Niese, Bullpen Stuggle in 6-3 Loss

By Matt Musico

The Mets were turning to Jonathon Niese to even up the series with the Astros at Minute Maid Park; Niese had been the most consistent New York starter throughout the first month of the season and the team was hoping to rally behind him to stop the bleeding. However, Niese responded with his shortest outing in two years, only pitching three innings, putting the bullpen in the awkward situation of pitching the majority of the game.

Houston rode the strength of two early home runs in the first two innings, with the first one being a two-run shot in the off the bat of Jed Lowrie. The second long ball of the night came from Chris Snyder, which was a three-run bomb that just stayed fair down the right field line. Niese struggled through his three innings, surrendering six hits, five runs, one walk, and only two strikeouts in 60

pitches. The bullpen consisted of Miguel Batista, Ramon Ramirez, and Jon Rauch, who combined to pitch five innings, giving up four hits, four walks, and only one run, allowing the Mets the opportunity to crawl back into the contest.

The offense got to Houston starter J.A. Happ in the top of the fourth; with Justin Turner and Scott Hairston on base, Andres Torres and Josh Thole both came through with RBI singles to cut the Houston lead to 5-2. In the next inning, Hairston hit an RBI single of his own, cutting the deficit to two runs, but that’s the closest they would get. The Astros would take on another run in the sixth inning, and their pitching staff silenced the New York bats by setting them down in order six times, including the last four times they came to bat.

The loss drops the Mets to 13-11; they’re lucky the Nationals haven’t won in just about a week, because that’s keeping the division tight at the top. The Braves have also lost two straight, leaving 1.5 games between these three teams in the NL East. New York is looking to salvage one game of this three-game set with Houston before they travel back home to Citi.

Although the offense was only able to put together seven hits total, and not rally at all in the late innings, David Wright continued the great start to his season with two more singles, raising his average to a healthy .395. Ike Davis did strike out two more times last night, but he did get another hit himself, continuing his trek back to respectability. Justin Turner helped add to the team’s stolen base total, moving them ahead of the Orioles, making their seven thefts only second worst in the league.

The bullpen performed well by only giving up one run in their five innings of work, but Miguel Batista and Ramon Ramirez both struggled walking six hitters between their combined three innings, which no doubt gave Terry Collins and Dan Warthen enough of a headache for the evening. New York could really use a solid showing from them team before heading into their off day tomorrow as they travel back to the Northeast.

Probable Pitchers today:

The Mets are given the task with trying to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Astros, who are sending Wandy Rodriguez and his 1.72 ERA to the mound against Chris Schwinden, making his second start since being called up to the Majors. First pitch at Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 2:05pm.

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