The Philadelphia Phillies are trying to stay positive despite being on the verge of tying their longest losing streak of the season. A matchup with the New York Mets ' Jonathon Niese may not help them start feeling better.
After an outstanding June, Niese will try to begin this month with a season-high third straight win Tuesday night at Citi Field.
Philadelphia (36-45) managed two runs in each of its three games in Miami this weekend, with a 5-2 defeat Sunday putting the team within one loss of matching a six-game skid from June 2-7.
The Phillies are hoping to get a boost after the All-Star break from first baseman Ryan Howard 's expected return from Achilles surgery as they look to play up to expectations.
""There's a lot of baseball (left). You've got to keep swinging, stay up, you've got to stay positive," manager Charlie Manuel told the team's official website. "Bottom line is it gets back to how much you love to play and how much you want to play and enjoy playing."
Philadelphia might not enjoy facing Niese (6-3, 3.55 ERA), who went 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA in five June starts. He has allowed three runs in 13 1-3 innings while winning his last two outings, giving up one over seven in a 17-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
"In May, I wasn't able to execute my fastball a lot," the left-hander said. "My last few starts, I have been able to (control the fastball). That helps the secondary pitches."
Niese has gone 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this season, though he struggled with his control during the only matchup in New York on May 28. He issued a season-high five walks and gave up four runs over five innings of an 8-4 loss.
The Mets (43-37) had their four-game win streak snapped with a miscue-filled 8-3 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, committing three total errors and having two runners thrown out in the opening inning.
Opening its final homestand before the break, New York will face Vance Worley (4-4, 2.92), who is coming off his first win since returning from the disabled list June 4.
The right-hander allowed three runs over six innings of a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh last Tuesday. He had received one total run of support in losing his previous two starts, during which he gave up three earned runs in 14 innings.
Worley was outpitched by Niese in his only start against the Mets this season April 14. He gave up four runs and a season-high four walks in six innings of a 5-0 defeat in Philadelphia, with Niese going 6 2-3 for the victory.
Worley, though, yielded one run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-2 win in his most recent start at Citi Field on July 15.
The Mets are 6-3 against the Phillies this season but dropped two of three in the most recent matchup May 28-30 in New York.
|June 25, 2012||Brian Schneider||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle - out 3-5 weeks|
|June 07, 2012||Freddy Galvis||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 05, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left game - left index finger laceration|
|June 02, 2012||Jose Contreras||60-Day DL||Torn UCL, right elbow - out for season|
|May 28, 2012||Roy Halladay||15-Day DL||Right latissimus dorsi strain|
|May 16, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left knee contusion|
|New York Mets|
|June 23, 2012||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|June 16, 2012||Jason Bay||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 02, 2012||Mike Baxter||15-Day DL||Displaced right collarbone|
|May 31, 2012||Ramon Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
|May 31, 2012||Ramon Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right hamstring strain|
|May 29, 2012||Justin Turner||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
NEW YORK (AP) -- David Wright could hear it. So did manager Terry Collins. The Mets were roughing up on one of their fiercest rivals and a boisterous crowd at Citi Field was enjoying every minute.
So what if the tickets were initially bought in anticipation of fireworks night? The Mets put on an all-around pretty display of their own, and Collins hopes that's what sticks with the fans.
Jonathon Niese had a two-run single to back his fine performance on the mound Tuesday and Wright hit a three-run homer to break open the New York Mets ' 11-1 romp over the reeling Philadelphia Phillies .
"Our guys noticed it. No question about it. We noticed the size of the crowd tonight. It was great and I think that helped a lot. I think that helped the energy of the club to rise up," Collins said. "I just hope they saw a team they want to come back and watch."
The Mets put on a clinic of clutch hitting and slick fielding in handing the Phillies their sixth straight loss. The only thing they did wrong was run into two outs on the basepaths.
Niese (7-3) pitched a season-high eight innings and gave up three hits, one a homer to Carlos Ruiz . His hit in the second inning put New York up for good in front of 42,516, the highest attendance in the four-year history of Citi Field..
"The energy is just different," Wright said. "You just feel that kind of electricity and that rubs off on the players for sure. Hopefully there is a lot more of that to come."
Ruben Tejada had an RBI single among his three hits. He also put on a show at shortstop, too.
Daniel Murphy finished a homer short of the cycle, doubled twice, drove in four runs and made a leaping catch and diving stop at second base.
Tejada led off the game with an 11-pitch out and it rarely got much easier for Vance Worley (4-5) and Philadelphia's bullpen. New York increased its NL-best run total with two outs to 178 and had 15 hits overall.
Wright, tied for second behind Ruiz in the NL batting title race, drove in four runs with an RBI grounder in the first and the long ball to straightaway center field in the sixth that made it 9-1.
"It just seems like with each win we gain confidence," Wright said.
Ruiz homered on Niese's first pitch of the second inning into the party deck in left field. But it was no party for the falling Phillies. They dropped to a season-worst 10 games under .500 at 36-46.
It's been quite a reversal of fortunes for the two rivals. Finally almost at full health for the first time in several seasons, the Mets have pitched their way to second place in the NL East. The five-time division champion Phillies, meanwhile, have been beset by injuries and a stunning subpar performance from its staff - other than All-Star Cole Hamels . And he's been the subject of recent trade speculation.
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said before the game that the three weeks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 are crucial for the Phillies, who have been in a tailspin since ace Roy Halladay went out with an injury to the right upper back. They were 25-24 after Halladay's last start on May 27 but entered Tuesday with the club's worst record at the midpoint of the season since 1997.
Halladay and Ryan Howard might return right after the All-Star break.
Manuel was realistic about rushing back Howard, who has been out the entire season with an Achilles injury.
"He ain't gonna make a difference in 11-1, unless he has a helluva night," Manuel said.
The Mets jumped on Worley in the second and could've had a big inning if it weren't for a couple of good throws that nailed aggressive baserunnsers.
With the bases loaded, Niese singled in two runs to match his career high for RBIs in a game. But Josh Thole was thrown out by center fielder Shane Victorino trying to advance from first to third on the play.
Murphy followed Tejada's single with an RBI double, the Mets fifth straight hit. A perfect relay from left fielder John Mayberry to shortstop Jimmy Rollins to Ruiz cut down Tejada at homeplate, ending the inning.
"I finally had a chance to hit in front of David," Murphy said of batting second in front of Wright. "It was fun."
Worley had not given up more than three runs since giving up five May 5 - six starts - but topped his season high in just four innings this time. He allowed 10 hits and six runs in dropping the starters' record to 11-22 over the last 43 games.
"My bullpen went really well, and I felt good out there today," Worley said. "The last couple of outings, I had worse control and got away with it. Today, I was just trying to get the ball over the plate and they hit the ball."
NOTES: Howard was scheduled to play his sixth rehabilitation game. He went 1 for 4 with RBI and a double Monday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... Wright has hit at least 10 homers in a season nine times, breaking the Mets record held by Mike Piazza , Darryl Strawberry and Ed Kranepool .