Phillies-Mets: What you need to know

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Phillies-Mets: What you need to know

New York Mets (17-13) at Phillies (14-17)7:05 p.m. on CSN

The deflating losses continue to pile up. The Phillies blew another lead Tuesday and dropped their fourth in five games to fall to three games under .500 for the second time this season. Their previous low watermark was April 23 in Arizona, when they fell to 7-10 before winning three of four.

Tuesday nights blown 4-0 lead was the seventh time already this season the Phillies have a lost a game when they were either tied or ahead in the seventh inning. Win three of those seven games and youre 17-14 instead of 14-17. Win them all and youre 21-10, the same record the Phils had through this point last season.

Starting Pitchers
Cliff Lee makes his triumphant return from the DL, and, boy, do the Phillies need big things from him Wednesday night.

Lee was 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA when he hit the shelf after his 10-inning, no-run outing in San Francisco on April 18. He ended up missing three starts.

Lee hasnt won since Sept. 26, 2011. In his three starts this season the Phillies have scored a total of three runs.

Hes certainly pitched well enough to win. Lee has 18 strikeouts to just two walks and 61 percent of his balls in play so far have been on the ground.

Itll be Lee vs. Gee. Dillon Gee gets the nod for the Mets and could prove to be a tough task. Hes 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA, but has impressive strikeout (29) and walk (8) numbers and three of his five outings have been very good.

Gee, who has a beard thick enough to shame Todd Heltons, throws a high-80s, low-90s fastball but uses his secondary pitches plenty. He throws a low-80s changeup about 25 percent of the time and also incorporates a curveball, slider and cutter.

Because of the effectiveness of his changeup, lefties have hit just .216 off Gee in his career. But he does struggle with command against opposite-handed hitters. Hes walked 51 lefties and struck out 50.
Head-to-head
The Phillies are 1-4 against the Mets this season and have lost seven of their last nine games in the series. The Phils are 52-43 (.547) vs. New York since the start of 2007.

Lee is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts against the Mets. Hes allowed less than a baserunner per inning and struck out five times as many Ropolitans as hes walked. No single Met has impressive numbers against Lee.

Gee has been awful in four appearances (three starts) against the Phils. Hes allowed 34 baserunners in 18 13 innings, a .297 opponents batting average and has a 7.85 ERA. Somehow, hes won two of three decisions.

Ryan Howard has done the most damage off Gee, but Jimmy Rollins is 3 for 3 with a walk. Shane Victorino is 2 for 7 with a triple and a walk.

Whos hot
In May, Hunter Pence has produced runs the way the Phillies need him to. He is 10 for 34 (.294) with four home runs, three doubles and 10 RBI in eight games. Thats a .735 slugging percentage, and its a major reason why the Phillies have scored the sixth most runs in baseball this month.

Whos not
The bullpen has blown five saves on the season and been responsible for four of the last five Phillies losses.

Storylines
- The first two games of the Mets series were hard to stomach but the Phillies can still avoid their first sweep of the season by winning Wednesday night.

- The Phils play five straight home games after the Mets leave town and have the pitching matchup advantage in every one. So a homestand that hasnt started well can still end with the Phillies back over .500.

- Lee likely wont throw more than 90 pitches, which means six innings unless hes absolutely cruising. That means the bullpen will be needed again and given a chance to redeem itself.
Sound off
Do you think the Phillies need to trade for a reliever?

E-mail Corey Seidman at cseidman@comcastsportsnet.com

Another struggling pitcher gets well against the Phillies' feeble hitters

Another struggling pitcher gets well against the Phillies' feeble hitters

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- For struggling pitchers, facing the Phillies has become like a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
 
Another rival pitcher searching for a cure got it Monday night when the Phillies suffered their 23rd loss in the last 29 games. This time it was Miami Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez. He pitched six shutout innings and allowed just three hits in leading his club to a 4-1 win over the Phillies, who fell to 6-20 in May (see Instant Replay).

Volquez had gone 16 starts between wins.
 
"Every loss stings, I don’t care who's pitching," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We're just in a rut. We've got to battle our way out of it. We have to show up tomorrow and get after it. We've got to get more than three or four hits in the game."
 
The Phillies had just four hits in the game. It was the fifth time in the last nine games that they've had four or fewer hits. Only one of the hits was for extra bases and one of the singles was an infield hit.
 
"Once again, we need more offense," Mackanin said.
 
Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson completed a difficult month of May by allowing six hits, including a two-run homer, and four runs over six innings.
 
Hellickson surrendered a two-run homer to Derek Dietrich with two outs in the sixth and that was basically the ball game. Dietrich hit a high changeup. Back in April, that pitch would have been at the knees. But Hellickson has misplaced the pitch command that he needs to succeed.
 
Hellickson went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April. In May, however, he went 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA in six starts. He was tagged for 35 hits, including nine homers, in 30 2/3 innings.
 
