BALTIMORE—The Mets will be looking for their first road series sweep since September, 2008 at Milwaukee. Believe it or not, the Mets have not had one since then. Last season, the injuries were just too much to overcome.
Today, the Mets will have a shot, and they have plenty of reasons to be confident that they will get it.
First of all, they're facing an Orioles team that's 17-45. Secondly, the pitching match-up is as lopsided as can be. The Mets will start Mike Pelfrey (8-1), the Orioles will start Kevin Millwood (0-7).
The Orioles scored a grand total of two runs against R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi in two games, so how can they possibly get anything off of Pelfrey? Really, the only way they can will be for Pelfrey to be off his game. The Orioles, unlike solid hitting clubs, can't get to guys of Pelfrey's caliber when the pitcher is on his game.
The key for Pelfrey will be to not overlook the Orioles, because on any given day, anything could happen. Pelfrey though, has been absolutely dominant. In his last outing, he pitched nine innings in a Mets 11-inning win, and he could've pitched the 10th, the way he was going. He seems to get better every time out, and out of his 12 starts this season, nine have been quality starts (over six innings pitched, and three earned runs or less).
He'll be going against an Orioles team that has been impatient over the first two games, and they hit a lot of balls on the ground, which is what Pelfrey is all about.
You'd figure Orioles starter Kevin Millwood won't have any margin for error with Pelfrey going against him. When the Orioles traded for him in the offseason from the Texas Rangers, it was a move to bolster a "revamped" starting rotation. It hasn't quite worked out, as shockingly, Millwood hasn't won a single game this season.
It hasn't all been his fault though. Millwood just hasn't been getting a whole lot of run support, thus at 0-7, his ERA is only 4.64, which isn't too bad pitching in the AL East for the worst team in baseball.
Thing is, the Mets may be catching him at the right time. The last two outings for Millwood have been his fault. In two consecutive starts against the Yankees, Millwood put together two carbon copy bad outings.
On June 3 at Yankee Stadium, and his last start on June 8 against the Yankees at Oriole Park, Millwood went 5.2 innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits, and allowing two home runs. That raised his ERA from 3.89 to 4.64.
The Mets though, haven't been hitting too much in the bandbox at Camden Yards. Out of the eight runs they have scored in two games, only five have come from the regulars, with the other three being the home run from Chris Carter.
David Wright has contributed with three RBI, Jeff Francoeur and Jose Reyes have hit home runs, but everyone else has been cold.
Jason Bay, even with the move down to fifth in the order, hasn't come through, and the rest of the guys have been non-factors. So even though the Mets have won both games, they can thank their starting pitching for the reason why.
Maybe a good sign for the Mets has been the lesser stressed innings for Francisco Rodriguez in the first two games. He hit a batter in last night's game, but ended it on a double play.
With Mets starters going deep every game now, the bullpen has been used less recently, as only Pedro Feliciano and Francisco Rodriguez have been used in this series.
The way the Phillies are playing right now, having lost 16 of 23, and falling two behind the Mets, the Mets have a chance to gain some big time ground. Their pitching is setup well from now through the Yankees series, so it'll be intriguing to see how many games the Mets can win on this already 2-0 road trip.
They have it coming easily today. Can they get it done? It would be nice for a change.
Mike Pelfrey vs. Baltimore (career- 6/16/09)
Win, 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 hits, 3 BB, 2 SO
Kevin Millwood vs. New York (career)
8-5, 3.36 ERA, 128.2 IP, 110 hits, 43 BB, 93 SO
2010 season series (New York vs. Baltimore)
June 11: New York 5, Baltimore 1
June 12: New York 3, Baltimore 1
Mets lead series 2-0