Posted September 02, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Carlos Beltran wasn't very effective in his much anticipated return to Citi Field to face the New York Mets back in June, and he's slumping currently.
Beltran is enduring a 20-game homerless drought for the St. Louis Cardinals, who are clinging to the NL's second wild-card spot as they open a three-game home set Monday against the surging Mets.
It was a major story when Beltran came back to New York (64-70) for a series that began June 1. The outfielder signed a seven-year deal worth $119 million with the Mets in 2005, and was 2 for 18 with five strikeouts in his return as St. Louis (72-62) dropped three of four.
Beltran is hitting .160 with 23 strikeouts in the 20 games since he went deep Aug. 10 at Philadelphia. He was 5 for 35 with 10 strikeouts on the Cardinals' 4-6 road trip.
With little chance of catching Central-leading Cincinnati, St. Louis is one-half game ahead of the Dodgers and 1 1/2 in front of Pittsburgh in the race for the second wild card.
Five of the last six starters to face the Cardinals have not allowed an earned run against them, with Stephen Strasburg pitching six scoreless innings Sunday in Washington's 4-3 victory.
"I hate walking out of here when we could have been, through a tough trip, 5-5," manager Mike Matheny told the Cardinals' official website.
Mets starters fared well in the June series against St. Louis, with the first three not allowing a run before Dillon Gee gave up three in the finale. The Cardinals batted .180 with 41 strikeouts in those four games.
St. Louis will get its first look at New York right-hander Collin McHugh (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who will make his second career start. His debut was outstanding as he struck out nine and yielded two hits over seven scoreless innings Aug. 23 in a 1-0 home loss to Colorado.
"It was trying to contain the nerves," said McHugh, an 18th-round draft pick in 2008. "A lot of people gave some really good advice and said you're going to be nervous. It's a fact. Just contain those and go out and do your thing.''
The Cardinals' top hitter, Yadier Molina, will be back in the lineup to face McHugh after Matheny gave him Sunday off. Molina, bothered by shoulder and neck pain, is batting .322.
"We just try to give him a little time when we can, even though it doesn't seem like September is the time to do it," Matheny said. "He needs it."
The Mets have won seven of eight after completing a three-game sweep in Miami with Sunday's 5-1 victory. Jason Bay, making his first start since Aug. 25, hit a grand slam to highlight a five-run first inning.
"It didn't feel any different - that was the weird part," Bay said. "My first start in a week or whatever it's been, but I've done this a million times, it wasn't really that awkward."
The Cardinals will start rookie Joe Kelly (4-6, 3.61), who owns a 2.30 ERA in day games as opposed to a 4.25 mark at night. Kelly also is better at home with a 3.06 ERA compared to his 4.45 road ERA.
The right-hander returned to the rotation to replace the struggling Lance Lynn on Wednesday and yielded five runs over five innings in a 5-0 loss at Pittsburgh.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
It is a fine art, trying to glean meaningful clues from baseball officials. The St. Louis Cardinals are no exception.
Very recently, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak stated that it was “unlikely” that his organization would be adding a player to the 40-man roster for purposes of a September call up.
We were reminded of the GM’s remark by MLB.com as recently as two days...
ST. LOUIS - Carlos Beltran provided the biggest assist of the day for the Cardinals on Monday while taking practice swings in the batting cage behind the team's dugout. It was Beltran, watching on television, who saw the Mets' Angel Torres miss first base after hitting an apparent double to lead off the ninth inning with the Cardinals clinging to a 5-4 lead. "When...
The Mets used four pitchers last night and the one who likely did the worst job on the night – Ramon Ramirez – came away with the Win. That’s the way it goes sometimes because no statistic is perfect. The annoying thing is that many people will forgive the imperfections of certain stats, like Wins, yet are not willing to give other stats a chance because they focus only...
Jason Bay’s 1st Inning Grand Slam
The Mets swept the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon, defeating the fish by a score of 5-1. All of the Mets scoring was done in the first inning which included a Jason Bay grand slam.
Shortstop Ronny Cedeno led off the ballgame with a double, and second baseman Justin Turner followed with one of his own to shift Cedeno over to third base. David...
Hey Mets Fans…
The Mets might not be playing meaningful games in September, but we have some meaningful deals in our MMO T-Shirt Shop!
You’re in luck because today and Sunday we are offering 20% off all orders from our MMO T-Shirt Shop!
No minimum order required, simply enter coupon code NICEWEEKEND at checkout and have yourself a nice weekend on us!
Coupon Code*: NICEWEEKEND...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals activated OF-1B Lance Berkman from the 15-day disabled list and recalled left-hander Sam Freeman from Triple-A Memphis.
Berkman, out since Aug. 3 with a right knee injury, will initially be limited to a pinch-hitting role, manager Mike Matheny said Saturday before the Cardinals game against the Washington Nationals.
In 28 games this season...
And some Mets fans out there think Terry Collins should be fired? HA! What a job by Ozzie Guillen last night. MarLOLins Ace Josh Johnson, was mowing down Mets hitters all night and carried a 2-1 lead into the 9th inning. But as what has become a custom, the closer automatically was brought in to the 9th inning, to add to a meaningless stat. Johnson had only thrown 105 pitches...
A lot can be said about the culture of a franchise and what it can do to both the confidence of the players and the fan base. The best example unfortunately comes from the Bronx where we find the Yankees who are almost synonymous with winning. In Queens though, things never seem to go as well. I don’t want to flat out call it a culture of mediocrity, but watching the fan...
Kelly Shoppach has been solid since coming to the Mets.
The Mets came back to win 5-3 against the Miami Marlins tonight. Jeremy Hefner threw 6 innings of two run ball en route to the victory. Manny Acosta added a scoreless inning of relief while Frank Francisco came on in the ninth and earned his 23rd save of the season.
The Mets had difficulty with Josh Johnson until Josh Thole...
Jenrry Mejia returns this September
As much as we all hoped the Mets would contend this season, we all had to know in the back of our minds that it was a long shot. They took us on a fun ride through the first half, but showed what they really were around the all-star break. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the September call-ups and the playoff chases down the stretch.
The month of August was an up and down one for the New York Mets. Their putrid performance in July already put them well out of playoff contention and going into the month they were only playing for pride. The middle of the month brought us the “rock bottom” portion of the 2012 season, but the team has come together to close the month on a high note and give Met fans some optimism...
Jason Bay’s Grand Slam – The Shot Heard ‘Round SNY
It was great to see the Mets complete the sweep of the Miami Marlins after their 5-1 victory on Saturday, but what was with that over-the-top, public display of affection for Jason Bay on SNY afterward?
Did any of you happen to catch that or are you among those that change the channel immediately after the last out of a Mets...