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Mets At Phillies: Struggling Mets Try To Find Answers In Philadelphia

(Sports Network) – The Philadelphia Phillies have won Vance Worley’s last 11 starts and look to make it a perfect dozen when they resume a three-game series versus the New York Mets tonight from Citizens Bank Park.

Worley hasn’t tasted defeat since May 29, when the rival Mets hammered him for eight runs — five earned — in a 9-5 decision at Citi Field. He has beaten the Mets since then and is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four career games (3 starts) in this series.

The young right-hander is 6-0 with a 2.41 earned run average in his last 11 trips to the mound, but hasn’t looked so sharp in each of his previous two outings — both no-decisions. He allowed six runs in four innings of a 9-8 win in Los Angeles on Aug. 10, then lasted three innings in a 4-1 win over Arizona last Thursday. That game was delayed by rain, forcing Worley to the bench. A thunderstorm delayed the game for 2 hours, 17 minutes after three innings.

Worley is 8-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 17 games, 15 of which have been starts, this season and will put his 4-0 record in eight starts at home on the line.

Jonathon Niese takes the mound for New York and has dropped consecutive starts since winning four of his previous five decisions. He last pitched in Tuesday’s 6-1 loss at San Diego, where he allowed three runs and 10 hits in six innings. Niese dropped to 11-10 in 26 games (25 starts) with a 4.05 ERA.

The lefty defeated Philadelphia the last time he faced the NL East rivals in an 11-2 triumph on July 16, as he was reached for two runs — one earned — in seven innings. Niese is 3-3 with a 2.82 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies.

Philadelphia gave Cliff Lee more than enough run support in Monday’s series- opening 10-0 win, as John Mayberry Jr. and Hunter Pence both hit two-run homers to lead the way. Pence also scored four runs, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz had two RBI apiece and Lee threw seven scoreless innings to go along with seven strikeouts.

“I was throwing a lot of strikes early. Working ahead in the count,” said Lee.

Lee extended his personal winning streak to five starts and has given up just six runs in 38 2/3 innings during the span. He also set a career-high with 191 strikeouts this season, beating his previous mark of 185 set last year with No. 186 in the third inning. Lee has won 12 of his last 15 decisions.

Placido Polanco had two hits in his return from the disabled list because of a sports hernia, while Jimmy Rollins landed on the DL with a groin strain. Raul Ibanez was scratched from the lineup with a sore left groin and Mayberry started in his place at left field. Ibanez may sit again with Niese pitching.

The Phillies will also host Florida for three games on this homestand.

New York has dropped four straight and 10 of its last 12 games.

Mets center fielder Angel Pagan left the game with a stomach virus and is expected to play Tuesday, while Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada had two hits apiece for the Mets. Pagan is hitting .375 with three homers and seven stolen bases over his last 17 games dating back to Aug. 2.

“There’s not much (left to say),” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to make sure to continue to prepare ourselves and play the game hard. If we ever get hot, times will change. Right now, we’re not hitting and we’re not pitching. That’s a bad combination.”

Jose Reyes is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Binghamton and has been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a strained left hamstring. The All-Star shortstop ran a series of sprints to first base on Monday and is taking it slow to avoid further injury. Entering Monday’s play, Reyes still led the National League with a .336 average and 16 triples.

Philadelphia has won nine of 13 meetings with New York this season. The Mets are 5-14 this month, while the Phils are 45-20 as the host.