The San Francisco Giants are dominating this four-game series with the New York Mets behind strong pitching performances. Now, the Mets are hoping to get one of their own from ace Johan Santana(notes).
Some offensive support could help their cause.
Santana looks to continue his masterful stretch Sunday in order to halt another New York losing streak as he takes the mound against the red-hot Giants.
The Mets (48-43) have batted .174 in losing the first three games of this series. That’s due in large part to some superb pitching efforts from the Giants (50-41), who had three starters combine to hold New York scoreless for the first 24 innings of this set before the string was snapped in San Francisco’s 8-4 win Saturday.
Santana (7-5, 2.98 ERA) is familiar with the Mets’ offense coming up short. The lineup has provided him with six total runs of support over his last five games, but his dominant performances have helped New York escape with wins in his last two.
The two-time Cy Young winner has thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings over those two games after going 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA in his previous 12.
Santana yielded five hits in seven innings of a 3-0 win over Atlanta last Sunday. The victory kept the Mets from being swept in that three-game series, and the left-hander will try to play the role of streak stopper again.
“I feel much better,” he said. “Hopefully, this second half will be a strong one.”
Santana is 2-0 with a 3.89 ERA in six games - five starts - against the Giants. He gave up four runs in 7 2-3 innings of the Mets’ 5-4, 11-inning win against them May 8.
New York’s offensive struggles haven’t been helped by the continued absence of star shortstop Jose Reyes(notes), who is not expected to return until Monday at Arizona after being slated to come back during this series.
“What we’re finding out,” manager Jerry Manuel told the team’s official website, “is that it’s critical for us to have him.”
Ike Davis(notes) was an offensive bright spot for the Mets on Saturday, connecting for two homers with three RBIs. The rookie first baseman, though, is hitting .214 on the road compared to .298 at home.
Jonathan Sanchez(notes) (7-6, 3.47) will try to continue San Francisco’s run of strong pitching as he tries to beat the Mets for the first time since June 2, 2008. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 4.94 ERA in four outings since, all San Francisco defeats.
Sanchez struggled in his most recent trip to the mound July 10, exiting with two outs in the fourth after surrendering five runs with six strikeouts in a 10-5 win at Washington.
An improved effort from Sanchez could result in the Giants extending their season-high winning streak to six while sweeping New York for the first time since a three-game series at home from Aug. 20-22, 2002.
Manager Bruce Bochy believes pitching will be key to San Francisco cutting into San Diego’s 3 1/2-game lead in the NL West. The Giants are third in the majors with a 3.43 ERA.
“It is what we’re built on and we’re going to need this pitching to come through for us,” Bochy told the team’s official website.