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Preview: Phillies (41-33) at Mets (31-43)
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Game: 2
Venue: Citi Field
Date: September 18, 2012 7:10 PM EDT

Jimmy Rollins thrives against the New York Mets, especially at Citi Field.

The Mets are proving to be very gracious hosts for any visitor.

Rollins looks to continue his success in Flushing and help the Philadelphia Phillies gain ground in the wild-card race in the middle game of this series Tuesday night.

Rollins has a .333 average in his last 38 meetings with the Mets (66-81), hitting .358 with 14 RBIs and 14 runs in 19 visits to Citi Field.

In seven games there this year, the shortstop is 11 for 29 with two homers, while driving in eight runs and scoring another eight times.


That impressive production continued in the opener of this series Monday, when Rollins connected for a solo homer and scored twice in a 3-1 victory. Cliff Lee allowed one run in eight innings after the Phillies dropped three of four at Houston.

"We bounced back," manager Charlie Manuel said. "You get that kind of pitching, it's not that hard."

Philadelphia (74-74) could surely use another strong effort from Rollins since it's 3 1/2 games back of St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card position. However, it's one of five teams within 4 1/2 games of the Cardinals.

Two more against New York may be just what the Phillies need.

The Mets have dropped nine of 10 overall, and are a woeful 4-23 in their past 27 home games. They're averaging 2.15 runs while hitting .223 during that stretch as host.

Rookie Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95 ERA) is looking to capitalize on punchless New York.

The right-hander made his major league debut against the Mets on Aug. 29, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 3-2 loss at home.

Cloyd followed that up by getting his first win at Cincinnati on Sept. 3, but he's surrendered seven runs and 12 hits over seven innings in two outings since.

Another loss will clinch the Mets' fourth consecutive losing season, their longest such streak since a six-year run from 1991-96.

Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92) will try to stave off that eventuality as he goes for another victory opposite Cloyd. The rookie yielded two runs with six strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings Aug. 29.

This meeting is expected to be the right-hander's final appearance of the season as the Mets are keeping him on an innings limit.

Harvey could use some help from his teammates if his season is going to end with a victory. He can't be blamed for losing his last two outings since the offense has failed to generate a run of support, while he's yielded four runs and fanned 14 in 10 innings.

Harvey battled through 106 pitches in five innings Wednesday, but allowed one run and struck out 10 in a 2-0 defeat to Washington.

It seems manager Terry Collins has seen enough for Harvey to start 2013 in the Mets' rotation.

"I don't think there's any more that I need to see," Collins told the team's official website. "There's always room for improvement, as we know ... but he has shown us so much."

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