Mets aiming to emulate 1979 squad

Mets aiming to emulate 1979 squad

MIAMI -- Since the Mets put a mid-summer scare in the Rockies, they have won three of 17 series, one against the Cubs, the one they completed on Sunday in Miami and one against the Nationals during their most recent homestand. Moreover, when they won two consecutive games against the last-place Nationals at Citi Field, it marked the first instance in which they won successive games against one opponent since they defeated the Rockies July 29-30.

Suffice it to say the Mets have solved the only 100-loss team in the game. And now, they get to play them again. Three games in three days in the only ballpark in the National League, Citi Field included, where they don't have a losing record.

The Mets will spend Monday-Wednesday trying to avoid their 90th loss.

If they are of a mind to avoid 90 losses -- a total amassed by 12 Mets teams since the franchise was bar mitzvahed in 1969 -- they will need to sweep the Nats and then the Astros next weekend at Citi. These Mets should know a precedent exists for such evasive action.

The Mets of 1979, Joe Torre's Mets, lost 99 of their first 156 games. The franchise's sixth 100-loss seemed a foregone conclusion. But the Mets won the second game of a double header at Wrigley Field, and Torre challenged his team to win five more games. They beat the Cubs the following day and swept a four-game series in St. Louis.

So it can be done.

Pitching matchup
NYM: RHP Nelson Figueroa (2-7, 4.88 ERA)
Figueroa threw a career-high 126 pitches in limiting the Braves to two runs on two hits in seven innings on Tuesday, but he lost nonetheless. He was victimized by a two-out, two-run single by Yunel Escobar in the fourth inning that proved the difference. Figueroa, who has yet to start against the Nationals this season, is 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA in seven career appearances -- six of them starts -- against them. He has never started a game at Nationals Park. The Nationals can't boast of much success against him. Aside from Ryan Zimmerman, who has two hits in six at-bats against Figueroa, the current roster is hitless in 19 at-bats against him.

WSH: LHP Ross Detwiler (0-6, 5.71 ERA)
Detwiler makes his 13th big league start still in search of his first big league victory. He has allowed 109 baserunners (79 hits, 28 walks, two hit batsmen) in 64 2/3 innings. His past two outings have been better than previous ones: He held the Phillies to one run in five innings, though he took the loss, and allowed the Dodgers three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his most recent appearance, a game the Nationals eventually won. He has appeared in 13 games this season, of which the Nats have lost 11. Detwiler never has faced the Mets. Jeff Francoeur, in two at-bats as a member of the Braves, is the only Met who has faced him. Detwiler's ERA at home is 4.66, 2.61 lower than his ERA slsewhere.

Tidbits
Manager Jerry Manuel said he expects to meet with general manager Omar Minaya and possibly the club's owners the day after the season ends to discuss, among other things, the fate of the coaches. Manuel provided no insight into what might develop, but there have been indications that batting coach Howard Johnson and pitching coach Dan Warthen will be retained. There have been no such indications involving third-base coach Razor Shines. ... Orthopedist Ron Gruber, the Mets' doctor in Spring Training, visited the clubhouse in Miami this weekend with his left arm in a sling. He had undergone surgery to repair his rotator cuff. Said Grober about the sling, "It pays to advertise." This date in Mets history -- Sept. 28:
The 1962 Mets played their 158th game on this date and suffered their 119th loss at Wrigley Field. Attendance: 595. ... Gary Gentry, Nolan Ryan and Ron Taylor combined to shut out the Phillies on four hits at Connie Mack Stadium on this date in '69. The 2-0 victory was the Mets' fourth consecutive shutout and their 17th in a 60-game sequence. ... On this date one year later, outfielder Leroy Stanton, better known as a Mets player for being included in the Ryan trade, led off the game, his first big league start, with a triple, his first big league hit. Stanton was struck in the head by the relay throw and forced to leave the game.

With his team having lost 28 of 37 games, Bud Harrelson was dismissed as Mets manager on this date in 1991, ending a trying tour of duty. Mike Cubbage replaced him and managed the final seven games of the Mets' 77-84 season, the club's first losing season in eight years. Harrelson finished his managerial tenure with a .529 winning percentage in 274 games. Only Davey Johnson (.588 in 1,012 games), Willie Randolph (.545 in 556 games) and Bobby Valentine (.534 in 1,003 games) have produced higher winning percentages as Mets managers.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNY

On radio
• WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Español)

Up next
• Tuesday: Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 10-12, 5.08) at Nationals (J.D. Martin, 5-4, 4.71), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Mets (Tim Redding, 3-6, 5.29) at Nationals (John Lannan, 9-13, 3.93), 4:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.