The Philadelphia Phillies may be feeling confident about extending a successful home stretch behind Cole Hamels, but the New York Mets are also optimistic about the return of their captain.
Hamels and the Phillies seek their eighth win in 10 home games Friday night when David Wright is expected to be back in the lineup for the Mets.
Wright, who leads the team with a .309 average and .904 OPS, was batting .385 during a six-game hitting streak when he suffered a high-grade right hamstring strain in early August. Following a seven-week absence, the All-Star third baseman appears ready to help the Mets (68-84) in the opener of this three-game series.
It might be perfect timing since Wright is 15 for 38 with three home runs and nine RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak against Philadelphia (71-81). He's also 8 for 20 with two homers and seven RBIs when facing Hamels the past two seasons.
Hamels (8-13, 3.48 ERA) has been on a roll lately, going 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA while limiting opponents to a .220 batting average in nine starts since his last loss July 26. The Phillies have won the left-hander's last seven outings.
Now he'll try to add to an outstanding stretch by Philadelphia starters, who have a 2.79 ERA in victories during a 7-2 home stretch.
"We have guys that are playing for positions next year, and ultimately we're trying to win a ballgame, no matter what the opponent is and no matter what they're going toward," Hamels told MLB's official website.
The Mets were the last club to beat Hamels in Philadelphia on June 21 when they tagged him for four runs and seven hits over six innings in a 4-3 victory. He's 1-4 with a 6.08 ERA in his last five home starts against New York but 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his last eight there overall.
New York's Juan Lagares is 5 for 10 with three doubles when facing Hamels and 14 for 29 with seven RBIs in his last 10 games versus the Phillies. Eric Young, 7 for 17 against Hamels, has gone 8 for 19 with three doubles and five RBIs in five career games in Philadelphia.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3, 6.12) will try to guide the Mets to their fifth win in eight games.
Since posting a 10.95 ERA while dropping his first three starts, Matsuzaka has allowed two runs over 12 2-3 innings to lead New York to wins in his last two. The right-hander gave up one run and two hits over seven innings to earn his first victory Saturday, 3-1 over visiting Miami.
"I'm not surprised," manager Terry Collins said. "This guy competes. He has competed his entire life at any stage, any situation, never gives in."
Matsuzaka, 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three career starts against Philadelphia, allowed four run and four walks over 4 1-3 innings in a 6-2 home loss to the Phillies on Aug. 28.
He'll attempt to cool off Chase Utley, who is batting .414 with 13 RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak at home. Rookie Cesar Hernandez (9 for 16) and Jimmy Rollins (10 for 17) have also been hot at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies have won 9 of 16 meetings, splitting six home games against the Mets.
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