With the Phillies coming off a big night at the plate, though, and given how well Halladay has pitched against the New York Mets, he may not have to wait long for that first victory.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner will try for his sixth straight win over the Mets on Thursday in the finale of a three-game series in Philadelphia.
Halladay (0-0, 1.50 ERA) didn’t win the season opener for the Phillies (4-1), but he pitched well as he tries to follow a stellar 2010 campaign in which he had 21 victories and a perfect game. He also threw a no-hitter in his first career postseason start.
Halladay was sharp in six innings of a 5-4 win over Houston last Friday, giving up one run and five hits with no walks and six strikeouts. However, the Phillies didn’t score until the seventh inning.
If Halladay pitches as well as he did against the Mets last season, there’s a good chance he’ll pick up his first win Thursday. The right-hander went 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in four starts against them last year, pitching at least seven innings each time while walking two and striking out 28.
Despite his success against New York (3-2), Halladay has had trouble with Jose Reyes(notes), who is 8 for 19 with three doubles and two triples against him. Reyes has four hits and two stolen bases in this series.
The Phillies will look to keep their offense hot in support of Halladay after recording 16 hits in a 10-7 win over the Mets on Wednesday. Ryan Howard(notes) tied a career high with four hits, falling a triple short of the cycle, while Placido Polanco(notes) drove in three runs on three hits, including a go-ahead single in the fifth.
Philadelphia has hit .337 and scored 32 runs this season.
“The statement we’ve made is us being us,” said Howard, hitting .524 with two homers and eight RBIs. “A lot of people counted us out.”
The Mets, who had won three straight, trailed 7-0 after three innings but tied it after a five-run fifth.
“I was very, very proud of the way we came back,” manager Terry Collins said. “They hung in there and gave us a chance to get back in it.”
Niese also pitched well in his season debut, giving up two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 6-4, 10-inning win over Florida on Saturday.
The left-hander went 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts against the Phillies last season, striking out 20 over 21 innings. New York scored just two runs of support in the final two starts, however.
While he’s off to a hot start, Howard is 1 for 6 with two strikeouts against Niese.