Coming into spring training, Jae Seo was an afterthought, likely slated for another season in the minors. Now, he may just be the best pitcher on the New York Mets’ staff.
New York hopes Seo continues his strong pitching as it faces the Texas Rangers in the middle game of their series.
The right-hander from South Korea continues to be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for New York.
The 25-year old rookie is currently seventh in the National League in ERA, and has won back-to-back starts for the first time all season. In his last outing, Seo snapped Seattle’s nine-game winning string with a 3-2 victory on Friday night, allowing two runs—one earned—and eight hits over seven-plus innings.
Since his last loss, May 14 in Colorado, Seo is 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts.
“He challenges guys,” said Mets’ first baseman Jason Phillips, who was Seo’s catcher in Triple-A Norfolk last season. “He’s confident in his stuff now. Instead of pitching around guys, he’s going to throw where he needs to throw it.”
The Mets are hoping Seo is up to the challenge against the Rangers, who snapped their losing skid in Tuesday’s opener.
Ugueth Urbina got four outs for his AL-leading 18th save in 20 chances.
Perhaps a long stay at home can help reverse the Rangers poor showing of late, as they play 13 of their next 16 games at the Ballpark in Arlington where the team is a game over .500 after Tuesday’s win.
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 15 GB, NL East. Rangers - 4th place, 17 GB, AL West.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Seo (3-2, 2.91 ERA). Seo has allowed more than three earned runs just three times in his 11 starts this season.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Victor Santos (0-0, 7.20 ERA). Texas recalled the right-hander from Triple-A Oklahoma to start against Atlanta on Thursday. He allowed four runs and six hits over five innings, but did not figure in the decision. Santos was 4-3 with a 2.96 ERA for the Triple-A team before his promotion. He has faced the Mets twice in his career, pitching two innings, allowing two hits and one run.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Ty Wigginton, .270 avg. and 37 runs; Cliff Floyd, 12 HRs and 34 RBIs; Roberto Alomar and Roger Cedeno, 5 SBs. Rangers - Blalock, .349 avg.; Juan Gonzalez, 18 HRs and 47 RBIs; Carl Everett, 49 runs; Rodriguez, 7 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Mets - 1-3; Rangers - 1-6.
CURRENT SERIES: Rangers, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - RHP Seo has allowed just five home runs in 74 1-3 innings of work this season, all of them solo shots. … The Mets called up SS Jose Reyes to replace injured SS Rey Sanchez. Reyes went 2-for-4 and scored twice in his major league debut. He turns 20 on Wednesday, but became the first teenager to play for New York since pitcher Dwight Gooden in 1984. … RHP Seo is 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA in five road starts this season. Rangers - 1B Palmeiro’s homer on Tuesday ties him with Eddie Murray for 18th on the career list—one behind Chicago’s Sammy Sosa. … The Rangers lead the majors with 100 homers through 62 games. … CF Doug Glanville, put in the lineup Tuesday after OF Gonzalez was scratched because of tenderness in his right elbow, went 2-for-3 with a walk. Glanville was 1-for-9 in his other two starts since coming off a seven-week stay on the disabled list because of a torn hamstring tendon.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 11-19 on the road; Rangers - 15-14 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - SS Sanchez (thumb), 15-day DL; C Mike Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (shoulder), 60-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL. Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Joaquin Benoit (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.