New York Mets at Tampa Bay Rays game preview
The New York Mets have baseball’s best record in day games at 24-10.
Bartolo Colon has started in one-quarter of those victories.
He’ll look to improve to 7-0 in day starts Sunday and help the first-place Mets capture a three-game road series when he matches up with the Tampa Bay Rays’ Chris Archer.
New York (59-51) apparently excels in natural light, though this contest will of course be indoors at Tropicana Field. The Mets have captured six straight Sunday games since a 1-0 loss at Atlanta on June 21.
Colon (10-10, 4.72 ERA) has posted a 4.03 ERA in winning six day starts. The streak he no longer has to worry about was a career high-tying six-game losing streak after he allowed one run in eight innings in Monday’s 12-1 rout at Miami.
"That’s a big outing for Bartolo because we need him," manager Terry Collins said. "If you’re going to stay in the race you’ve got to get outings and innings from all of your pitchers."
Colon has baseball’s third-best strikeout-to-walk ratio at 7.00.
The veteran right-hander hasn’t faced the Rays (55-56) since 2012, going 0-4 with a 6.00 ERA in his last seven starts against them. Grady Sizemore is a .188 hitter in this matchup, Asdrubal Cabrera is 1 for 14 and Evan Longoria is 4 for 11 with two doubles.
Cabrera is batting .525 in an 11-game hitting streak with a career-best six consecutive multihit efforts. Longoria is batting .455 over an eight-game streak for Tampa Bay, which ended New York’s seven-game win streak with Saturday’s 5-4 victory. The Mets’ NL East lead was cut to 1 1/2 games over Washington.
Archer (10-8, 2.54) will face New York for the first time though he has experience against Mets newcomers Yoenis Cespedes (2 for 6 against him) and Kelly Johnson (1 for 4).
The right-hander went 0-4 with a 3.96 ERA in a six-start span before he was charged with two runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts to earn Tuesday’s 11-3 road win over the Chicago White Sox.
Archer is third in the majors with 10.90 strikeouts per nine innings and also has a 0.99 WHIP for one of baseball’s best marks.
Curtis Granderson, who is 0 for 3 off Archer, notched his second multihomer effort of the season Saturday as the Mets blew a 3-0 lead and fell to 2-5 on the road in interleague play.
Juan Uribe was 0 for 4, dropping the average of New York’s designated hitters to .143 to match Colorado for the second-worst mark among NL teams. Granderson will likely serve in that role Sunday.
Sizemore and Kevin Kiermaier each drove in two runs for the Rays, who have won four of six after ending a five-game home slide against the Mets.
Kiermaier suffered a jammed thumb but stayed in the game.
"I’m OK, there’s no ligament damage, no breaks or anything like that but it definitely wasn’t fun," Kiermaier said.
Curt Casali left after two innings with a head bruise after being hit one inning earlier by a back swing. The catcher was replaced by Rene Rivera.
Mets slugger Lucas Duda was 2 for 4 with two RBIs to raise his average to .340 in a 13-game stretch in which he has nine homers and 17 RBIs.