Now that the New York Mets have ended -- at least with their first win in eight games -- their home misery, it's time for them to use Citi Field to their advantage, or at least get two wins in a row way there. The Mets (6-13) were 13 games over .500 at home last season, but this year they're 2-8. On Friday night, they'll take on the 8-9 Arizona Diamondbacks, another team just like the Astros who are supposed to be cellar dwellers this season. New York was able to grab one game against the Astros and it will be crucial for them to learn from their failures against them in the first two games and take advantage of weaker competition like the D'Backs if they want to contend.
Mike Pelfrey will get his fifth start of the season tonight, looking to find his first win of the year. Currently, he is 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA and 2.34 WHIP, but could've easily been 0-4 at this point. The 27-year-old's season started out poorly, with 11 earned runs given up in his first two outings, but he's settled in slightly since, allowing seven earned runs in his past two. At this point, he's not pitching like a No. 1 starter, but Big Pelf will have to continue to make some tweaks until he figures it out. This season, he's been far too hittable -- 29 hits in 16 2/3 innings -- and he's walked 10 batters, while struggling to strike people out with nine on the year. You're going to struggle to be a good pitcher with strikeout rate's in the 4's. Plus, Pelfrey is a ground-ball pitcher, yet his ground ball to flyball outs ratio is nearly split at 36 to 34. He really needs to get that sinker down and find some adequate secondary stuff to be successful and we'll see if he can make some strides in that department tonight.
Joe Saunders takes the hill for the D'Backs with a record of 0-2, a 6.32 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP. He's a lefty, yet similar to Pelfrey this season in that he's been far too hittable, walked 10 guys in his 15 2/3 innings and had trouble striking guys out with just six on the year. Saunders isn't overpowering at all and doesn't really have a put-away pitch, so the Mets have a prime opportunity to keep swinging the hot sticks.
Pelfrey will have to worry about a number of solid hitters in the D'Backs' lineup: from Justin Upton and Chris Young to Miguel Montero (who is 7-for-12 against Pelfrey in his career) and Stephen Drew. Ryan Roberts (.366 AVG, four HR, 11 RBI) is hot right now, so he's a guy to watch out for ... but at age-30 can't be expected to keep it up for too much longer.
Angel Pagan will most likely not be in the lineup for the Mets and Willie Harris will probably fill in for him, though Jerry Hairston could as well.
@ New York Mets
Friday, Apr 22, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT
Joe Saunders vs Mike Pelfrey
Mostly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around .
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