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New York Mets (87-74) at Philadelphia Phillies (70-91)
Sunday, October 02 - 3:05 PM EST
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
With the New York Mets having secured the top wild-card spot in the upcoming National League playoffs, the spotlight on Sunday is expected to center around Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. The 2005 NL Rookie of the Year and 2006 NL MVP will be honored with a pregame ceremony, which is expected to reflect on his efforts to help Philadelphia secure five division titles, two NL pennants and the 2008 World Series championship.
Howard launched a two-run blast in Saturday's 5-3 setback to tie Jim Rice and Frank Howard for 67th place with his 382nd career home run, but was quick to downplay the significance of the series finale. "Tomorrow is Sunday," the 36-year-old Howard told reporters. "I'm just going to show up. I'll definitely take it in. I think it'll be something cool." While Howard will have his day in the sun on Sunday, many of the Mets' regulars are expected to be spectators as they get some much-needed rest ahead of Wednesday's wild-card showdown at Citi Field versus either St. Louis or San Francisco. Curtis Granderson collected three hits and scored twice on Saturday to improve to 12-for-23 in his last six contests, but is just 2-for-14 versus Sunday starter Jered Eickhoff.
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Gabriel Ynoa (1-0, 7.90 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Jerad Eickhoff (11-14, 3.72)
With their postseason slate defined, manager Terry Collins wasted little time before announcing the Mets will turn to Ynoa instead of scheduled starter Noah Syndergaard. The 23-year-old Dominican will make his third start of the season and second versus Philadelphia, with his initial go-round on Sept. 3 resulting in two runs scored on five hits in two innings of a no-decision. Ynoa followed up that outing by permitting three hits over 1 2/3 scoreless frames against Miami three nights later.
Eickhoff surrendered a solo homer for his lone hit allowed over four innings before exiting following a rain delay on Tuesday against Atlanta. The 26-year-old has pitched well versus New York without much in the way of fortune, posting a 1-4 mark despite a respectable 2.84 ERA and .206 batting average against. Eickhoff suffered two losses versus the Mets in April and settled for a no-decision in July despite yielding just two earned runs in each outing.
1. Syndergaard, who will toss a bullpen session on Sunday, is slated to pitch in Wednesday's one-game wild-card encounter.
2. Philadelphia RF Aaron Altherr is 0-for-14 with six strikeouts in his last five contests versus New York.
3. The Mets are 39-17 versus the Phillies since the start of the 2014 season.
PREDICTION: Phillies 4, Mets 2