Eaton looks to stay undefeated against the Mets as he takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night in the middle game of the teams’ series.
The right-hander has struggled this season, but especially lately. Eaton (5-4, 6.28 ERA) is 1-1 with a 10.13 ERA in his last two starts, and has yielded five or more runs in four of his 11 starts.
Eaton, however, has been dominant against the Mets (35-21) in his career, posting a 1.65 ERA en route to winning all four of his starts. He faced New York on April 11, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out five in seven innings as Philadelphia won 5-2.
In his last start, Eaton gave up five runs, six hits and four walks in a season-low two innings as Philadelphia lost 13-0 to San Francisco on Friday night.
Another victory by Eaton over the NL East-leading Mets would give the Phillies (29-29) a series win at Shea Stadium for the first time since taking two of three games from Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2005.
A 4-2, 11-inning victory over New York on Tuesday night gave Philadelphia a .500 record for the third time in a week. The Phillies also pulled within seven games of the Mets, who have the National League’s best record.
“They certainly are a team in our division that we respect and expect to be in the thick of things all season,” Mets pitcher Tom Glavine said. “Because they started the season poorly, you can’t write them off.”
Chase Utley hit a leadoff homer in the 11th inning and drove in three runs to lead Philadelphia. The second baseman is batting .571 (8-for-14) with two home runs, three doubles and four RBIs in his last four games.
“What do you want me to say about him? I can’t say enough,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He is something really special. He’s what I call a player. I used to say Kirby Puckett was my favorite player. I love Kirby Puckett, but Chase is getting there.”
Utley, though, will be facing one of the NL’s hottest pitchers Wednesday. Orlando Hernandez (3-1, 2.20 ERA) has been masterful for the Mets, holding opponents to a .174 batting average.
The right-hander earned a win in his last start, giving up two runs and two hits in seven innings as New York beat San Francisco 4-2 on Thursday night. He had his scoreless-inning streak stopped at a career-high 19, giving up both of his runs in the first inning.
Hernandez, though, is 0-1 with an 11.08 ERA in three lifetime starts against the Phillies. Philadelphia right fielder Shane Victorino is 4-for-6 with a home run, a triple and a double against Hernandez.
Hernandez may not get much run support considering Eaton’s past success against New York, and the Mets’ recent struggles at the plate. New York has scored two runs or less in four of its last six games.
The Mets had All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran back in the lineup Tuesday, but still went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Beltran played for the first time since bruising his right knee last Thursday night in a collision with San Francisco’s Rich Aurilia at first base. He looked comfortable in the field, but finished 0-for-5 at the plate.