As Marlon Byrd, Antonio Bastardo and A.J. Burnett among others take part in what could be their final game with the Phillies on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Philadelphia hurler Kyle Kendrick takes the mound hoping to turn his season around.
His ERA has climbed to a season-high 4.87 after a stretch of four rough starts. He has not pitched more than 5 2/3 frames and owns an 8.59 ERA during the run, as opponents have hit .297 (27-for-91) with a .356 on-base percentage against him.
However, the right-hander's most recent turn against the D-backs on Friday was an optimistic step forward. Kendrick limited Arizona to three earned runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, falling one out short of his first quality start since July 3.
Kendrick will continue his rebound quest opposite Zack Wheeler, who gets the ball for the Mets and will look to continue an impressive stretch that started one month ago Wednesday.
Since an ugly outing against the A's on June 25, when he surrendered six runs in two innings, Wheeler has lasted at least six innings and allowed just one earned run in each of his last five starts. He owns a 1.41 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while limiting opponents to a .217 average in that span.
There is room for improvement, though. Wheeler has walked multiple batters in all but one of those starts, and in four of the five he's started the seventh inning but didn't finish it.
The last month has represented what is arguably the most consistent stretch of a largely up-and-down sophomore campaign for Wheeler.
Phillies: Byrd likely to return to lineup Wednesday
When Marlon Byrd was out of Tuesday's lineup, many believed he had been traded. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg quickly said, "No, not at all."
"I was looking for a day coming into this series for Marlon," Sandberg said Tuesday. "I was talking to him about it. I was thinking either today's game or the early turnaround [Wednesday]. Just so happened that in his last at-bat [on Monday], he took a ball off his [left] foot, the same foot he took one off in the last three days. He was hobbling on the bases there, and then hobbling after the game. So I just made the decision to let him get that taken care of today and get him back there tomorrow."
Mets: Collins balancing Tejada, Flores
Mets manager Terry Collins is continuing to balance the playing time between Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores amid questioning of the practice.
Collins again defended his use of the two shortstops. Flores started for the third time in six games Tuesday against the Phillies, and is considered to have a higher ceiling than Tejada, leading some to believe he'd be better off getting regular playing time.
"It depends on where you're going to play him," Collins said. "Wilmer came up because Ruben got beaned [last week], so we were concerned about having a backup. So that's why he's here. There were no instructions to play him every day. We're going to try to get him at-bats. That's why he's in there today.
"We have to figure out if he's going to be the shortstop, or if [Tejada] is going to be the shortstop."
• The Mets have won seven of 11 games against the Phillies in 2014.
• The Phillies held a private workout for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on Tuesday in Clearwater, Fla.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.