SAN FRANCISCO: The Mets offense during the first two games in San Francisco has been M.I.A. After getting shut out Thursday night, manager Jerry Manuel attempted something drastically different last night, batting Jason Bay second, and well, the Mets got shut out again.

Once again, after being told he’d play, Jose Reyes was out of the lineup. He did take batting practice around 6:15pm local time, and batted from both sides of the plate.

The Mets now say that Reyes will return on Sunday against the left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Why Reyes wasn’t in last night’s lineup against the lefty Barry Zito is a good question.

In fact, he wasn’t even available in an emergency role, both Alex Cora and Ruben Tejada were pulled last night, David Wright was to play shortstop had the Mets come back in the ninth.

Things are really starting to get ugly for the Mets at a wrong time. They could’ve gained in both the division and wild card races, since the Braves and Rockies lost.

Now, needing wins in the final two games just to salvage a split, the Mets will go with Hisanori Takahashi in place of the originally scheduled Mike Pelfrey tonight, thanks to Pelfrey developing neck stiffness on the long plane ride to San Francisco. Just another crimp in the Mets plans, pushing Pelfrey back to Monday, the day Takahashi was supposed to start.

Takahashi hasn’t started since July 4, a game the Mets won 9-5. After that, the Mets pulled him from the rotation with an off day on the last home stand, putting him in the bullpen.

In that start against the Nationals, the Mets had an 8-0 lead at one point. Takahashi started off great, but faded after five innings, giving up a three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman in the sixth. He did get the win, his seventh of the season.

Any start for Takahashi could be his last, as we are now exactly two weeks away from the July 31 trading deadline. Names rumored to be on the Mets wish list are Brett Myers, Ted Lilly, and Dan Haren. Right now, they must worry about winning with what they have, because at this rate, they may not be in it come July 31. They’re already 0-2 on what was to be an extremely tough 11-game road trip.

As they try to get their first win of this road trip and first runs, they will face the Giants’ Matt Cain.

It really has been a strange career for Cain. He came up as a 20-year-old in 2005, and since then has had the hardest luck of any pitcher in baseball.

In 2007 and 2008, he went a combined 15-30, but with an ERA of 3.71. He turned things around last season, going 14-8, with an ERA of only 2.89. This season, he has regressed to 2007-2008. His ERA is 3.34, but he’s 6-8.

He got blasted in his last start on July 9 against the Nationals, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits in 6.2 innings.

For the most part this season, he’s been terrific, pitching 13 quality starts of his 18 this season. His walks have been a little high, issuing 42 in 121.1 innings, one every 2.88 innings pitched.

The same thing could’ve been said about Barry Zito, but he only walked two last night, striking out 10.

Without Reyes in the lineup, the Mets have been lifeless. Jeff Francoeur got the start in right field last night over Angel Pagan, because he was told he would by Jerry Manuel last week.

Carlos Beltran will not play tonight though, so Francoeur will be in right field again, with Angel Pagan in center.

One thing to look forward to in this game is David Wright’s first at-bat against Cain. They have not faced each other since Cain beaned Wright, causing him to suffer a concussion and first-ever DL stint, last August 17.

No matter what the lineup is tonight, it will be difficult. The Mets must start winning some games on this road trip, before they let this season slip away.

News and notes:
INF/OF Nick Evans demoted to Triple-A Buffalo
INF Justin Turner called up from Triple-A Buffalo
INF/OF Fernando Tatis moved to 60-day disabled list (right shoulder surgery)
2B Luis Castillo may rejoin team in Los Angeles on July 22
SP Oliver Perez to make another rehab start tonight

Hisanori Takahashi this season (25 games/9 starts)
7-3, 4.15 ERA, 78 IP, 79 hits, 31 BB, 72 SO

Matt Cain vs. New York (career)
3-3, 4.26 ERA, 44.1 IP, 45 hits, 13 BB, 25 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. San Francisco)
May 7: New York 6, San Francisco 4
May 8: New York 5, San Francisco 4 (11)
May 9: San Francisco 6, New York 5

July 15: San Francisco 2, New York 0
July 16: San Francisco 1, New York 0
Giants lead series 3-2

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