New York Mets Return Home To Face First-Place St. Louis Cardinals
We all know by now that the Mets had a road trip to forget, having lost nine of 11 on the West Coast. It may be hard to think of, but that's a thing of the past.
The Mets still think they have a shot at competing, and on July 27, who doesn't think so? Therefore, it's time to move on.
For the Mets, this will be their first home game in over two weeks. The last time they played at Citi Field was on July 11, a huge win over the Braves.
That was against a first-place team, and now, they're ready to face another first-place team. The Cardinals come to town for three games, and tonight's first game will feature two rookie left-handers opposite one another.
The Mets will go with 23-year-old Jon Niese, and the Cardinals will go with 24-year-old Jaime Garcia. Both youngsters have pitched well in their rookie seasons, and being that this game is at Citi Field, a pitchers' duel seems probable.
The last time Jon Niese pitched was on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks. He wasn't terrible, but the three runs he allowed were via three solo home runs.
He pitched five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walked one, and struck out six while throwing 99 pitches. He did not factor into the decision in a game the Mets obviously lost, being they were swept.
Overall, though, Niese has done a fine job this season, keeping his ERA at 3.54 while having a 2.59-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia, who has pitched phenomenally this season after missing all of 2009 due to Tommy John surgery.
Garcia was a 22nd-round pick of the Cardinals in 2005, and made his Major League debut in 2008. After appearing in 10 games that season and having a rough go of it, Garcia had elbow surgery, and made the team this season.
On June 22, Garcia was 7-3 with a 1.79 ERA, stunning everyone across Major League Baseball.
His ERA jumped a little after that due to a poor start against the Royals one month ago today. He was sharp, though, in his last start against the Phillies, giving up one run and four hits in seven innings.
He did make a start against the Mets in St. Louis on April 17, which turned out to be one of the more memorable games in Mets and Cardinals history.
After Garcia held the Mets hitless through the first five innings, the game would go on another 15 innings, with the Mets winning, 2-1, in 20 innings.
It will be a difficult task for the Mets, who have had all sorts of trouble not just scoring, but hitting on the road trip. The Mets hit .195 as a team in the 11 games in three cities, and facing Garcia tonight and Adam Wainwright tomorrow doesn't make things easier.
The Mets also used 11 different lineups, and will try to stick to one through the home stand.
All the Mets can hope for now is to find a little hitting and continue to receive good pitching to try to earn some victories as we near August.
Jon Niese vs. St. Louis (career: 8/5/09)
*ND, 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 BB, 2 SO
Jaime Garcia vs. New York (April 17)
ND, 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 BB, 5 SO
*Left game after injuring hamstring
2010 season series (New York vs. St. Louis)
April 16: St. Louis 4, New York 3
April 17: New York 2, St. Louis 1 (20)
April 18: St. Louis 5, New York 3
Cardinals lead series 2-1
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