New York (82-50) at Houston (66-68)

Fair Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 1, 2006
  • TV: SNY, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP)—The New York Mets have the best record in the major leagues, and their pitching staff is about to get a huge boost.

The Mets (82-50) welcome back Tom Glavine when they start a three-game weekend series against the streaking Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Friday.

Glavine (12-6, 3.92 ERA) will make his first start in 16 days after being sidelined by a blood clot in his left shoulder. A two-time Cy Young Award winner who’s 13 wins shy of 300 for his career, Glavine said he felt coldness in his left ring finger after his Aug. 16 start in Philadelphia.

Glavine’s left middle finger and index finger were diagnosed in 1990 with a circulatory condition that leads to numbness and coldness, but this was the first time his ring finger was afflicted.

“I got a feeling that Tommy’s going to go just like Tommy was before. He had just a little down time there,” manager Willie Randolph said Thursday before the Mets’ 8-4 loss to the Rockies. “Tommy is feeling good. He’s working on the side.”

At first, Glavine feared his career might be over. A week later, he was told surgery wasn’t necessary and he only needed rest. Randolph said Glavine wouldn’t have a pitch limit “but we’ll watch his count a little bit.”

“I want to obviously see him back out there so he can get back in a rhythm of things,” he said. “But I’m not going to take a whole lot away from it. He’s got at least three more starts, so I’m more concerned about how he looks at the end of September.

“But I’m just happy to have him back out there.”

Glavine will be making his first start of the season against Houston. Since joining New York in 2003, Glavine is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Astros with the loss coming July 30, 2005 at Minute Maid Park.

The return of Glavine after Thursday’s defeat will be a welcome event for the Mets’ staff. Oliver Perez pitched poorly again in his second start with New York, giving up seven runs and 12 hits in only three innings against Colorado.

“He struggled tonight,” Randolph said. “He struggled with his control. He was behind in the count, a lot of deep counts. He worked hard to make pitches.”

Jose Reyes had three more hits, and is batting .436 (17-for-39) during an eight-game hitting streak with two homers, eight RBIs, 11 runs and five stolen bases. He needs 36 hits to become just the second player in franchise history with 200 in a season, joining Lance Johnson, who had 227 in 1996.

Houston (66-68) is looking for its seventh straight win, which would match its longest run since July 24-30, 2005. The defending NL champions trail San Diego by 2 1/2 games for the wild card and are only six games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals.

The Astros extended their streak with a 5-3 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday. Andy Pettitte struck out five in seven innings to win his second straight start, and embattled reliever Brad Lidge gave up a hit in the ninth but recorded his 100th career save.

“Every game is extremely important and we’ve been playing it like that for the last couple of weeks,” Pettitte said.

To keep its winning streak alive, Houston will turn to a pitcher that hasn’t won in nearly two months. Since defeating Texas on July 2, Wandy Rodriguez (9-8, 5.46) is 0-3 with an 8.82 ERA in six appearances, including three starts.

The left-hander lost his last start last Thursday, when he gave up five runs and eight hits while striking out seven in 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh—the Astros’ last defeat before their win streak.

Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning of relief Tuesday, allowing a hit with two strikeouts in a 10-3 win over Milwaukee.

The Mets won two of three from the Astros from July 21-23 at Shea Stadium. Houston took three of four at home against New York in 2005.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Glavine Atl vs. W. Rodríguez Pit
15-7 Record 9-10
3.82 ERA 5.64
131 K 98
62 BB 63
1.33 WHIP 1.60

Scoreboard

Friday, Sep 1