Giants-Mets Preview

R.A. Dickey is becoming familiar with the New York Mets’

struggles at the plate, but their most recent effort may be cause

for some optimism.

The San Francisco Giants don’t appear to have any of that

offensively.

Dickey and the Mets will try to take advantage of the Giants’

slump when they open a three-game series at Citi Field on Tuesday

night.

The Giants (13-15) have dropped eight of 11 while hitting .203

and scoring two runs or fewer in eight of those contests, including

three shutouts.

The reigning World Series champions were outscored 11-4 while

losing three of four to Washington, capped by Monday’s 2-0 loss.

The lineup mustered three hits and failed to generate any support

for Madison Bumgarner for a third consecutive start.

“There’s not much we can do if we’re not hitting,” manager Bruce

Bochy said. “We’re awful right now. We know it.”

Aubrey Huff is one of the main culprits, batting .190 with two

homers and 15 RBIs on the season while mired in a 3-for-37 slump

with two RBIs over his last 11 games.

The first baseman hit .290 while leading San Francisco with 26

homers and 86 RBIs last season.

“We’re not doing anything offensively – including myself,” Huff

said. “We’re all struggling. I’m the worst of it.”

Huff is hitting .441 (15 for 34) over his past nine meetings

with the Mets, but he’s just 1 for 6 against the knuckleballer

Dickey (1-3, 3.82 ERA).

The right-hander is hoping to snap his own skid. He’s 0-3 with a

4.67 ERA over five games – four starts – since allowing one

unearned run in six innings of a 9-2 win at Florida in his season

debut April 3.

Dickey has received eight total runs of support over his last

four starts, getting one Wednesday while yielding two runs in 6 2-3

innings before the Mets (12-16) rallied with a four-run ninth in a

6-3 win at Washington.

“Anytime you’re down and you fight back in it, it’s good for

morale,” said Dickey, who was the hard-luck loser in a 2-0 defeat

to San Francisco on July 15 after allowing one run in seven

innings.

New York’s bats have struggled over the last four games, hitting

.220 with nine runs while going 4 for 34 with runners in scoring

position. They were 1 for 16 in those situations Sunday, leaving 19

men on base, but they collected 14 hits in a 2-1, 14-inning win at

Philadelphia, ending a three-game slide.

Ronny Paulino may have earned a second consecutive start after

getting a career-high five hits, including an RBI double in the

14th.

“That’s pretty impressive, five hits in his first full game,”

manager Terry Collins said of the catcher, who’s played just two

games since being activated from the disabled list Friday. He also

started the year serving the remainder of a 50-game suspension for

violating baseball’s drug program with Florida last year.

David Wright is also providing some offensive punch, getting

five hits in three games, with three coming Sunday before he scored

on Paulino’s double. The All-Star third baseman is hitting .338 in

40 career games against the Giants.

San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong (1-0, 1.74) gets the ball again

in place of the injured Barry Zito (foot), and he’s trying to build

on his first win as a starter since beating New York with

Pittsburgh on Sept. 19, 2004.

The right-hander was sharp Thursday, yielding two runs and four

hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 victory at

Pittsburgh in his first start since 2004.