PHILADELPHIA: The Mets needed a dominant performance from a starter in order to be sure of a victory, with the way their offense is slumping. They got that from Johan Santana last night.

Today, they will pitch R.A. Dickey, who unbelieveably owns the lowest ERA on the Mets staff. Yes, that’s not a typo, Robert Allen Dickey has been the Mets most consistent and reliable pitcher since his call-up.

He has pitched at least five innings in each start, and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 15 starts this season.

Even when he doesn’t have his best knuckleball, he tends to battle his way through a quality start. That was the case in his last start against the Braves on Tuesday.

It was a game played under wet weather conditions, and he admitted after the game that he had trouble gripping the ball. That didn’t stop him from throwing six innings of two-run baseball.

The only issue due to the poor weather was control. He walked four and hit a batter; he got a no-decision in a Mets 3-2 win.

Out of his last seven starts, six have been quality, falling one out short in the other. That was the game against the Dodgers in which he came out due to a freak injury in the sixth inning of a gem.

Johan Santana might be the “ace,” but Dickey has been the ace this season.

Speaking of true aces, the Phillies will have theirs on the mound this afternoon. That guy is Roy Halladay, who has been as advertised in his first season in Philadelphia.

The stat that might throw people off is the eight losses, but that has nothing do with him. He has been brilliant in winning 13 games with a 2.17 ERA.

He has already thrown eight complete games, one shy of his career-high nine that he has set three times including the last two seasons.

One of those complete games came against the Mets on May 1, stopping an eight-game winning streak. That a lot of eights, huh?

Halladay’s last start came on Tuesday against the Marlins. It was at the site of his May 29 perfect game, and although he wasn’t perfect this time around, he was solid.

In seven innings, he allowed one run on five hits, he walked one and struck out nine. He did give up a home run to Dan Uggla in the Phillies’ 6-1 victory; his 13th.

The Mets will have both call-ups in the lineup today. Ruben Tejada will be playing daily, and Fernando Martinez will be playing against righties like Halladay. Ike Davis should be back in the lineup as well after not starting last night.

The Mets are 0-6 in road rubber matches this season, and they most recently lost one to the Braves on this road trip. They will try to win their first today, and it should be another pitchers’ duel.

R.A. Dickey vs. Philadelphia (May 25)
Win, 6 IP, 0 ER, 7 hits, 3 BB, 7 SO

Roy Halladay vs. New York (May 1)
Win, 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, 1 BB, 6 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Philadelphia)

April 30: New York 9, Philadelphia 1
May 1: Philadelphia 10, New York 0
May 2: Philadelphia 11, New York 5

May 25: New York 8, Philadelphia 0
May 26: New York 5, Philadelphia 0
May 27: New York 3, Philadelphia 0

August 6: Philadelphia 7, New York 5
August 7: New York 1, Philadelphia 0

Mets lead series 5-3


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