Mets vs. Astros Preview, Lineups, And Broadcast Info: Game #126 — Jonathon Niese vs. Jordan Lyles

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 18: Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 18, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Today's game notes, courtesy of @Mets.

Teams: Mets vs. Astros
Date: Friday, August 24, 2012 • 7:10 p.m
Location: Citi Field • Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Jordan Lyles (2-10, 5.70) vs. LHP Jonathon Niese (10-6, 3.49)
TV/Radio: SNY • WFAN • WQBU
Info: Game #126 • Home Game #63

Lineup

Ruben Tejada - SS
Mike Baxter - RF
David Wright - 3B
Ike Davis - 1B
Justin Turner - 2B
Jordany Valdespin - LF
Andres Torres - CF
Josh Thole - C
Jonathon Niese - LHP

METS AT A GLANCE: New York is 2-8 in its last 10 games and 5-14 over its last 19 contests...The Mets are 11-28 since the All-Star break (2-14 at home)...New York is 7-14 this month...The Mets lost 1-0 yesterday to fall to 124-109 in such games all-time and 15-16 this year in one-run games (9-8 at home).

METS ON MERENGUE NIGHT: Citi Field hosts its first Merengue Night tonight...The Mets held Merengue Night at Shea Stadium from 1997- 2008 going 9-3 on this festive evening...The Mets will wear special "Los Mets" blue jerseys tonight.

HOUSTON: This series marks the last time the Mets and Astros will meet as National League opponents...Houston entered the NL in 1962 with the Mets as the Colt 45s...Houston is moving to the American League West next season...The Mets are 256-307 all-time vs. Houston, including 148-131 all-time vs. the Astros in New York and 108-176 in Houston...The two clubs met in an epic National League Championship Series in 1986 when the Mets won 4-2 to advance to the World Series...Four of the six games were decided by one run.

AT HOME: The Mets are 28-34 at home this year...New York has lost 14 of its last 16 home games and have lost six home series in a row...The Mets last won a series at home on July 3-5, when they took two of three from Philadelphia...Daniel Murphy has the sixth-best home batting average (.333) in the National League.

SERIES NOTES: The Mets are now 1-10-1 in 12 series in the second half...New York’s series win during that span was taking three of four from the Giants at San Francisco (July 30-August 2)...The Mets are 0-5 in home series in the second half and 0-6 since their last home series victory (two of three from Philadelphia, July 3-5)...New York has lost six straight series openers and six straight openers at home...The Mets last won the first game of a series at San Francisco on July 30 and the club’s last series opening win at Citi Field came on July 3, when they beat the Phillies...New York is 15-25 in the first game of a series, including 8-12 at home.

TWO RUNS OR LESS: The Mets have scored two or fewer runs in each of their last six games...The last time the Mets have been held to two or fewer runs in six straight games was September 17-21, 1982...New York has been held to two runs or less in 13 of their 21 games this month.

SHUTOUT: After being shut out four times in the team’s first 110 games, the Mets have been held scoreless in four of their last 15 contests.

COLLIN McHUGH: Made his major league debut yesterday and tossed 7.0 shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out nine Colorado batters...McHugh was only the fifth pitcher in modern major league history (since 1900) to record nine or more strikeouts while giving up no runs and two or fewer hits in his first major league game...The other pitchers to debut in that fashion were Elmer Myers (1915 Philadelphia A's), Juan Marichal (1960 Giants), Steve Woodard (1997 Brewers) and Kazuhisa Ishii (2002 Dodgers)...Research courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.

METS HISTORY: Collin McHugh’s nine strikeouts were the second-most in franchise history for a pitcher making his major league debut...Matt Harvey fanned 11 on July 26 earlier this season at Arizona...Before this year, Tom Seaver (July 13, 1967 vs. Pittsburgh) and Bill Denehy (April 16, 1967 at Philadelphia) held the record with eight strikeouts...McHugh became the third pitcher in team history to throw at least 7.0 scoreless innings and first since Masato Yoshii on April 5, 1998 vs. Pittsburgh...Dick Rusteck threw a four-hit complete game in his debut on June 10, 1966 to beat the Reds, 5-0 at Shea.

METS STARTERS: Mets starters rank eighth in the majors with a 3.84 ERA...The starters have posted a 2.06 ERA (nine earned runs/39.1 innings) over their last six games and over their last 11 contests they have 2.76 ERA (22 earned runs/71.2 innings).

JONATHON NIESE: Has tossed a career-best 13.1 scoreless innings dating back to August 12...Niese has worked 7.0 innings or more in eight of his last 10 starts...Niese has 10 wins, one shy of his career-high which he established in 2011.

METS BULLPEN: Suffered the loss yesterday...The pen has 25 losses on the year, tied for the second-most in the majors with Houston... Milwaukee is first (29)...The pen has posted a 5.06 ERA, the worst in the majors...Mets relievers have allowed at least one run in each of their last four games (8.00 ERA, 8 earned runs/9.0 innings)...The pen has permitted a run in 11 of its last 14 games.

DAVID WRIGHT: Ranks third in the majors with a .411 on-base percentage, tied for fourth with 36 doubles and is eighth with a .318 batting average...Wright is eighth in the National League with 74 runs scored...He is tied for sixth in the NL with 54 extra-base hits...Needs one home run for his 200th career blast...Will join Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220) as the only players in franchise history to reach the 200-home run plateau.

RISP: The Mets went 0-10 with runners in scoring position yesterday and are 25-147 (.170) with RISP since August 1...The Mets are hitting .253 with RISP on the season, ranking 16th in the majors...The Mets are hitting .272 with runners in scoring position and two outs, the second-highest average in the majors.

