Clark will look to continue his unlikely comeback as the Mets try to salvage an awful road trip with a series win over the Milwaukee Brewers
Just 1-4 so far on their trip, the Mets placed regular first baseman Mo Vaughn on the disabled list Saturday with an injured knee, opening up a spot for the surprisingly resurgent Clark.
The switch-hitting first baseman, who leads the Mets with five home runs, including a solo shot in Saturday 3-2 loss at Milwaukee, hit just .207 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 275 at-bats with the Boston Red Sox last season.
He hit 30-plus home runs each season from 1997-99 for Detroit, but coming into 2003 had hit a total of just 22 since the 1999 season.
Clark will be given the bulk of the playing time in Vaughn’s absence.
“In the interim I’ll do my best to contribute,” Clark said. “My focus was to give Mo a break and pinch-hit, and my role hasn’t changed.”
Saturday’s win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Brewers, as closer Mike DeJean worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam by coaxing a double-play grounder out of the Mets’ Raul Gonzalez to end the game.
“I felt really good about my sinker tonight,” DeJean said. “I never felt for whatever reason I was in trouble. I got bases loaded, one out and a really good fastball hitter up there and I still felt I could get a groundball.”
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 8 GB, NL East. Brewers - 6th place, 7 GB, NL Central.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Al Leiter (3-1, 3.19 ERA). The left-hander is coming off his first defeat of the season, allowing five runs and nine hits over six innings in the Mets’ 13-3 defeat at St. Louis on Tuesday. Leiter is 8-2 with a 3.74 ERA against the Brewers in his career. Sunday will mark his first start at Miller Park.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Kinney (2-1, 2.48 ERA). The right-hander has allowed a total of just two earned runs over his last three starts, but has little to show for it, earning just one win over that span. In his last start, Kinney allowed just two runs and six hits, but didn’t register a decision in the Brewers’ 3-2 loss to Montreal on Tuesday. Kinney lost to the Mets in June of last year as a member of the Minnesota Twins, allowing all four runs in a 4-2 defeat.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Mike Piazza, .296 avg.; Clark, 5 HRs; Vaughn, 15 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 16 runs; Roger Cedeno, 3 SBs. Brewers - Brady Clark, .333 avg.; Richie Sexson, 9 HRs, 19 RBIs and 19 runs; Alex Sanchez and Eric Young, 3 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - 120 of 1B Clark’s 163 career home runs have come against right-handed pitching. … OF Jeromy Burnitz (fractured hand) and RHP David Cone (strained left hip) are eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday. … The Mets have 11 road losses, tying them with Florida for the most in the NL. Brewers - OF Brady Clark is 0-for-6 against Leiter. … 2B Young left Saturday’s game in the sixth after aggravating a strained right hip. His status for Sunday is unknown. … C Eddie Perez is hitting .400 (4-for-10) in his career against Leiter.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 4-11 on the road; Brewers - 5-10 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - OF Burnitz (hand), 15-day DL; RHP Cone (hip), 15-day DL; LHP John Franco (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (shoulder), 15-day DL. Brewers - OF Jeffrey Hammonds (ankle), 15-day DL; LHP Valerio de los Santos (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Durocher (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (elbow), 15-day DL.