Diamondbacks-Mets Preview

Jason Bay’s return seemed to be just what the New York Mets

needed to break out of their slump.

David Wright’s long-awaited offensive contributions also

helped.

After snapping their longest home losing streak in four seasons,

the Mets will look for their momentum to carry over as they open a

three-game set against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday

night.

New York (6-13) had averaged 3.7 runs over a seven-game home

skid – its longest since losing eight straight at Shea Stadium from

Sept. 14-28, 2007.

Bay, though, doubled and scored two runs in his 2011 debut and

Wright ended a career-worst 0-for-20 drought as the Mets recorded

their highest run total at Citi Field this season to defeat Houston

9-1 on Thursday.

“Obviously having Jason Bay back – to pull these guys together

is one of the best things that could happen,” manager Terry Collins

said of the three-time All-Star, who had missed the first 18 games

with a strained left rib cage.

“I think his presence in the clubhouse, in the dugout, and on

the field is a big factor.”

Wright, meanwhile, went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs

after failing to record a hit in his previous five games – during

which the Mets scored a combined nine runs.

“It’s nice to have those kinds of games where you have the good

starting pitching and the hitting,” said Wright, batting just .232

lifetime against Arizona (8-9) at home.

Chris Capuano worked seven innings to earn the victory Thursday

for New York, something Friday’s scheduled starter Mike Pelfrey

(0-2, 9.72 ERA) has yet to accomplish in 2011.

Pelfrey’s struggles continued Saturday, when he gave up a

season-worst 11 hits and four runs over five-plus innings of a 4-0

loss at Atlanta.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself because nobody else in the

league is going to feel sorry for you,” Pelfrey said. “I definitely

have to be better.”

The right-hander could have a hard time getting back on track

against the Diamondbacks, as he is 0-5 with a 6.69 ERA over seven

starts in the series.

Arizona has taken nine of 11 from New York, including four of

five on the road. The club had won three straight overall and its

first two at Cincinnati before falling 7-4 to the Reds on

Thursday.

“You get two out of three, it’s very huge,” shortstop Stephen

Drew told the Diamondbacks’ official website. “You keep doing that,

you’re pushing for a playoff spot. Hopefully, we keep that up

during the year and see where we’re at. Going to New York now,

maybe we can take two out of three and maybe sweep them.”

Drew went 2 for 4 with a home run Thursday while third baseman

Ryan Roberts, batting .423 during an eight-game hitting streak,

doubled and scored a run.

Arizona’s bullpen recorded 2 2-3 scoreless innings to lower its

ERA to 0.42 over its last six games – a span of 21 1-3 innings.

But while the Diamondbacks’ relievers have thrived after a

woeful 2010, their starters have stumbled, posting an MLB-worst

5.99 ERA.

Joe Saunders (0-2, 6.32) will try to bounce back after

surrendering a career-worst-tying 12 hits and five runs in 6 2-3

innings of Saturday’s 5-3 loss to San Francisco.

The left-hander, who has never faced the Mets, is 0-9 with a

5.73 ERA over his last 10 road starts dating to last season.