John Maine’s last two starts are hardly indicative of how well he has pitched in his two years with the New York Mets. Matt Morris’ tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates, meanwhile, can only be measured by two poor outings.
Maine looks to end his worst stretch with the Mets when he takes the mound in the middle game of their series with Morris and the Pirates on Wednesday night.
New York (66-52) has won two straight - including a 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh (49-68) on Tuesday night - since a three-game losing streak. Maine (17-7, 3.53 ERA), however, has lost consecutive starts after winning six of his previous seven decisions.
The right-hander has given up a total of 12 runs during his slump, the most he’s allowed in back-to-back starts through 29 appearances with the Mets. In his last outing, Maine gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-6 loss to Atlanta on Thursday.
Maine, though, beat the Pirates on July 24, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out seven in seven innings in an 8-4 victory. He is 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in three career starts against Pittsburgh (49-68).
The Pirates, who have lost two straight and have the NL’s worst record, will counter with Morris (7-7, 4.53 ERA). The veteran right-hander, acquired from San Francisco at the trade deadline, is trying to end a month-long rut.
Morris has a 6.57 ERA without a decision in two starts for the Pirates, and is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in his last six outings overall. He faced his former team in his last start, giving up five runs and seven hits in six innings as the Pirates came back to beat the Giants 8-7 on Friday night.
Morris did not receive a decision despite a strong start against the Mets on May 9, allowing two runs and seven hits in seven innings for San Francisco in a 5-3 loss. He is 6-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 14 starts and two relief appearances against New York.
Morris will be facing a Mets lineup that has totaled 20 runs and 32 hits in its last three games.
Moises Alou’s two-run single in the eighth inning Tuesday put New York ahead as the Mets rallied from a 3-2 deficit.
Alou, who spent 2 1/2 months on the disabled list before returning in late July, is hitting .341 (14-for-41) with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.
“He brings a lot,” Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado said. “He’s a professional bat in the middle of the lineup, and he gives us another dimension because he’s a right-handed bat in a predominantly left-handed offense. He knows how to hit.”
Pittsburgh will have trouble keeping up with New York’s hot lineup if it can’t find a way to come through with men on base. The Pirates are 2-for-19 with men in scoring position over their last two games.
Pittsburgh catcher Ryan Doumit was put on the disabled list Tuesday after jamming his left wrist in the first game of a doubleheader with San Francisco on Monday. Doumit was hitting .277 with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 82 games.
“This is a guy that in the last year and a half has grown immensely,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy told the team’s official Web site. “From a resource standpoint, it’s a big, big piece, and it’s very difficult to replace this guy.”