New York (47-37) at Houston (37-49)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX, US
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 6, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Since Carlos Delgado arrived in the National League before the 2005 season, the Houston Astros have been one of his favorite opponents.

After leading the New York Mets to their first win of the month with another strong performance in Houston, Delgado looks to continue his dominance over the Astros as the Mets continue their four-game series at Minute Maid Park on Friday.

Delgado had a perfect night at the plate on Thursday, going 4-for-4 with a walk to help New York (47-37) snap a four-game skid with a 6-2 win—the Mets’ first in five July games.

“We really needed it,” said Delgado, who also scored a run and had an RBI.

Delgado is batting .477 (21-for-44) with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 14 career games against the Astros. He also has 10 walks and only five strikeouts against Houston.

The Mets also received an offensive boost from a more unlikely source on Thursday. With catcher Paul Lo Duca sidelined as part of a two-game suspension for an outburst in New York’s June 23 game, Ramon Castro started behind the plate and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Castro—batting .500 (10-for-20) with two home runs, four doubles and six RBIs in his last seven games—is expected to start again Friday while Lo Duca completes his suspension.

“I’m here to pick him up, and I’m going to try to do my best,” Castro said.

The Astros (37-49) have been outscored 14-5 in back-to-back losses after winning five of their first six on their current homestand. They hope to bounce back against Friday’s starter Mike Pelfrey (0-6, 6.11 ERA), who will again try for his first win.

The right-hander has been one of New York’s top pitching prospects since the Mets selected him ninth overall in the 2005 draft, but after winning his first two major league starts in 2006, Pelfrey is 0-7 with a 6.50 ERA in nine starts with New York.

His losing streak started with his only career outing against the Astros, in which he was tagged for five runs in 4 1-3 innings July 23.

This year, Pelfrey has lost six straight starts since he failed to factor in the decision of his season debut on April 13.

On Sunday, he allowed three runs and four hits in five innings of the Mets’ 5-3 defeat at Philadelphia—his first start since a six-week stint with Triple-A New Orleans. Despite suffering another loss, Pelfrey matched his career best by allowing only two earned runs.

“The first time up I was too much of a finesse pitcher,” Pelfrey said. “I’m supposed to be a power pitcher. So I just let everything go. I got back to throwing hard.”

Wandy Rodriguez (5-7, 4.23) will start for the Astros, looking to follow up one of the best performances of his career. The left-hander held Colorado to three hits in seven innings Sunday and got the win in Houston’s 12-0 rout.

“Wandy pitched a superb game,” manager Phil Garner said. “I continue to see good determination in his eyes, he doesn’t let things getting away from him. It’s been a process—his mound presence, the tempo of the game, the location of his pitches—all of that, it’s all coming together for him.”

Rodriguez is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two career starts against New York, but the Mets have won their last five games against left-handed starters and are batting .295 as a team against lefties.

Delgado is 4-for-4 with a home run in his career against Rodriguez.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Pelfrey CWS vs. W. Rodríguez HOU
3-8 Record 9-13
5.57 ERA 4.58
45 K 158
39 BB 62
1.71 WHIP 1.32