Houston (74-87) at New York (69-92)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sun Oct 4, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Health issues virtually derailed any chance the New York Mets had at making the postseason. They can’t even escape injury concerns going into the last game of the season.

It’s unclear if Carlos Beltran(notes) and David Wright(notes), two Mets stars who have managed to come back for the stretch run, will be available to play for a team set to close out a hugely disappointing year Sunday against the Houston Astros.

New York (69-92) entered this season expecting to make the playoffs and maybe even win the World Series. It’s tough to compete, though, when Beltran, Wright, Carlos Delgado(notes), Jose Reyes and Johan Santana(notes) - among others - have all missed a significant amount of time due to injuries.

So instead of looking forward to their first postseason appearance since 2006, the Mets will finish with their worst record since going 66-95 in ’03.

Beltran has played in 18 games since missing 2 1/2 months due to a bruised right knee, but he was scratched from the lineup Saturday before New York beat Houston 5-1. The Mets haven’t announced a reason for Beltran’s removal, and his status for Sunday’s contest is uncertain.

Wright, meanwhile, was held out of the lineup because manager Jerry Manuel decided to give the third baseman some rest. Manuel, who said he wants to make sure Wright finishes on a positive note, expects him to play Sunday.

Wright suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head by a pitch from San Francisco’s Matt Cain(notes) on Aug. 15, and returned to the lineup Sept. 1. Wright has acknowledged having residual problems with high-and-tight pitches.

“Just being careful for a guy coming off a beaning such as he had,” Manuel told the Mets’ official Web site.

Wilton Lopez(notes) (0-1, 9.42 ERA), scheduled to start for the Astros (74-87) on Sunday, has had some control problems, walking six and hitting a batter in 14 1-3 innings. He’s making his second consecutive start after being used out of the bullpen in his first six major league appearances.

The right-hander struggled Tuesday night, surrendering five runs in 3 2-3 innings to suffer a 7-4 loss at Philadelphia.

This will be Lopez’s first appearance against the Mets.

New York will counter with Nelson Figueroa(notes) (2-8, 4.70), who has lost five straight starts, posting a 4.91 ERA while getting a total of six runs of support during that span.

“This is like Groundhog’s Day - I just want to wake up from it,” Figueroa said. “It just keeps happening and keeps happening.”

The veteran right-hander gave up two runs in six innings of New York’s 2-1 loss to Washington on Monday night.

Figueroa is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts and five relief appearances versus the Astros.

Houston has scored one run in each of this series’ first two contests, losing both, and has been held to two runs or fewer eight times while losing 12 of its last 14 road games. The Astros, who are 27th in the majors in runs scored with 643, went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position Saturday.

This is the fourth straight season Houston has not qualified for the playoffs. Still, there have been some bright spots for the Astros.

Shortstop Miguel Tejada(notes) has a 20-game hitting streak, currently the longest in the NL. He needs two hits to reach 200 for the fourth time in his career.

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Starting Pitchers

W. López Col vs. N. Figueroa Tor
0-2 Record 3-8
8.38 ERA 4.09
9 K 59
8 BB 24
2.07 WHIP 1.48


Sunday, Oct 4