In last night’s dramatic finale, the Phillies topped the Mets thanks to Ryan Howard’s walk-off single to score Marlon Byrd, capping off a comeback from 6-1 for a final of 7-6. Kyle Kendrick struggled yet again on the mound, but Hollands, Diekman and Giles provided scoreless relief as Philadelphia took the third of a four-game set against New York.
In yet another matinee game, the Phillies will send recently promoted David Buchanan to the mound, the man who was selected from Triple-A to cover Cliff Lee’s season ending injury. As the only other Phillies player with a winning record in the rotation, Buchanan is 6-5 with a 4.39, and is aiming to try and earn a spot in next season’s rotation. In his last start against the Astros on Wednesday, Buchanan allowed 3 runs on 9 hits through 6.1 but got the win.
On the mound for the Mets tonight is Jon Niese, who has struggled to get wins this year despite pitching fantastically in the first half. Niese is 5-8 on this season with an ERA of 3.51 ERA and 90 strikeouts, and has recently changed his mechanics to alter the landing spot of his foot and his arm slot, attempting to regain fastball velocity and return to the early season form he enjoyed. Over his last ten starts, Niese is 2-5 with a 4.50 ERA, and he took the loss in his last game in Washington, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings.
Chase Utley will be rested for tonight’s game, with Andres Blanco taking his place at 2nd base. Blanco is .350 in 20 at-bats this season and has been limited to mainly pinch-hitting so far, but has managed 7 hits including 2 doubles. He’s hitting .429 in his last 14 at-bats over 10 games.
Darin Ruf will play in left field tonight as Sizemore gets a break. Ruf has struggled so far this year, hitting .129 in 31 season at-bats, but he is hitting a whole 175 points better against lefties at .176 compared to .071.
After hitting the 12th walk-off shot of his career, Ryan Howard holds down the fort at first base once again. Ryan is hitting .218 on the season after hits in 2 straight games, but only .175 in his last 10 games. Thankfully, his day game average of .229 is 16 points higher than his night game average, and he is batting 20 points higher against lefties this year, at .233 compared to .213 against righties.
Marlon Byrd is back in the starting line-up after getting yesterday off, in which he drove in the tying run in the bottom of the 9th on a single up the middle before stealing second and scoring the winning run from Howard’s walk-off hit. He’s swinging a hot bat, with an average of .306 over his last 36 at-bats, including 6 RBIs and 11 hits. He hits in the 3 spot tonight in the place of rested Chase Utley.
Revere CF, Rollins SS, Byrd RF, Howard 1B, Ruiz C, Ruf LF, Blanco 2B, Asche 3B, Buchanan P
Granderson RF, Murphy 2B, Wright 3B, Duda 1B, Lagares CF, Den Dekker LF, Flores SS, Recker C, Niese P