Josh Thole and the New York Mets have had no use for their bats lately. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Can a battle of who can care less finally snap the New York Mets out of their current funk? We'll find out Friday night when the scuffling Mets will welcome the Houston Astros and their major league-worst 39-86 record to Citi Field.
The Astros have put together countless losing streaks and unbelievable stretches this season, but the Mets seem to be the one team that have found a way to bring the best out of them. In their only other meeting this year, Houston swept New York in three games from April 30-May 2 at Minute Maid Park. It was one of only three sweeps the Astros have under their hats in 2012.
While Houston marches to finish what could be a historically bad season, New York is putting together one of the worst second half runs in recent team history. The Mets have amazingly lost 15 of 17 at home since the All-Star break, including an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Colorado Rockies this week.
Earlier in the season the Mets looked like a scrappy team that might be able to compete for the final Wild Card and now they just look like a bunch of players that have quit on their manager and can't wait to reach the offseason.
Against the Rockies, New York managed just five runs over the four games and while the Astros weren't much better in being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals, there's no reason to believe the Mets bats will wake up anytime soon.
Thankfully for Mets manager Terry Collins, he gets to hand the ball to lefty Jon Niese, one of the few bright spots for this squad lately. Niese has been brilliant in three of his last four starts, including 7.1 scoreless innings in a rare Mets win Saturday against the Nationals.
The Astros will counter with Jordan Lyles, who has never faced the Mets in his career. He has been battered most of the year (2-10, 5.70 ERA), but likely is looking forward to taking the mound at Citi Field as he looks for his first ever road victory.
You can watch all the action locally on SNY or listen on WFAN 660 with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.