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NEW YORKThe last time the Philadelphia Phillies came to Citi Field, they left without scoring a run. No, not just the last game they playedthe entire series they played back in May.

As you all should know, the Mets, for the first time in their history, from May 25-27 shut a team out all three games of a series.

It was a time when the Mets were trying to resurrect their season, and the Phillies were looking for their offense.

Now, two-and-a-half months later, the Mets and Phillies meet at Citi Field headed in opposite directions. While the Phillies have found themselves since, the Mets have dug a deep hole to try and climb out of.

The Mets did win their home series against the Rockies, perhaps due to the youthful energy, but time is running out with 48 games left to play.

These two teams played an important series in Philadelphia last weekend, and the Phillies won two of three. Now, the Mets must enter this series with the same sense of urgency. If they don’t win the series, they can pretty much end hopes of a 1973-type comeback.

Before his last start, the Mets would think they’re in great shape to start the series, but R.A. Dickey pitched his worst game as a Met against these Phillies on Sunday.

In only three innings, Dickey allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two home runs.

The Mets put together a solid rally against ace Roy Halladay, but fell one short, falling 6-5.

There was a thought that the Mets may have brought Dickey back on one day of rest, but they instead have given him a full four.

Even with the season-worst start, Dickey’s ERA is still a stellar 2.65. Dickey didn’t have a good knuckleball, and the Phillies were getting to him early in counts, smacking around hard hit after hard hit. He’ll have to change the program tonight, and maybe Citi Field will work to his benefit.

Pitching for the Phillies will be Cole Hamels, whose last start came against the Mets on Saturday. He pitched a heck of a game in seven innings of work.

He allowed one run on six hits, while striking out 11. He didn’t walk a batter, either, but the effort was all for naught. The one run he allowed was a seventh inning home run to Jeff Francoeur, as Hamels was defeated by Johan Santana.

The Mets will continue on tonight without their star closer, Francisco Rodriguez. After getting charged with third-degree assault on Wednesday night, K-Rod was placed on the restricted list for two days without pay.

It didn’t matter in yesterday’s win, as Santana went the distance. As a knuckleballer pitching on normal rest after having thrown only 60 pitches in his last start, Dickey is capable of doing the same if he’s effective.

The Mets lineup will look a little different tonight. David Wright will return after getting yesterday off, following a four-strikeout performance.

Against the left-handed Hamels, expect Jeff Francoeur in right field and Henry Blanco behind the plate. Perhaps Ike Davis will sit in place of Mike Hessman, but that’s not a given.

The Mets, with yesterday’s shutout of the Rockies, notched their Major League-best 17th of the season.

Four of them have come against the Phillies, including all three games played between the teams at Citi Field. The Mets will hope for more shutout magic behind R.A. Dickey tonight.

Player moves:
RHP Francisco Rodriguez placed on restricted list for two days (violation)
RHP Ryota Igarashi recalled from Triple-A Buffalo

R.A. Dickey vs. Philadelphia this season (Two starts)

1-1, 4.00 ERA, 9 IP, 15 H, 4 BB, 7 SO

Cole Hamels vs. New York this season (Two starts)

0-2, 2.03 ERA, 13.1 IP, 15 H, 1 BB, 14 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
August 8: Philadelphia 6, New York 5

Mets lead series, 5-4.

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