For the Reds, it's been all about the second baseman.
Brandon Phillips went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs Thursday in a 12-5 victory against Cleveland, and that gives him 20 RBIs in his last 17 games. He has multiple hits in six of his past eight games.
"It was good to see Brandon swinging the bat well again," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He had some RBIs, and if we can get him going, we can really get something with Joey [Votto] if he continues doing what he's doing.
"[Votto] can't be a one-man team, and we're not. He's big in the equation, but we certainly have got to get some other guys going."
New York (35-29) sealed its own sweep Thursday with a 9-6 win over the Rays. Despite the Reds (35-27) sitting higher in their division -- they're in first place in the National League Central, compared to the Mets' third-place standing in the East -- their records are nearly identical.
A pair of right-handers meet in the first of three games this series -- Bronson Arroyo for the Reds and Dillon Gee for the Mets. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Friday is the start of a six-game road trip for the Reds, while the Mets are home for nine games in 10 days.
New York's Jason Bay hit his first home run since April 20 on Thursday, his fourth of the season, giving some hope the outfielder can return to form. He's played in just 21 games this season.
Another Mets outfielder, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been scorching the last two games, going a combined 5-for-9 with two home runs.
The Reds and Mets have split their two games this season and Cincinnati is 303-260 all-time against New York.
Reds: Rolen to rehab Friday, Saturday
• Third baseman Scott Rolen is going to Triple-A Louisville for two rehab appearances on Friday and Saturday. He's been out since May 12 with a strained left shoulder. If all goes well, he'll be back in time for Monday's game against the Indians.
"We kind of went back and forth on it," Rolen said. "At one point, I thought I was going to play [Thursday]. Dusty [Baker] wanted to give me a couple extra days Tuesday and Wednesday and we talked about playing Thursday without rehab. After we talked, we decided to get some at-bats in in Louisville."
Mets: Dickey decision coming; Cecchini in the house
• The Mets' appeal of R.A. Dickey's one-hitter from Wednesday could come on Friday, manager Terry Collins said. The Mets are asking that David Wright be charged with an error on the lone hit the Rays had in Dickey's complete game against Tampa Bay.
The great likelihood is that the league office will not change the call.
"We're just taking a shot," Collins said. "We're just taking a stab. What do we have to lose? Nothing."
"It would be weird," Dickey said of the possibility of an overturn. "I don't know if it would be quite as satisfying. I think the asterisk beside the no-hitter would get more attention than the no-hitter."
• Gavin Cecchini, the Mets' first round pick (12th overall) and Kevin Plawecki, the team's supplemental first-round selection (35th overall) from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft will be at Citi Field to take batting practice on Friday.
• REO Speedwagon will perform a postgame concert presented by Duane Reade and Ben & Jerry's after the game, part of the Friday Night PostGame Concert Series.