Coming off of a 1-3 series loss against the Houston Astros, the worst team in baseball, the Phillies enter New York with the intent of getting back the giddy-up they had in the beginning of September. After being completely eliminated from contention of the NL Eastern Division title yesterday, the Phillies will enter the final 15 games of their season where they will face all of their division rivals. Tonight, Cliff Lee (5-7, 3.36 ERA) will take the hill in an effort to get a good start to this final stretch. Opposing him and the Phillies will be Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey (18-5, 2.68 ERA).
Cliff Lee proved victorious in last start, on Wednesday against the Marlins. The left-hander won his third game in four starts as he allowed one unearned run on four hits over seven innings of baseball. Lee also struck out six and walked one. Over his last six starts (41 2/3 innings), Lee is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA. It was against the Mets that Lee won his first game of the season, back on the Fourth of July. Lee tossed eight, strong innings of two-run ball while allowing seven hits. Lee struck out nine in that game. In his career, Lee is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 48 career innings against the Mets.
Even R.A. Dickey himself wouldn't have predicted the season that he has been having in 2012. The 38 year-old knuckleballer is having a career year, entering tonight's matchup two wins shy of 20 for the season. Dickey has already set career-highs this season, pulling out 18 wins and posting a 2.68 ERA. In Dickey's last start, a seven-inning outing against the Nationals, he was unable to draw closer to 20 wins as he allowed three earned on eight hits to take his fifth loss of the season. In Dickey's last start against the Phils, a no-decision back on July 5, he allowed five earned runs on 11 hits through seven innings. Despite being shelled, the Mets were able to come back in the ninth and win the ballgame. In 52 career-innings, Dickey is 3-3 with a 2.94 ERA against the Phillies.
This series in New York is basically make it or break it for the Phillies. They sit four games back in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot. With the Cardinals headed to Houston to play the Astros and the Dodgers, the Pirates and Brewers (both teams ahead of the Phillies in the race) will open up a series tomorrow. It's basically a bad-luck situation for the Phillies: no matter who wins between the Pirates and Brewers, the Phillies won't gain any ground. It's getting more unlikely by the day, but it's not completely impossible, yet.
Tonight's lineup @ NYM:
- Rollins SS
- Mayberry CF
- Utley 2B
- Howard 1B
- Chooch C
- Schierholtz RF
- Brown LF
- Frandsen 3B
- Lee P.
TV: CSN, MLB Network ; Radio: 1210 WPHT.
Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.