"Command in general," said Hellickson, describing his problem this month. "The biggest thing is not getting strike one, falling behind too much. I'm not getting the quick easy outs I was getting early in the season. I'm trying to get ahead, just missing."
 
Volquez signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Marlins over the winter, but it wasn't until this game that he delivered his first win. He entered the game 0-7 with a 4.82 ERA in nine starts.
 
The win was Volquez's first since Aug. 25, 2016, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals.

Volquez isn't the first struggling pitcher to shine against the Phils recently. Eight days earlier, Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl took a 6.69 ERA into a start against the Phils and pitched five shutout innings. In the series against Colorado, the Phillies were dominated by a pair of rookies. In the only game they won (in a late rally), they were held to one run over six innings by Tyler Anderson, who had entered that game with an ERA of 6.00. On Friday night, Cincinnati Reds right-hander Tim Adleman pitched eight shutout innings against the Phils and gave up just one hit in the best start of his life. He had come into that game with an ERA of 6.19.
 
So Volquez had to be heartened when he saw the Phillies on the schedule.
 
They are the get-well team for pitchers in need of a pick-me-up.
 
It's actually kind of sad.
 
With Odubel Herrera locked in the throes of the worst slump of his life and on the bench and Maikel Franco mired in a 2 for 21 slump and hitting .209, Mackanin is trying to push things a little. He gave Aaron Altherr the green light to steal with one out and runners on the corners in a one-run game in the sixth inning. Altherr was out at second on a close play and Tommy Joseph struck out to leave the runner at third.
 
The Marlins salted the game away in the bottom of the inning on Dietrich's homer.
 
"With our offense, I have to take chances," Mackanin said. "I can't sit around and wait for three hits in a row. We haven't been doing that."
 
The Phils have the worst record in the majors at 17-32.
 
They have lost eight of their last 10 and scored just 15 runs in the losses.
 
"It sucks," catcher Cameron Rupp said. "There's really no other way to put it. It's frustrating. But the only people that are going to help us are ourselves. Nobody's going to go out there and play for us, swing the bats, pitch, play defense. That's on us and we have to do a better job all around.
 
"We all want to be successful and get the job done. We just haven't been hitting the ball. There's no other way to put it. But the good thing about baseball is we play every day so we turn the page and come back tomorrow and try to get it done."

Best of MLB: White Sox beat Red sox, spoil David Price's uneven season debut

Best of MLB: White Sox beat Red sox, spoil David Price's uneven season debut

CHICAGO -- Red Sox lefty David Price had an uneven season debut while Melky Cabrera homered and drove in four runs, helping the Chicago White Sox rally past Boston 5-4 on Monday.

Price, who missed the first part of the year with a left elbow strain, threw 88 pitches in five innings. The former AL Cy Young Award winner gave up two hits, including Cabrera's three-run homer, walked two and hit two batters. He also struck out four.

Price was in line for the win before Kevan Smith hit an RBI double off Matt Barnes (3-2) in the seventh, tying it at 4. Cabrera had an RBI single with two outs.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia injured his wrist in the first inning and exited in the second. He was hurt trying to beat out a hit when first baseman Jose Abreu slid into the bag and Pedroia fell over him.

Juan Minaya (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning and David Robertson closed for his eighth save in nine chances (see full recap).

Astros use 11-run eighth inning to cruise past Twins, 16-8
MINNEAPOLIS -- Carlos Beltran homered and singled during an 11-run burst in the eighth inning against Minnesota's beleaguered bullpen, and the Houston Astros overwhelmed the Twins 16-8 Monday in a matchup of AL division leaders.

The Astros combined eight hits, two walks, a hitter batter and a balk in the eighth to rally from an 8-2 deficit. The Twins tried three pitchers in the inning, a day after they used eight relievers in a 15-inning loss to Tampa Bay.

Beltran finished with four hits and Carlos Correa had three, including a home run. Alex Bregman also homered for Houston, which had a season-high 18 hits, 13 of them in the last two innings.

Jordan Jankowski (1-0) got his first major league win with 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Brad Peacock. He allowed four earned runs and gave up home runs to Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman but he benefitted from the Houston hit parade.

Craig Breslow (1-1) took the loss (see full recap).

Blue Jays pound Reds, 17-2
TORONTO -- Troy Tulowitzki hit his fourth career grand slam, Marcus Stroman won his fifth straight decision to help the Toronto Blue Jays rout the Cincinnati Reds 17-2 on Monday night.

Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run shot for the Blue Jays, who have 43 home runs in May.

Smoak had four RBIs while Martin went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a walk. Toronto's 23 hits were a season-best. The Blue Jays had a franchise-high 25 hits against Texas on Aug. 9, 1999.

Ezequiel Carrera went 4-for-4 with a walk and Devon Travis had four hits, extending his hitting streak to 13, as the Blue Jays won for the sixth time in seven games.

Adam Duvall hit a solo home run for Cincinnati, his third homer in two games and fifth in the past five.