The Midsummer Classic might be over, but fans will be treated to an All-Star pitching matchup at Citi Field on Sunday, when Mets phenom Matt Harvey takes the mound against left-hander Cliff Lee, who has been the Phillies' best pitcher this season.
Both Harvey and Lee are in the top 10 in the National League in strikeouts, ERA and innings pitched, and both threw for the NL in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Harvey -- who leads the league in punchouts, with 147 -- got the start in his home park and pitched two shutout innings, with three strikeouts.
"As a kid, I don't think you could ever imagine it," Harvey said. "This whole experience has been absolutely incredible for me, something I'll never forget."
When asked about facing Harvey, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, "We've got a guy pretty good, too. That's what makes it great. That's what makes it a good game. How do we have to approach him? We've got to make him throw strikes and try to get good balls to hit. He's a power pitcher with overpowering stuff, and his secondary stuff is real good. He commands it. He's tough to beat, but that doesn't mean we can't do it."
In his All-Star outing, Lee allowed one run on two hits in one inning of work against American League foes. He earned his All-Star spot by winning 10 games and racking up 125 strikeouts in the season's first half, though he was not his usual self in his most recent start, on July 10, when he surrendered four solo home runs to the Nationals in a 5-1 loss.
Mets: Collins hoping to finish season strong
The Mets have not finished a season at or above .500 since 2008, a stretch that includes seasons in which they faded in the second half. They go into Sunday nine games below the break-even mark, but they are 9-6 in July.
Manager Terry Collins said that finishing the season strong and getting to .500 is "a goal that a number of people would like us to achieve."
"There are some things we wish we could have changed, but one of the things that's very important [is that] if you're going to win, you've got to win when the grinding gets tough," he said. "And that's the second half of the season. The weather's tough. You've already got 300, 400 at-bats. That's when the real good teams beat up the teams that aren't as good."
Phillies: Young says Phillies due for good stretch
The Phillies spent most of the season hovering just below the .500 mark, but with a 10-5 July, they are creeping into the playoff race. And if they can pick up a win on Sunday, they'll have their fifth straight series win.
Despite injuries to such key players as Ryan Howard, Ben Revere and Mike Adams, the Phillies have hung around. Veteran third baseman Michael Young thinks the team was due for its recent success.
"At the end of the day, we all believed in each other and we knew it could come," Young said. "The biggest thing was just making sure we stay focused on every at-bat and just continue to have a good ... offensive approach. I think that's one thing we've been doing really well, just bearing down on fundamentals, and things have been clicking."
• Over a 37-game span since June 5, David Wright is hitting .348 with 24 runs scored, 14 doubles, seven home runs and 17 RBIs.
• Chase Utley has two home runs and six RBIs in the first two games of the series.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.