Strong pitching and production from the heart of the order helped the Mets cruise to a doubleheader sweep yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils try to stop the bleeding this afternoon when rookie left-hander J.A. Happ debuts in a national FOX broadcast.
Last night: The Mets are winners of seven of their last eight, leaving their early June woes behind and reasserting their stranglehold on the NL East. John Maine was the difference in a disappointing, ineffective night by the Phillies’ offense. Maine lasted eight strong, allowing four hits, one run while striking out six. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels couldn’t find the plate, walking five and getting behind hitters all night. Manager Charlie Manuel pulled his young ace after just five innings, after watching his pitch count soar to 110. The Carloses, Delgado and Beltran, provided the big blows in the first and second games. Beltran went deep twice in the night cap.
Today’s preview: Left-hander J.A. Happ makes his major league debut. Happ, a third-round selection in the 2004 draft, went 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 13 starts for Ottawa. Depending on the outcome of today’s game, Happ could stick around and round out the Phillies’ depleted pitching staff. The job will fall to either Happ or J.D. Durbin, who was unimpressive in his Phillies' debut yesterday afternoon. Happ will showcase a number of pitches and is not especially overpowering with his fastball. He'll mix in a change-up, curve and slider.
For the Mets, Jorge Sosa (6-3, 3.79 ERA) gets the start.
Romero joins club today: The Phillies purchased the contract of left-hander J.C. Romero between games yesterday. Clay Condrey was designated for assignment to make room on the active roster. Romero, signed to a minor-league deal last week, was 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 games for the Red Sox, but struggled with command. The 31-year-old is 27-22 with a 4.54 ERA over nine seasons pitching primarily in relief. In related news, Brian Sanches is expected to be demoted to make room for Happ.
Lineups are set: Michael Bourn, Aaron Rowand and Shane Victorino round out the outfield. Greg Dobbs starts at third. Carlos Ruiz receives.