PHOENIX - The Mets expected their starting pitching to be a strength. But entering Monday night, they had a 4.95 ERA, ranking 26th in the big leagues.

Home runs have been the culprit. Through 12 games, the Mets have surrendered a major league-high 21 home runs. Starters Bartolo Colon (six) and Dillon Gee have allowed 11.

In dropping two of three to the Angels, the Mets gave up 10 homers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was only the third time in franchise history that the Mets allowed at least 10 homers in a three-game series, and the first time since 1999.

"We've just got to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate, out of that nitro zone," manager Terry Collins said.


Seeking relief?

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The Mets will watch Joel Hanrahan's showcase on Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. A two-time All-Star as the Pirates' closer, Hanrahan is attempting a return after rehab from Tommy John surgery.

According to a team source, it's conceivable that the Mets would spend to add Hanrahan, especially if he's needed to patch up a glaring need in the bullpen. But the Mets have gotten strong production out of righthanders Gonzalez Germen (1.23 ERA), Carlos Torres (1.50 ERA) and Kyle Farnsworth (1.59 ERA).

Closer Jose Valverde has been more erratic, posting a 4.26 ERA.


Throwback weekend

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Shea Stadium's opening, the Mets will roll back ticket prices for this weekend's series against the Braves at Citi Field.

Certain seats will cost $3.50, the price of a box seat when Shea Stadium opened in 1964.