Led by their flourishing offense, the New York Mets look to win their seventh straight game Friday when they open a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers in an early season matchup of division leaders at Shea Stadium.
The combination of offseason acquistion Carlos Delgado, David Wright and Carlos Beltran may be the biggest reason the Mets (7-1) are atop the NL East and off to their best start since opening the 1985 season 8-1.
Each of the players homered Thursday, along with Cliff Floyd, as the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 13-4 rout at RFK Stadium. Beltran triggered a two-out, first-inning rally with a solo homer, and after a single by Delgado, Wright and Floyd homered in consecutive at-bats.
“We always felt that our lineup was great,” said Floyd, who hit his first homer of 2006. “You don’t have a relief point, from a pitching standpoint. You get into a little trouble, it becomes a problem for you real quick, and that’s what we try to do.”
Delgado added a two-run homer in the third inning—his third of the season — as the Mets pounded out 16 hits and increased their season batting average to .320.
Wright has hit safely in all eight games and is batting .469 (15-for-32) with a team-high 12 RBIs, Beltran is 8-for-21 in with three homers and nine RBIs during the winning streak and Floyd has driven in a run in three straight games.
“It seems like every other at-bat, we’re getting RBI opportunities, runners in scoring position,” Wright said. “You know, with the protection that we give each other throughout our lineup, you’re going to see some pitches to hit.”
Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano (1-1, 3.65 ERA) faces the challenging task of slowing down the Mets. Capuano has struck out 14 in two starts this season but struggled Sunday with his control against Arizona, allowing four walks and four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-0 defeat.
The southpaw is 0-1 in two lifetime starts against the Mets, yielding eight runs and 10 hits in 12 1-3 innings. He did not receive a decision in his only start against them last season.
Carlos Lee helped Milwaukee (6-3) salvage the finale of its three-game series at St. Louis on Thursday. The left fielder made a leaping catch to rob the Cardinals’ Juan Encarnacion of a homer in the bottom of the 10th, made another difficult catch later in the inning and homered to lead off the 11th as the Brewers retained a share of the NL Central lead with a 4-3 victory.
“That’s baseball, you know,” Lee said about his crucial sequence. “It happens. It’s a first for me.”
Lee has hit safely in eight of nine games, going 11-for-32 (.344) with four homers. First baseman Prince Fielder added two hits Thursday and is 8-for-20 in his last five games.
Tom Glavine (1-0, 2.25) will try to end a four-start winless streak against the Brewers that dates to May 2, 2003. The veteran left-hander is 0-2 with an 8.36 ERA in his last four starts against Milwaukee, giving up 13 runs and 23 hits in 14 innings.
Glavine, though, has started strongly in 2006. He did not receive a decision against the Florida Marlins on Sunday, when he limited them to two runs in six innings before the Mets rallied to a 3-2 win. The southpaw is 5-3 in 11 lifetime starts against Milwaukee.