That's particularly true for New York, which will deploy right-hander Jenrry Mejia, a young hurler the organization hopes will be one of its future cornerstones. Pittsburgh will counter with left-hander Paul Maholm.
Mejia, making his third Major League start, began the season in the Mets' bullpen but was sent to the Minor Leagues on June 21 after 30 appearances to be stretched out as a starter. He was recalled on Sept. 4.
The Mets plan on using Mejia as a starter for the remainder of the season. Manager Jerry Manuel said that the club is unconcerned about his innings total because he spent half the season in the big league bullpen, though Mejia sustained a midseason shoulder injury.
"He needs to be on the mound as much as possible," Manuel said. "He needs to experience starts as much as possible, and I don't think he runs into that category of a lot of innings. We were able to keep him from running into that as a bullpen guy early, so he doesn't quite fall into that category."
Maholm is trying to rebound from a rough series of starts with the hope of lowering his ERA to a level that's closer to his career norm. He enters Wednesday with a 5.37 ERA on the season, nearly a run higher than his career line of 4.51. That spike can be attributed to his struggles in August, which he entered with a 4.50 ERA. Maholm made six starts last month, recording a 7.84 ERA in 31 innings. Things weren't much better in his first of two September start, when he allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Maholm showed some progress in his last appearance, however, limiting the Reds to three runs in seven innings and fanning eight. He righted himself after a rough third inning, retiring eight in a row at one point, but he allowed all of his runs with two outs, something his manager lamented after the game.
"Paul, unfortunately, gave up three runs with two outs," said John Russell. "He really settled in and gave us a great start."
Pirates: Tabata developing nicely
Jose Tabata's 0-for-3 performance on Tuesday didn't dim what has been an exceptional run of play over the past few weeks. The rookie outfielder has nine hits in his past 21 at-bats, and he's hit safely in 16 of his past 22 games (28-for-85). Russell is thrilled with the 22-year-old's development.
"The kid has done very well," Russell said. "He is a very mature player for his age. He's tough to fool twice in one at-bat, which is a great sign.
"Everything he does is energetic. He's fun to watch. He's into the game. He's done very well. We're very excited that he's here and that he's going to be a Pirate for some time."
Mets: Tejada to start again
The Mets are hoping that rookie infielder Ruben Tejada, like Mejia, will quickly become part of their core. The 20-year-old Tejada went 3-for-4 against the Pirates on Tuesday, raising his average to .206 in part-time play. Manuel said that Tejada will start again on Wednesday against the left-handed Maholm and that he hopes the youngster will grab hold of the second-base job as soon as next season.
"It will depend, basically, upon the bat," Manuel said. "If we see significant improvement in the bat between now and the start of next season, you definitely have to consider him as a guy that has a chance to be a starter."
Mets ace Johan Santana underwent successful surgery on his pitching shoulder on Tuesday. Santana, whose season is finished, had a procedure to repair the anterior capsule, a ligament in the front of his shoulder that prevents the humerus from coming forward while the shoulder is in motion. His return date remains uncertain. Santana went 11-9 with a 2.98 ERA in 29 starts prior to the injury. ... The Pirates have used a club-record 50 players this season -- 26 pitchers and 24 hitters. The team has also tied its record for most pitchers used in a season. ... Pittsburgh is seeking its first win in Citi Field. ... Tentative schedules for the 2011 campaign were released on Tuesday. The Mets will open the season on April 1, against the Marlins. The Bucs will begin the same day at Chicago's Wrigley Field.
Wed, 9/15 7:10 PM ET
Mets come back to grab win after Mejia's injury
Angel Pagan capped a seven-run rally, in which 13 Mets batted, to down the Pirates. Andrew McCutchen homered and had three RBIs as Pittsburgh's late rally fell short. The Mets' Jenrry Mejia left with an injury.
|McCutchen, A, CF||4||1||2||3||1||0||2||.277|
|Jones, G, 1B||5||1||1||0||0||1||0||.249|
|Snyder, C, C||2||1||0||0||1||0||3||.210|
|McCutchen, D, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.077|
|c-Young, D, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.239|
|Reyes, Js, SS||5||1||1||1||0||0||3||.287|
|Wright, D, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||2||1||.288|
|Davis, I, 1B||3||1||1||1||1||0||3||.261|
|Feliciano, J, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.278|
|Blanco, H, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|Tejada, R, 2B||3||1||0||0||1||1||1||.202|
|d-Carter, C, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.255|
2B: Bowker (5, Valdes), Doumit (22, Parnell).
3B: Alvarez (1, Valdes).
HR: McCutchen, A (14, 9th inning off Takahashi, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: McCutchen, A 5; Jones, G; Alvarez 3; Bowker 3; Cedeno 2; Doumit 2.
RBI: Tabata (28), Alvarez (43), Bowker (11), McCutchen, A 3 (50), Doumit (41).
2-out RBI: McCutchen, A 2; Doumit.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Walker; Tabata; McCutchen, A; Young, D.
Team RISP: 2-for-10.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Snyder, C (4, missed catch), Cedeno (11, fielding).
DP: (Cedeno-Walker-Jones, G).
2B: Davis, I (31, Maholm).
HR: Reyes, Js (10, 6th inning off McCutchen, D, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Reyes, Js 4; Pagan 2; Beltran 2; Wright, D; Davis, I 2; Hessman.
RBI: Davis, I (68), Hessman (6), Arias (13), Pagan 2 (65), Reyes, Js (48).
2-out RBI: Pagan 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Davis, I 2.
Team RISP: 3-for-7.
Team LOB: 5.
E: Tejada, R (6, throw).
Pitches-strikes: Maholm 69-45, Park 19-11, McCutchen, D 27-17, Leroux 12-7, Mejia 42-22, Valdes 44-23, Misch 22-15, Dessens 4-3, Feliciano 20-14, Parnell 12-9, Takahashi 12-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Maholm 8-1, Park 2-1, McCutchen, D 2-3, Leroux 2-1, Mejia 3-4, Valdes 2-1, Misch 3-0, Dessens 1-1, Feliciano 2-0, Parnell 0-0, Takahashi 0-1.
Batters faced: Maholm 21, Park 5, McCutchen, D 7, Leroux 4, Mejia 10, Valdes 10, Misch 5, Dessens 3, Feliciano 6, Parnell 2, Takahashi 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Park 2-0, Valdes 2-1, Dessens 2-0, Parnell 1-1.
Umpires: HP: Andy Fletcher. 1B: Todd Tichenor. 2B: Mike Everitt. 3B: Adrian Johnson.
Weather: 67 degrees, clear.
Wind: 13 mph, In from LF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media