Apr 20

Mets Host Giants This Weekend

The Mets open a four-game series tonight against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field, a series that takes on a bigger importance than usual this early in the season.

ZITO: Once on Mets' radar.

After a 6-2 start, the Mets have lost three of their last four games, giving up 31 runs in that span. Now, I’m not saying the Mets can’t stabilize themselves, but we’ve them play well before going into a prolonged slide.

Even though the Giants won’t throw Matt Cain at them and Tim Lincecum is off to bad start, they have the pitching to make for a long weekend in Flushing. While Lincecum has struggled, three of the Giants’ starters this weekend have sub four-run ERAs in Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner.

Tonight’s starter, Zito, threw a four-hit shutout at Colorado in his first start and gave up three runs, two of them unearned, in his second against Pittsburgh. Zito seemed heading out of the Giants’ rotation, but their need for pitching forced them to trade Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera.

You might recall Zito was once on the Mets’ radar following the 2006 season, but weren’t willing to swim in the deep end of the free-agent pool ($126 million over seven years).

The Giants are concerned about their bullpen with Brian Wilson having Tommy John surgery and lost for the season. Santiago Casilla will get the first chance to assume the closer role.

The following are the starters for the series:

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (2-0, 2.13) vs. LHP Barry Zito (1-0, 1.13), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-0, 3.09) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 2.84), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (1-1, 2.92) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (0-2, 10.54), 1:10 p.m. ET

Monday: LHP Johan Santana (0-2, 3.97) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (2-1, 3.63), 7:10 p.m. ET