White Sox-Mets Preview

After surrendering one hit in nine scoreless innings, Matt

Harvey might be wondering what it takes to pick up a win. Jeremy

Hefner certainly can sympathize.

Hefner tries to follow Harvey’s stellar effort with another one

of his own and notch his first victory of the season Wednesday

night at Citi Field as the New York Mets try to spoil Jake Peavy’s

return for the Chicago White Sox.

The Mets have lost all six games Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) has

pitched, including five starts, but the right-hander wasn’t to

blame for the last two. He allowed a combined three runs and seven

hits over 15 innings in those two starts but received only one run

of support in each.

Hefner held Miami scoreless through eight innings last Tuesday,

notching a career-high eight strikeouts, but left with two runners

on in the ninth and was ultimately charged with both runs in the

2-1 defeat.

“That guy was manhandling us for eight innings,” Marlins

outfielder Juan Pierre said.

Harvey was the one manhandling the opposition in the opener of

this two-game set, retiring the first 20 Chicago batters and giving

up only an infield single while recording 12 strikeouts. Bobby

Parnell took over in the 10th and would get the win later in that

inning when pinch-hitter Mike Baxter lined an RBI single to give

New York a 1-0 victory.

That was one of just five hits – all singles – by the Mets

(13-16), who had been 1-10 when scoring fewer than four runs.

Chicago (13-18) has scored only seven in its last four games,

losing three, and has struck out 90 times over the past nine while

going 3-6.

With their offensive struggles putting a premium on good

pitching, the White Sox will be glad to welcome Peavy (3-1, 3.38)

back into their rotation. The right-hander missed his last

scheduled starts Thursday and Monday due to back spasms that he

said resulted from reaching for his glove following stretching

exercises.

“I’ve never had anything like this happen,” said Peavy, who

missed significant time from 2009-11 with ankle, shoulder and groin

injuries.

With Gavin Floyd out for the season and John Danks still working

his way back from shoulder surgery in June 2012, Chicago

desperately needs Peavy to pick up where he left off. He went 2-0

with a 2.18 ERA in his last three starts before getting hurt.

“I think every day you go through the list and figure out who’s

available, and the training room’s full,” manager Robin Ventura

said. “It’s just part of playing the game. You just deal with

it.”

Peavy last pitched April 16 when he beat Tampa Bay, giving up

three runs and one walk in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-4 victory.

He’s started 10 games against the Mets, posting a 5-2 record and

3.48 ERA, but hasn’t faced them since 2009 while with San

Diego.

John Buck has homered twice off Peavy in six career at-bats –

all in 2010 – and leads New York with 10 homers but is hitless in

his last two games.

White Sox slugger Paul Konerko, hitting .184 in his last 12, is

expected back in the lineup after getting a night off Tuesday.

Among the other struggling Chicago hitters are Tyler Flowers, in a

3-for-31 slump, and Adam Dunn, 5 for 59 on the road this

season.

None of them have faced Hefner, whose last win came Oct. 3 at

Miami.