Morning briefing: Here come the Phils

FIRST PITCH: The Mets lost the rubber game to the Dodgers on Thursday, falling 3-2, and will now look to rebound against Philadelphia.

The Phillies have been public enemy No. 1 at Citi Field over the past few years but they enter this series just 9-14, their worst start since 2006, and losers of eight of their last 11. Despite having quality arms, Philadelphia has struggled mightily to open the season.

Dillon Gee begins the series Friday against Kyle Kendrick, but the big games will be Saturday and Sunday as Shaun Marcum makes his season debut Saturday, and Jon Niese will look to start after taking a liner off his foot on Tuesday. The Mets desperately need those two to provide quality starts and innings to complement Matt Harvey in the rotation.

Friday's news reports

• Read game recaps in the Daily News, Post, Star-Ledger, The Record, Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

• Niese is ready for his Sunday start. Niese took a liner off the foot Tuesday that put his next start in question.

• Jeremy Hefner pitched well in the series finale against the Dodgers, giving up just one run on three hits. Read more on Hefner in the Post and The Record.

• Ike Davis hit a home run Thursday but is struggling at the plate. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Collins explained why he kept in Scott Rice to pitch the ninth inningNewsday.

• A soccer stadium is coming to Queens.

• David Wright seems likely to be back in the Home Run derby. Wright took part in 2006, losing in the final to Ryan Howard.

• Lucas Duda is to be a "Super 2" and become a free agent in 2017. Duda was moved up to the cleanup spot Thursday to protect Wright in the lineup. Read more on the lineup shakeup in the Star-Ledger.

• In the Daily News, Bill Madden writes that Duda should stay in the cleanup spot.

• In the Post, Kevin Kernan writes about Davis' struggles and how the Mets need him to deliver.

• In the New York Times, Andrew Keh talks with Los Angeles' Hyun-Jin Ryu about watching Chan Ho Park pitch for the Dodgers in the 1990s.

• Dillon Gee expects to fare better against Philadelphia on Friday than he did in his previous outing against them. He gave up seven earned runs in three innings on April 9 in Philadelphia.

• A pair of 13-year-olds who lost family on Sept. 11 toured Citi Field and met Collins and the players.

• Justin Turner is going to be the pie-in-the-face guy for the Mets' next walk-off win.

• Jordany Valdespin made adjustments before hitting a walk-off grand slam Wednesday.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets reliever Scott Strickland turns 37. He pitched in 87 games for the Mets from 2002-03.

From the bloggers ... Mets Police asks banners or bobbleheads? ... Faith and Fear talked about the last two Mets' walk-off grand slams.


YOU'RE UP: Do Mets-Phillies games have the same pull as they used to?