The Philadelphia Phillies may be hoping the rest of the rotation can draw some inspiration from Cliff Lee. Or Michael Young may need to keep hitting the New York Mets hard.
Young goes for another big effort at the plate, while Kyle Kendrick looks for some improvement on the mound as the Phillies go for their first series win of the season Wednesday night.
Philadelphia (3-5) is struggling on the mound, and the issue has been particularly troubling with the rotation going 2-5 with a 6.65 ERA. Lee, however, has both of those wins with a 1.08 ERA.
He had another strong performance Tuesday, yielding three runs - two earned - in 8 2-3 innings of an 8-3 win over New York (5-3). That came a day after Roy Halladay was pounded for seven runs in four innings of a 7-2 defeat in the series opener.
While Lee is winning, Halladay and Cole Hamels have combined to lose all four starts with a 12.50 ERA.
"If our No. 1 and No. 2 don't pitch well, we can't win," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.
The same may apply to Kendrick, who was charged with Friday's 13-4 loss to Kansas City, a day after Lee went eight innings in a 2-0 win at Atlanta. Kendrick followed that by tossing four scoreless innings before giving up five runs and exiting with two outs in the sixth.
"It's disappointing," the right-hander said. "They got some hits. I'm not worried at all."
Kendrick was impressive in his last home meeting with the Mets on Aug. 30, yielding two runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-2 win. He had lost his five previous decisions at home against them behind a 5.87 ERA.
Young has been much more consistent against New York, batting .370 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 11 career games. He went 3 for 4 while driving in two runs and coming a double shy of the cycle Tuesday.
Hitting .345, Young seems to be fitting in nicely at third base after being acquired in an offseason trade with Texas.
John Mayberry is also trying to build on a strong performance from Tuesday, plating two runs on a double while his solo shot was his first homer of the season. He's 8 for 21 over his past five games against New York.
John Buck continues to be the Mets' top - and highly unexpected - offensive threat, hitting .393 with 14 RBIs while his four homers are one shy of the total they got from four catchers last season.
Buck, who hit .192 with Miami last year, has three hits and five RBIs in this series, homering in each contest. However, he's 0 for 7 versus Kendrick.
Jeremy Hefner is scheduled to take the mound, and he's been hit hard in three games - two starts - against the Phillies, surrendering 13 runs and 17 hits in 7 1-3 innings.
The right-hander's latest outing against them turned into the worst of his career. He was responsible for seven of the eight runs in the first inning, and was pulled before getting an out in a 16-1 loss Sept. 20.
Hefner, though, was solid in his season debut in Friday's 7-5 defeat to Miami, as the only run he allowed came on a homer in the second inning before leaving after the sixth.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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