New York (10-6) at Philadelphia (8-10)

Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Apr 20, 2008
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

There were many factors that led to the New York Mets’ monumental late-season collapse in 2007, and among the biggest was their poor play against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Those problems appear to have been corrected.

The visiting Mets will look for their second consecutive sweep on Sunday while trying for their fifth win in a row against the rival Phillies.

New York (10-6) led the NL East by seven games on Sept 14, but a three-game sweep at the hands of Philadelphia began a stretch run where it lost 12 of its final 17, allowing the Phillies to win the division by one game.

The Mets lost 12 of 18 overall - including their last eight games - to Philadelphia in 2007, and went just 35-37 against the NL East. Meanwhile, the Phillies went 42-30 within the division en route to their first postseason appearance since 1993.

New York dropped four of its first six to open 2008, but has been baseball’s hottest team since. The Mets have won eight of their last 10, including four in a row against the Phillies (8-10) and seven straight against the NL East.

“Last year is last year,” third baseman David Wright told the Mets’ official Web site. “They won the division and they deserved to win the division. We need to prove that we can beat these guys at our place and then come here and beat them. So far, go good.”

Wright has carried New York’s offense - his 19 RBIs lead the National League - and he’s hitting .444 with three homers and 12 RBIs in his last seven games. He drove in the Mets’ first two runs on Saturday in their 4-2 win over Philadelphia.

But as impressive as Wright has been, New York has been carried by its pitching. The Mets have allowed only 57 runs through 16 games, second-fewest in the majors, and they’ve given up just 10 runs in their current five-game winning streak.

Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 1.50 ERA) will take the mound Sunday, and a year after the young right-hander was unable to fulfill his high expectations, he appears well on his way in 2008. He beat the Phillies in his first outing, then pitched seven shutout innings on Tuesday against the Nationals.

“I think everybody in here knows Pelfrey has it in him,” Wright said. “He’s beginning to get that swagger.”

Philadelphia’s confidence has taken a blow since reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins sprained his ankle on April 8. He hasn’t started in the last 10 games, and the Phillies have gone 4-6.

Rollins has appeared as a pinch hitter four times, going 1-for-4, and manager Charlie Manuel said he may return to the lineup for this game.

Rollins had a .346 average with six homers, 15 RBIs and eight stolen bases last season against the Mets.

But he’s not the only MVP the Phillies need more production from. First baseman Ryan Howard, who won the award in 2006, is hitting just .182 with 26 strikeouts in his first 66 at-bats.

“Obviously, I’m not comfortable and I’m not seeing the ball well,” Howard said after going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts on Saturday. “Once I get comfortable, I’ll be all right.”

The Phillies will send Adam Eaton (0-0, 4.12) to the mound to try to salvage Sunday’s series finale. The right-hander has lasted at least six innings in each of his three starts, but also has given up three runs in each of them.

Eaton was miserable in 2007, when he went 10-10 with a 6.29 ERA, but went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts versus the Mets.

Wright is just 1-for-13 in his career against Eaton. .

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Starting Pitchers

M. Pelfrey Min vs. A. Eaton Col
13-11 Record 4-8
3.72 ERA 5.80
110 K 57
64 BB 44
1.36 WHIP 1.64


Sunday, Apr 20