Mets, Pirates meet again, looking to end skids
NEW YORK -- A pair of teams looking to snap brief losing streaks will face off Friday night, when the New York Mets host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field.
Both teams enter Friday fresh off two consecutive losses. The Mets lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Thursday. The Pirates fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 in 14 innings on Wednesday.
The Mets (23-29) scored just two runs in losing the final two games of a four-game series against the Brewers. It's the first time all season New York has scored two runs or fewer in a two-game span.
"It happens," Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores told Newsday on Thursday, when he accounted for New York's only run with an eighth-inning homer. "We'll try to get a good streak going tomorrow."
If the Mets can't get going Friday, it may mean they are finally feeling the absence of star left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has been out since April 28 with left hamstring and right quad injuries. New York ranked first in the majors in runs per game (5.86) between April 28 and May 29.
The Mets hoped Cespedes could return during an interleague series against the Texas Rangers next week -- when Cespedes could serve as designated hitter in an American League park -- but has provided no updates on the 31-year-old since Tuesday.
The Pirates (24-30), meanwhile, have experienced some inconsistency on offense. Over its last six games, Pittsburgh has scored two runs or fewer three times and four runs or more three times.
The Pirates may get a much-needed weapon back on Friday. Outfielder Gregory Polanco, who missed Tuesday's game with an ankle injury suffered Monday, laced a pinch-hit RBI single in the fifth inning Wednesday night. Manager Clint Hurdle said he hopes Polanco, hitting .400 (12-of-30) during a nine-game hitting streak, can return to the starting lineup against the Mets.
"He's closer than I anticipated him being," Hurdle told the team's website. "We will see where he is Friday."
The three-game series between the Mets and Pirates will be the second in as many weekends. New York took two of three at PNC Park.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey, who earned the win in Sunday's series finale, will oppose Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole on Friday.
Harvey allowed one run over six innings in the Mets' 7-2 victory. He has won his last two starts, a stretch in which he has allowed three runs over 11 innings. Harvey is 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates.
Cole didn't factor into the decision last Saturday, when he gave up four runs over five innings in the Pirates' 5-4, 10-inning win. He has allowed nine runs on 20 hits in just 9 2/3 innings over his last two starts. Cole is 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.
Updated June 2, 2017