The New York Mets have received excellent starting pitching lately. Too bad they have mostly wasted it since arriving on the West Coast.
New York starters are 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA in the last 10 games, but the Mets have dropped three of four to start their nine-game road trip.
Al Leiter gave up two runs in six innings Friday, but was the losing pitcher as the Mets fell 2-1 in the opener of this three-game series. New York has managed just four runs in its three losses on the trip.
Mets catcher Mike Piazza struggled against his former team Friday. He struck out in his first two at-bats, then grounded into consecutive double plays, including one with the tying run on in the eighth inning.
The Mets won’t need many runs Saturday if Trachsel continues to pitch as well as he has this month.
Trachsel fired his second one-hitter of the year Monday in an 8-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies. He has won three straight starts and is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in four starts this month.
The Dodgers also have received exceptional pitching of late. Los Angeles has won three straight, allowing one run in each game, and five of six.
Los Angeles has climbed within three games of wild card leader Philadelphia. The Dodgers have won 13 of 18 overall and nine of their last 11 at home.
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 26 1/2 GB, NL East. Dodgers - 3rd place, 10 GB, NL West.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Trachsel (12-7, 4.20 ERA). Trachsel is 8-2 in his last 13 starts. The veteran right-hander lost his only start against the Dodgers this season, falling to 3-8 lifetime against them.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Andy Ashby (3-9, 5.20 ERA). Ashby snapped a five-start losing streak by limiting the Chicago Cubs to a run and three hits over five innings in a 3-1 victory on Aug. 15. The veteran right-hander has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of 10 starts since being reinserted in the rotation on June 7. He is 8-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 25 career appearances against the Mets.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Jason Phillips, .336 avg.; Cliff Floyd, 18 HRs and 68 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 62 runs; Jose Reyes, 12 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .286 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 25 HRs; Adrian Beltre, 63 RBIs; Shawn Green, 65 runs; Dave Roberts, 32 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers, 3-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - Piazza left six runners on base Friday, missing a chance to move closer to a milestone for catchers. With 1,097 career RBIs, he is three shy of becoming the eighth player whose primary position was catcher with 1,100. … The Mets are 0-59 when trailing after eight innings. … OF Roger Cedeno had two hits Friday and is batting .500 (8-for-16) on the road trip. He also has a seven-game hitting streak, going 13-for-28 (.464). Dodgers - SS Cesar Izturis has driven in three of the Dodgers’ four runs over the last two games. … RHP Eric Gagne tied a major league record Friday with his 43rd consecutive save in a season. He is three shy of the major league mark set by Tom Gordon, who also has the single-season mark. … Six players on the Dodgers’ 25-man roster have played for the Mets.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 26-37 on the road; Dodgers - 37-27 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - OF Floyd (Achilles’), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL. Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; 1B Fred McGriff (abductor muscle), 15-day DL; OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Green (neck), day-to-day.