When it comes to keeping their team in games, few pitchers this year have been more consistent than the Brewers' Kyle Lohse and the Mets' Jon Niese. The two hurlers, who have posted quality starts in the majority of their outings this season, will face off in Thursday's rubber match at Citi Field.
Niese (3-3, 2.68 ERA) will try to deliver a second straight strong outing: He gave up just two runs over seven innings against the Giants on Friday. Niese has nine quality starts in 12 outings this year, and manager Terry Collins thinks he and some of the other Mets veterans have preached being consistent to the younger members of the staff.
"The one thing I think our veteran guys have got everybody to understand ... is your job out there is to pitch as good as you can pitch to keep us in games," said Collins. "I think that's kind of the theme of those guys, is you have Jon Niese, and Dillon [Gee's] not here right now, but that's all those guys talk about."
Jonathan Lucroy (5-for-11) and Rickie Weeks (4-for-10) have both been solid in limited action against Niese, though Lucroy didn't think Niese had much to do with it.
"I don't think it's anything about him or anything like that," Lucroy said. "I guess whenever I've seen him in the past I've been real comfortable and able to have good at-bats against him and hit the ball hard. That's pretty much what it's about -- keeping it simple, really."
For his part, Lohse (7-2, 3.27 ERA) will try to rebound from a rare poor outing. He was charged with eight earned runs in five innings against Pittsburgh on Friday. It was only his second time all season giving up more than three earned runs and his first time allowing more than four.
"It was a bad night, all around," Lohse said after Friday's game. "I made some bad pitches, some good pitches, and it kind of went their way tonight. You turn the page. Just like I turned the page on the last outing, which was really good, I turn the page on this one, which was really bad. That's how the season goes."
Lohse has 10 quality starts through his first 13 games.
Brewers: Gennett comfortable at the top of the lineup
Scooter Gennett hasn't batted leadoff with any regularity in quite a while -- he said he hasn't been atop the lineup regularly since 2011 with Class A Advanced Brevard County.
Gennett returned to the leadoff spot on Tuesday, where Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has slotted him in place of the struggling Jean Segura, who slid down to eighth. Though it's been a while, the second baseman said he's comfortable in the spot.
"It's all the same after the first at-bat. The first at-bat you want to see some pitches, have that team at-bat and see what the pitcher is working with that day. For me, after that, it's all the same."
Gennett was a combined 3-for-8 with a walk in his first two games this season hitting leadoff.
Mets: Teagarden making himself at home
Mets catcher Taylor Teagarden, who was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas recently to replace the struggling Travis d'Arnaud, didn't need much time to re-acclimate himself to the big leagues.
Making his first career start as a Met, Teagarden hit a grand slam on Tuesday to push New York ahead of the Brewers in the series opener.
"Coming up here yesterday I felt pretty good," said Teagarden about adjusting to the team. "I've played in the big leagues before. I understand the intensity of the game, but it was fine."
Teagarden started again Wednesday night to catch rookie Jacob deGrom because of his familiarity with him in Triple-A. He went 0-for-3 at the plate.
• If the Mets win Thursday, it'll be the team's first time winning a home series against Milwaukee since 2009.
• Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez has reached base safely in 26 straight games, the longest current streak in the Major Leagues.
• Milwaukee has won or split five straight series entering this set in New York. A win Thursday would push the streak to six.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.