Astros-Mets Preview

The last time the New York Mets endured such a start to their

home schedule, they ended up setting records for futility as an

expansion team.

They’re more immediately concerned with avoiding their first

home sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros in 18 years, but

Jason Bay’s expected return may provide a spark.

Bay is slated to make his season debut as the Mets try to end a

seven-game slide at Citi Field when they conclude this three-game

set Thursday night.

New York (5-13) not only owns the worst record in the majors,

but its 1-8 home mark is a team record, surpassing the 1-7 start at

the Polo Grounds in 1962 when the Mets managed a modern era-low 40

total victories.

The Mets are off to their worst overall start since going 3-15

in 1964.

New York is on the cusp of being swept at home by Houston (7-11)

for the first time since April 9-11, 1993. The Mets fell 4-3 on

Wednesday, extending their longest Citi Field losing streak to


They last dropped eight in a row at home Sept. 14-28, 2007, at

Shea Stadium.

“I think we have to find some kind of way to be honest about

what kind of team we are,” Mets starter R.A. Dickey said. “We can’t

just keep telling ourselves, ‘We’re a better team than this.’ We

may not be. We got to be honest about that and identify what we’re

doing wrong and do it better.”

Perhaps Bay’s return can help.

Bay went 6 for 12 with two homers and four RBIs during a

four-game rehab stint after starting the season on the disabled

list with an injured left ribcage muscle.

Bay hit .259 with six homers and 47 RBIs in 95 games last year

before his first season in New York ended with a concussion in


“I don’t want to put it all on Jason Bay,” manager Terry Collins

told the Mets’ official website. “Obviously he’s a big piece of the

puzzle here – that’s why he’s here. We need him in our lineup. But

I don’t want to have to think Jason Bay, when he comes back, he’s

the guy. This is a team of 25.”

Chris Capuano (1-1, 8.53 ERA) will be asked to help end the

slide as he tries to rebound from a dismal outing. The left-hander

was tagged for seven runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings of a

9-4 home loss to Colorado last Thursday. He was used out of the

bullpen three days later, retiring the only batter he faced in a

3-2 win at Atlanta.

Capuano had won three straight starts – all with Milwaukee –

against the Astros before allowing three runs over 6 1-3 innings in

a 3-2 road loss Sept. 14.

Wednesday’s victory was the third in four games for the Astros,

who seek their first road sweep since winning four in a row at

Philadelphia from Aug. 23-26.

J.A. Happ (1-2, 5.79) will try to pitch Houston to its

season-high third straight win. He surrendered four runs in seven

innings of a 4-2 loss to San Diego on Friday after giving up one

run in 7 2-3 innings of a 7-1 victory over Florida five days


The left-hander was impressive in his last outing at Citi Field

on Aug. 22, 2009, yielding one run over seven innings of a 4-1 win

while with the Phillies.

The Astros will be without second baseman Bill Hall for a few

games after he sprained his right ankle Wednesday.