Mets-Dodgers Preview

Jason Bay may not be joining Jose Reyes at the All-Star game

next week, but he’s finally emerging as a valuable member of the

New York Mets.

Bay looks to continue his offensive surge and help the Mets

withstand another expected absence from Reyes in the opener of a

four-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

Bay is hitting .344 with two homers, 12 RBIs and seven walks

over the last 16 games, raising his average 41 points to .248.

He was clutch for the Mets (42-42) on Sunday, delivering a

walkoff single to score Scott Hairston and clinch a 3-2, 10-inning

win over the New York Yankees, ending a three-game skid.

“I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. A lot more downs,”

said Bay, who is hitting .254 with 10 homers and 70 RBIs in two

seasons with New York. “It was nice, A, to be in that spot and, B,

to come through. It was great.”

Continued production from Bay would be a huge help with Reyes

nursing a left hamstring injury.

Reyes, baseball’s leader with a .354 average, sat out Sunday and

tests revealed a mild strain. However, he isn’t expected back until

Tuesday at the earliest and the Mets are considering resting him

through the break.

He was voted to be the NL’s starting shortstop in Arizona next

week.

“We have to take it one day at a time,” general manager Sandy

Alderson said. “We’re not making any predictions at the moment.

We’ll just see how he responds and the symptoms he demonstrates

over the next few days. I’m sure he’ll want to play. I’m sure he’ll

want to play in the All-Star game, etc. That’s something we have to

look at.”

The Mets have split four games without Reyes this season, and

manager Terry Collins isn’t worried about an extended absence.

“It’ll be a challenge but I think we’re going to be up for it,”

Collins said. “We’ve dealt with some adversity so far this season.

We’re resilient. We’ll bounce back.”

Reyes went 7 for 14 with three triples to help New York take two

of three from the Dodgers (37-48) at Citi Field in May.

The Mets will send Chris Capuano (7-7, 4.27 ERA) to the mound

hoping he can continue his winning ways.

The left-hander has won four of his last five starts overall

with a 2.40 ERA, and is 3-0 on the road during that stretch

However, he wasn’t very sharp Wednesday, surrendering five runs

and three homers in five innings but offense bailed him out in a

16-9 victory at Detroit.

Capuano is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his last five games – four

starts – versus the Dodgers.

Los Angeles is opening a seven-game homestand heading into the

All-Star break after dropping four of six on a road trip that ended

with Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Dodgers have lost nine of 13 at home, but they’ve taken six

of the last seven there against the Mets.

Matt Kemp, who will join Reyes on the All-Star team, is hitting

.375 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 20 career home games against

New York.

Rubby De La Rosa (3-3, 4.41) makes his first appearance against

the Mets for Los Angeles.

The right-hander was solid Wednesday, allowing one run in seven

innings of a 1-0 loss at Minnesota. He had allowed 10 runs in 10

2-3 innings over his two previous outings – both home losses.