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New York Mets Begin Four-Game Series in Houston Trying To Support Niese

NEW YORK - JULY 27:  Jon Niese #49 of the New York Mets pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during their game on July 27, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Sammy MakkiAnalyst IAugust 16, 2010

Jon Niese hasn't gotten much run support lately, and the Mets will try to turn that around tonight.

Each of Niese's last two starts have been identical: pitch great ball, and get a no-decision for the effort. In both starts against the Phillies and Rockies, he went seven innings and allowed one run.

Both times the Mets bullpen blew a one-run lead in the eighth. It hasn't only been Niese not getting run support lately, but he's been the biggest culprit. He's only 7-5 this season and he should have at least 10 wins if not more.

Now, the Mets will try and turn things around against the Houston Astros who have been playing better lately.

In fact, with their three-game winning streak, the Astros only trail the Mets by 6.5 games. They also play better at home than on the road.

Even with their recent hot streak, they are a very bad team. They traded away a star pitcher and hitter at the trading deadline in Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, conceding the season.

The Mets have actually not played either the Astros or Pirates this season, the two teams they'll face on this road trip.

The last time the Mets and Astros faced, the Mets swept a three-game series at Citi Field to end 2009. The pitcher on the mound for the Mets last game, Nelson Figueroa, will pitch for the Astros on Tuesday.

Pitching for them tonight will be Wandy Rodriguez. He had the best season of his career last year, winning 14 games while pitching to a 3.02 ERA.

Overall, he's an average career pitcher in his six seasons. This season, he's having an average season as well.

He has received no decisions in each of his last two starts. That's after having a stretch of 18 straight starts with a decision, in which he went 9-9; he lost his first two games of the season.

In his last start, he pitched a good game against the first-place Braves. In seven innings, he allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits, and struck out nine. The Braves scored six runs in the 10th inning to beat Houston, 8-2.

When the Mets faced the Diamondbacks in Arizona in July, they were planning on doing well against them, along with the Astros and Pirates. It didn't work out against Arizona as the Mets lost five of six.

In the just completed series against the Phillies, the Mets scored two runs in three games. In 15 games out of 29 since the All-Star break, the Mets have scored two runs or less (52 percent).

Things have been going so bad that Jerry Manuel doesn't even know what to do. When asked after last night's game who's going to be the second baseman of the near future, Luis Castillo or Ruben Tejada, Manuel replied "I have no clue." He went on to say, "Maybe I can give it a try."

That's what it has come down to for the Mets. They're getting fine starting pitching (1.00 ERA on the home stand) but absolutely no hitting.

They'll try to do a lot of hitting in the next four games at the bandbox that is Minute Maid Park.

Jon Niese vs. Houston (career- 7/25/09)
Win, 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 hits, 2 BB, 3 SO

Wandy Rodriguez vs. New York (career)
2-2, 3.68 ERA, 29.1 IP, 27 hits, 9 BB, 23 SO

2009 season series (New York vs. Houston)
Mets won series 5-1

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