If there ever was a time for the New York Mets (5-11) to string together some victories, it's now. Fresh off their first win in their past eight games, the Mets will host the Houston Astros (5-11) tonight on their home turf in a battle of southpaws. The Mets are also looking to snap their home losing skid, which sits at five games.
On the mound for the Mets will be Jon Niese, who has struggled since his first start of the year. Niese has given up at least five runs in his past two outings, though he has struckout 15 in 17 innings pitched on the year. He was undone in his last start against Colorado with the long ball, but should fair better tonight against a far weaker lineup. There really isn't much power in Houston's lineup, besides Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee, who has struggled mightily this season.
Wandy Rodriguez will be pitching for the 'Stros tonight and after putting together three great years in a row, he has struggled out of the gate in 2011. Sandwiched between a one-run outing against Florida in his second start of the year are two outings in which he gave up seven and five runs, respectively. Rodriguez has some strikeout ability, but he's also very hittable. The Mets have to hope that he doesn't find his groove in his outing today.
The lineup shuffling -- moving Josh Thole to the second spot and Angel Pagan to the sixth spot -- worked in the Mets' last game and it will probably stick for tonight's game.
The Mets did make a notable move today, designating Brad Emaus for assignment and recalling Justin Turner, pretty much putting an end to Emaus' tenure as Met because he'll have to go through Rule 5 waivers before being offered back to the Blue Jays.