On Saturday, Philadelphia looks to build on that victory and move within one game of the Mets as the rivals play the middle game of their crucial series at Shea Stadium.
The Phillies (77-64) received an inspirational e-mail from Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt on Friday before beating the Mets 3-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Brett Myers. Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel posted Schmidt’s letter in the locker room before the victory, which put the club two games back of the Mets (79-62).
“One pitch, one at bat, one play, one situation, think ‘small’ and ‘big’ things result, tough at-bats, lots of walks, stay up the middle with men on base, whatever it takes to ‘keep the line moving’ on offense, 27 outs on defense, the Mets know you’re better than they are,” Schmidt wrote.
“They remember last year. You guys are never out of a game. Welcome the challenge that confronts you this weekend. You are the stars. Good luck. #20.”
The e-mail comes as Philadelphia attempts to rally past New York in the standings for a second consecutive season.
The Phillies overcame a seven-game deficit with 17 to play to win the East on the final day of the regular season last September, eliminating the Mets from playoff contention. That epic comeback also began with a three-game sweep at Shea, and escalated an already bitter rivalry.
“I have absolutely nothing to say to Mike Schmidt,” said Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, who went 1-for-4 Friday. “I guess he was bored one afternoon, so fine with me.”
The Phillies will now turn to Jamie Moyer (12-7, 3.80) in an effort to get even closer to the top of the East.
The 45-year-old left-hander is 5-1 with a 3.29 ERA in his last 11 starts. He’s been even better in five road games during that span, going 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA.
Moyer continued his impressive run at NL Central-leading Chicago on Sunday, allowing two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-3 victory.
Delgado, though, is hitting .397 (31-for-78) with eight homers lifetime off Moyer.
The Mets will give the ball to Pedro Martinez (5-3, 5.07 ERA), who is looking to remain unbeaten for a sixth consecutive start. The 36-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA in his last five outings.
On Sunday, Martinez yielded two runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-2 win at Florida.
“Pedro was Pedro,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He didn’t have his greatest stuff, but he pitched magnificently.”
The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 3-2 with a 5.08 ERA in eight starts against the Phillies since joining the Mets in 2005.