The New York Mets are still in contention in the NL East, but their play over the last month has them falling further back in the division.
The visiting Mets look to bounce back following an ugly loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks when the teams continue their series Tuesday night.
New York (49-44) is 5 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta in the East and has played especially poorly over the last two weeks.
After losing three of four in San Francisco to start the second half of the season, the Mets fell 13-2 to the Diamondbacks on Monday for their worst defeat since an 18-6 loss to San Diego on May 31.
For New York, the loss was its seventh in nine games. It’s scored 16 runs during that stretch and was further hurt by two errors from shortstop Jose Reyes(notes), who had missed the previous five games with a sore right oblique.
The return of Reyes and Luis Castillo(notes), who had been on the DL since June 4 with a bruised right heel, couldn’t help the offense. The Mets have averaged 3.8 runs in losing 16 of 26 since pulling within a half-game of the Braves for the division lead June 18.
“It was a tough game (Monday), but we’ve still got two more games in the series,” Reyes told the Mets’ official website.
Last-place Arizona (35-58) will try to take advantage of those struggles as it looks to secure its first series win since taking two of three at Tampa from June 25-27. It’s won 12 of 18 against the Mets.
“This is where we want to be,” interim manager Kirk Gibson said. “This is who we want to be. Store that.”
Mark Reynolds(notes) had a run-scoring triple in a four-run first inning Monday and added a three-run homer in the sixth for his second four-RBI game of the season. The third baseman is 5 for 9 over the last two games.
He’ll look to build on those performances against R.A. Dickey(notes) (6-3, 2.63 ERA), who will try to snap a four-game winless streak and give the Mets a long outing after their bullpen was taxed in the opener.
Dickey has lost his last three decisions, although he pitched well enough for the win his last time out. The right-hander gave up one run and five hits in seven innings of a 2-0 loss to the Giants on Thursday.
The knuckleballer is making his first start against the Diamondbacks.
“I always said it is kind of a process, learning and I will come out stronger next time,” said the 24-year-old right-hander, who has lost his last two starts after beating St. Louis in his major league debut June 30.