Jose Reyes is bringing a hot bat to this visit to Citi Field, where the New York Mets are having plenty of problems.
Reyes will try to extend his career-high hitting streak to 25 games Tuesday night and help the Miami Marlins hand the Mets an eighth straight home loss in the opener of a three-game set.
The shortstop signed a six-year, $106 million deal with Miami (49-60) in the offseason after spending his first nine seasons with New York (53-56). Reyes got off to a slow start with his new team, hitting .220 in April.
He was booed loudly at times as he went 1 for 12 in his return to Queens from April 24-26 as the Marlins were swept in a three-game set.
Reyes is a different player now, hitting .371 while scoring 18 runs during this streak - the majors' longest this year. He still has 11 games to go to tie the Marlins' franchise record of 35 games by Luis Castillo in 2002.
"Probably in the beginning, I was trying to do too much," Reyes told the Marlins' official website. "That's not me. I just need to play my game. Right now, it seems I'm settling down and playing my game."
He fared better against New York at home May 11-13, going 6 for 11 with two walks and three runs scored as Miami took two of three.
Reyes has batted in the No. 3 spot during this surge. Manager Ozzie Guillen has indicated he will remain there even as Giancarlo Stanton returns.
Stanton, out since July 7 after knee surgery, was removed from the disabled list Tuesday and will hit fifth in the opener. The slugger is 9 for 23 with a team-high five RBIs in the season series.
The Mets are trying to avoid losing eight straight at home for the first time since Sept. 14-28, 2007, at Shea Stadium. Reyes was part of that team, which blew the NL East title by dropping 12 of its final 17 games.
New York completed a 6-5 trip with Sunday's 7-3 loss to San Diego. It was a forgettable three-game set for All-Star third baseman David Wright, who went 0 for 10 with three walks and five strikeouts and is hitting .177 (11 for 62) with 21 strikeouts in his last 17 games.
Wright is 11 for 24 with two homers, five RBIs and seven runs scored against Miami this year, and he's 3 for 5 with a homer against Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 1.35 ERA).
LeBlanc will turn 28 on Tuesday as he makes his second 2012 start. He gave up one run over 4 1-3 innings last Wednesday in a 4-2 victory at Atlanta.
The left-hander, who moved into the rotation when Carlos Zambrano was demoted to the bullpen, is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA in two career starts against the Mets - both with the Padres.
The Mets will also turn to a southpaw in Jonathon Niese (8-5, 3.72), who gave up one run over seven innings Wednesday to earn a 2-1 victory at San Francisco.
Niese is 1-4 with a 4.47 ERA in eight career starts against the Marlins, but 0-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two this year. Reyes is 0 for 4 with two walks against him.
The Associated Press News Service
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