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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Preview: Game 51 - Pirates at Mets - Volquez (2-4) vs Niese (3-3)

Preview: Game 51
Pittsburgh Pirates (23-27) (7-14 Away) at New York Mets (22-28) (11-17 Home)

Probable Pitchers:
Edinson Volquez (2-4) 4.37 ERA vs Jon Niese (3-3) 2.70 ERA

TV - SNY - Radio - WOR 710 AM - First Pitch 7:10 PM


Edinson Volquez has struggled away from Pittsburgh this season. He's had an even harder time through his career at Citi Field.

This New York Mets lineup, though, has been quite forgiving at home.

The right-hander will try to overcome his road headaches Tuesday night in New York as the Pirates continue a three-game series against the Mets, who responded to giving away the series opener with coaching and player changes.

New York (22-28), 3-9 since May 14, announced after Monday's 5-3 defeat that it had fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

The club also cut reliever Jose Valverde, who gave up the go-ahead hit in the ninth inning to Gaby Sanchez. The Mets' .237 team average is near the bottom of baseball while Valverde's four runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning ballooned his ERA to 5.66.

Volquez (2-4, 4.37 ERA) had possibly his best outing of the season in Thursday's 3-1 victory over Washington, allowing a run and three hits in six innings to earn a win after going 0-4 in his previous five starts.

But that came at home. Volquez is 0-2 with a 5.89 ERA in three road starts and has allowed 11 runs and six home runs over his last two. He's 0-5 with a 6.39 ERA in seven starts away from home since Aug. 12.

At Citi Field, he has lost each of his three starts with a 6.32 ERA.

Jon Niese hasn't allowed more than three runs in 14 straight starts there and looked comfortable at home in Thursday's 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Niese (3-3, 2.70) surrendered three runs and four hits in seven innings to pick up the victory against Zack Greinke.

His ERA has been climbing in his last four starts, but the left-hander has not given up more than three earned runs in 13 consecutive starts -- nine this season.

He's 2-1 with a 4.70 ERA against the Pirates, but Niese's last start against them ended with eight runs allowed in 4 1/3 innings in a 11-2 loss May 11, 2013.

That's the kind of offense Pittsburgh (23-27) has failed to produce this season on the road, where it is batting .226, though a 12-hit effort in Monday's comeback win could have provided a breakthrough.

Lucas Duda showed signs of breaking from his slump, going 2 for 4 with a home run after a 3-for-31 stretch.

New York's starting pitching, meanwhile, continued a strong run, albeit in a small sample size. Since Wednesday, the Mets' rotation has held opponents to a .179 average.

Andrew McCutchen is 4 for 8 against Niese. The Pirates as a team are hitting .312 with 5 HR's vs Niese

Eric Young Jr. landed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday's game because of a strained right hamstring.

Batter/Pitcher Splits:

Bobby Abreu82110121.250.400.6251.025
Lucas Duda30000022.000.400.000.400
Wilmer Flores31100000.333.333.6671.000
Curtis Granderson40000022.000.333.000.333
Juan Lagares220000001.0001.0001.0002.000
Daniel Murphy103000221.300.417.300.717
Kirk Nieuwenhuis30000001.
Josh Satin110000001.0001.0001.0002.000
Ruben Tejada61100211.167.286.333.619
David Wright102000131.200.357.200.557
Chris Young152001337.133.278.333.611
Eric Young Jr.124200012.333.385.500.885
Pedro Alvarez20000001.
Clint Barmes145101403.357.357.6431.000
Josh Harrison41100001.250.250.500.750
Starling Marte31000000.333.333.333.667
Russell Martin81001212.125.222.500.722
Andrew McCutchen84200210.500.556.7501.306
Jordy Mercer31001100.333.3331.3331.667
Gaby Sanchez215101242.238.360.429.789
Chris Stewart31000000.333.333.333.667
Jose Tabata54201300.800.8001.8002.600
Neil Walker61000102.
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