Edinson Volquez has struggled away from Pittsburgh this season. He’s had an even harder time through his career at Citi Field.
This New York Mets lineup, though, has been quite forgiving at home.
The right-hander will try to overcome his road headaches Tuesday night in New York as the Pirates continue a three-game series against the Mets, who responded to giving away the series opener with coaching and player changes.
Article continues below ...
New York (22-28), 3-9 since May 14, announced after Monday’s 5-3 defeat that it had fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens.
"When you struggle the way we’ve struggled offensively a finger, obviously gets pointed," said third baseman David Wright, who saw a nine-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-4 day. "A lot of times that finger gets pointed unfairly."
The club also cut reliever Jose Valverde, who gave up the go-ahead hit in the ninth inning to Gaby Sanchez. The Mets’ .237 team average is near the bottom of baseball while Valverde’s four runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning ballooned his ERA to 5.66.
Volquez (2-4, 4.37 ERA) had possibly his best outing of the season in Thursday’s 3-1 victory over Washington, allowing a run and three hits in six innings to earn a win after going 0-4 in his previous five starts.
But that came at home. Volquez is 0-2 with a 5.89 ERA in three road starts and has allowed 11 runs and six home runs over his last two. He’s 0-5 with a 6.39 ERA in seven starts away from home since Aug. 12.
At Citi Field, he has lost each of his three starts with a 6.32 ERA.
Jonathon Niese hasn’t allowed more than three runs in 14 straight starts there and looked comfortable at home in Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Niese (3-3, 2.70) surrendered three runs and four hits in seven innings to pick up the victory against Zack Greinke.
His ERA has been climbing in his last four starts, but the left-hander has not given up more than three earned runs in 13 consecutive starts – nine this season.
He’s 2-1 with a 4.70 ERA against the Pirates, but Niese’s last start against them ended with eight runs allowed in 4 1-3 innings in a 11-2 loss May 11, 2013.
That’s the kind of offense Pittsburgh (23-27) has failed to produce this season on the road, where it is batting .226, though a 12-hit effort in Monday’s comeback win could have provided a breakthrough.
"This is indicative of the games we play," manager Clint Hurdle told the team’s official website after being shut out through seven innings. "The mentality in the dugout is, ‘This is the inning.’ Even if we get pushed down, the next inning we’ll make something happen."
The Pirates have won six of seven overall against New York and four straight at Citi Field, where the Mets have an NL-worst .222 home average. New York has lost seven of nine at home while averaging 2.4 runs.
Lucas Duda showed signs of breaking from his slump, going 2 for 4 with a home run after a 3-for-31 stretch.
New York’s starting pitching, meanwhile, continued a strong run, albeit in a small sample size. Since Wednesday, the Mets’ rotation has held opponents to a .179 average.
Andrew McCutchen is 4 for 8 against Niese.
Eric Young Jr. landed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday’s game because of a strained right hamstring.