Mets-Marlins Preview

Mike Pelfrey said his primary goal this year was 15 victories, a

mark he reached in his last start. As the season winds down, the

New York Mets right-hander may want to turn his focus to his

unsettling road woes.

Excellent at home but dreadful away from Citi Field lately,

Pelfrey looks for a rare road win Tuesday night as the Mets open a

two-game set with the Florida Marlins.

Pelfrey (15-9, 3.84 ERA) was excellent in 2008 before struggling

last season, and this year he’s regained the form that made him

look like a future rotation fixture with New York (74-76).

Most of his success has come at home. Pelfrey held Philadelphia

to two runs over 7 1-3 innings in a 4-3 win Sept. 11, then achieved

his spring training goal of 15 by limiting Pittsburgh to two runs

over seven innings in Thursday’s 6-2 victory.

“Anytime you meet one of those goals, you’re satisfied,” said

Pelfrey, who improved to 10-3 with a 2.87 ERA at home. “Another

goal was 200 innings, and we have a few more starts to get there.

Hopefully, I can add a couple more wins.”

Pelfrey has pitched 182 2-3 innings, but not many effective ones

away from Citi Field recently. He’s 1-5 with a 7.09 ERA in his past

eight starts away from home while opponents have hit .364 against

him – highest in the majors since June 18.

Facing the Marlins (74-75) may not be the best way to recover.

He is 0-6 with a 5.98 ERA in his last 10 starts versus Florida and

has never won in five outings in Miami, including 0-1 with a 7.84

ERA in the last two.

He’ll want to pay special attention to Dan Uggla, who is 11 for

26 (.423) against Pelfrey. The second baseman’s six homers and 16

RBIs versus the Mets this year are his most against any

opponent.

Uggla had a hit Monday in a makeup game against St. Louis, but

the only one that mattered came from Brad Davis. The rookie

catcher’s second-inning grand slam off Chris Carpenter gave Florida

a 4-0 victory that snapped a six-game losing streak.

“We’re not a team that’s going to give up, ever, or get down on

ourselves,” winning pitcher Chris Volstad said.

A grand slam also was the difference in the Mets’ 6-3 loss

Sunday that gave Atlanta a three-game sweep. Derrek Lee’s homer was

the major league-high 12th grand slam New York has surrendered, and

the Mets are the only team that hasn’t hit one.

“That’s unbelievable,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “Not to have

one is as unbelievable as giving up 12.”

The Mets will get their first look at Adalberto Mendez (1-1,

1.74) on Tuesday, and the rookie right-hander will get his first

taste of an opponent other than Philadelphia. He held the Phillies

to one hit over six innings in a 7-1 win Sept. 6, then surrendered

two runs, four hits and five walks over 4 2-3 innings in a 2-1 loss

to the NL East leaders last Tuesday.

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, hitting .358 with 14 RBIs this

season against the Mets, has missed four straight games with a left

elbow injury. It’s unclear if he’ll return this season.