The New York Mets' chances of capturing the NL wild card appear quite slim. Making a playoff run without their top two hitters for any extended time seems just about impossible.
The Mets are likely to be without both Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy when they open a four-game series against the suddenly surging San Diego Padres on Monday night at Citi Field.Reyes and Murphy both left Sunday's 6-5 loss to Atlanta, New York's sixth defeat in seven games. The Mets (56-57) fell nine games back of the wild card-leading Braves after being 5 1/2 out on July 29.Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he thought Reyes hurt himself running out a first-inning grounder, and it appears the NL batting leader has a mild hamstring pull. It's the same injury that cost him more than two weeks in July.It is unclear if Reyes will be placed on the disabled list, but the team already said Murphy will be. He came out in the seventh inning with a painful-looking leg injury after being spiked by Braves rookie Jose Constanza while playing second base. Generally used as a first baseman, Murphy is second on the team in both batting at .320 and RBIs with 49."We've been struggling offensively as it is. Now we lose a guy hitting .335 and another guy hitting .320, obviously that's going to be difficult to overcome," said third baseman David Wright, who filled in at shortstop Sunday for the first time in his major league career. "We know it's going to be a tremendous uphill battle to try to score runs."While things are quickly falling apart for the Mets, the Padres are suddenly playing some of their best baseball. They enter Monday seeking a season-high fifth straight win.San Diego (51-64) arrives in New York after pounding out 35 runs and 40 hits to sweep a three-game set in Pittsburgh. The Padres, who won Sunday's finale 7-3, came into the series last in the NL in average, runs, home runs and extra-base hits.Kyle Blanks finished the series 6 for 14 with two homers and six RBIs, while Will Venable went 6 for 11 with four RBIs."Offensively, the three games speak for themselves," manager Bud Black said. "The collection of at-bats from top to bottom were outstanding."San Diego completed the sweep despite having Chase Headley on the bench after he broke his left little finger in Saturday's 13-2 win. Headley, who has team highs of 43 RBIs and a .292 average, is to be evaluated over the next few days.The Padres hopes to stay hot offensively against Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.48 ERA).Pelfrey gave up three runs -- two earned -- and six hits in six innings in last Monday's 7-3, 10-inning loss to Florida. Although the right-hander recorded his 12th quality start, the Mets fell to 8-15 on the season with their opening day starter on the mound.This will be Pelfrey's first start against the Padres since facing them twice last year, allowing two runs and nine hits over 17 innings. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in five career starts versus San Diego.The Padres counter with Tim Stauffer (7-8, 2.96), who has a 1.97 ERA over his last 11 starts.Stauffer beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, permitting six hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 3-0 win.The right-hander lost his only career start against the Mets on Aug. 9, 2009, as he gave up a run and five hits in five innings of a 5-1 defeat.This will be the first meeting of the year between these teams. Their season series concludes next week in San Diego.