Cardinals-Mets Preview

Lance Lynn is making a habit out of getting off to impressive starts for the St. Louis Cardinals.

With a little help from his teammates, Bartolo Colon could be doing the same for the New York Mets.

Lynn looks to become the first in the majors to register five wins Thursday as the Cardinals attempt to beat Colon for the first time and salvage a split of this four-game set at Citi Field.

Lynn is 4-0 with a 3.42 ERA in his first four outings after winning his first five decisions last season and first six starts in 2012.

He’s allowed one run and struck out 16 in 12 2-3 innings over his past two starts, including Saturday’s 4-3 win at Washington in which he gave up a solo homer before being pulled with two outs in the sixth.

"I’m not going to lie to you, my stuff was better than it’s been all year," said Lynn, who helped himself with an RBI double. "That’s the disappointing thing about the way the game finished for me."

Lynn may feel the same way about going 0-1 in two appearances – one start – at Citi Field. He’s given up four runs with six walks while hitting a batter in 6 1-3 innings.

The right-hander earned a 6-3 home victory in his lone meeting with the Mets last year, battling through a career-high 124 pitches while surrendering three runs with five walks in seven innings May 13.

While Lynn’s 38 wins over the past four seasons are the most for the Cardinals (12-10), he’s been aided by an average of 6.25 runs of support in his starts – the highest for any starter in baseball over that stretch.

Colon (1-3, 5.40) hasn’t been afforded the same luxury with New York (11-10).

The right-hander is getting an average of 2.88 runs over his four outings, and he’s been backed by four total runs in his three defeats.

Colon got one run Saturday while allowing three in seven innings of a 7-5 loss to Atlanta.

He’s 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against St. Louis, allowing one run in eight innings of a 6-1 victory June 28 while with Oakland.

A similar outing may be needed since the Mets’ bats are scuffling despite winning three of four games. They’ve hit .175 with nine runs over that stretch, getting four hits in Wednesday’s 3-2 win after another four-hit performance in a 3-0 loss Tuesday.

Curtis Granderson is batting .125 for New York, and his first-inning single Wednesday snapped a career-worst hitless stretch of 22 at-bats. It also helped increase his average at home to .104.

Despite going 1 for 9 in this series, Granderson has a .407 career average against St. Louis in the regular season.

While the Mets are trying to solve their offensive issues, Yadier Molina is pacing the Cardinals with a .429 average during a 14-game hitting streak, matching his career high set May 1-22, 2007.

The catcher has six hits in this series after getting three – two doubles – Wednesday, but he’s come up empty in four at-bats against Colon.