It's kind of cool these days to have the chance to use words like "twinbill," and the one today between the Mets and Dodgers at Citi Field features the yin and yang of the Mets' pitching staff. Ace Johan Santana (2-1, 2.59 ERA) goes in the opener, and problem child Oliver Perez (0-2, 3.71 ERA) will try to get his first win of the season in the nightcap.
Santana has allowed just one run in 13.1 innings in his past two starts and has struck out 22 in 24.1 innings so far. He was 2-0 with a 0.61 ERA against the Dodgers over the past two seasons. He's facing a Dodgers lineup that doesn't include Manny Ramirez, who did not make the trip after being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf.
Facing Santana is Dodgers righthander Hiroki Kuroda (2-0, 2.18), who is coming off a win over Cincinnati in which he allowed six runs, three earned, and gave up two home runs. He had gone 15 innings without giving up a home run. If Santana and Kuroda both have their best stuff, it should be low-scoring but might be the kind of game that is decided by a home run since Santana has a proclivity for giving up the big dinger on those occasions when someone can get around on him.
In the second game, Perez has good reason to be confident after beating the Dodgers three times in four starts over the past three seasons, compiling a 2.84 ERA on 25.1 innings in that span. On the other hand, perez has bene hit hard in the past by Dodgers Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, Garrett Anderson and Jamey Carroll, who have batted .486 combined against him in 35 at bats.
What Perez has in his favor is that he's facing righthander Charlie Haeger (0-2, 6.46), a knuckleballer starting on three days' rest because Vicente Padilla went on the DL. In his last outing, Haeger took a lead into the sixth inning at Washington but lost thanks to the two home runs he gave up to Adam Dunn.