A struggling team would usually welcome a series with the last-place Montreal Expos.
The New York Mets, however, will face an Expos team riding its longest winning streak of the season when the NL East foes open a four-game set.
Montreal has won a season-high four straight, a streak that began with a 4-1 win over New York on Thursday and continued this weekend with a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins. The Expos, owners of the third-worst record in the majors, haven’t won five in a row since Aug. 24-28.
The Mets, meanwhile, have lost three straight and nine of 12, including a 4-3 defeat to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
Monday’s contest marks the opener of a season-high, 14-game road trip for New York.
“This will make or break us,” Mets left fielder Cliff Floyd said.
Fielding errors by Mets rookies David Wright and Kaz Matsui led to three unearned runs Sunday as New York fell five games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
Wright, called up Wednesday from Triple-A Norfolk, made his second error in four games at third base and the Braves scored twice in the second inning. Matsui’s 20th error in the fifth allowed the Braves to score another run.
“We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them,” Mets manager Art Howe said.
A bright spot for the Mets was the play of Jose Reyes, who had a career-high four hits in five at-bats.
New York continues to try and make do without All-Star catcher Mike Piazza, who hasn’t played since spraining his left wrist on Tuesday.
Livan Hernandez threw six hitless innings and came within two outs of his second straight complete game Sunday, leading the Expos past the Florida Marlins 6-4.
Tony Batista hit a three-run homer to key a four-run fourth as Montreal completed a three-game sweep.
The Expos, though, again played their second straight game without second baseman Jose Vidro, who is nursing a strained right hamstring. His status for Monday’s game is uncertain.