Mets-Orioles Preview

The New York Mets have used outstanding pitching to take the

first two games of their series with the Baltimore Orioles. They

appear to have the right starter on the mound to finish the

sweep.

Mike Pelfrey looks to win his fifth straight decision Sunday as

the Mets seek their first three-game road sweep in two seasons –

and their first ever against an AL opponent.

New York (34-28) has received solid seven-inning starts to win

the first two games. R.A. Dickey improved to 4-0 by allowing one

run in a 5-1 win on Friday and Hisanori Takahashi followed that up

by yielding one run in a 3-1 win Saturday.

The consecutive road wins were the first since last July 25-26

for the Mets, who haven’t swept a three-game road series since

Sept. 1-3, 2008, at Milwaukee. They have never swept a road series

of any length in interleague play.

“It just kind of shows you how bad things were last year and how

bad we’ve been on the road this year. It’s almost hard to think

that that’s actually possible,” right fielder Jeff Francoeur said.

“I guess it is.”

The Mets have a major league-leading 2.31 ERA in June, and have

won eight of 10 overall as they hand the ball to Pelfrey (8-1, 2.23

ERA).

He pitched splendidly but failed to earn a win in his fifth

straight start Tuesday, yielding one run over nine innings in a

2-1, 11-inning victory over San Diego. The 6-foot-7 right-hander is

4-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his last five outings.

“His ball must move a lot,” teammate Ike Davis told the Mets’

official website. “He’s just filling up the zone with pitches and

keeping them off-balance, and they can’t really find the barrel on

him.”

The Mets are 4-0 in Pelfrey’s road interleague starts. He’s 3-0

with a 5.32 ERA in those games, including a 6-4 win at Baltimore

(17-45) on June 16, 2009, when he allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings

in his lone career start versus the Orioles.

The Mets are 15-9 all-time against the franchise they upset in

the 1969 World Series. The Orioles are 2-6 under interim manager

Juan Samuel.

One negative for the Mets is Jason Bay’s 0-for-16 slump,

including seven hitless at-bats in this series. Bay is 5 for 33

(.152) with 12 strikeouts in his last nine games at Camden

Yards.

Veteran Kevin Millwood (0-7, 4.64) is still in search of his

first win with the Orioles. While he received poor run support

while going 0-4 with a 3.26 ERA in his first seven outings, he’s

had nobody to blame but himself in his last six, going 0-3 while

posting a 6.34 ERA.

The right-hander has given up six runs and 10 hits over 5 2-3

innings in each of two straight losses to the Yankees, including a

12-7 setback Tuesday in which he issued a season-high five

walks.

“I’m just not throwing the ball where I want to. I need to

locate to pitch well,” Millwood said. “With five walks, I’m

definitely not where I want to be, and some of the balls they’re

hitting are in bad spots.”

Millwood is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his last five starts against

the Mets.

New York leadoff hitter Jose Reyes has 10 hits in his last 20

at-bats, and is 6 for 14 against Millwood.