Mets-Dodgers Preview

The New York Mets could be without injured major league batting

leader Jose Reyes for a third straight game. It might not matter

with Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly struggling with a

tender left elbow.

With Reyes’ status in question due to a strained left hamstring,

the Mets will go for their third consecutive win Tuesday night when

Lilly tries to avoid losing four straight starts for the first

time.

Out since Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees, Reyes is

expected to run before Tuesday’s contest to test his hamstring. If

he doesn’t feel any pain, there’s a chance he could be in the

lineup. However, the Mets (43-42) aren’t willing to push the NL’s

starting shortstop at next Tuesday’s All-Star game. Reyes is

batting .354 with 30 steals – second in the majors.

“To get (Reyes) for one game tonight or tomorrow and then lose

him for three weeks is just stupid,” manager Terry Collins told the

Mets’ official website before Monday’s 5-2 series-opening victory.

“So I’m going to make sure.”

Ruben Tejada will likely get his third straight start if Reyes

can’t go. Tejada went 2 for 4, including the club’s first hit, as

New York scored all its runs Monday after getting no-hit through

five innings by rookie Rubby De La Rosa.

Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran and Daniel Murphy had RBI doubles in

sixth, while Jason Bay and Lucas Duda added run-scoring singles in

the eighth.

“That’s the only way we’ve played,” Collins said. “Guys have

just stepped up.”

The Mets were supposed to face Lilly (5-8, 4.97 ERA) in the

series opener, but the veteran left-hander was pushed back one day

so he could rest his elbow. Lilly has a 10.43 ERA in his last three

starts after yielding six runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings of

Tuesday’s 6-4 loss at Minnesota.

“It’s been off and on for a while, but I don’t think (my elbow

is) necessarily why I haven’t been pitching well,” Lilly, who has

been tagged for a team-high 16 homers, told the Dodgers’ official

website. “Some of it is location. It all goes together because you

don’t have the normal feel of your pitches. I do believe I can

pitch through it.”

Lilly is 2-1 with a 3.56 ERA in five starts against the

Mets.

A season-worst 12 games below .500, the Dodgers (37-49) will

face Mike Pelfrey (4-7, 4.92) as they try to avoid a fourth

consecutive loss.

The Mets right-hander is trying to rebound from a 5-2 loss at

Detroit on Thursday when he walked a career high-tying five – all

in the first three frames – and lasted just 4 2-3 innings.

It was Pelfrey’s shortest start since April 29.

The right-hander can’t afford to be wild on the road, where he

has the majors’ lowest run-support average at 1.90. He is 1-7 with

a 6.75 ERA in 10 starts away from Citi Field.

In three outings against the Dodgers, Pelfrey is 0-1 with a 4.80

ERA.

He will likely be throwing to Ronny Paulino, who is batting .429

(12 for 28) in his last seven games despite going hitless in four

at-bats Monday. Paulino is 8 for 16 with two doubles and two homers

against Lilly.

Bay has just two hits in 14 at-bats off the southpaw.

Dodgers All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp, 4 for 8 against

Pelfrey, is a career .379 hitter (25 for 66) in 21 games against

the Mets at Chavez Ravine.

Los Angeles has dropped 10 of 14 at home.