Mets starter Mike Pelfrey pitches in the first inning of...

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey pitches in the first inning of the Mets' rain-shortened win over the Braves at Citi Field. (Apr. 25, 2010) Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

PHILADELPHIA - Mike Pelfrey didn't say much about it at the time, but he was not pleased when Jerry Manuel dropped him from the No. 2 spot in the rotation to fourth during the last week of spring training.

Pitching with that chip on his shoulder is part of the reason Pelfrey enters Saturday's matchup against the Phillies' Roy Halladay at 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA, the best in the majors. Now Pelfrey gets the chance to feel like a No. 1 in squaring off against Halladay, who is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA to keep pace in the National League Cy Young Award race.

"He's one of the best righthanders in the game," Pelfrey said Friday. "I think that when you go against a guy as good as he is, it gives you that extra motivation to go out there and do well. It usually brings the best out of you. I'm looking forward to going out there tomorrow."

Pelfrey already has beaten Jorge de la Rosa and Carlos Zambrano. In fact, the Cubs' one-time ace was demoted to the bullpen the following day. So what does Pelfrey have up his sleeve for Halladay?

"I doubt he's going to be going to the bullpen," Pelfrey joked. "I don't know, we'll see."

Pelfrey has more than his undefeated record on the line in Saturday's nationally televised game. He's also carrying a scoreless streak of 24 innings, tops in the majors, and Pelfrey will be tested in the hitter-friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park.

"Your job as a pitcher is to go out there and put up zeros," Pelfrey said. "It starts with the first guy. You can't look too far ahead. You've got to go batter by batter, pitch by pitch. Especially this place, one pitch can cost you the game. You've got to stay focused the whole time and keep the ball down."

Extra bases

The Mets announced that Sean Green was examined Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery and tests revealed that he has a stress fracture of a rib on his right side. Green, who was placed on the disabled list April 8, is not expected to throw again until he is pain-free . . . Daniel Murphy (knee sprain) played five innings at first base Friday in an extended spring training game.