TWO-OUTS: The Mets have scored 31 of their last 55 runs with two outs (56 percent)...New York has scored 238 two-out runs and is one behind the Braves, who lead the majors with 239 two-out runs...New York is hitting .265 with two outs, the third-highest average in the majors...New York’s pitching staff has permitted 218 runs with two outs, the ninth-most in the majors.

LOB: New York left 12 runners aboard yesterday...The club has stranded 882 runners this year, the fourth-most in the NL.

MERENGUE NIGHT: The Mets and Vidal Cedeño Management are hosting the return of Merengue Night Post-Game Concert Presented by Budweiser tonight...Delta Air Lines and Atlantic City join Budweiser as supporting sponsors in celebration of Sergio Vargas’s 30th anniversary ...Joining Vargas on stage tonight will be El Batallon, Juliana, Raymond & Miguel, Eddy Herrera and El Jeffrey.

ROW NEW YORK: Earlier today, Mets outfielder Mike Baxter learned how to row with a group of high school students enrolled in Row New York in Flushing Meadows Corona Park...Row New York empowers young people from New York City’s under-resourced communities to build strength, gain confidence, and pursue excellence in all facets of their lives through the sport of rowing...Row New York serves more than 2,000 young people and has sent 99% of its graduates on to college, many on scholarships.

LAST START: Earned his 10th win of the season when the Mets beat the Nationals, 2-0, at Nationals Park on August 18...Pitched 7.1 shutout innings, allowing five hits, and zero walks...Struck out seven in the 109- pitch outing...Has won double-digit games for the second consecutive season...Won a career-high 11 games last season.

EXTRA REST: Niese will pitch on extra rest tonight against the Astros...In 14 starts with extra rest this season (five days or more), he is 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA (22 earned runs/91.1 innings pitched)...Conversely, In 10 starts on regular rest (four days) this season, Niese is 4-4 with a 5.49 ERA (37 earned runs/60.2 innings).

HOME RUNS: Niese has given up a home run in six of his last nine starts, dating to July 3...Has given up 19 home runs this season...Gave up a career-high four home runs in his start on May 18 at Toronto... Allowed a career-high 20 home runs in 2010.

WALKS: Had not walked a batter in 25.1 innings, a career-long streak that dated from the fifth inning on June 3, four starts ago, to the 2nd inning on July 27...Has allowed 13 walks in his last 14 starts, a span of 96.2 innings pitched, dating to June 3...Has walked more than one three times in those 14 starts...Prior to this stretch, Niese had allowed 18 base-on-balls over a six-start stretch (29.2 innings pitched) from May 1 to May 28...Niese’s 25.1 innings without a walk marks the longest streak by a Mets pitcher since 2011, when Mike Pelfrey went 25.0 innings without a base-on-balls from June 2-24.

RARE COMPANY: Niese has issued six walks in his last eight starts and became the seventh pitcher in Mets history to throw at least 7.0 innings and not walk a batter in three consecutive starts (July 8-27) in one season...The last major league pitcher to do that was Cliff Lee, who did it in four straight starts in June, 2010.

INNINGS PITCHED: Since June 10, Niese has pitched 90.2 innings, spanning 13 starts, 13th-most in the majors and eighth in the NL over that time...Has thrown at least 7.0 innings in 10 of his last 13 starts.

SCORELESS STREAK: Niese has not allowed a run in 13.1 innings, dating to the third inning against the Braves on April 12th...This is the longest such streak of this season and of his career.

RECENT SUCCESS: In his previous 16 starts dating to May 23, Niese is 8-4 with a 2.96 ERA (36 earned runs/109.1 innings pitched)...Has a 7.41 K/9 mark and 11 quality starts over that stretch... Has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 24 starts this season.

SUCCESS VS. LEFTIES: Niese has held left-handed hitters to a .238 batting average (25-105) this season, with two home runs and six walks...Conversely, Niese has allowed 17 home runs and 32 walks to right-handers...Niese held lefties to a .259 average and .357 slugging percentage during the 2011 season… Allowed only 10 extra-base hits (two home runs and eight doubles) to left-handed batters last season, which was tied for 10th-fewest in the National League.

DAY/NIGHT SPLITS: In 10 starts during the day this season, Niese is 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA (21 earned runs/66.1 innings)...In 14 night starts, the left-hander is 6-5 with a 3.99 ERA (38 earned runs/85.2 innings)...Niese has allowed 14 of his 19 home runs this season during night games...For his career, Niese has compiled a 13-9 record with a 3.65 ERA (77 earned runs/190.0 innings pitched) during the day in 32 starts, compared to his 19-20 mark with a 4.41 ERA (163 earned runs/332.2 innings pitched) at night in 56 starts.

CAREER-HIGH STRIKEOUTS: On June 3 vs St. Louis, Niese established a new career-high in strikeouts with 10...His previous high was eight, done four times previous, most recently on June 9, 2011 at Milwaukee...He is the third Mets starter this season to record at least one game with double-digit strikeouts.

CONTRACT EXTENSION: Niese signed a five-year contract extension on April 7, which includes two club options that could keep him with the team through 2018.

LAST WIN VS. HOUSTON: Won, 10-3 at Minute Maid Park on July 25, 2009... Pitched 7.0 innings and allowed one run, earned, four hits, and two walks... Struck out three.

LAST LOSS VS. HOUSTON: Lost, 6-3, at Minute Maid Park on May 5 of this season...Pitched 3.0 innings and allowed five runs, earned, six hits, two walks, and two home runs...Struck out one.

CAREER VS. HOUSTON: In four career games, all starts, Niese is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA (nine earned runs/23.0 innings pitched) vs the Astros.

KEY MATCHUPS:

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