Friday, April 20, 2012

Pre-Game: San Francisco Giants @ New York Mets

The New York Mets (7-5) will return home tonight after embarking on a 3-3 road trip that saw many encouraging signs heading into tonight's opener against the San Francisco Giants (6-6) at 7:10 PM ET.

When the Giants and Mets last met for their series in San Francisco on July 8th-July 10th, there were two lingering questions:

  1. Are the Mets going to trade Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Francisco Rodriguez?
  2. Is there enough juice left in the tank to compete?
Less than two weeks later, those questions were answered when K-Rod was shipped to Milwaukee to become the most expensive set-up man in history and Carlos Beltran became a San Francisco Giant. Now a Cardinal, Beltran won't receive his welcoming to Citi Field until June, but Angel Pagan will return tonight. After being shipped to San Francisco over the winter for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez, Pagan hasn't faired favorable in his short tenure thus far. Pagan has hit only .220 while getting base at a .278 clip. He does, however, own a 5-game hitting streak in which he has recorded 2 hits in at least 3 of those games.

Starting for the Amazin's tonight will be Jonathon Niese (2-0, 2.13 ERA), who has looked dominant in both his starts this season. Niese is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in his career against the Giants, which includes one start and a relief appearance. Niese is looking to stop the bleeding of poor pitching performances as the Mets have allowed 23 runs in their past 2 games, including 14 from their starting pitching.

The Giants will oppose Jonathon Niese with Barry Zito (1-0, 1.13 ERA), who has been oddly dominant to start the season. After not having a guaranteed rotation spot coming into spring training, Zito defied the odds by throwing his first shutout in nearly a decade during his first start of the season before earning a no decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates in another stellar outing in which he allowed just 2 runs in 7 innings of work. Zito's biggest benefactor this season has been his control, allowing only 1 walk through 16 innings.

New York Mets Starting Lineup: (projected)
1. Ruben Tejada SS
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Jason Bay LF
6. Lucas Duda RF
7. Josh Thole C
8. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
9. Jonathon Niese P