GIANT TASK

7 May

The San Francisco Giants invade Citi Field this weekend for a three game series. The Giants (17-10) bring their outstanding pitching staff to face a Mets offense that lost its offensive boom when they hit the road last weekend.

New York finished their last home stand with seven game winning streak, but went on to win only two of their six road games, sending them to a 15-13 record. The Mets return home looking to recapture their home-cooking that captured this city by storm.

The Mets return home with a gigantic test in facing some of the top pitchers in the game.

Friday night, they face Jonathan Sanchez (2-2), a lefty who is pitching to an ERA under 3. On Sunday, the Mets face the defending two-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, who is 4-0 this year. On Friday, the Mets throw Mike Pelfrey while on Sunday, New York matches with Oliver Perez.

The Saturday game favors the Mets as Johan Santana looks to rebound from his loss on Sunday while the Giants will counter with Todd Wellemeyer.

For Friday’s game, Pelfrey is a question mark as he dealt with injury concerns this week. Watch for his health and body language throughout this game.

Sunday may be over before it truly starts. Lincecum will enjoy the spacious field in Flushing, and Perez will have no room for error. A bad start for the Mets lefty, and fans can leave early for a start on their Mother’s Day dinner.

Following this series, New York plays their next 11 games within their division. Five of these games are against the Nationals.

After this stretch, the Mets have six games against the Yankees and Phillies.

At the conclusion of this stretch, New York would have played almost one-third of the season. It will be interesting to see where they are, especially with the tough competition awaiting them.

It will be critical that they take advantage of the games against the Nationals. The remaining games are against the Giants, Marlins, Braves, Yankees and Phillies. No easy task for a team that has struggled offensively and is greatly missing their star centerfielder.

The new test starts tonight as the Mets face some of the best pitching in baseball. Their anemic offense will be challenged and may look even worse this weekend. The way Manuel configures the line-up will be his greatest challenge, hoping his starting pitching does enough to keep the games close.

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