The New York Mets have picked up right where they left off last year by not producing with runners in scoring position.
They’ll look to end their funk in those situations starting with the opener of a three-game road series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
New York (6-6) hit .253 with runners in scoring position last season, tied for 11th in the NL. The Mets batted .236 with one homer in those situations over their last 17 games, going 7-10 to blow a 3 1/2-game lead to Philadelphia in the NL East and miss the playoffs.
Nothing’s changed this season, as New York is hitting .236 with runners on second and third. The club went 2-for-13 in those situations during Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Milwaukee, preventing the Mets from completing a three-game sweep.
“We just haven’t clicked yet with runners in scoring position - and we will. We have too many good hitters,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “I can’t say that at this point this early in the season that I’m upset with anybody’s approach. I think it’s more into anxiety than anything. It’s wanting to get it done. And that’s not a bad thing.”
One Met struggling with runners in scoring position is David Wright, who’s 3-for-13 with a homer and four RBIs. The All-Star third baseman is hitless in his last seven at-bats overall after going 13-for-38 (.342) in the first 10 games.
Wright could get back on track in this series, as he has a .455 average with three homers and seven RBIs in his last nine games against St. Louis (8-5). He’s 5-for-7 against Todd Wellemeyer, the Cardinals’ scheduled starter for Tuesday.
The Mets have won nine of 14 meetings with the Cards and five of seven at Busch Stadium since losing to them in the 2006 league championship series.
Oliver Perez (1-1, 7.84 ERA) looks to extend the Mets’ run of success in St. Louis as he makes his first start against the Cardinals since June 26, 2007. Perez allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-3, 11-inning win in that game.
The left-hander rebounded from a dismal season debut in strong fashion Wednesday, allowing one run and three hits in six innings of a 7-2 win over San Diego. On April 9, he gave up eight runs and five hits with five walks in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss at Cincinnati.
Perez, though, is 0-1 with a 5.84 ERA in five starts at Busch.
The Cardinals, losers of their last two games since a 7-1 stretch, will give the ball to Wellemeyer (1-1, 4.50) after his scheduled start at Chicago on Sunday was postponed due to rain.
The right-hander would have been counted on to pitch deep into the finale of the four-game series after manager Tony La Russa used five relievers in a 7-5, 11-inning loss Saturday.
“We’re pretty maxed out, but we had enough pitching to pitch the game (on Sunday),” Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan told the team’s official Web site. “But it gets to the point where you start pushing guys a little bit.”
Wellemeyer is looking to win his second straight start after allowing one run over seven innings of a 2-1 victory at Arizona on Monday. That was a vast improvement from his performance April 8, when he gave up five runs and 12 hits over five innings of a 7-4 loss to Pittsburgh.
He’s 0-1 with a 6.89 ERA in five games - two starts - against the Mets.