While the Philadelphia Phillies remain all but certain to miss the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, their recent play has left them with a small glimmer of hope.
Philadelphia tries to win five in a row for the first time in more than three months Tuesday night when it opens a three-game set against the visiting New York Mets.
Despite sitting 16 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington and a ways back in the wild-card standings, the reigning five-time division champions don't appear ready to give up on their season just yet.
The Phillies find themselves in the midst of one of their better stretches of the season, winning seven of nine - including a three-game sweep of the Nationals over the weekend.
"Crazier things have happened," Cliff Lee said after throwing seven strong innings during Sunday's 4-1 victory. "All we can do is try to win each day. For the most part, we underperformed a majority of the first half. We've only recently started to play the way we should have. It's not a surprise to us."
Winner of 14 of 20 at home, Philadelphia now looks for its momentum to carry over versus New York (59-69). The Mets have taken eight of 12 in the series this year, going 5-1 at Citizens Bank Park.
New York is coming off back-to-back victories over major league-worst Houston, winning 2-1 on Sunday on Ike Davis' solo home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Davis has picked up the pace of late, going 11 for 32 with four homers in his last 11 games, raising his average 10 points to .223.
"Obviously, I don't want to be a .220 hitter," he told the Mets' official website. "For having such a bad start - and possibly the worst I've ever been on a baseball field in my entire life - right now, I've really grinded it out. ... As long as I play well enough to get a job next year and keep playing baseball, that's what I'm excited about."
Davis is 1 for 7 versus Phillies scheduled starter Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06 ERA), who's gone 0-3 with a 6.41 ERA over his last four starts. The right-hander made it through six innings for the first time over that stretch Wednesday, yielding two runs and eight hits in a 3-2 loss to Cincinnati.
"I did get to six today, didn't I?" Worley told the Phillies' official website. "That felt good. It's just part of the game, I guess. I kept the team in it ... so I can say that I did my job."
Worley has compiled a 9.00 ERA and .429 opponent batting average in losing both matchups against New York this season. He'll face a Mets team, though, that's scored 15 runs in its last nine games.
Opposing Worley on the hill is Chris Young (3-7, 4.33), who retired the first 15 batters he faced last Tuesday against Colorado before coming undone during a 6-2 defeat. The right-hander gave up four runs - two earned - and five hits over seven innings.
Since joining New York in 2011, Young has gone 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA over three starts versus Philadelphia. He's limited Jimmy Rollins to two hits in 16 at-bats, but the Phillies shortstop is 6 for 12 with five RBIs during the four-game win streak.
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