After playing 18 of 25 games away from Citi Field, the New York Mets finally get to look forward to some home cooking. They return home Thursday from Pittsburgh to kick off an 11-game homestand starting with four games against the struggling San Diego Padres.
The Mets went a respectable 13-12 over that tough stretch that included just two days off. The last series wrapped up Wednesday when they downed the Pirates 3-1 to win the three-game set. Though they weren't able to use their time away from home to get healthy, they managed to stay in the thick of the NL East (2 games back) and Wild Card (.5 game) races.
With Miguel Batista heading to the disable list, rookie Jeremy Hefner will take his spot in the rotation Thursday. Hefner relieved the veteran righty in Toronto when Batista aggravated his lower back and gave up two runs over five innings of work. Hefner's first career start will come against the team he spent five seasons with before the Mets claimed him this past offseason.
The San Diego Padres will hand the ball to Eric Stults for his second start after being claimed on waivers from the Chicago White Sox May 17. In his first start against the Los Angeles Angels, Stults was impressive allowing just two runs over 6.2 innings in a Padres 3-2 victory. This will be his fourth career start against the Mets (1-1, 3.38), though he has never faced them at Citi Field.
No Mets player is in more need of a big weekend (and beyond) than Ike Davis. He closed out the Pirates series with a 1-for-4 that raised his average to .159. Without some signs of life in the next couple of days, New York will have no choice but to ship him to Triple A and replace him at first base with Lucas Duda. The team simply has to get some kind of offense out of both corner infield spots.
You can watch these two teams kick off their four-game series locally on SNY or listen on WFAN 660 with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.