Mike Pelfrey will be on the mound, and will try and recover after two straight shaky outings. Against the Orioles on June 13, Pelfrey only allowed three runs, but he allowed nine hits, and walked more than he struck out, bouncing out of jams all game for the win.
In his last start on Saturday against the Yankees, he really struggled, blowing two Jose Reyes-given leads to lose at Yankee Stadium. He allowed five runs, giving up home runs to Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson to tie the game and take a lead respectively. The loss was only his second and both of his last two starts have been similar.
He has been flat with his sinker and his fastball hasn't reached the mid-90s, giving hitters a chance to be all over his pitches. In these last two starts, Pelfrey has walked six and struck out only three. It's the first time this season that Pelfrey has walked more batters than he has struck out in two consecutive starts.
The Twins, though, have been in an uncharacteristic Interleague slump so far. They are 7-8 against National League opponents this season, and just got swept three games to the team with the least amount of home wins in the entire NL, the Milwaukee Brewers. That's not a good thing for the Twins as they go from facing the team with the least home wins in the NL, to the team with the most.
The Mets, even with last night's loss, are 26-11 at Citi Field this season, and won two of three against the Tigers without Pelfrey or Santana on the mound, both of whom are scheduled to go this weekend.
While Pelfrey has had his issues over the past two starts, Twins' starter Kevin Slowey has been terrible in his past two. After pitching fairly well all season, it has come crashing down on the 26-year-old right-hander from Conroe, Texas. In his last two starts against the Braves and Phillies, Slowey has allowed 12 earned runs on 16 hits, and two home runs in each.
Against the Phillies on Saturday, he got knocked out after 1.2 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits, a wild game the Twins would actually come back to win 13-10 in extras.
So the bottom line is, both offenses tonight will be trying to knock out the opposing pitcher early. The Mets this season have done a good job of scoring early, as they lead the Majors in scoring first in games with 47. In those games, the Mets are 34-13.
It looked like the Mets' offense was going to be short-handed last night, with Angel Pagan sitting out due to muscle spasms, and Rod Barajas sitting out due to back spasms, but Jesus Feliciano came through with three hits and Henry Blanco got a hit as well. Both Pagan and Barajas should miss tonight's game with Josh Thole getting his first Major League start since last season.
Carlos Beltran played his first rehab game last night for Port St. Lucie and played five innings in the field. He didn't have any defensive chances and at the plate, he went 0-for-2 with a walk.
Before last night's game, Jerry Manuel half-heartedly stated that Beltran may want to return Monday when the Mets play a three-game series in Puerto Rico against the Marlins, being that's his native country. Although both Manuel and Beltran didn't rule out the possibility, it's highly unlikely that that will happen.
It'll be the M&M Boys, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau against Jose Reyes, David Wright, and the Mets in a battle between two contending teams in their respective leagues.
As a side note, Jason Bay is two hits away from becoming the 10th Canadian-born player to reach 1,000 hits for a career.
Mike Pelfrey this season (14 starts)
9-2, 2.69 ERA, 93.2 IP, 82 hits, 34 BB, 61 SO
Kevin Slowey this season (14 starts)
7-4, 4.58 ERA, 76.2 IP, 93 hits, 17 BB, 57 SO
All-time series (New York vs. Minnesota)
Twins lead series 6-3