|NY METS ( HEFNER )|
PITTSBURGH ( MORTON )
|903||NY METS||+130||Ov 8,+100||+135||Ov 7.5,+100|
|904||PITTSBURGH||-140||Un 8,-120||-145||Un 7.5,-120|
|vs Right-handed Starters||21-34||-15.9||31-22||4.1||0.230||0.291||4.5||0.270||0.326|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+4.4||6-1||6.4||0.253||0.344||4.1||0.270||0.331|
|vs Right-handed Starters||44-27||+23.2||28-41||3.8||0.240||0.299||3.3||0.220||0.288|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||-4||2-5||3.0||0.248||0.308||2.9||0.210||0.276|
|7/5/2013||WHEELER(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||HELLWEG(R)||12-5||W||115||9 un||O||14||13||1||12||8||3|
|7/6/2013||MARCUM(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)||6-7||L||135||8.5 ov||O||10||9||2||12||9||0|
|7/7/2013||HEFNER(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GORZELANNY(L)||2-1||W||120||9 un||U||11||9||0||3||5||2|
|7/8/2013||HARVEY(R)||@ SAN FRANCISCO||LINCECUM(R)||4-3||W||-110||6.5 un||O||9||7||0||14||18||2|
|7/9/2013||GEE(R)||@ SAN FRANCISCO||ZITO(L)||10-6||W||120||7.5 un||O||12||8||2||13||11||0|
|7/10/2013||WHEELER(R)||@ SAN FRANCISCO||CAIN(R)||7-2||W||182||7.5 un||O||8||8||0||6||7||2|
|7/12/2013||HEFNER(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||MORTON(R)|| |
|7/13/2013||TORRES(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||BURNETT(R)|| |
|7/14/2013||GEE(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||LOCKE(L)|| |
|7/19/2013|| ||PHILADELPHIA|| || |
|7/5/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)||6-2||W||-135||7.5 un||O||13||13||0||4||4||0|
|7/6/2013||MORTON(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)||1-4||L||-115||9 un||U||5||5||1||7||6||0|
|7/7/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||VILLANUEVA(R)||3-4||L||-145||9 ov||U||9||9||2||8||7||1|
|7/12/2013||MORTON(R)||NY METS||HEFNER(R)|| |
|7/13/2013||BURNETT(R)||NY METS||TORRES(R)|| |
|7/14/2013||LOCKE(L)||NY METS||GEE(R)|| |
|7/19/2013|| ||@ CINCINNATI|| || |
|NY METS: HITTING: The Mets will be moving in the fences at Citi Field by as much as 12 feet and reducing the height to eight feet, making the park more homer-friendly. The loss of Jose Reyes and his NL-leading average at the top of the order weakens an already subpar lineup. 3B DAVID WRIGHT is coming off his worst season (.254 BA, 14 HR, 61 RBI) and could be traded at the July 31 deadline. New OF ANDRES TORRES provides very little at the plate (.221 BA, .312 OBP), but the future is bright for youngsters OF LUCAS DUDA (.852 OPS) and 1B IKE DAVIS (.926 OPS), who missed most of 2011 with an ankle injury. OF JASON BAY (.245 BA) continues to be a colossal bust. SS RUBEN TEJADA will be tasked with trying to replace Reyes. The 22-year-old made great strides last year, batting .319 after August 1. DANIEL MURPHY hit .320 last year, and will start at second, possibly losing AB in a platoon with JUSTIN TURNER. C JOSH THOLE hits well enough to be an above-average starting catcher. |
STARTING PITCHING: With the fences moving forward at Citi Field, the entire Mets pitching staff takes a hit. JOHAN SANTANA will be ready for Opening Day, but it's hard to have much faith that he'll remain healthy for an entire season. His velocity on his fastball is not what it used to be, topping out in the high-80's. MIKE PELFREY benefitted most from the pitcher-friendly ballpark with serviceable home numbers (3.94 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) and atrocious road statistics (5.49 ERA, 1.56 WHIP). JONATHON NIESE was also much better at Citi Field (3.54 ERA) than he was on the road (5.33 ERA), but he posted 14 games of 6+ strikeouts for the second straight season. DILLON GEE began the season 7-0 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, but closed the 2011 campaign with a 5.51 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in his final 17 starts. Knuckle-balling R.A. DICKEY posted a second straight solid season with New York, notching a 3.28 ERA and a solid 1.23 WHIP. At age 37, he hopes to keep his pitches dancing in the smaller home ballpark.
