Arizona (44-58) at New York (49-52)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
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  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Jul 31, 2009
  • TV: FSAZ, SNY
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New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya has been trying to fix a public relations embarrassment. The Arizona Diamondbacks, meanwhile, couldn’t possibly put a positive spin on their recent performances against Livan Hernandez(notes).

With Minaya and the Mets still dealing with the aftermath of a bizarre press conference, Hernandez looks to win his sixth straight start versus the Diamondbacks as the teams open a four-game series Friday night.

New York (49-52) has been showing signs of getting back on track, winning five straight before a 4-2 loss to Colorado on Thursday night in the finale of a doubleheader.

Minaya’s press conference Monday, though, has cast a shadow on the team’s recent success.

On Thursday, Minaya apologized to a beat reporter for questioning his motives during his meeting with the press. The GM, however, didn’t take back his critical comments from Monday, when he announced the firing of executive Tony Bernazard.

After announcing Bernazard’s dismissal, Minaya said New York Daily News reporter Adam Rubin had “lobbied” the front office, including Bernazard, for a job in player development. Rubin denied asking for a job.

“The fact is it is a distraction,” Minaya said.

On a team that could use some stability, Hernandez (7-5, 4.87 ERA) will try to help the Mets bounce back from a loss. The veteran right-hander has won five straight starts against the Diamondbacks (44-58), posting a 1.83 ERA during that span.

Hernandez, who pitched for Arizona in 2006 and 2007, is 10-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 18 career starts versus his former club.

He has also won two straight outings overall after losing his previous four. Hernandez gave up three runs and eight hits while striking out a season-high seven in seven innings as New York beat Houston 8-3 on Sunday.

Strong pitching has sparked New York over the past week. The Mets have a 2.17 ERA in their last six games, helping them win while they continue to make do with a makeshift lineup.

Now, that lineup faces Arizona’s Doug Davis(notes) (5-10, 3.76).

The veteran left-hander has gotten an average of just 3.4 runs to work with, but he didn’t need much help to earn a win in his last start. He allowed five hits and struck out eight in six innings of Arizona’s 7-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Davis is 2-1 with a 5.14 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

On Wednesday night, Arizona got an outstanding start from Yusmeiro Petit(notes) in a 4-0 win over Philadelphia to salvage the finale of a three-game set. After a day off, the Diamondbacks are opening a 10-game road trip with their first-ever visit to Citi Field.

Arizona doesn’t appear to be in any position to end its struggles against Hernandez after hitting .214 and averaging 3.0 runs in its series with the Phillies.

Justin Upton(notes) provided most of the production at the plate for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, homering and driving in three runs. The right fielder has hit safely in seven straight games, batting .462 (12 for 26) over that stretch.

“When he gets hot, he gets hot and obviously I hope it continues on the road,” Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch told the team’s official Web site.

Upton is batting .353 (6 for 17) in six career games against the Mets. He has never homered against them.

These clubs split six meetings in 2008.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Davis KC vs. L. Hernandez Mil
9-14 Record 9-12
4.12 ERA 5.44
146 K 102
103 BB 67
1.50 WHIP 1.56

Scoreboard

Friday, Jul 31