The New York Mets have lost five of seven to begin August, but they might now be headed to the right ballpark to balance things out.
Winners of nine of 10 in Philadelphia, the Mets open a four-game set with the Phillies on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park with Bartolo Colon aiming for his 200th career victory.
The Phillies (52-63), however, have won six of seven in Philadelphia after beginning a seven-game homestand with a sweep of Houston.
With his next win, Colon (10-9, 4.12 ERA) will join Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal as the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach the milestone.
"It is very important for me," Colon said. "I want to be in the same club as Pedro."
The Mets (54-61) completed a three-game sweep in Philadelphia from May 31-June 2 with the 41-year-old winning the finale.
Prior to this season, the right-hander hadn't faced Philadelphia since 2008. In two 2014 starts, he's 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA, the latest coming in a 7-1 home win on July 28. The veteran allowed a run and 10 hits over 7 2-3 innings.
He didn't have the same success in Sunday's 9-0 loss to San Francisco, lasting 4 2-3 innings while surrendering six runs and eight hits, two of which left the yard.
Such throw-away starts have crept up often on Colon this season with six outings resulting in five earned runs or more, but he's not concerned with it spilling over.
"Once they pull me out of the game I am done, I do not think about it anymore I just start thinking about my next start," Colon said. "Felt really good the first two innings, I do not really know what happened after that."
New York followed up losing three of four to the Giants by dropping the final two of a three-game series in Washington. Thursday's 5-3 loss ended in particularly upsetting fashion with Bryce Harper hitting a walkoff homer in the 13th inning.
The Mets will attempt to recover against A.J. Burnett. After a series of rough road starts, Burnett (6-11, 4.16) should also be pleased with returning to Philadelphia.
He's 3-7 with a 5.26 ERA on the road and 3-4 with a 3.03 ERA at home after possibly his best start of the season in a 3-1 loss to San Francisco on July 23. He held the Giants to four hits in eight scoreless innings.
The fresher memories, though, will be of not making it through the second inning before being ejected for arguing the strike zone in Saturday's 11-0 loss in Washington. The 37-year-old allowed five runs, though four were unearned, with three hits and two walks in 1 2-3 innings.
The frustration likely carried over from allowing seven runs in five innings of a 7-1 loss to the Mets on July 28. He's 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts against them this season.
David Wright is just 3 for 27 against Burnett while former New York Yankees teammate Curtis Granderson is 3 for 18.
Philadelphia finished off the Astros with Thursday's 6-5 victory after Ryan Howard hit a grand slam to complete a five-run, eighth-inning rally.
The first baseman has answered a 1-for-25 slump by going 5 for 14 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last three. He's also 2 for 8 with two home runs against Colon.
"I understand what it takes to play the game," Howard said. "It wasn't there early, but I just needed it to be there once and it was there for me, so I'm going to try to build off that."
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