The New York Mets haven't provided Zack Wheeler with much run support this season and probably didn't give him much reason for optimism with their most recent effort. The Mets hope to rebound from only their second loss in their last 10 home games on Wednesday, when they face the Philadelphia Phillies in the rubber match of their three-game series. After producing their largest run total in 11 contests since the All-Star break with Monday's 7-1 win, New York was blanked for the ninth time a day later.
The Mets have scored fewer than four runs in 10 of their 12 second-half contests, but meager offensive output has been a common theme in Wheeler's outings as they have backed him with three or fewer runs in 16 of his 21 starts. His counterpart in the series finale, Kyle Kendrick, hasn't given himself much of a chance lately, however, as he has posted an 8.59 ERA and allowed hitters to bat .297 against him over his last four turns. Although Philadelphia has won four of its last six games, Tuesday's victory marked only the fourth in its last 15 tries in New York.
TV: 12:10 p.m. ET, CSN Philadelphia, SNY (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87 ERA) vs. Mets RH Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.64)
Kendrick tossed five scoreless frames before loading the bases with two outs in the sixth but ended up getting charged with three runs over 5 2/3 innings when Antonio Bastardo served up a grand slam to the next batter in Friday's 9-5 win over Arizona. The Houston native yielded six hits and a walk, failing to make it through six innings for the fourth straight time. Kendrick did not factor in the decision in either one of his outings versus the Mets this season and is 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 24 career appearances (18 starts) against them.
Since getting roughed up for six runs over two innings on June 25, Wheeler has allowed only one earned run in each of his last five outings - working at least six frames in each. The 24-year-old is unbeaten in those five starts, although he settled for a no-decision in Friday's 3-2 win over Milwaukee despite permitting two runs (one earned) over 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine. Wheeler improved to 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in three career starts versus the Phillies after yielding one run in 6 1/3 frames of a win on May 29.
1. The Mets have been shut out more times in 2014 than they were all of last season (eight).
2. Philadelphia SS Jimmy Rollins (29 career homers against New York) and 2B Chase Utley (32) both went deep Tuesday. Each home-run tally is the most either player has recorded against any opponent.
3. New York has scored more first-inning runs than any other team (70).
PREDICTION: Mets 4, Phillies 2