|Slumping Giants hope to find offense vs. Mets|
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have come out on the other side of an epic offensive slump, albeit far too late to save their season. The San Francisco Giants are running out of time to avoid a similar fate.
The Giants will begin looking to make a last-ditch dash back into the playoff race Monday night, when they visit the Mets in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field
Surging Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler (8-6, 3.75 ERA) will look to win his seventh straight start when he opposes his original organization. Left-hander Derek Holland (6-8, 3.83 ERA) is schedule to take the mound for the Giants.
The Mets and Giants spent the weekend traveling in different directions. New York capped a successful road trip Sunday with an 8-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, PA. San Francisco fell to the host Cincinnati Reds, 11-4, to complete a three-game series sweep at the hands of the Reds.
With the win, the Mets (54-69) completed a 7-4 road trip in which they won series against the Phillies and Miami Marlins, split with the Baltimore Orioles and won a makeup game against the New York Yankees.
The Mets scored a whopping 83 runs during the road trip, including 40 in consecutive wins over the Orioles and Phillies last Wednesday and Thursday. New York scored just 89 runs in 26 games in June, during which it went 5-21 to fall out of playoff contention.
Not coincidentally, the Mets played 16 games at home in June. They rank last in the majors with an average of 3.25 runs per home game but lead the National League by scoring 5.23 runs per game on the road.
"It's something that's a little puzzling, but it's something that is reality," Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters Sunday night regarding the vast difference in home/road splits. "And we've got to try and fix it."
The Giants (61-64) need to figure out what's ailing them everywhere if they are going to move off the fringes of playoff contention. San Francisco is 7 1/2 games behind in the National League wild-card race, where three teams -- the Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies -- are tied for the two spots, and eight games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.
The Giants, who were outscored 20-6 in getting swept by the Reds, entered Sunday ranked next-to-last in the NL -- ahead of only the Miami Marlins -- this month in batting average (.229), slugging percentage (.306) and on-base percentage (.286). San Francisco is also ahead of only the Marlins with 57 runs in August.
"We've talked about it so many times, this offense just needs to get going," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Sunday afternoon. "They're better than this. It's frustrating, no question about it. We've got some good hitters up there, but right now, we're in a serious funk and we've had a hard time getting out of it."
Among those experiencing slumps are some of San Francisco's notable names.
Brandon Belt is 3-for-17 on the trip while Brandon Crawford has one hit in his last 18 at-bats and is 7-for-51 in his last 15 games. Evan Longoria has three hits in his last 28 at-bats and Buster Posey, who did not play Saturday has two hits in his last 19 at-bats.
Wheeler, who was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2009 draft and dealt to the Mets in exchange for Carlos Beltran in July 2011, continued his breakout season last Wednesday, when he allowed one run over five innings and earned the win as New York routed the Orioles, 16-5. Wheeler has a 2.04 ERA with 37 strikeouts and eight walks over 39 2/3 innings during his winning streak, which dates back to July 14.
Holland didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start last Wednesday, when he gave up six hits and four walks but still managed to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings as the Giants fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3, in 12 innings.
Wheeler is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four career starts against the Giants. Holland lost his lone career start and appearance against the Mets on June 26, 2011, when he allowed seven runs (three earned) over six innings as the Texas Rangers fell to New York, 8-5.