Mets-Blue Jays Preview
Romero looks to continue his dominance of the NL and help the Blue Jays avoid a 15th loss in 19 meetings with the New York Mets as the teams open a three-game set Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Romero (4-1, 3.88 ERA), who mostly cruised through his first seven starts, was knocked around during Sunday's 4-3 loss at Minnesota. He yielded four runs and a season-high nine hits over 5 1-3 innings, failing to strike anyone out for the first time in 101 career outings.
"We've got to get Ricky right. He's not been sharp in two starts in a row. The walk totals have been abnormally high for him," manager John Farrell said after Romero issued five free passes for the second consecutive start. "It seems like his arm's not catching up. It's a matter of staying over the rubber a little bit longer and allowing his arm to catch up."
Interleague play could be coming at just the right time for Romero, who's 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in nine career starts against the NL.
The Blue Jays, who went 8-10 in interleague play last season, haven't faced the Mets (21-17) since dropping two of three June 23-25, 2006. New York has taken 14 of 18 all-time matchups with the Blue Jays.
Mets third baseman David Wright went 2 for 2 to increase his average to a major league-leading .411 on Thursday, scoring three runs and driving in another during Thursday's 9-4 win over Cincinnati. He helped New York bounce back after blowing a late lead Wednesday en route to a 6-3 defeat.
"I think what's really special about (Thursday's) game is that people are going to talk about David, because what he's doing is mythical, it seems," Mets starter R.A. Dickey told the team's official website. "And I don't want to take away from that ... (but) everybody's playing a part, and that's why we're able to come back after tough losses like (Wednesday) night. It's been really neat.
Wright, who is batting .386 with four homers and 24 RBIs in his last 17 interleague games, owns the highest season batting average for a qualifying hitter on this date or later since 2008, when Atlanta's Chipper Jones was batting .412 on June 12.
"All is good," Wright said. " ... I'm getting some pitches to hit and I'm just not putting them in play."
Regular Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie won't put anything in play this weekend. He'll be serving the final three games of a four-game suspension for throwing a batting helmet that bounced and hit umpire Bill Miller.
Lawrie dropped his appeal and began serving his suspension Thursday, but that didn't prevent Toronto (21-18) from winning 4-1 to complete a two-game sweep of the Yankees. Jose Bautista homered for the fifth time in seven games after leaving the yard just once in his first 23 contests of 2012.
"If going deep five times in seven games isn't locked in then we're in for a real treat if he's yet to click in," Farrell said.
Bautista hit eight homers and drove in 15 runs in 18 interleague games last season.
Bautista will get his first look at Mets starter Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.40), who scattered five hits over six scoreless innings Sunday, not factoring in the decision of an 8-4 loss at Miami.
The left-hander went 1-2 with a 5.17 ERA and a .354 opponent batting average in three interleague starts last season. He has never faced Toronto.