|Mets hope to stay hot, keep Indians cold|
While the New York Mets are experiencing good times at their home field of late, the Cleveland Indians are dealing with some mixed results in their week-long visit to New York.
Winners of 11 of their past 12 home games, the Mets hope to keep things rolling in front of their fans Wednesday night when they continue a three-game interleague series with Cleveland, which is enduring its first slump in over two months.
The Mets (65-60) enter Wednesday two games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild-card spot in the National League. They are attempting to go a season-high six games over .500 after opening the series with a 9-2 victory Tuesday.
J.D. Davis and Michael Conforto hit two-run homers before rookie Pete Alonso added a two-run double to ensure the Mets did not have to use key relievers Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz.
New York is in the wild-card race due to going 25-10 since the All-Star break and 19-5 since July 25.
Conforto, Davis and Alonso along with Amed Rosario are helping fuel New York's surge. Davis is batting .366 (59-for-161) in 59 games since June 4. Alonso is hitting .348 (23-for-66) in 18 games this month. Rosario is batting .390 (30-for-77) in 17 games this month, and Conforto has 11 homers in 34 games since the break.
"I think it's just they're relentless," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of his offense. "They're relentless in their approach no matter who comes in. They're up there grinding it up. Timely hitting. A key big hit usually starts it, and then you get to their lesser pitchers and you add on, and that's what good teams do. They add on."
For the Indians, a 45-22 record since June 4 has vaulted them back into the wild-card race and into contention in the American League Central. Cleveland leads the wild-card race by 1 1/2 games over Tampa Bay and Oakland has erased most of an 11-game deficit in the division to the Minnesota Twins, who hold a three-game lead.
However, even though the Indians scored 19 runs Thursday against the New York Yankees, they have lost five of their past seven games. On Tuesday, the Indians committed two errors, went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and allowed five runs in the Mets' last three at-bats.
"You know what, that's one of the ways that we need to play to win is a clean defensive game," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
New York's starters own a 2.78 ERA since the All-Star break, and Marcus Stroman (7-11, 3.21 ERA overall, 1-0, 5.17 with New York) will look to keep it going when he makes his fourth start as a Met.
Stroman last pitched on Thursday in Miami, when he allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 10-8 win.
Stroman is 1-2 with a 2.87 ERA in eight regular-season appearances (seven starts) against Cleveland. His final start with Toronto was against Cleveland, and he allowed one run on five hits in seven innings of a 4-0 defeat on July 24.
Adam Plutko (5-3, 4.67 ERA) starts for Cleveland and hopes to benefit from another big performance from his teammates. He last pitched Thursday in the Indians' 19-5 win over the Yankees, when he allowed three runs on six hits in six innings.
Plutko, who has never faced the Mets, is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two previous appearances against a National League team. He also is 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six road outings this season.
--Field Level Media