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He went 0-for-12 to start this season, before doubling in his final at-bat Monday, against Miami’s Anibal Sanchez.

Nix, 31, signed a two-year, $2.5 million contract in December. He hit .250 with 16 homers and 44 RBIs in 324 at-bats with the Washington Nationals last season.

• The Phillies had a fortuitous break in not re-signing Ryan Madson, whose agent originally believed the sides had agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal. Philadelphia quickly regrouped and landed former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon for four years, $50 million. Madson then signed with the Cincinnati Reds late on a deal that guaranteed $8.5 million for 2012. He will end up missing the season following Tommy John surgery. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro publicly stated there was never an agreement, while Madson’s agent, Scott Boras, said at the time: "We never rejected any offer from Philadelphia at four years and $44 million. We advised Philadelphia that we would agree to such a proposal. And Philadelphia decided upon hearing that to go in a different direction."

Papelbon last season became the first pitcher to have 30-plus saves in each of his first six full major league seasons. He also became the fastest to 200 saves -- in his 359th appearance. Papelbon’s new entrance music, by the way: Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box."

• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins re-signed with the organization on Dec. 17 for three years, $33 million, plus a 2015 vesting option.

• Reliever Jose Contreras, who underwent elbow surgery in September, has started a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater. Contreras is expected to work consecutive minor league games Thursday and Friday, after which he could be activated from the disabled list.

• Former Met-killer Pat Burrell plans to sign a one-day minor league contract with the Phillies next month and officially retire with the organization. Burrell is fourth all time in homers in the uniform, with 251. He will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Philadelphia’s May 19 game against the Boston Red Sox.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 9, Mets 4

August, 23, 2011
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets matched their season low-water mark by dropping eight games under .500 at 60-68. They also opened the season 5-13. The not-so-Amazin’s have lost five straight and 17 of 22.

With a matinee on Wednesday, Terry Collins pulled David Wright and Jason Bay from the game in the middle of the seventh, after the Mets’ scored their opening run on Justin Turner’s groundout to trim the deficit to eight runs. Lucas Duda added a two-run homer in the eighth.

NOT SO NIESE: Jon Niese, pushed back a day because he tweaked his back striking out during his previous start in San Diego, allowed a career-high eight earned runs. Niese also allowed eight runs against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 31, 2010, but five were unearned that time.

Niese lasted only four innings on this night, matching his shortest outing of the season (also an 11-0 drubbing by Roy Halladay and the Phillies on April 7).

Shane Victorino opened the scoring with a solo homer in the third. John Mayberry Jr. added a three-run shot later that frame.

Niese departed with the bases loaded and none out in the fifth. All three inherited runners scored against Pedro Beato as the Phillies grabbed a 9-0 lead. The final two runs that inning came home when Angel Pagan misread Victorino’s liner and it landed over the center fielder’s head for a two-run triple.

WATCH MEN: The Mets stranded five runners over the first two innings against Vance Worley, but that barely tells the story. With second and third base occupied in the first two frames, the Mets struck out FIVE times looking -- Duda and Nick Evans in the first, then Niese, Pagan and newly installed No. 2 hitter Ruben Tejada in the second.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets try to avoid the sweep as Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.61 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (7-5, 3.24) in Wednesday’s 1:05 p.m. start.



Daniel Murphy
.299 9 52 70
HRL. Duda 23
RBIL. Duda 69
RD. Murphy 70
OPSL. Duda .841
WB. Colon 11
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.48
SOZ. Wheeler 148