After a trip to Washington that didn't go as the Mets hoped -- they lost two of three to fall nine games back of the National League East-leading Nationals -- and a short train ride to Philadelphia, the club will play against the other end of the division.
Not geographically, of course, but in the standings. The Phillies have occupied the NL East basement for more than a month, and they can thank their opponent this weekend for part of that. The Mets are 8-4 against Philadelphia this season -- including 5-1 at Citizens Bank Park, the site of this series -- and they will look to continue that success as they try to build momentum heading into another series with the Nationals next week.
"Games in Philadelphia are pretty important, so we've got to go in there and take care of business," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "You've got to try to avoid looking ahead and saying, 'Hey, we've got this many games left and we're this many games behind.' What you've got to do is go out there and win tomorrow. Win the game in front of you."
The underlying numbers on both sides of the ball indicate the Mets' winning ways against Philadelphia isn't exactly a fluke. They own a 2.63 team ERA against the Phillies, compared to 3.67 against everyone else. They also hit a bit better (.256) against the Phillies than they do against the rest of the Majors (.235).
Tasked with maintaining the status quo Friday night is right-hander Bartolo Colon, who will take the mound opposite fellow righty A.J. Burnett. It will be the second time in two weeks those hurlers match up after a 7-1 Mets win on July 28. In that game, Colon shut out Philadelphia into the eighth while New York reached Burnett for seven runs in five innings.
Colon's most recent start, however, was his worst in two months. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Giants, who scored six times on eight hits (two homers). That snapped a 34 2/3-inning homerless streak for Colon (4.12 ERA, 1.18 WHIP), who lasted just two more frames before giving up his next one.
Colon's next win will be the 200th of his career. He would join Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez as the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach that milestone.
Burnett (4.16 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) was similarly ineffective his last time out -- yielding five runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings -- before getting ejected against the Nationals on Saturday. It was his first ejection in 16 Major League seasons.
Burnett threw only 50 pitches before he was tossed by home-plate umpire Chris Guccione for arguing about the strike zone.
Colon has scattered 16 hits in 14 2/3 innings (two starts) against the Phillies this season. Burnett, meanwhile, has allowed 12 runs in 12 innings against the Mets.
Mets: Wright's struggles continue
If manager Terry Collins is looking for a day off for the slumping Wright, Friday might be an opportune time. The Mets captain is a 3-for-27 (.111) against Burnett in his career, which includes one double and three walks compared to 12 strikeouts.
Wright said he has been tinkering with his swing -- and Collins said earlier this week it has been a bit long of late -- and the third baseman insists he is fine physically.
"He's done that since I've been here," Collins said of Wright's mechanical adjustments. "That's what these guys do here, everybody. They're always looking at something if they go into a little slump."
That doesn't hide the fact, however, that Wright has been slumping since the All-Star break, which coincides with his receiving a cortisone shot in his left shoulder. Since then, he is batting .192 (15-for-78) with one extra-base hit and three times as many strikeouts as walks.
Phillies: Lee done for season
Cliff Lee's season is over.
The Phillies left-hander, who is on the disabled list with a Grade 2 flexor pronator strain, has been prescribed two weeks of rest at home in Arkansas before he will be reevauluated. His locker at Citizens Bank Park was barren prior to the team's game against the Astros on Wednesday.
"We hope to get him into a throwing program in October or November," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said late Wednesday. "But right now, he needs to rest."
Lee made just 13 starts this season, pitching to a 3.65 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. That's his highest ERA since 2010 and highest WHIP since '07. The club is hopeful Lee will be ready for Spring Training next season.
• Daniel Murphy is bringing a whole new meaning to "August two-a-days." The Mets second baseman has recorded multiple hits in nine of his last 12 games.
• Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Wednesday he does not expect third baseman Maikel Franco -- the club's No. 3 prospect -- to be called up before rosters expand in September.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.