Mistakes played a key role in the New York Mets losing their first official game at Citi Field. They hope one of their most erratic pitchers can help them get their first win at their new $800 million stadium.
The Mets (3-4) began their home schedule with a 6-5 loss to San Diego (6-2) on Monday, as Ryan Church’s three-base error preceded a go-ahead run-scoring balk by Pedro Feliciano in the sixth. The defeat was New York’s fourth in five games.
“Right now it just seems like we’re a little off. We’re not playing a complete game,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. “Winning will do a lot more than the park.”
Perez (0-1, 16.62 ERA) also had a rough time of it when he pitched at Citi Field in a preseason game April 4. He’d been expected to throw two innings against Boston, but recorded just two outs and gave up six runs - one earned - with two hits and four walks before leaving to a chorus of boos.
The left-hander’s season debut Thursday wasn’t very good, either, as he allowed eight runs and five hits, including a homer, with five walks in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss at Cincinnati. Despite those unsightly numbers, Mets manager Jerry Manuel took solace in Perez’s seven strikeouts.
“I was happy that we saw some glimpses of the old Ollie,” Manuel said. “I think he’ll be fine. There was enough there to say we should be OK.”
Much is expected of Perez after he signed a three-year, $36-million contract in February. He went 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA last season, a drop-off from his 15-10 mark and 3.56 ERA in 2007.
Perez is 0-2 in his last three starts against the Padres, allowing 11 runs and 19 hits while walking seven batters and hitting three more with 14 strikeouts in 12 1-3 innings.
The Mets, losers of eight of their last 10 against San Diego, hope Gary Sheffield can provide some offensive help after they managed six runs and 12 hits over the last two games.
Sheffield is expected to get his first start for New York in right field after going 0-for-2 with one run scored in three games since signing a one-year deal on April 3. He needs one homer to become the 25th player to reach the 500 mark.
Sheffield hit .225 with 19 homers and 57 RBIs in 114 games with Detroit last season. However, 106 games came as the designated hitter and only six were in the outfield.
The Padres are looking to extend their winning streak to six games for the first time since a seven-game run Sept. 14-20, 2007.
They’ll send Kevin Correia (0-0, 4.50 ERA) to the mound. The right-hander will likely need better support than he received in his season debut last Thursday against Los Angeles. He gave up three runs in six innings, but the Padres scored only one run for him and he didn’t get credit for a 4-3 victory.
Correia is 0-2 in seven career appearances against the Mets, six of them in relief. However, he’s yielded only three earned runs to New York in 16 2-3 innings.
Center fielder Jody Gerut has feasted on Mets’ pitching over the last five meetings, going 10-for-23 with four homers and eight RBIs. He became the first major leaguer to open a stadium with a leadoff homer Monday, pulling Mike Pelfrey’s pitch down the right-field line.
“That’s probably the only place in the yard where I can get it out. This park plays pretty big,” Gerut said.
San Diego is off to its first 6-2 start since 1998, the year of its last World Series appearance.