NEW YORK—After losing the opening game of the series to the first-place Reds, the Mets tonight have a shot at a series victory, as Jon Niese will look to continue his impressive run. Niese has won each of his last five decisions, and during that stretch, the Mets are 6-0.

In his last start against the Nationals, Niese went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out eight without walking a batter. Since coming off the disabled list on June 5, Niese hasn’t lost a game, improving from 1-2 to 6-2, and has been the Mets most reliable starting pitcher.

Unlike his teammate Johan Santana, Niese has gotten tons of run support, with the Mets scoring five or more runs in five of his last six starts. After scoring six runs in Monday night’s opener, the Mets position players only scored two runs for Santana last night, coming on a Jason Bay two-run single.

That was with the return of Jose Reyes, who only batted from the right side of the plate, even once against a right-hander. The Mets had scored in the first inning in seven consecutive games before last night, all without Jose Reyes. How ironic is it that the man that’s known to produce “Reyes runs” in the first, returns, and that’s when the Mets don’t score a first inning run? That’s just baseball.

Maybe Reyes can produce one of those runs tonight against Bronson Arroyo. Perhaps, Reyes and company can work out some walks, as Arroyo has walked 41 batters in 112.1 innings, one walk every 2.7 inning pitched.

Arroyo this season has been erratic despite a winning record of 8-4. His ERA is a little high for the National League (4.25), and he’s given up 12 home runs. Arroyo though, has had great success in his career against the Mets in 10 starts.

The key for the Mets will be patience, trying to get as many men on to perhaps hit some long balls with their middle of the order. Josh Thole will be catching Jon Niese according to Jerry Manuel, and Thole has been hitting since his callup.

The Mets will go for the rubber-match victory, before taking tomorrow off. They will have a huge weekend series to follow against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.

There are some thoughts that the Mets may activate Carlos Beltran for the weekend series to use him as a pinch-hitter, but in all likelyhood, he will return after the All-Star break in San Francisco.

Jon Niese vs. Cincinnati (May 5)
ND, 6 IP, 4 ER, 12 hits, 0 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR

Bronson Arroyo vs. New York (May 4)
ND, 7 IP, 4 ER, 7 hits, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR

2010 season series (New York vs. Cincinnati)
May 3: Cincinnati 3, New York 2 (11)
May 4: New York 5, Cincinnati 4
May 5: Cincinnti 5, New York 4 (10)

July 5: Cincinnati 8, New York 6
July 6: New York 3, Cincinnati 0
Reds lead series 3-2

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