The New York Mets own the best record in the National League. Their surprising depth has played a key role in that success.
The Mets look to continue their dominance of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday when the teams conclude a three-game series at Shea Stadium.
New York (35-19) rebounded from a 5-1 loss in Friday’s series opener with a 7-1 victory Saturday, as several reserves made big contributions.
“It was a great job by the bench,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “They come to play every day. They’re part of this team, part of what we do.”
Gotay was playing in place of injured starter Jose Valentin while Newhan was inserted into the starting lineup because Carlos Beltran missed his second straight game with a sore right knee. Castro, meanwhile, replaced regular catcher Paul Lo Duca in a day game after a night game.
“We’re here for a reason,” Castro said. “We’re good. Put me in and I do my best.”
New York did get star third baseman David Wright back after he sat out Friday with back spasms. He showed the injury wasn’t a problem, singling in the first inning and stealing his 11th base.
Carlos Delgado, one of the few regulars in the Mets’ lineup, homered for the fifth time in his last seven games. He has 10 RBIs in that span and has raised his average 43 points to .230 in the past month.
“I feel good at the plate,” Delgado said. “Two hundred percent better than what I felt like a month ago.”
The Mets, winners of six of eight overall, ended Arizona’s season-high eight-game win streak. New York is 16-4 against the Diamondbacks (33-24) since the start of the 2005 season.
“We’ve been playing well,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “You’re going to have a game like this every once in a while. I guess what we do now is try to start another one tomorrow.”
Eric Byrnes continued his hot hitting for the Diamondbacks with a third-inning home run. He is batting .378 (17-for-45) with three homers and 10 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak.
Mets starter Oliver Perez (6-3, 2.69 ERA) had won three straight starts before pitching well again Tuesday against San Francisco, but did not factor in the decision. He has allowed only six runs and 16 hits in his past four starts over 30 innings while walking six and striking out 24.
Perez pitched six scoreless innings in his last appearance against the Diamondbacks on May 22, 2006 while with Pittsburgh. He is, however, just 1-4 with a 5.22 ERA in seven career starts against them.
Doug Davis (3-6, 3.27) hopes to build on his last start when he takes the mound for the Diamondbacks. The left-hander ended a personal four-game losing streak Monday in a 5-4 win at Philadelphia, allowing one run and seven hits in eight innings. It was the first win since April 27 for Davis, who has received only 3.3 runs of support this season.
Davis is 1-1 with a 6.26 ERA in five career starts against the Mets.