San Diego (65-58) at New York (59-63)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Mon Aug 23, 2004
  • TV: Ch4, FSNY
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Maybe a 10-game road trip might be just what the San Diego Padres need to clear their heads and keep them in the NL wild card race.

San Diego will begin its road swing with a four-game set against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. The Padres capped a six-game homestand with an 8-3 defeat to the Florida Marlins on Sunday.

San Diego has dropped 11 of its last 15 at home, including going 2-4 on its recent homestand. The Padres are seven games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL west and trail the Giants by 2 1/2 games in the wildcard race.

“We need to pick it up,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “It doesn’t matter whether we’re here or on the road, we have to play better than that if we think we’re a contending club.”

San Diego, which will also travel to Montreal and St. Louis, has fared better on the road lately than at home, winning five of its last six series.

Jake Peavy will start in the series opener in search of his fifth straight victory. He is 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last six starts to help the Padres to a 7-0 record in that span.

The 23-year-old right-hander allowed one run and two hits in seven innings as the Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 11-6 on Tuesday, giving up two earned runs or fewer for the 17th time in 18 starts. He struck out nine for the third time in four games.

“I go out there and try to pitch like it’s 2-1 or 1-0 and just stay focused and stay competitive, going after people,” said Peavy, who is 2-0 with a 1.63 ERA in four career starts against the Mets.

Richard Hidalgo homered Sunday for the Mets in a 3-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants, their fourth loss in seven games. They trail the Giants by eight games in the wild card race.

Aaron Heilman will make his season debut for the New York Mets on Monday. The 26-year-old right-hander was 2-7 last year with a 6.75 ERA in 14 outings as he struggled with his control and his confidence.

“I’m anxious to see how he’s developed,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “He’s still one of our hopefuls. He has to have command of his pitches, though.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Peavy SF vs. A. Heilman Tex
15-6 Record 1-3
2.27 ERA 5.46
173 K 22
53 BB 13
1.20 WHIP 1.43