Hoping to sweep the Mets and increase their lead in the East.

The once again first place Phillies (73-59), who are now for the first time fourteen games over .500, will faced the once more second place Mets (73-60), looking to see if they can sweep the now stunned New Yorkers and end the so far very successful home stand at 8-1. The game will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm  Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (11-7, 4.87), who is coming off a win over the Dodgers on August 22, as he went five and two-thirds innings, giving up only one earned run on three hits, in the Phillies’ 8-1 win. In his last start against the Mets on July 6, he received a no-decision, as he gave up only one earned run on eight scattered hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 lost. Careerwise, he is 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA in three starts against the Mets. His mission tonight will be two fold, to get through as many innings as he can to give the bullpen a sorely needed rest after last night’s thirteen innings game and to keep the Mets’ offense as silent as possible so that the resurgent Phillies’ offense can go to work on the Mets’ pitching staff. The Mets will counter with their ace Johan Santana (12-7, 2.64), who is coming off a win over the Astros on August 22, where he went seven innings, giving up no runs on eight hits, in the Mets’ 3-0 win. He has won his last three starts. In his previous two starts against the Phillies, he has thrown two no-decisions, as the Mets’ bullpen would lose both games, as he would go a combine sixteen innings, giving up only four earned runs on fourteen hits. Santana’s mission will be trying to keep the Phillies’ bats quiet while hoping that the Mets’ offense will score enough runs so that the bullpen won’t be able to blow it this time.

The Phillies’ offense mission tonight will be simple, get to Johan Santana so that he won’t keep them down for eight innings as he has done in his previous two starts against them. They will need to get him to throw deep counts, and for that to happen they will have to keep from going after the first few pitches he throws at them, no matter how tempting they are, unless they are sure that they can hit them for hits. Pat Burrell’s mission tonight will be to get out of his sudden funk and knock in some runs. And Phillies’ starter Kyle Kendrick will have to improve on his last start, going after hitters, trying to get first pitch strikes and gets Mets’ batters to hit ground balls at people.

The Phillies are a half game ahead of the Mets as the two teams will face each other for the last time this season at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies are leading the fading Marlins by six games as they face the Braves in Atlanta. The Phils will see if they can finish the home stand with a sweep of the Mets, before they go up to Chicago to meet the Major League leading Cubs for a four games series.


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