Mets @ Astros Series Preview

After facing some tough pitching this past week in Arizona, the Mets travel to Houston where things don't look to get any easier versus the Astros after splitting a four-game series against the Diamondbacks. New York faces two familiar foes this weekend in the the form of Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. The two free agent pitchers have helped Houston (21-13) to a two-game lead in first place in the NL Central.

The Mets (16-19), 7-4 in their last 11 games, head into the series tied with the Atlanta Braves for 3rd place in the National League East. The Astros have been even better lately, going 10-4 in the last fourteen games. New York begins an eight-game home stand after Sunday's series finale, starting with a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Steve Trachsel and Roy Oswalt will pitch the opening game of the series. Neither Trachsel (3-3, 3.48 ERA) or Oswalt (2-1, 2.90) earned a decision last time out. Trachsel allowed just one run to the Brewers, while Oswalt was a bit shakier, giving up three runs in six innings.

If the Mets don't win the first game, they might be in for a long weekend. Saturday's game will feature James Baldwin (0-1, 27.00 ERA) versus Andy Pettitte (3-1, 3.22 ERA). Baldwin's ERA was earned by getting shelled for six runs over seven innings against the D'Backs. Pettitte is having success so far adjusting to the National League. The lefty held the Braves to just one run on two hits last weekend.

Sunday's game will probably generate the most buzz because Al Leiter (1-2, 2.52 ERA) and the Mets will face none other than Roger Clemens (7-0, 1.99 ERA). Clemens has done quite well in the National League, winning his first seven games and though it's early, is the hands on favorite to start in the All-Star game. Clemens handled the Marlins with ease this week, holding the Marlins to one run over seven innings. Leiter, however, was banged up to the tune of five runs in four innings out in the desert against the D'Backs.

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