Phillies-Mets Preview


The New York Mets' success against the Philadelphia Phillies is making the difference in the race for last place in the NL East.

Handing the ball to Bartolo Colon gives the Mets an excellent chance to create further separation.

While reports swirl that he could be headed out of New York soon, Colon attempts to become the first Met in 13 years to beat the Phillies four times in a season Saturday night.

New York (63-72) is ahead of Philadelphia (61-73) for fourth place in the division, thanks in large part to a 12-5 edge in the season series.

The Mets won for the 11th time in 14 meetings by taking Friday's opener of this three-game set 4-1, capitalizing on Grady Sizemore's three-run error in the seventh inning.

"Yeah, we were pretty pumped up in the dugout. There was no question, because we haven't been scoring. You take every gift you can get right now," manager Terry Collins said.

Pitching has been vital to New York's success, as it's managed a 2.69 ERA over the past 14 matchups.

Colon (12-10, 3.82) has done his part, compiling a 1.59 ERA while winning all three of his starts against the Phillies this year.

The right-hander can join Tom Seaver (1970), Bobby Ojeda (1989) and Steve Trachsel (2001) as the only Mets to beat the division rivals four times in a season.

Colon yielded one run in eight innings of a 5-4 win in Philadelphia on Aug. 8. That was the first of three straight impressive outings in which he's given up four earned runs in 21 innings while going 2-1.

This could be Colon's last appearance for the Mets, who placed him on waivers ahead of Sunday's waiver trade deadline.

"Whatever the team and ownership decide to do, that's their part," Colon told MLB's official website. "My part is to pitch."

Juan Lagares is doing his part at the plate, hitting .412 (14 for 34) over his past nine matchups with Philadelphia. The second-year center fielder has a .376 career average against the Phillies and will get his first look at Jerome Williams, who is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts since being acquired off waivers from Texas earlier this month.

The journeyman right-hander, who is on his third team this year, has won his last two outings while yielding two runs in 15 innings. He allowed one run in a season-high eight innings of Sunday's 7-1 victory over St. Louis.

"My stuff was (always) there. It's just I wasn't using it right. I think I'm using it right now," Williams said. "Using every pitch and every part of the zone, just mixing speeds instead of being a one-dimensional pitcher, and using every pitch in every count."

Despite his recent success, Williams isn't treating his tenure with the Phillies as an audition for potential suitors this winter.

"No. I'm just trying to pitch to do well. And whatever happens, happens," he said. "I'm not thinking about the offseason. I'm thinking about this team right now. Finishing strong as a team."

Williams is 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in three starts against the Mets. He last faced them with Washington in 2007 and hasn't visited Queens since 2004 with San Francisco.