Cole Hamels has often struggled against the Mets, but this might be the most depleted New York lineup he has ever faced.
The left-hander will look to take advantage Wednesday as the Philadelphia Phillies visit the Mets.
Hamels (5-13, 3.62 ERA) has a 6-12 career record versus the Mets, his worst against any team he's faced at least four times. He has lost both of his starts against them over the past three months, giving up eight runs and 14 hits in 11 innings.
Fortunately for Hamels, David Wright , who has a .339 lifetime average and four homers off the left-hander, is out with a strained right hamstring.
"I can't tell you how much value they brought to this team, especially with what we've gone through throughout this season," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But they're not here now, so my attention has to be to the other 25 guys."
Collins was left starting three rookies along with little-used Andrew Brown on Tuesday. The Mets had only five hits, but they beat the Phillies 5-0 as Jonathon Niese pitched a shutout and had a three-run double.
"They want to pick each other up," said Collins, whose club snapped a five-game losing streak.
The offense of the Phillies (60-72) has rarely picked up Hamels, who has a 2.00 ERA over his last six starts but has gone 1-1. He's lasted at least seven innings in each of those outings, issuing a combined six walks. His last non-quality start came at Citi Field on July 20, allowing four runs in five innings of a 5-4 defeat.
They'll look to help get Daisuke Matsuzaka his first win since last Aug. 27.
Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00) allowed five runs in five innings of a 6-1 loss to Detroit on Friday, his first major league start after spending most of the season toiling in Cleveland's farm system. The right-hander served up two homers - he allowed 11 in 45 2-3 innings last year with Boston - but did retire the last 10 batters he faced.
"The arm issues have caused his velocity to go down a little bit," Collins said. "But I tell you what, his breaking stuff is still very good. I was happy with the way he finished up."
Matsuzaka is 0-5 with a 13.06 ERA in six starts since his last win.
One of the best outings of his career was the last time he faced Philadelphia, having a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the eighth inning of a 5-0 Red Sox win.
The Phillies have lost 14 of 16 on the road while averaging 2.0 runs and batting .194, including a combined two runs and nine hits halfway through this four-game set.
|August 26, 2013||Casper Wells||15-Day DL||Vision complications|
|August 17, 2013||Michael Young||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore left ankle|
|August 15, 2013||John Lannan||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|August 14, 2013||John Lannan||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|July 29, 2013||Jonathan Pettibone||60-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|July 26, 2013||Cliff Lee||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|New York Mets|
|August 26, 2013||Matt Harvey||Day-to-Day||Torn right elbow ligament|
|August 25, 2013||Matt Harvey||15-Day DL||Torn right UCL - out for season|
|August 18, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow discomfort|
|August 17, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||Day-to-Day||Right elbow discomfort|
|August 10, 2013||Jeremy Hefner||15-Day DL||Partially torn ligament, right elbow|
|August 03, 2013||David Wright||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Cole Hamels maintained his focus and walked away a winner after 3 1/2 hours of dreary baseball Wednesday night.
"I'm glad I play it, but I wouldn't be watching it," he said.
Hamels pitched seven strong innings and handed himself some much-needed run support, sending the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets .
Carlos Ruiz homered and the Phillies overcame a couple of mental mistakes by Jimmy Rollins to win for only the third time in 17 road games. Hamels hit a two-run single to help Philadelphia improve to 8-5 under interim manager Ryne Sandberg .
This was no masterpiece, though.
Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka took an interminable amount of time between pitches and threw 82 over the first three innings. Hamels worked at a much faster pace but irritated fans by making seven straight tosses to first base with Eric Young Jr. aboard.
Young stole second anyway.
One night after Jonathon Niese 's three-hit shutout for the Mets lasted 2 hours, 19 minutes, that's how long it took to play 5 1/2 innings in a game between also-rans that ultimately dragged on for 3:32.
About halfway through, a television camera fixed on Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee spinning a crushed water bottle in the dugout.
"Unfortunately, sometimes when you have games like this, you just have to go out there and try to be effective from pitch one and make sure that your warmup pitches are right on par," Hamels said. "It's a lot of self-motivating and just trying to stay in the game as much as possible, which is a lot easier said than done."
Matsuzaka (0-2) labored through 4 1-3 innings on Japanese Heritage Night in his second start for the new-look Mets, who have dropped six of seven. Depleted by key injuries and Tuesday's trade that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh, New York fell to 2-6 on a nine-game homestand.
"Today's game was pretty self-explanatory, I think," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I was all over the place today, all over the zone."
The Mets made three errors after going six games without one, which matched a season high.
Hindered by the fifth-worst run support in the majors this season, Hamels (6-13) worked around nine hits and improved to 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in six August starts. The left-hander struck out eight, walked one and upped his career record to 7-12 against the Mets.
"He's pitched well all year," Sandberg said.
While rain postponed afternoon tennis matches at the U.S. Open next door, the Phillies and Mets stayed dry throughout a drab evening that matched the pace of the game.
Hamels grounded a two-run single to left field off reliever Robert Carson in the fifth to make it 4-1. That gave Hamels, a career .170 hitter entering the game, four RBIs this season and answered a three-run double by Niese the previous night.
"That was huge," Sandberg said.
Rollins failed to cover third base on a third-inning popup along the third base line. Noticing that the shortstop was flat-footed, the speedy Young alertly tagged up at second and beat Rollins and Ruiz to the bag.
Ike Davis followed with an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch, his 10th hit in 67 at-bats (.149) against left-handers to that point.
Rollins made up for his gaffe with a tying double in the fourth - but got cut down at third for the third out. It was Rollins' first RBI in 15 games, his longest drought since August 2005, according to STATS.
A ground-rule double by Michael Young set up the Phillies in the fifth and made him 10 for 17 (.588) off Matsuzaka, who forced in the go-ahead run by hitting John Mayberry Jr. with a pitch.
That was it for Matsuzaka, charged with four runs, four walks and six hits in his second major league start of the season.
"He's definitely deliberate, but like I said, you have to adapt and adjust to his pace of play because ultimately he controls it," Mayberry said.
The former Red Sox star was pitching in Cleveland's farm system before he was granted his release last week. The Mets signed him to fill a hole in their injury-depleted rotation the rest of the way.
"I do know the history of, you know, he does take some time between pitches. But I will tell you, his stuff's good enough," New York manager Terry Collins said. "Tonight the command was off and therefore he was off."
Ruiz hit a solo homer off Carson in the sixth.
Andrew Brown had an RBI double for the Mets in the seventh.
"Wow. It was a long day," Ruiz said. "It was hard to stay focused, waiting that long."
NOTES: All-Star OF Domonic Brown sat out again with a sore right heel. He hasn't started since being lifted Saturday, but Sandberg said Brown is getting close. ... Phillies 3B Cody Asche left in the seventh with a cramp and a mild right hamstring strain. ... Mayberry was called for interference with his backswing on a stolen base for the second time in three nights. ... Matsuzaka singled for his third career hit and first since June 24, 2010, with Boston. ... RHP Carlos Torres pitches in place of injured Mets ace Matt Harvey in the series finale Thursday. RHP Ethan Martin gets the ball for Philadelphia.