Mets' deGrom faces Phillies in bid for 15th win

NEW YORK -- A victory for Jacob deGrom on Tuesday night would further cement his status as not only the ace of the New York Mets, but also one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball.

A win by Ben Lively would represent another step in his evolution as a reliable member of the Philadelphia Phillies' rotation.

A pair of pitchers at different stages of their development will square off Tuesday when the Mets host the Phillies in the middle game of a three-game series at Citi Field.

DeGrom (14-8, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Lively (2-5, 4.22 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

The Mets won the opener 11-7 on Monday as Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a homer and an RBI single.

DeGrom will be making his second attempt at a career-high 15th victory. He took the loss in his first try at No. 15 last Thursday after allowing four runs (three earned) over six innings as the Mets fell 7-2 to the Cincinnati Reds.

DeGrom, who also won 14 games in 2015, will be looking to become just the fourth National League pitcher with 15 wins this season. The three pitchers tied for the NL lead in victories at 16 apiece, the Milwaukee Brewers' Zach Davies, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, are all pitching for contenders while the Mets (59-78) are on pace for 90 losses.

Regardless of how he fares Tuesday, deGrom should move closer to another statistical milestone -- 200 innings pitched. DeGrom enters Tuesday with 178 2/3 innings, the third most in the NL behind Jeff Samardzija of the San Francisco Giants and Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals.

"Guys who are normally the best in the game pitch 200 innings," deGrom said Thursday, "so that's one of my goal this year."

Lively, meanwhile, will be looking to win consecutive starts for the first time as a major-leaguer. The 25-year-old rookie earned a victory Thursday, when he allowed two runs over six innings as the Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 3-2.

It was the first win for Lively since he was victorious in his major league debut June 3. He went 0-5 with a 4.82 ERA in eight starts between wins. Such growing pains are to be expected for Lively, who is one of three rookies in the Phillies' rotation.

"These guys are all young, and you can't really expect them to pitch like seasoned major league pitchers," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before another rookie, Mark Leiter Jr., gave up nine runs (eight earned) over 3 1/3 innings Monday. "They're going to make mistakes. They're going to have good outings and bad outings."

DeGrom is 6-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 career starts against the Phillies -- the most wins he has recorded against any opponent and the lowest ERA he has registered against teams he has faced at least six times.

Lively lost his lone career appearance against the Mets on June 30, when he gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings as the Phillies fell 2-1 at Citi Field.
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