Los Angeles (75-67) at New York (88-53)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sun Sep 10, 2006
  • TV: FSPT, WPIX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Despite his earned-run average, Steve Trachsel has been one of the New York Mets’ most reliable starters this season.

Trachsel (14-6, 5.02 ERA) looks to rebound from just his second loss in nearly four months as the Mets (88-53) close out a four-game series with the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers (75-67) on Sunday.

Trachsel, whose ERA is the highest its been since 1999 when he lost 18 games with the Chicago Cubs, has benefitted from New York averaging 6.93 runs in his starts. The Mets had scored 26 runs in his previous three outings before Monday’s 5-0 loss to Atlanta.

The veteran right-hander gave up four runs, four hits and a career high-tying seven walks in 4 1-3 innings against the Braves to suffer just his second defeat since May 23.

“It happens,” Trachsel said. “I’m not going out taking the mound thinking, ‘OK, I’m getting a lot of runs today.’ It has no bearing on what I’m trying to do on the mound. One has nothing to do with the other.”

Trachsel said he isn’t concerned about rumors that he’s competing for a spot in the Mets’ playoff rotation, and although manager Willie Randolph won’t discuss the team’s plans, he isn’t worried about Trachsel’s ERA.

“As long as he keeps winning, it’s not a concern at all,” Randolph said. “It’s all about winning games. Sometimes you’re not going to always do it pretty.”

Trachsel is 4-9 with a 3.83 ERA in 20 starts against the Dodgers, but hasn’t faced them since a 3-2 defeat on April 28, 2004.

Trachsel is following a solid outing by Orlando Hernandez, who allowed one earned run over seven innings to defeat Greg Maddux and the Dodgers 3-2 on Saturday. The Mets have won two of the first three in this series between division leaders, and Los Angeles has dropped five of seven overall.

After moving Mark Hendrickson to the bullpen, the Dodgers will hand the ball to Eric Stults (0-0, 9.00), who will be making his first major league start and second career appearance on Sunday. The left-hander threw three innings at Milwaukee on Tuesday, allowing three runs and five hits.

Stults is the second rookie to start in this series for Los Angeles. Hong-Chih Kuo allowed three hits and struck out seven in six innings of Friday night’s 5-0 win.

“It goes without saying, not that we’d do anything different, but you feel a lot better after watching that (on Friday) night,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “And the other kid (Stults) probably feels better after seeing what took place. We have a lot of confidence in what that kid can do.

“We saw a lot of him in spring training and we’ve got (Triple-A Las Vegas pitching coach) Kenny Howell with us now, and he was with him all season. He’s given us a good read. He won’t shy away from batters, and he’s got quality pitches to work with.”

These teams have split the last 30 meetings in the series since the start of the 2002 season.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Stults LAD vs. S. Trachsel Bal
1-0 Record 15-8
5.60 ERA 4.97
5 K 79
7 BB 78
1.36 WHIP 1.60

Scoreboard

Sunday, Sep 10