The Phillies and Mets have a long history of wars between the white lines. Of all the teams in the National League East, the Mets have given the Phillies the most problems this season. In fact, they're the only division rival that the Phillies have a losing record against, needing to sweep their three-game series in Philadelphia just to finish with a split of their 18 games this season. In comparison, the Phillies finished the year 10-9 against both Atlanta and Florida and are 8-8 against Washington, who they'll see for the final three games of the season at RFK Stadium.
There's also a long history of Mets fans showing up in Philadelphia to rub salt on any wounds which may open. With the current lapse in attendance, it will be interesting to see the size and makeup of the crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
The true highlight of the night - in addition to whether the Phillies win or lose - will be watching to see if Jimmy Rollins can tie the franchise record for a hitting streak, notching a hit in his 31st consecutive game. Rollins' bat has been a key component to the Phillies battle for a wild card and while the hit streak record is interesting to watch, the fact that he's hitting as well as he is will likely be one of the telling factors between winning and losing. It's Rollins who sets the table for the big bats in the lineup and he's been making things happen of late.
The Phillies will send Brett Myers (12-8, 3.75), Jon Lieber (16-12, 4.23) and Vicente Padilla (8-12, 4.61) to the mound against the Mets. Myers has struggled in September, going 0-2, 5.64 since the calendar changed from August. Of course, his struggles started after the All-Star Break. Before the break, Myers was 6-5, 3.20 and has gone just 6-3, 4.48 since mid-July. Against the Mets this season, Myers is 2-1, 4.67.
Lieber has been strong down the stretch for the Phillies. Since getting hit hard in a July 31st start at Colorado, Lieber has pitched well for the Phillies, going at least seven innings in seven of his last ten starts. In two others, he went six innings. Over the stretch, Lieber is 7-2, 2.41 and has a WHIP mark of 0.88 through the ten starts. On the season, Lieber is 1-1, 3.71 in three starts against the Mets this season.
As for Padilla, he was one of the hottest pitchers around for a few starts, but has fizzled badly. Overall, Padilla has posted an impressive 3.36 ERA since the All-Star Break going 4-4 for the Phillies. The bad news is that in two of his last two starts, Padilla didn't make it through the sixth inning and has a combined mark of 0-0, 8.18 in those two duds. The latest bad outing came in Cincinnati when Padilla failed to hold a comfortable lead and allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Mets probably can't wait to see Padilla, since they've beaten him twice this season and he's posted a 14.73 ERA against the Metropolitans. On the upside, Padilla was one of the few Phillies' pitchers who had success against the Mets in the three seasons prior to 2005, going 7-1, 2.18 against New York.
Seo has been a solid addition to the Mets rotation this season and has pitched well in two starts against the Phillies, going 1-0, 3.00, but both starts were at Shea Stadium. Even though he's a right-hander, Seo has been tough on left-handed hitters this season, which doesn't bode well for the Phillies lineup. Lefties hit just .213 against Seo, while right-handed hitters are hitting the ball at a .275 pace.
Zambrano has had a tough couple of months, posting a 2-2, 5.03 mark in August and September. Two of his seven wins this season have come at the expense of the Phillies and he's posted a 2.65 ERA in three starts against the Phillies in 2005. Like Seo, Zambrano has not faced the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park this season.
Trachsel missed most of the season rehabbing from surgery and has made just five starts, but has pitched well for New York. In his first start of the season, Trachsel set down the Giants in San Francisco, going eight innings and giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out six for the Mets. In his last start against Washington, Trachsel pitched six shutout innings, but got a no-decision. Prior to that, he suffered a tough loss against Atlanta when he allowed just two earned runs over six innings, but took the loss.