NEW YORK: After starting the home stand 2-0 against the Tigers, the Mets will try to avoid a 3-3 split today when they face the Twins in the 2010 Interleague finale.

The Mets will send Jon Niese to the mound, who in his last start, got sidetracked by a rain delay. On Tuesday against the Tigers, Niese, coming off of three straight wins, held them hitless through the first three innings.

After a nearly one-hour rain delay, Niese got rusty and allowed six runs on seven hits and a home run in a Mets 14-6 win. He fell one out shy of qualifying for a win and looked like he was on his way to another dominating performance before the rain delay.

He’ll be facing another tough American League lineup today, but he’ll try to equalize the lefties Mauer and Morneau with his changeup.

The first three outings back from the Disabled List, Niese was pretty nasty, so he’ll hope Tuesday’s delay doesn’t lead into bad things to come.

Facing Niese and the Mets will be Scott Baker. Baker has had a couple of good seasons with the Twins, and after a stellar 2008 season, where he went 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 28 starts, the Twins signed him to a four-year, $15.25 million contract.

He was decent last season, but this season, he has been a .500 pitcher. He does have a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (19 BB, 77 SO), but his record is an even 6-6 and he’s allowed more hits than innings pitched.

In his last start on Tuesday at the Brewers, he allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings. As bad as that looks, he did strike out seven while not walking a batter. In five of his 15 starts, he has allowed at least five earned runs or more.

The Mets couldn’t get anything done offensively yesterday against Carl Pavano, maybe finally showing that they need Angel Pagan’s bat in the lineup.

It is still not known yet whether or not he will be starting in today’s game, although Pagan said he would be back after two games.

Although Rod Barajas was back yesterday catching, the Mets are still going with three catchers and are one man short in the bullpen, needing a long reliever.

Jerry Manuel said they might go with three catchers for a while, but it doesn’t really make sense, considering the Mets get in trouble when their starters don’t go deep. The likely long men would be Bobby Parnell and perhaps Elmer Dessens.

The Mets enter today’s play 1.5 games behind the Braves for first-place in the NL East and hold a one game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card race.

The Mets will try to stay in it for now, hoping to get some pitching help to put them over the top by next month’s trade deadline. This is the Mets final home game in the month of June.

Jon Niese this season (12 starts)
4-2, 4.17 ERA, 69 IP, 78 hits, 24 BB, 52 SO

Scott Baker vs. New York (care er- 6/20/07)
Win, 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 hits, 0 BB, 3 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Minnesota)

June 25: New York 5, Minnesota 2
June 26: Minnesota 6, New York 0
Series tied 1-1

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