The New York Mets are struggling to score runs at Citi Field, and Lucas Duda took responsibility for the latest effort.
They'll have plenty of chances to begin changing that in Sunday's single-admission doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks.New York (21-26) is among baseball's worst offensive teams at home, hitting .213 and averaging 3.1 runs. The Mets are hitting .197 with runners in scoring position during a 2-7 stretch in Queens.They stranded eight runners in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Arizona (19-31) -- with Duda being responsible for seven while going 0 for 4 and striking out with the bases loaded."That was tough, man," Duda told the team's official website. "I've got to drive those runs in. I take the blame for this one."A doubleheader, scheduled after Friday's rainout, offers Duda and the Mets a chance at redemption.Rafael Montero (0-2, 6.97 ERA) certainly needs some offensive help. The right-hander has received one run of support in his first two career starts as he continues to battle fellow rookie Jacob deGrom for a spot in the rotation.Montero's didn't help himself Tuesday, giving up five runs and seven hits while issuing four walks in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-4 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers."If he's trying to pitch to the corners, in this league you've got to earn that, you've got to earn the corners," manager Terry Collins said.Bronson Arroyo (4-3, 4.45) is scheduled to start opposite Montero, and he allowed five runs -- all with two outs -- and two homers in seven innings of a 5-0 loss at St. Louis on Tuesday. He had won his three previous outings while yielding one earned run in 23 1/3 innings.The right-hander has gone 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA over his last five road games against the Mets, with his most recent visit to Citi Field coming June 15, 2012. He was hammered for nine runs and 10 hits while being pulled with one out in the fourth inning of a 9-0 defeat to New York on April 15.The Diamondbacks are expected to turn to Zeke Spruill in the second game of the doubleheader.The right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in six games with Arizona last year, and he lost both of his starts. One of them was a 9-5 defeat to the Mets on Aug. 11 in which he allowed five runs in three innings.Spruill, though, allowed two unearned runs in 13 1/3 innings while winning his last two starts for Triple-A Reno."I think, all things considered, he's thrown the ball the best," manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "He's got very good stuff: good arm, ball moves. He doesn't seem to be severely fazed by pressure."Spruill will try to cool off David Wright, who is 13 for 29 (.448) during a seven-game hitting streak after coming within a triple of the cycle Saturday. The third baseman also owns a .385 average with seven RBIs over his past nine meetings with Arizona.The Mets are expected to counter Spruill by giving Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0, 2.14) his first start of the season.The right-hander's most extensive outing of 2013 came May 13, when he allowed one run while tossing 56 pitches in 3 2/3 innings of a 12-7 win over the Yankees. He's totaled that many innings and 59 pitches over three relief appearances since."It has definitely been a while, but it is something I have been doing, it is something I know how to do," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I do not really want to think too deeply into it. I just want to go into the game and do my role."Matsuzaka went 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in seven starts with the Mets last year after spending his first six with Boston.He's facing the Diamondbacks for the first time since June 10, 2007.