Desperate Mets Turn to Rookie in Arizona Series
It’s swoon time for the New York Mets. They’ve lost six in a row and 12 of their last 13 games, and they’ve taken an extreme measure to try and stop the rot. While DALE PERTH wishes that their highly touted candidate could debut in better circumstances, it will also be intriguing to see if a rookie can do what major-leaguers couldn’t accomplish.
The Metropolitans had originally scheduled Miguel Batista (1-3 record, 4.82 ERA) to face Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley (11-5, 3.02) on Thursday night. Instead, this four-game series opens with the major-league unveiling of Matt Harvey, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander. He’s 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 starts for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of just over 2-to-1.
It’s obviously not the greatest situation to put a 23-year-old prospect into a pressure-filled circumstance in his first test at the major-league level, and manager Terry Collins knows that. “I want to avoid that if I can, but it is what it is,” Collins said in an interview before the Mets lost 5-2 to the Nationals the day before. “He’s just going to have to realize there’s lots of things that come with pitching in the big leagues, and one of them may be to stop a losing streak.”
At least New York are 5-0 in their last five Thursday games, and they’re 15-6 when their opponent has scored two runs or less in their previous game. On the down side, the Mets are 3-7 in their last 10 road games when facing a left-handed starter, and 7-19 after allowing five or more runs in their last game. Mets 3B David Wright has been decidedly cold, going 4-for-24 with eight strikeouts during a six-game homestand.
They’ve blown six of seven on the road and now they go to the Arizona desert, where they’ve won one in their past eight games. Miley has been red-hot at Chase Field: he allowed only one run in his last four of five starts at home.
On Friday night, lefty Jon Niese (7-4, 3.59) takes on Josh Collmenter (2-2, 3.82). Niese is 1-1 in three career starts against Arizona, but with a gruesome 6.06 ERA; he’s 0-1 in his last three starts, all losses. Collmenter has won two of his last three assignments, allowing 15 hits but only three earned runs in those games.
Chris Young (2-4, 3.91) takes the mound on Saturday night against the uneven Ian Kennedy (8-8, 4.20), while Sunday’s daytime finale sees knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (13-2, 2.97) against Joe Saunders (5-6, 3.51); he’s had three quality starts in a row since returning from the disabled list and tied his career high with nine strikeouts in his most recent outing.
MLB betting fans can see that the D-backs get the nod in the Thursday opener, and are also favoured to win this series. Overall, though, the Mets are only four games under .500 (47-51), while Kirk Gibson’s Snakes are even-up at 49-49. It shouldn’t be that tough a hill for them to climb, but nothing has been easy for the Mets lately.