RELIEF PITCHING: Two former Blue Jays late-innings relievers, FRANK FRANCISCO and JON RAUCH, were signed from Toronto to pitch at the back of the bullpen. Francisco will likely get first crack at the ninth-inning role, saving 17 games last year and keeping his strikeout rate above one per inning for the fourth straight year. Rauch is an imposing figure at 6-foot-11, but he posted a 1.35 WHIP and paltry 6.2 strikeout rate last year. But 52 saves since 2008 makes him a worthy candidate for ninth-inning duty. RAMON RAMIREZ was part of the Andres Torres/Angel Pagan trade and he should be a valuable set-up man. He had a strong two-year stint with San Francisco, posting a 2.07 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
|PITTSBURGH: HITTING: The Pirates' two-month casual flirtation with competitiveness was cute while it lasted, before this team fizzled to a 72-win season. This team is still years away. But don't blame OF ANDREW McCUTCHEN, who might be the best all-around player in the division. Of all the ballyhooed outfielders from the 2005 draft, he's the one GMs would most want to build around. OF JOSE TABATA, not so much. He's serviceable and has plus speed, but the six-year extension the Pirates gave him was absurd. 2B NEIL WALKER has settled into a respectable place short of stardom. 3B PEDRO ALVAREZ has a lot of uphill climbing to do if he wants to wake up old expectations. He'll compete with 3B CASEY MCGEHEE for a starting role, but it's most likely that Alvarez moves to first base to back up 1B GARRETT JONES. OFs NATE McLOUTH and ALEX PRESLEY are underwhelming choices for the starting left-field spot. SS CLINT BARMES and C ROD BARAJAS would like to thank the Pirates for wildly overpaying them. |
STARTING PITCHING: JEFF KARSTENS looked pretty decent for much of last year. But that's what happens when you get to log 14 percent of your innings against the lowly Astros. Better teams exposed him for the replacement-level guy he is. Contrary to what a lot of bored, lazy sportswriters wanted you to believe last year, CHARLIE MORTON doesn't pitch like Roy Halladay. At all. JAMES McDONALD could still be special if he cut down his walk rate. ERIK BEDARD was a respectable signing. Even if his shoulder acts up, he cost only $4.5 million for a year. If he's healthy, he's still well above-average. KEVIN CORREIA may only be slightly more effective at striking out hitters than a batting tee, but the Pirates are grateful for the innings he eats. BRAD LINCOLN is the designated fill-in if any of the other starters get hurt (cough, Bedard). In the meantime, he's a swing man.
RELIEF PITCHING: Closer JOEL HANRAHAN has been outstanding since first donning a Pirates uniform in 2009, converting 40-of-44 saves with a 1.83 ERA last season. It makes sense for the rebuilding Pirates to move him, but they'll probably keep the hand they were dealt. There isn't another qualified ninth-inning pitcher in this bullpen though. EVAN MEEK was bit by the shoulder bug. His early season was an unqualified disaster, but he turned it around and regained his form once he came back in September. He should be fully healthy again, and a quiet source of a few saves. CHRIS RESOP is another primary set-up man, but he posted a 4.39 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 2011. DANIEL McCUTCHEN won't be so lucky with his ERA this year if he doesn't lower his walk rate. He's just not a guy to put much faith in.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (NY METS-PITTSBURGH) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(Updates with Alvarez replacing Gonzalez in HR Derby)
*Mets-Pirates Preview* ======================
By MATT BEARDMORE STATS Writer
New York (40-48) at Pittsburgh (54-36), 7:05 p.m. EDT
The Pittsburgh Pirates' offense finally got in gear to back up another brilliant starting pitching performance.
Getting anything going against Jeremy Hefner could prove to be far more difficult.
The Pirates will try to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly two weeks Friday night against a resurgent New York Mets team going for its first five-game road winning streak in nearly two years.
Limited to six runs while losing four straight - and the NL Central lead to St. Louis - Pittsburgh (54-36) pounded out 12 hits in Wednesday's 5-0 victory over AL West-leading Oakland.
The Pirates' 5-for-9 effort with runners in scoring position was a welcome change - the team is batting just .232 in those situations - but Francisco Liriano continued what's been a dominant run of Pittsburgh starts with seven strong innings. The Pirates, owners of the majors' best ERA at 3.09, have had just one starter in the last 25 games give up more than three runs.
That happened the last time Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38 ERA) took the ball.
Making his fifth start since coming off the DL following right elbow surgery, the right-hander made it through six innings for the first time but surrendered a pair of two-run homers in Saturday's 4-1 road loss to the Cubs.
"What I need to do and what I do well usually is keep the ball in the park and I didn't do that," said Morton, who hadn't allowed a homer in his first four starts.
Morton, 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in two home starts against New York, will face a Mets team that's eyeing a season high-tying fifth consecutive victory after finishing off a three-game sweep with Wednesday's 7-2 win at San Francisco.
Marlon Byrd homered for the second straight game, Daniel Murphy and John Buck each drove in a pair while All-Star third baseman David Wright extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
The Mets (40-48) are averaging 6.8 runs while winning five of six on their trip. Their last five-game road winning streak was July 25-29, 2011.
Hefner (4-6, 3.39) could help New York equal that run considering the way he's been dealing. After going 0-5 with a 4.50 ERA in his first seven starts, Hefner has a major league-best 1.64 ERA since June 4.
He's yielded one earned run in six of seven starts during that stretch.
"We made a mechanical adjustment a couple months ago, toward the end of May," Hefner told the Mets' official website after striking out a career high-tying eight and throwing seven innings of one-run ball in Sunday's 2-1 win over Milwaukee. "I have a little more deceptiveness, and the velocity's gone up a little bit. Playing great defense and we're scoring runs."
Hefner didn't need much support in his only previous outing against Pittsburgh, going seven innings in a 6-0 home win Sept. 26.
The Mets were outscored 21-7 by the visiting Pirates while losing the last three of a four-game series in May.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, 6 for 11 with a homer and four RBIs in those contests, is batting .343 with three home runs and seven RBIs as Pittsburgh has dropped six of nine since ending June on a nine-game winning streak. Alvarez, among the NL home run leaders with 23, was initially left off the Home Run Derby roster by Wright, the league's captain, but was selected Thursday to replace Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez.
Fellow All-Star Andrew McCutchen, who's batting .406 this month, drove in half of the Pirates' eight runs as they dropped two of three in the Mets' last visit May 21-23, 2012.
|Last Updated: 9/21/2014 3:09:25 PM EST|