Philadelphia (40-38) at New York (38-39)

Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 91° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Thu Jun 30, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After a fast start to the season, Jon Lieber is struggling to rediscover his winning ways.

The veteran right-hander will look to get back on track when he takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies in the deciding game of their series with the New York Mets.

Signed to a $21 million, three-year contract in the offseason, Lieber began the season in impressive fashion, going 5-1 with a 2.57 ERA in seven starts.

However, he is 3-6 with a 7.28 ERA in nine starts since. He allowed six runs and nine hits over five innings in an 8-0 defeat to Boston on Friday.

“I’m just trying to continue to go out there and get better,” Lieber said. “It’s not happening right now. I’m a little embarrassed with the way things have gone, but I’m not going to give up.

“I’ve never had a streak of starts where it seems like every game, it’s one bad inning, and I’m constantly putting my teammates in a hole. It’s very frustrating, especially when your arm feels great. A lot of mistakes are being made, and they’re getting hit.”

Philadelphia snapped its five-game skid with a 6-3 victory on Wednesday. A defeat would have dropped the Phillies below the Mets into the NL East cellar.

“We were in last place for a long time. We don’t want to go back,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Cory Lidle tossed seven solid innings through a steady rain, and David Bell drove in two runs to spark the Phillies to only their second win in 10 games. They will face Pedro Martinez on Thursday and Atlanta’s John Smoltz on Friday.

“That’ll be a good chance to win two more,” Manuel said. “Got to think on the bright side, be positive.”

Martinez is coming off a solid performance in a 6-4 win over the Yankees on Friday, allowing two runs and six hits over eight innings.

The Dominican right-hander is 6-3 with a 2.56 ERA in his career against the Phillies, including a 5-1 win on May 2 in which he allowed just one run and four hits over seven innings.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lieber ChC vs. P. Martinez Phi
17-13 Record 15-8
4.20 ERA 2.82
149 K 208
41 BB 47
1.21 WHIP 0.95