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|NEW YORK — New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway has been using some variation of the term “sync up” so often lately [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-austin-seferian-jenkins-jersey]Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey[/url] , he sounds like an early 1990s music critic discussing Milli Vanilli. At least on Monday the Mets will face another out-of-sorts team whose fortunes are sinking faster than those of an exposed one-album wonder.
Two squads enduring a miserable June will meet when the Mets host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field. Seth Lugo (2-2, 2.85 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for New York against Jameson Taillon (4-6, 4.03 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
Both teams suffered the final loss of a three-game sweep Sunday, when the Mets gave up seven solo homers in falling to the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-7, in 11 innings and the host Pirates dropped a 3-0 decision to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The losses ensured the Mets (31-44) and Pirates (36-41) will enter Monday with the worst June records in the National League. New York is 4-17 since the calendar flipped while Pittsburgh is 7-14.
The nosedives have all but ended once-robust playoff hopes. The Mets, who opened the season 11-1, are 12 1/2 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East and 10 1/2 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the race for the second wild card.
The Mets opened June in a historic offensive slump in which they scored just 20 runs in 12 games from June 1-15. New York has scored 47 runs in its last eight games but has lost three games in which it scored at least seven runs.
“We just can’t sync up exactly what we’re trying to do every day [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-niles-paul-jersey]Niles Paul Jersey[/url] ,” Callaway said Sunday. He also used the sync up expression following Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
“If we swing the bats, we give up seven homers,” Callaway said Sunday. “If we pitch and swing the bats good, our defense isn’t quite there. It’s kind of been the whole season — we’re not syncing up all the components that we need to sync up to win some ballgames. We did that early in the season.”
The Pirates are uttering the same laments. Through 43 games, Pittsburgh led the NL Central with a 26-17 record and ranked fifth in the majors in runs scored (216).
Since then, though, the Pirates have gone an NL-worst 10-24 while scoring just 123 runs, the fewest in the NL and the fourth-fewest in the majors.
“At the beginning of the season [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-donte-moncrief-jersey]Donte Moncrief Jersey[/url] , pitching was clicking, hitting was clicking,” Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams told reporters after he took the loss Sunday, when he allowed three runs over six innings. “We’re starting to get apart from each other and we’re hitting a skid at the same time.”
Lugo will be looking to snap a two-start slump Monday. He didn’t factor into the decision last Wednesday, when he gave up six runs (three earned) over three innings as the Mets fell to the Rockies, 10-8.
Lugo has given up 11 runs (eight earned) over eight innings in his last two starts after tossing 13 straight scoreless innings in three games (two starts) from May 31-June 10.
Taillon took the loss last Tuesday, when he allowed three runs over five innings as the Pirates fell to the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-2. He has alternated wins with losses in four June starts.
Lugo has never faced the Pirates. Taillon is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts against the Mets. He made both starts consecutively to open his big league career in 2016 and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the second start on June 14.
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
The Nationals could use a spark before the July 4 fireworks go off in D.C. Washington is at risk of falling below .500 for the first time since May 2 as it continues a series against Boston at 11 a.m. EDT. The Red Sox thumped the Nationals 11-4 on Tuesday [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-d.j.-hayden-jersey]D.J. Hayden Jersey[/url] , giving Washington its fourth straight loss and 16th in 21 games to fall to 42-42. That slide has the preseason NL East favorites chasing the Braves and Phillies in the division. Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) tries to stop Washington’s skid against Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (9-3, 4.11).
THE SHO GOES ON
Shohei Ohtani is back from the disabled list, albeit without full use of his electric right arm. The Japanese two-way sensation has been cleared to hit and was in the Angels’ lineup as a designated hitter Tuesday night, but he won’t be pitching anytime soon due to a Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. Ohtani has received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection on his right elbow. The Angels say they’ll re-evaluate Ohtani for pitching in three weeks.
Gerrit Cole (9-2) will pitch on regular rest for the Astros after a slight tweak to their rotation. Lance McCullers Jr. was initially scheduled to start at Texas, but Cole will pitch instead. Justin Verlander (9-4) will follow Thursday at home against the White Sox and McCullers goes Friday. Manager A.J. Hinch said the switch keeps Cole and Verlander pitching every fifth day, and provides extra rest for McCullers (9-3) and Charlie Morton (10-2). The reset rotation means likely All-Star selection Verlander is scheduled for the final game before the break. ”This is always going to be the priority,” said Hinch [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-will-richardson-jersey]Will Richardson Jersey[/url] , the All-Star manager who then won’t have Verlander available to pitch for the AL team on July 17 in Washington D.C.
Trevor Bauer tries to carry over an outstanding June when the Indians play at Kansas City. Bauer (7-6, 2.45) was 3-3 with a 2.18 ERA last month, striking out 62 batters in 41 1/3 innings. He gets probably his easiest test of the year against the Royals, who scored a major league-low 58 runs in June – the second-lowest output was Tampa Bay at 87.
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