New York (60-60) at Houston (52-67)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 19, 2010
  • TV: SNY, FSH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Closer Francisco Rodriguez’s ongoing saga has cast another dreary shadow over the New York Mets, but taking their first road series in two months could give them a small reason to smile.

The Mets will try to pull off that feat Thursday night against the Houston Astros but facing a rejuvenated Bud Norris(notes) might not help their chances.

In the latest development concerning Rodriguez, the players’ union filed a grievance Wednesday to challenge the Mets’ placement of their closer on the disqualified list two days earlier. That move came after the team discovered Rodriguez had injured a ligament in the thumb of his pitching hand while punching his girlfriend’s father after a game Aug. 11.

Rodriguez is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery Monday. The team is trying to convert his three-year, $37 million deal to non-guaranteed, meaning it could avoid paying most of that contract. Rodriguez’s salary has also been withheld while he’s on the disqualified list.

“We disagree with the position of the Players Association,” the team said in a statement. “We believe our action was justified and appropriate.”

In Rodriguez’s place, Manny Acosta(notes) earned his first save this season - and fourth of his career - in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory in 14 innings. Jose Reyes(notes) scored the winning run and matched a season high with four hits.

“It was a real good night and it’s even better when you get a win,” Reyes said. “That was a real good game for us.”

Hisanori Takahashi(notes) picked up the team’s only other save since Rodriguez’s arrest during a 3-1 series-opening win.

If the Mets can earn another victory Thursday, it would give them their first road series win since a three-game sweep of Cleveland on June 15-17. Even with two wins in three games over Houston, New York (60-60) is 10-20 away from home since that series with the Indians.

The Mets have also failed to score more than three runs in six straight games and have hit a major league-worst .214 while going 12-20 since the All-Star break.

+ Those numbers don’t provide good omens heading into a matchup with Norris (5-7, 5.42 ERA), who is coming off arguably the best performance of his brief career. The second-year right-hander struck out a Minute Maid Park-record 14 over seven innings of Saturday’s 3-2 victory against Pittsburgh and is 3-0 with a 3.51 ERA in his last four starts for Houston (52-67).

“You try so hard to have nights like this but I know I have to go out next time and try to get better,” said Norris, who has never faced New York.

The Mets, meanwhile, will send out Pat Misch(notes) (0-1, 1.50) for his second start this season. The left-hander was on the wrong end of a 4-0 decision to Philadelphia on Saturday, allowing four runs - one earned - and eight hits over six innings.

Misch is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts against Houston.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Misch Mia vs. B. Norris Bal
0-4 Record 9-10
3.82 ERA 4.92
23 K 158
4 BB 77
1.25 WHIP 1.48

Scoreboard

Thursday, Aug 19