New York Mets @ Pittsburgh Pirates Series Preview

Fresh off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Montreal (San Juan) Expos, the Mets take their six-game losing streak and 4-9 last place record into PNC Park in Pittsburgh to finish off the remnants of a disastrous ten game road trip against the Pirates.

The team with baseball's second highest payroll more closely resembles their 1993 misfit counterparts than they do the pre-season contender that their fans had hoped for. With each passing series, Roberto Alomar begins to look more and more like Carlos Baerga, the last future Hall of Fame second baseman the Mets "stole" from Cleveland; Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza, and Mo Vaughn look older and more tired, and every bit the 8-57 they hit in San Juan; and Roger Cedeno falls further and further into baseball abyss.

The bullpen...well, the column has space limits and can't really do justice to those problems. The only bright spot has been the play of third baseman Ty Wiggonton...of course, he's the player that GM Steve Phillips spent the entire winter trying to replace.

Incoming free agents Tom Glavine and Cliff Floyd, as well as some current roster dwellars, were quick to trash outgoing manager Bobby Valentine over the off-season. Rather conspicuous in his silence, however, was Piazza. Now it looks more and more that Fred Wilpon may have allowed the wrong man to win the Valentine-Phillips feud.


The series begins with Tom Glavine (1-1, 3.52) looking to stop the bleeding for the Mets. He'll be opposed by righthander Josh Fogg (1-1, 4.26). Glavine threw six shutout innings in Florida during his last start, only to have the bullpen give it away in the final two innings. Fogg has no career decisions against New York.

David Cone (1-1, 7.00) was roughed up by the Expos Friday night, allowing seven runs in the third inning of a game the Mets lost 10-0. He hopes to get his comeback on the right track Wednesday night against career journeyman Jeff Suppan, who is off to a fast start at 2-0, 1.35.

The series concludes Thursday night with Jae Seo (0-1, 5.23) still trying to get his first major league win, going up against Mets' cast-off Jeff D'Amico (1-1, 5.79). Seo has been hammered by Montreal in his first two starts of the year. D'Amico surfaced with the Pirates after a dismal 2002 in New York, coming over in the Jeromy Burnitz trade.


Pirates LF Brian Giles went on the disabled list April 12th with a sprained ligament in his right knee...Mets' broadcaster and Pirate Hall-of-Famer Ralph Kiner visited Pittsburgh last week and was very emphatic in his belief that Pete Rose should not be allowed in Cooperstown. Kiner feels Rose "disgraced baseball" with his gambling episode...Two anti-war protestors ran onto the field yesterday in Puerto Rico after Tony Clark's two-run homer in the fifth inning. They were quickly subdued by police.

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