Houston Astros @ New York Mets Series Preview

Fresh off winning their second series in a row, the New York Mets continue their current nine-game homestand with a three-game series against the Houston Astros. By winning four of their last six games against Pittsburgh and Florida, the Mets have crawled to within three games of the National League East lead, although they remain in last place.

Mets' fans for now will just have to be comforted by the fact the team looks to snapping out of their season-long offensive doldrums, and if not for Armando Benitez' four blown saves, the club would be in first place. After the Astros depart town, the homestand wraps up with three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.


Give the edge to the Astros in this series, as they will be throwing three young pitchers who so far have been very tough on the Mets in their very young careers. David Cone (1-2, 6.43) gets the ball for the Mets in the series opener, where he'll be opposed by Tim Redding (0-2, 3.52). After throwing five shutout innings in his season debut against Montreal, Cone has been roughed up in his last two starts by the Expos and Pittsburgh, both losses. Redding pitched well in a no-decision against the Mets last season, allowing only one run.

The middle game of the series sees Jae Seo (1-1, 3.12) looking to build on his last outstanding start for the Mets against up-and-comer Roy Oswalt (2-1, 3.71). After beginning the season with two rocky starts against Montreal, Seo came back to throw seven shutout innings against Pittsburgh last week in gaining his first major league win. Oswalt is 2-0 lifetime against the Mets with a miniscule 0.66 ERA.

The series concludes Thursday night with Al Leiter (2-0, 2.19) looking to stay unbeaten against Wade Miller (0-1, 4.15). After a blazing start, Leiter struggled against the Marlins in his last start, mostly because the Fish ran wild on the basepaths against him, stealing six bases. Also, he is only 2-6 with a 5.37 ERA lifetime against the Astros. Miller is 1-0, 2.51 lifetime against the Mets.


Astros CF Craig Biggio broke Barry Bonds' National League record with his 31st career home run leading off a game on April 10th...The Mets are cautiously optimistic that pitcher Pedro Astacio might be able to rejoin the team this week. Astacio has been on the disabled list with right shoulder tendonitis since spring training...Astros LF Lance Berkman has missed four straight games with a sprained medial collateral ligament. He is hoping to return to the lineup in this series...Mets' LF Cliff Floyd has been bothered by tendonitis in his right achilles...Former Astros 20-game winner Jose Lima has signed with the independent Newark Bears.

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