Though the Mets hope to stop a 2-game skid (has the Jerry Manuel Death Watch commenced?) against the Reds today (Volquez v. Pelfrey, 1:15pm EST), they might be forgiven for looking ahead to this week’s trio of games at Shea against the division leading Phillies. Following a highly celebrated stint with Lehigh Valley of the International League, Philadelphia’s Brett Myers tells the Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury, “”I can’t think of a better team for me to come back against.”

“I don’t like ’em,” he said. “We’re not supposed to like them. Nothing against the guys on the team – they’re our rivals. We like beating them; they like beating us.”

Myers believes that the trip to the minors helped his fastball command and confidence. The righthander’s velocity has ebbed since he moved from closer to the rotation, and that has made locating his pitches more important.

“I feel way more confident than I did,” he said. “I feel like I was aggressive again. I had to get some swagger back, and I feel I accomplished that.

“I threw my fastball a lot, enough where I’m comfortable with it and not worried about it getting hit.”

Myers said it was good to get away for a while because his struggles had begun to bring him down.

“I wasn’t having fun,” he said. “Going down made working hard a little easier. I saw some old faces who were able to tell me what I used to be. They open your eyes. You say, ‘What have I become?’ “

And what had Myers become?

“You can’t print it,” he said.

Myers found time to watch the all-star festivities and liked Chase Utley’s profane message to the New York fans who booed him before the Home Run Derby.

“That was fun,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. If it had been me, I’d have been run out of town already.”

With all due respect to Utley’s attempts at out-booring Myers, the 2nd baseman has a long way to go.