The first place Phillies (47-39) are now home at Citizens Bank Park for a four games Independence Weekend series with the third place Mets (42-43). The first game of the four games series is in fact being played now. The Phillies’ starter is J.A.Happ (0-0, -.–), who has just been called up from Lehigh Valley, where he went 5-6 with a ERA of 3.54. This is his second career start. His first start, which was last year, was also against the Mets, and ended in a disaster as he got kicked around by the Mets. He is taking Brett Myers place in the rotation, hoping to pitch well enough to stay with the main team. The Mets’ are countering with Johan Santana (7-7, 3.01), who is coming off a loss to the Yankees on June 28, where he would pitch six innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, in the Mets’ 3-2 lost. He has lost his last three games in a row and four of his last five, with a no-decision in a game that the Mets would also lose. Santana will for the sixth straight time be trying to record his eighth win of the year, while hoping that he can stop the Phillies just reawaken offense.
The recently restarted Phillies’ offense will be seeing if it can sink the still disorganized Mets, just like it did with the Braves, while hoping to be supported by both good starting pitching and the NL leading bullpen.
The Phillies’ lead over the second place Marlins is two and a half games. The Phillies are leading the visiting Mets by four and a half games. The Braves are trailing them by seven games. The Phillies hope that they can add to their present lead during their ten games home stand before heading into the All-Star break.