Something has to give as Mets visit Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, two teams desperate for a winning streak, will turn to young pitchers to begin a three-game series of National League disappointments Friday night.

Mets right-hander Seth Lugo and Giants lefty Ty Blach will duel in a battle of teams that have one win apiece in the past eight days.

"We have a lot of work to do," outfielder Jay Bruce said recently of the Mets, who ended last week losing three of four to the Washington Nationals before getting swept four straight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We have an uphill battle to climb."

It's not quite the uphill battle staring the Giants in the face after they completed an eight-game trip to Colorado and Atlanta with a 1-7 record, with the only win coming Tuesday against the Braves.

The Mets (31-41) begin play Friday 12 games behind the Nationals in the NL East. The Giants (27-48) are 21 1/2 back of the Dodgers in the NL West.

With rotation regulars Matt Harvey (shoulder) and Noah Syndergaard (lat) out of action, Lugo was pressed into starting duty June 11 and responded impressively, limiting the Braves to one run and six hits over seven innings. It was his season debut.

His second outing wasn't as sharp as he allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Nationals.

Those were his exact numbers when he faced the Giants in San Francisco last August in an 8-1 loss. It was his only career meeting with the Giants.

The rest of the patchwork Mets rotation got roughed up the last four nights in Los Angeles, with Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, Tyler Pill and Steven Matz getting bombed for 22 runs and 25 hits in 18 1/2 innings.

If there's reason for optimism in the visitors' clubhouse Friday night, it's that the Mets have completed an 11-game stretch against the powerful Chicago Cubs, Nationals and Dodgers.

The Giants reside at the other end of the success spectrum. They stand tied with the 1985 edition for the worst 75-game record in West Coast franchise history.

Blach, who has never faced the Mets, will attempt to turn things around. He got a no-decision at Colorado during the club's disastrous trip, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

With one exception, the second-year major-leaguer's home starts have been impressive. But that exception was in his most recent appearance at AT&T Park, when he was shelled by the Kansas City Royals for seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Before that, he hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his five home starts this season.

"He's done a terrific job. Been a sliver lining," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Blach, who has replaced injured Madison Bumgarner (shoulder) in the rotation. "Losing your Opening Day starter and he has stepped in and more than held his own. Done a nice job keeping us in the game. He's a pleasure to watch.

"This kid has established himself as a major league starter in all of this."
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