The Mets and Phillies will be facing more than just each other in Wednesday's series finale. They'll also be battling a serious challenge from the weather.
Gray skies and continued rain are in the forecast for the greater Philadelphia area all day Wednesday, meaning the Mets and Phillies will have to deal with the elements for a second straight night. Like Jon Niese and Cole Hamels in Tuesday's opener, starting pitchers Bartolo Colon and Kyle Kendrick will pitch amidst temperatures in the 40s and winds gusting up to 25 miles per hour.
Mets manager Terry Collins was worried about the conditions heading into Tuesday's game, but grounds crew members assured him in the afternoon that the field would be playable by nightfall. It was, though not before the teams endured a one-hour, 28-minute delay. The Phillies have already had two postponements because of rain, but have not had three games postponed in the month of April since 1997.
The Mets hope only that the weather does not disrupt their momentum, now that they have won seven of nine to move four games over .500 for the first time since 2007. They also have reason for optimism, considering Colon has been brilliant save for a lone outing in Anaheim in which he allowed nine runs in five innings. Outside of that game, Colon has pitched to a 2.33 ERA with 23 strikeouts and one walk.
The Phillies will counter with Kendrick, who is 8-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 16 career starts against the Mets. Kendrick has pitched well this season, but has not received much run support, resulting in an 0-2 record.
"We've been playing pretty good," Kendrick said of the Phillies, "and we're just starting to score some runs."
Mets: Collins planning to juggle four outfielders
When Juan Lagares returns from the disabled list this weekend, Collins will institute a four-man outfield rotation.
With Lagares, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Eric Young all deserving of playing time in the manager's eyes, the Mets will utilize a system that gives them all outfield reps as well as regular bench time. The goal is to keep all four outfielders as fresh as possible.
"I think all of them deserve to be out there at some time," Collins said. "They all have a key part on our club, and I don't know how I'm going to rotate it just yet, but I think they all deserve an opportunity. I don't think there's one guy you can point your finger at and say, 'Hey, you're not playing.'"
Lagares, who has been on the disabled list since April 15 with a strained right hamstring, is likely to return to active duty Thursday.
Phillies: Hernandez to be skipped
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Tuesday that the team could skip right-hander Roberto Hernandez's spot in the rotation this week.
The Phillies do not play Thursday and do not need a fifth starter until April 6, allowing them to use Hernandez out of the bullpen in Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Mets.
Hernandez, who is 1-1 with a 5.81 ERA in five starts, entered in relief of Cole Hamels in the fifth, striking out the only batter he faced.
• Phillies third basemen entered Tuesday with a combined .493 OPS, which is the lowest mark of any team in baseball, and Jayson Nix added to that by finishing 0-for-3 on Tuesday. Third basemen from the 1981 Blue Jays had a combined .516 OPS, which is the lowest in baseball from 1974-2013.
• Colon, who has spent most of his 17-year career in the American League, has more lifetime appearances at Veterans Stadium (two) than Citizens Bank Park (one).
• When Daniel Murphy was thrown out attempting to advance to second base on a ball in the dirt in the third inning Tuesday, it was ruled a fielder's choice instead of a caught stealing. That kept Murphy's consecutive stolen-base streak alive, allowing him to extend it to 28 with a steal two innings later. Murphy has not been caught stealing since June 9, 2013.