Mets-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Mets are on the cusp of their most successful season against the Philadelphia Phillies in four years, and sweeping this three-game set will mark their longest winning streak over them in 41 years.

Lucas Duda looks to continue his offensive barrage in Philadelphia, where the Mets go for a sixth win in a row over the Phillies on Thursday.

New York (61-69) is 10-4 against Philadelphia (61-69) - its best single-season record against the NL East rival since going 11-7 in 2008.

The Mets' success this year has been aided by winning seven of eight at Citizens Bank Park, including five in a row after winning 3-2 on Wednesday.

They haven't won six straight at Philadelphia since June 28-Sept. 4, 1971 - the Phillies' inaugural season at Veterans Stadium.

Duda could play a part in helping New York match that run. The right fielder is hitting .400 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games at Citizens Bank Park, and has two hits and three RBIs in this series.

He provided the difference Wednesday with a two-run homer, his first since July 6 and in three games since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

"Just getting used to it again," said Duda, who was batting .138 with one homer and two RBIs in 19 games before being sent to the minors.

It would seem Duda and the Mets are in a favorable position to sweep their second consecutive three-game series at Philadelphia since Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12) is scheduled to take the mound.

The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.87 ERA in his last seven games - three starts - at home against New York, and was hit hard in his most recent matchup May 9. He surrendered five runs with two walks while hitting another batter in just over an inning of relief to get charged with a 10-6 loss.

Kendrick, though, has been terrific of late, and a victory against the Mets would give him a career-high four straight winning starts. He has a 0.83 ERA during his win streak and was impressive again in Friday's 4-2 win over Washington, allowing two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings.

"When he gets in a good rhythm, he moves the tempo and is in control of the game," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He can command the ball about where he wants to. He's relaxed more and his confidence is big.

"He's always had to fight to survive. He's proved he can pitch."

Kendrick is trying to prove he's worthy of a regular place in the Phillies rotation in 2012.

"That's not my call," Kendrick said. "I just try go out there and give us a chance to win."

The Mets are scheduled to turn to Jonathon Niese (10-7, 3.51), who's 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in four starts against the Phillies this year and 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two road appearances.

The left-hander also has won his last two road starts, yielding one run and eight hits with 12 strikeouts in 14 1-3 innings.

He wasn't nearly as sharp at home Friday, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings in a 3-1 loss to Houston.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is hitting .356 versus the Mets this year, but is 2 for 13 with four strikeouts against Niese.

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