06/12/10 5:50 PM ET
Mets' hottest pitcher faces O's cold offense
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
Amazingly, the Mets had gone 56 road games without consecutive wins, and they'd gone the deepest into a season without winning a road series since 1983. Even with the series win, New York has the second-fewest road wins (nine) in the Majors this season. Baltimore, the only team with fewer road wins (six), will look to hold its opponent down on Sunday.
And if the Orioles are going to save face in the finale, they'll need a strong effort from starter Kevin Millwood. The veteran has yet to win this season, and he's coming off back-to-back outings in which he allowed six earned runs. He has one of the lowest run-support figures in the league, and he knows that the Mets may be more dangerous than they appear.
"I think they've got a tough lineup," said Millwood, a former Brave. "I don't think they put up a ton of runs, but the ballpark that they play in [is] not a very hitter-friendly ballpark. They've definitely got a lot of guys on that team that can do damage."
The Mets have had an erratic season so far, but they remain right in the thick of their division race, and the current part of the schedule may be perfect for them. The Mets have hit 244 home runs in Interleague Play, the second-most all-time among National League clubs.
Power stroke or not, the Mets are concerned with taking advantage of the opportunities in front of them.
"We haven't played well when we've needed to in important situations," said New York closer Francisco Rodriguez. "We haven't played well on the road. Hopefully, we can take advantage of some teams that are struggling right now."
Mets: Big Pelf on a hot streak
The Mets have pitched extremely well in recent weeks, and they'll hand the ball to one of their hottest pitchers on Sunday. Mike Pelfrey -- who has won eight of his nine decisions this year -- will try to keep New York's staff on turn. The Mets have seen their rotation pitch to a 12-3 record and a 2.41 ERA over the past 23 games, and they've gone 15-8 over that span.
Pelfrey has been a big part of that run, and he's also been extremely consistent for the Mets this season. The right-hander has completed seven innings in five of his past seven starts, and he's allowed more than two earned runs only twice this season. He has given up just three home runs in his first 12 starts after surrendering 18 in 31 starts last year.
Orioles: Baltimore dealing with power outage
As if New York's pitching wasn't enough of an obstacle, the Orioles also have to battle out of a slump. Baltimore has scored just 29 runs in its past 14 games, and it's been shut out or held to one run eight times in that span. The Orioles have seen the opposing starter throw a quality start in 15 of their past 16 games, and it's happened 44 times overall this season.
Baltimore isn't just not producing runs, it's not doing much in the power department. Three of the regulars -- Miguel Tejada, Ty Wigginton and Matt Wieters -- are going through an extended power outage. Wigginton has gone 60 at-bats without a home run, and Tejada (155 at-bats) and Wieters (98 at-bats) are working on the second-longest droughts of their career.
The Mets hadn't won consecutive road games since July 25-26 of last season. ... The Orioles have scored just 40 runs in Millwood's 13 starts, and only 21 of those runs have come while he's in the game. Millwood is 0-2 with a 4.14 ERA and three quality starts in six outings at home. ... Nick Markakis leads all Major League left-handed hitters with a .375 batting average (30-for-80) against left-handed pitchers. ... The Orioles are 0-9-1 in their past 10 series, and they've been outscored, 96-35, en route to losing 14 of their past 16 games. ... Jose Reyes hit the 15th leadoff home run of his career in Saturday's victory.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.