Following a day off Thursday, the National League East-leading New York Mets begin a nine-game road trip Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
After three against the Rays, New York will travel to Atlanta for a trio against the Braves then head to Miami for a three-gameset with the Marlins.
The red-hot Mets own the longest active winning streak in the majors -- seven games. They followed a four-game series split against the host St. Louis with home sweeps of the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks.
New York's Friday starter, David Peterson (1-3, 5.54 ERA), is just hoping to get back on track in his first-ever meeting with the Rays and join in the Queens team's fun.
In the shortest of his 15 career starts, the left-hander lasted just 1 2/3 innings on May 7 against the Diamondbacks, who got to him for three hits and three runs.
Yet it was the wildness that hampered the former Oregon Ducks star the most. He loaded the bases by walking opposing pitcher Zac Gallen, hit a batter to force in a run and walked two more with the bases loaded before being removed.
In his prior start, at Philadelphia, Peterson also faltered early, allowing a homer, walk and single to the first three batters he faced before recording the next 15 outs without surrendering a run.
"He started the game a little shaky, but he was able to make the adjustment. And we've seen that with Peterson," Mets manager Luis Rojas said after the rough outing against Arizona. "This kid, his poise is unbelievable. I know he has the tools to be a really good pitcher."
The Mets called up outfielder Khalil Lee, their No. 7 prospect, on Wednesday to replace Albert Almora Jr. (left shoulder contusion). Outfielder Brandon Nimmo (bruised left hand) is expected back Friday, which hints at Lee's stay being a brief one.
Meanwhile, the Rays staved off a three-game sweep by the visiting New York Yankees on Thursday, finally getting their offense on track in a 9-1 beatdown of their division rival.
The consistency of the Rays' pitching -- evident by Rich Hill's 6 2/3 scoreless innings in the win -- has been quietly impressive to manager Kevin Cash.
"It feels like we're in every ballgame because of good pitching performances from starters to relievers to the back-end guys," Cash said on Bally Sports Sun.
Tampa Bay ace Tyler Glasnow (4-2, 2.37 ERA) will be looking to bounce back from a rough outing Saturday in Oakland in which he allowed three runs and two homers in just 5 2/3 innings.
The right-hander has made six career appearances against the Mets -- three starts -- and is 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA.
First baseman Ji-Man Choi took batting practice with the Rays on Thursday, and he may be close to returning to action. Cash said the lefty batter is "not quite ready" and is still working through some soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
The hope is that Choi, who would get playing time at first base after Yoshi Tsutsugo was designated for assignment earlier this week, will be ready to play during the weekend series.
--Field Level Media