After being blanked for the first time this season, the Mets look to give Hernandez some much-deserved run support when they face the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night in the finale of their three-game series.
New York (33-18) had its four-game winning streak end with a 3-0 loss to San Francisco (25-26) on Wednesday night. The Mets, tied with Atlanta for third in the NL with 255 runs this year, were shut out for the first time since losing 12-0 to the Braves on Sept. 26.
Hernandez (2-1, 2.13 ERA) has been one of New York’s steadiest pitchers, leading the starting staff in ERA, but he has received little run support lately. The Mets haven’t scored a run for Hernandez in his last two starts, including his return from the disabled list Friday night.
The right-hander, who missed nearly a month with right shoulder bursitis, allowed two hits in six shutout innings but didn’t factor in the Mets’ 6-2 win over Florida.
New York has scored two runs or less in four of Hernandez’s six starts. He has allowed one earned run in his past 20 innings while striking out 19.
Hernandez’s only career start against San Francisco was on June 3 when he gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings of the Mets’ 6-4 loss.
New York’s bullpen got even stronger Wednesday with Guillermo Mota having been activated after completing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out two.
“I was sitting and watching and thinking I don’t want to do it again,” Mota said. “It’s something you just learn from.”
Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who started for the first time this series on Wednesday, has walked eight times against Mota and hit a home run in his only at-bat against him. Bonds also singled in his only career at-bat against Hernandez.
Bonds, who was walked as a pinch hitter in a 5-4 loss in the series opener, went 1-for-3 with a walk Wednesday as San Francisco snapped a four-game losing streak. He remains 10 shy of breaking Hank Aaron’s career record of 755 homers.
“I’m just glad to be back in the lineup,” said Bonds, the 42-year-old seven-time NL MVP. “It was good to take a day off. I’ve played a lot of games.”
The Giants will give the ball to Matt Cain (2-4, 3.23 ERA), who allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 loss to Colorado on Friday night. San Francisco is just 2-8 this season when Cain starts.
The right-hander made his only career appearance against the Mets on May 8, giving up four runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven innings of a 4-1 loss.
New York first baseman Carlos Delgado - who had four homers in three games before going 0-for-3 on Wednesday - is hitless in 10 at-bats against Cain. Delgado is hitting just .239 this season—26 points lower than his average last year.