National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 27th
(All times eastern)
New York Mets (48-51) at Arizona Diamondbacks (49-50), 9:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Jon Niese (7-4, 3.59)
Arizona - Josh Collmenter (2-2, 3.82)
(Sports Network) - Matt Harvey provided the New York Mets with the lift they
sorely needed on Thursday. Now Jon Niese will attempt to give the badly
slumping club its first winning streak in nearly a month when he takes the
mound for tonight's second test of a four-game series with the Arizona
Diamondbacks from Chase Field.
A string of four consecutive victories from June 27-30 had the Mets squarely
in contention in the National League playoff race, but the team fell well off
the pace after it dropped 15 of its first 19 games in July. New York had lost
six in a row and 12 of its last 13 contests entering Thursday's opener of this
set, but returned to the win column last night thanks to a dazzling debut by
The highly touted pitching prospect fanned 11 Diamondbacks over 5 1/3 shutout
innings in his first big league start, setting a new Mets record for
strikeouts in an initial outing and leading New York to a 3-1 triumph.
Harvey's 11 K's were also the most by a pitcher in an MLB debut since
Washington's Stephen Strasburg racked up 14 strikeouts in his much-anticipated
first start against Pittsburgh on June 8, 2010. The 23-year-old, New York's
first-round pick in the 2010 Draft, also impressed at the plate, collecting a
double and a single in his first two at-bats.
He had tremendous composure," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Harvey. "The
velocity through the first four innings, you could tell he was pretty juiced
up. He's lived up to exactly what everybody's talked about."
Onetime Diamondback Scott Hairston gave Harvey some early support with a two-
run double off Arizona All-Star Wade Miley in the first inning, while Andres
Torres tripled in the fourth and came home on Rob Johnson's sacrifice fly for
a 3-0 advantage.
Arizona finally got on the board with a run off Mets reliever Jon Rauch in the
bottom of the eighth and put two men on against Bobby Parnell in the ninth,
but the New York closer struck out Jason Kubel with the tying run aboard to
end the contest.
"We needed to hang in there, which we did," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson
said. "We had our opportunities, which we weren't able to capitalize on."
The Diamondbacks have now lost two straight after matching a season best with
five consecutive wins and saw its deficit in the NL Wild Card standings
increase to 5 1/2 games.
They'll try to bounce back tonight behind Josh Collmenter, who pitched well in
his return to the team's rotation this past Sunday. The right-hander held
Houston to two runs while walking one and scattering seven hits over six
innings, improving his season record to 2-2 and lowering his earned run
average to 3.82.
A surprise 10-game winner for the Diamondbacks as a rookie a year ago,
Collmenter has shuffled between a starting role and the bullpen this season.
He's faced the Mets twice previously in relief, including a scoreless three-
inning stint at Citi Field back on May 5.
Niese has been one of New York's more consistent pitchers, with the lefty
having compiled a 7-4 mark with a 3.59 ERA in 19 starts. He's 3-1 with a 3.19
ERA over his last six outings and tossed at least seven innings in five
The 25-year-old is coming off back-to-back no-decisions against Washington and
Los Angeles, but limited the Nationals to only one run over seven frames in a
July 17 assignment and allowed three runs through seven innings versus the
Dodgers five days later.
Niese has not faced Arizona this season, but is just 1-1 with a 6.06 ERA in
three career starts against the D-Backs. In his lone trip to the Chase Field
hill, he was touched for three runs in a five-inning no-decision on July 21,
The Mets are 3-1 against Arizona so far in 2012, having taken two of three
bouts with the Diamondbacks in New York from May 4-6.
07/27 10:52:44 ET