(AP) — While the New York Mets’ offense has fallen off since an 11-game win streak, the Baltimore Orioles have gone in the other direction following a five-game skid.
The clubs meet Tuesday night in New York for a quick two-game set, and the early season form of both starting pitchers could complicate those trends.
Since their impressive run gave them a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL East, the Mets (16-10) have gone 3-7 with 28 runs scored and a .217 average. Sunday’s home loss to Washington was their second straight by a 1-0 score and they dropped three of four in the series.
“We haven’t been able to get the big hit,” Michael Cuddyer told MLB’s official website. “When we were winning games last week, we were getting the big hit.”
Since dipping to the bottom of the AL East at 7-10, the Orioles (12-11) are 5-1 with 39 runs scored and a .297 average. That offense leveled out some over the weekend in Tampa Bay, but Baltimore still took two of three with Sunday’s 4-2 victory.
Adam Jones was a career best-matching 4 for 4 with two RBIs to bump his average to an AL-best .402. His third four-hit game tied his single-season bests (2011, 2014) and made him the first Orioles player to have four or more hits three times in the first 23 games.
In records dating to 1914, the only other player in franchise history to do it was Baby Doll Jacobson in 1924 for the St. Louis Browns.
“I’ve got one simple philosophy … get the heater and try not to miss it,” Jones said.
He’ll put it to action against Bartolo Colon, whose four-start winning streak to begin the season ended in Wednesday’s 7-3 loss in Miami. Colon (4-1, 3.31 ERA) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Although he was at his most hittable, he didn’t issue a walk for a fourth straight start and has surrendered one in 32 2-3 innings, resulting in a 0.98 WHIP.
Colon is no stranger to the AL, but that familiarity did him no good in his first season with the Mets, going 3-2 with a 6.00 ERA. The right-hander hasn’t faced the Orioles since 2013 but is 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his last seven games against them. Delmon Young is 4 for 8 in their matchups, while Chris Davis is 4 for 10 with a home run.
Bud Norris is no stranger to the NL, and given how his season has gone, he might welcome a change of pace in an NL park. After a disastrous first three starts, Norris (1-2, 12.18) began to right things in an 18-7 win over Boston on April 26. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings to pick up his first victory after a promising debut season in Baltimore.
“This guy won 15 games last year, and he was in attack mode today,” manager Buck Showalter said. “… It was a good reminder of how good he was for us last year and will be again.”
Against the NL last year, he was 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA and allowed eight runs in eight innings at NL parks. Norris is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA at Citi Field.
The Mets, who opened interleague play by losing two of three against the Yankees from April 24-26, last finished a season under .500 against the AL in 2009, going 53-41 since despite never winning 80 games in that span.
Baltimore hasn’t had a winning record in NL parks since 2009, going 19-28 since.