The New York Mets won their first four games with David Wright healthy, but the offense clearly suffered in back-to-back losses without him.
Even with his return, facing Cliff Lee won't be an easy task.
Wright should be in the lineup Friday night against the host Philadelphia Phillies as Lee seeks to remain unbeaten against the NL East rival Mets.
New York swept its season-opening series with Atlanta and won the series opener versus Washington on Monday, with Wright going 7 for 12 (.583) with a home run and four RBIs through the first four contests.
The third baseman broke his right pinkie on a head-first slide in Monday's win, though, causing him to miss a 6-2 defeat Tuesday and Wednesday's 4-0 loss in which the Mets (4-2) managed only three singles.
"I love our philosophy of being more patient at the plate, but once in a while you've got to swing at some pitches you're looking for," New York manager Terry Collins said. "Right now, when you're struggling, you've got to hunt a fastball around the plate and you better get it."
Jason Bay, who went 1 for 7 over the last two games, acknowledged the team felt Wright's absence .
"As much as you want to say everybody picks each other up, David was a big part of what we were doing early on," Bay said. "And then, obviously, you take David out of that equation, any team, that's going to hurt."
Wright has been cleared by doctors to play and should return Friday to face Lee (0-0, 1.50 ERA), against whom he's 2 for 7 with three strikeouts.
Lee has been stellar against the Mets, going 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three career starts, allowing one earned run in 21 innings.
The left-hander yielded one run and two hits over six innings in his season debut Saturday, but didn't earn a decision in Philadelphia's 2-1 loss in 10 innings to Pittsburgh. He is 8-1 with a 1.28 ERA in his last 12 regular-season starts, striking out 94 in 91 1-3 innings.
Lee will be opposed by R.A. Dickey (1-0, 3.00), who gave up two runs in six innings Saturday to beat Atlanta 4-2. He's 2-3 with a 2.61 ERA in six career starts against Philadelphia, but he's winless in his last three.
The veteran knuckleballer allowed one run and three hits in seven innings but didn't earn a decision in his most recent outing versus the Phillies, a 2-1 Mets victory Sept. 24.
Dickey has faced Placido Polanco more than any other hitter in his career, with Polanco going 7 for 26 (.269).
Shane Victorino, who has two doubles and a home run in 11 career at-bats off Dickey, homered Thursday to help the Phillies to a 3-1 win over Miami.
Ty Wigginton also homered for Philadelphia (3-3), which got seven solid innings from Joe Blanton his first start after an injury-plagued 2011.
"It's fun just to be back out there and not have anything weighing on my mind,'' Blanton said.
The Phillies have won six of their last eight home games against the Mets.
- Philadelphia Phillies
- David Wright