Manager Charlie Manuel hasn’t been happy with the way the Philadelphia Phillies have played over the past week, but he certainly can’t be upset with how his team has handled the New York Mets recently.
The Phillies look for their 10th win in 11 games against the disappointing Mets on Saturday as the teams continue their four-game set at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia (80-59) lost four of six to Houston and Washington over the past week, prompting Manuel to lament his team was “getting outplayed by second division teams” as its NL East lead over Florida shrunk to five games.
The Mets (62-79) have nothing to play for but pride, but the Phillies haven’t had any problems dispatching their struggling rivals lately. Jimmy Rollins(notes), Shane Victorino(notes) and Chase Utley(notes) went a combined 7 for 12 Friday to help lead Philadelphia to a 4-2 victory, its ninth in 10 games against New York.
That, combined with the Marlins’ 5-3 loss to Washington, boosted the Phillies’ lead back to six games.
Jamie Moyer(notes) (12-9, 4.98 ERA) was bumped from Philadelphia’s rotation in favor of Pedro Martinez(notes) after the three-time Cy Young Award winner joined the club in mid-August, but the 46-year-old will get the ball for the second time this week as he fills in for injured rookie J.A. Happ(notes).
Moyer gave up two runs and three hits over six innings Monday at Houston, but didn’t earn a decision as the Astros won 4-3.
“Moyer was good, really good,” Manuel told the Phillies’ official Web site.
The left-hander was 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in his first two starts versus New York this season, but is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his last two outings against the Mets.
Most opposing pitchers prefer to steer clear of New York third baseman David Wright(notes), but that’s particularly true for Moyer. Wright is a .432 lifetime hitter with three homers against Moyer, and is 5 of 9 this season.
Despite Happ’s strained right oblique, the Phillies’ biggest concern with their pitching staff lies in the bullpen. Ryan Madson(notes) closed out Friday’s win despite allowing a run in the ninth, his third save this week after relieving Brad Lidge(notes) in a tight spot on Tuesday.
Manuel, however, isn’t ready to completely stop using Lidge, who has blown 10 of 38 save chances this year but has allowed only one hit in six innings against the Mets.
“We’re definitely going to get Lidge back out there,” Manuel said. “I want to just give him time to settle down from a mental state and (work on) his command.”
The Mets will send Mike Pelfrey(notes) (10-10, 4.83) to the mound, and that’s about the best news they can get this season if they’re facing the Phillies. New York is 5-10 against Philadelphia, but Pelfrey is 3-0 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts.
Pelfrey was 0-2 with a 10.24 ERA from Aug. 26-Sept. 1, but delivered arguably his best start of 2009 his last time out. The right-hander limited Chicago to a run and five hits over a season-high eight innings Sunday in a 4-2 victory.
“I know I haven’t been what people expected,” Pelfrey told the Mets’ official Web site. “The last couple of starts (were) embarrassing. … I’ve been a disappointment to my teammates and myself.”