The depleted Mets head into Fenway Park tonight and have an uphill road to climb. They’re on a four-game losing streak and will battle a team who have owned them the few times they’ve played. The Mets are 8-10 against the Red Sox and 3-6 in the shadow of the Green Monster. On top of that, they are facing Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Only two members of the current team have faced him before. Jeremy Reed is 0-for-3 against him. Gary Sheffield has had great success against him, going 6-for-11 with a home run and two doubles. Sheffield was the last Mets player to hit a home run, and that was more than a week ago. Additionally, we all know how the Mets tend to do against pitchers they’ve never faced before. Hopefully, Matsuzaka will be rusty coming off some rehab assignments and the disabled list.
Sheffield had been ill during the Dodgers sweep but with his familiarity with Fenway, he should be getting some playing time at either left field or as a designated hitter. Jerry Manuel has said that Carlos Beltran and David Wright could also DH. It’s a far cry from when Willy Randolph sent up Chris Woodward as the designated hitter.
It looks like Daniel Murphy will be the everyday first baseman until Carlos Delgado comes back. Although he’s in an offensive slump, it’s good to see Manuel finally come around and stick him in the infield. Murphy was on fire Wednesday against the Dodgers, making several excellent defensive plays. Let’s hope they weren’t a fluke.
The Mets are going to need every ounce of luck, solid defense, lights-out pitching and situational hitting that they can get. They’re a surging team with David Ortiz back to a semblance of his former self and having won six of their last 10 games, including three in a row.
So, what are your predictions for the series?