The New York Mets have been swinging hot bats during a positive stretch at Citi Field, though they might have a difficult time continuing that trend against one of the NL's top pitchers.
As the Mets go for their longest home winning streak in four years Tuesday night, Philadelphia's Cole Hamels hopes to keep showing the Phillies why they might be better off holding on to him through the trade deadline.
New York (51-55) has averaged 5.9 runs while winning eight of nine at home, scoring four in the first inning and three in the fifth off A.J. Burnett in Monday's 7-1 win to open this three-game set.
Travis d'Arnaud had a three-run homer and two doubles to lead the onslaught. Lucas Duda added an RBI single and is hitting .354 with 13 RBIs in his last 15 home games.
New York, however, could have a tougher time with Hamels as it looks to win five straight home games for the first time since a nine-game run from May 22-June 8, 2010.
Hamels (5-5, 2.72 ERA) ranks ninth in the NL in ERA, including a 1.74 mark over his last 11 starts as he's limited opponents to three runs or less in each. He won a second straight outing for the first time this season Thursday, allowing one run and striking out 10 over eight innings in a 2-1 victory over San Francisco.
"He's really gone with his fastball to set up his other pitches," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's got everything behind him."
Although last-place Philadelphia (46-60) is reportedly open to trading Hamels before Thursday's deadline, the asking price is believed to be extremely high for the three-time All-Star.
"I don't know one way or another," Sandberg told MLB's official website about any potential deals.
Hamels is 7-14 with a 4.38 ERA in 29 career starts against the Mets as he meets them for the fourth time in 2014. He allowed a season high six runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 6-1 loss April 29, then did not factor in the decision in May and June starts when he gave up one earned run over seven innings in each with a combined 18 strikeouts as Philadelphia lost both.
Daniel Murphy is hitting .386 lifetime off Hamels, going 5 for 10 with two doubles this season.
New York's Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49) hopes to regroup after giving up a season-high six runs over five innings in Thursday's 9-1 loss at Milwaukee. He's 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in three starts after missing two months with a strained right lat.
"There is no excuses," Gee said. "The layoff is not an excuse for me."
The right-hander is 3-3 with a 6.71 ERA in 10 career starts against the Phillies. In his only meeting this season, he surrendered three runs over six innings before the bullpen blew a one-run lead in a 5-4 home loss May 10.
Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 3 with a home run off Gee in that contest and is 11 for 22 lifetime in the matchup.
Ryan Howard is 9 for 18 off Gee with six home runs - twice as many as any other player against him - but went 0 for 5 with an error Monday. He was 7 for 19 with a home run in his previous four games.
Former Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd is batting .362 in his last 10 games after Monday's four-hit effort. Carlos Ruiz also had four hits, leaving him 8 for 16 since missing nearly a month with a concussion.
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