Mets bank on Citi to turn things around

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No place like home for the Mets
The New York Mets ended an 11-game West Coast swing on Sunday with a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets ended their dismal road trip with a 2-9 record which manager Jerry Manuel described as a “tough trip, very tough."
Now the Mets are heading home, and hoping to leave their woes behind them and start fresh in the Big Apple.
Mets hope to ignite bats at Citi Field

Making their way back to Citi Field, where the Mets are 30-16 this year, might be just what New York needs to help forget about their offensive problems in the past couple of games. It’s no secret that the Mets’ offence has not been getting it done and has been held to four runs, or fewer, in 15 of their last 16 contests.
New York’s manager is optimistic that their home game can do his team some good.
"I feel that our ballpark -- despite what people say -- we feel that it's a hitting park," said Manuel. "And I just think once we score a couple of runs, I think we'll be good to go for a long, long period of time."
The Mets better hope so as they get ready to battle the first-place Cardinals who come in with a 7-3 record in the last 10 games.
St. Louis comes in this game confident that they can present a difficult challenge for the Mets.
New York  was shut out in four of their first 11 games out of the All-Star break and scored two runs or fewer seven times. They've gone 16 innings without crossing home plate.
"By the time we cross over the Mississippi, hopefully we'll leave all these bats here," said Manuel. "Everything that we brought with us, we'll leave it right here, get home and get our stuff together."
Tough pitching ahead

And in their series against St. Louis, the Mets will find a difficult task ahead of them. The Mets will have to face most dominant starters in the National League in Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia.
The Cardinals will hand the ball to Wainwright on Tuesday and Garcia on Wednesday. Wainwright, who has worked 25 consecutive scoreless innings over the course of his last four starts, was originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but flip-flopped with Garcia and is now on track to pitch in the series against the Reds in three starts.
Wainwright pitched six scoreless innings in his last outing, a no-decision against the Phillies.
"They were grinding out at-bats," he said. "They were fouling pitches off. They're making you try to come into their slots. A lot of the time, I didn't make the quality pitch that I was trying to when I was ahead in the count, so it ran into deeper counts."
The Mets are probably thrilled to see veteran Chris Carpenter out of the Cardinals’ rotation for this series.
As for the Mets, they will counter with Jon Niese, who has lost two straight decisions after a run of five straight victories. Niese has completed at least six innings in seven of his last nine starts and has allowed more than three earned runs just once in that span.
Cardinals: Impressive streak comes to end
The Cardinals were shut out in back-to-back games this week with a 2-0 loss to the Phillies on Thursday and a 5-0 loss to the Cubs on Friday. 
Mets looking woeful during July
The Mets are just 3-12 in their last 15 games and 7-17 since June 27 -- when they were a season-best 11 games over .500. Since then, the team has lost their grove and currently stands  at 50-49. Beltran, who missed the first 88 games of the season as he recovered from knee surgery, was supposed to ignite the Mets’ offence, but he has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats.



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