A dazzling and record-setting performance from one of their highly touted prospects has the New York Mets in position to win back-to-back games for the first time in a month.
It's been over five years since they accomplished the feat at Chase Field.The Mets look to build on Matt Harvey's impressive major league debut and make it two straight wins over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.New York (48-51) has dropped 15 of 20 since closing out June with a four-game winning streak. That slide has dropped the Mets from 2 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington to 11 1/2, and are also now without starters Johan Santana (ankle) and Dillon Gee (blood clot).Those injuries combined with New York's struggles allowed Harvey to make his major league debut Thursday, and he lived up to the hype of being selected seventh overall in the 2010 draft.The right-hander yielded three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings of a 3-1 win over Arizona (49-50) to open this four-game series. His 11 strikeouts were a team record for a debut, and helped give the Mets a chance to win consecutive games at Chase Field for the first time since a 13-game run spanning 2004-07."It's been a tough stretch," said Scott Hairston, who had three hits with two doubles and two RBIs Thursday. "Then to start a long road trip, it was good to get the win."Jonathon Niese (7-4, 3.59 ERA) will try to follow Harvey's excellent performance and earn his first victory in four starts. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA in his last three starts after winning his previous three.The left-hander has been solid in his last two outings, yielding four runs in 14 innings but his teammates have scored two total runs in his past three starts."I just try and keep the team in the game, and our offense is really good," Niese told the team's official website.Niese is 1-1 with a 6.06 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks.Jason Kubel had one of Arizona's four hits Thursday and scored the lone run. He's hitting .342 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine games. Kubel has been much better at home with a .333 average, 17 homers and 52 RBIs compared to a .257 mark with five homers and 20 road RBIs.Josh Collmenter (2-2, 3.82) is expected to get the ball for the second time since prospect Trevor Bauer was sent back to Triple-A Reno last week.The right-hander staked a claim to a starting spot by allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings of Sunday's 8-2 win over Houston. He's 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his last four starts."Going back and forth and being a starter last year, it's easy to get back on schedule," Collmenter said. "Nothing's too unfamiliar, especially this year with the amount of different things I've had to try to accomplish, whether it be out of the 'pen or as a starter. Now it's just getting on that routine and making sure you're going out there each time giving your team a good effort."Both of his appearances against the Mets have come in relief, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings.