No matter how bad he’s been struggling, Pat Burrell feels right at home at Shea Stadium.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ young slugger, mired in a season-long slump, will look to continue his success against the Mets when the teams continue their four-game series at Shea.
Burrell, who hit .282 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs last season, is enduring a dreadful year, batting just .194 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs.
But that does not seem to matter at Shea. In his career, the fourth-year outfielder is batting .287 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs at New York—his best numbers at any road venue.
He added another homer Friday, a two-run shot in the first that helped spark the Phillies to a 10-3 rout.
“This is a team deal here,” Burrell said. “You take a lot of pressure off your pitching staff. … That’s what you want to do.”
The Phillies have won four straight to take a one-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League wild-card race.
“We’ve been playing good all year, pitching and defense,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “Now, we’re getting some timely hitting and scoring runs.”
The last-place Mets have lost five straight, getting outscored 35-14. Their longest losing streak of the season was a six-game tailspin from April 9-14.
“I know we’re scuffling, but we’re not that bad,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “The pitching has got to get better. They have to learn from this, so they don’t have this feeling again. I don’t want it again. I’m not enjoying this at all.”
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place, 8 1/2 GB, NL East. Mets - 5th place, 21 GB, NL East.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Brandon Duckworth (3-3, 5.06 ERA). Duckworth will be looking to rebound from a dreadful start against the Montreal Expos on Monday. The 27-year-old right-hander allowed five runs and five hits over just three innings in an 8-1 loss. Duckworth is 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in seven career games against the Mets.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Jae Seo (5-5, 3.68 ERA). Seo has lost three consecutive starts, allowing 16 earned runs in 14 2-3 innings. He gave up six runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Monday. Seo did not get a decision in his only previous start against the Phillies, despite giving up one run and five hits in six innings.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .331 avg.; Jim Thome, 23 HRs, 65 RBIs and 60 runs; Jimmy Rollins, 10 SBs. Mets - Cliff Floyd, .272 avg. and 47 RBIs; Jeromy Burnitz, 18 HRs; Ty Wigginton, 50 runs; Roger Cedeno, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 4-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - The Phillies placed 3B David Bell on the 15-day disabled list after Friday’s game with a lower back strain. They also activated INF Tyler Houston, who had been out with a broken finger. … 1B Thome needs one homer to tie Yogi Berra for 60th place on the all-time list with 358. … LF Burrell is batting .139 (5-for-36) in July. Mets - OF Cedeno is batting .182 (2-for-11) in his career against RHP Duckworth. … The Mets have allowed a total of 11 runs in the first inning of their last three games. … LF Floyd has missed four straight games with a sore right wrist. He could return as a pinch-hitter before the All-Star break.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 25-19 on the road; Mets - 19-27 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - 3B Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Mets - C Mike Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; LHP Al Leiter (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Mike Stanton (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL.
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