Struggling Amazin's meet red-hot Tribe

It doesn't exactly figure as the most alluring Interleague matchup, but as the Mets welcome the Cleveland Indians to town for three games beginning Tuesday, New York finds itself looking at a series that could define them as a club.

The Mets struggled mightily last week on the road while playing teams of questionable status, suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins and dropping two out of three to the Kansas City Royals, only salvaging a victory Sunday when Tom Glavine put yet another sterling effort on the board.

Suddenly, a Mets club that appeared primed to make a run at a division crown finds itself struggling to stay afloat. The Mets trail the first place Florida Marlins by 5-1/2 games entering play Tuesday and would need to win five of six on this homestand from the Indians and the Detroit Tigers just to reach the .500 mark again.

GM Jim Duquette has maintained that the Mets will be primed to add talent to the club as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, but if the club continues their recent dismal trends -- hitting and defense have been the main culprits -- that philosophy could be subject to change.

The Indians, baseball's best offensive club with 338 runs scored, come to town having won four in a row, including a 14-0 spanking of the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

MINOR MUSINGS: Scott Erickson was bombed again down at Triple-A Norfolk, which could prolong his stay in the minors. The Mets had been entertaining thoughts of yanking Jae Seo from the rotation before his start on Thursday for Erickson, but Erickson gave up 10 hits and eight runs in five innings against Toledo.

In Port St. Lucie, Jose Reyes went 1-for-4 with a double and scored a run while playing seven innings at second base.


Tuesday: RHP Steve Trachsel (5-5, 3.65) vs. RHP Jason Davis (1-4, 4.18)
Wednesday: RHP Matt Ginter (1-0, 2.43) vs. LHP C.C. Sabathia (3-3, 3.14)
Thursday: RHP Jae Seo (3-5, 4.99) vs. RHP Scott Elarton (0-6, 9.71)

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