Two former teammates who endured up-and-down first halves square off in Milwaukee on Saturday night as the Mets look to clinch the series against the Brewers and win a third consecutive outing for beleaguered starter Shaun Marcum.
Marcum spent 2011 and '12 with the Brewers, compiling a record of 20-11 with a 3.60 ERA in 54 starts. His New York debut in '13 got off to a nightmarish start, as the Mets won just two of his first 11 starts.
In his past two starts, Marcum has finally been able to distance himself from a 0-9 start to the season, tossing eight scoreless innings in a win over the White Sox and scattering six hits over six innings in the Mets' 5-4 extra-innings win over the D-backs on Monday. However, Marcum experienced some "tingling" in his right hand during his last start, and the Mets planned to hold back long reliever Carlos Torres in case Marcum is forced to miss Saturday's start.
"It's the same stuff he had in Spring Training," manager Terry Collins said. "It tightens up in the upper back. But he pitched with it the other day. I don't know what inning it started bothering him a little bit, so we thought we'd get him looked at. He's fine."
Seeking his first win since June 15, Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo has been pitching amid rumors he may be shipped out before the Trade Deadline. The 27-year-old right-hander is due $7.75 million this season and $11.25 million in 2014, with a $13 million club option for '15 or a $600,000 buyout.
"We've got control over Yo for this year, next year and an option year -- and it's at a pretty friendly price for the type of pitcher he is," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "So unless [Brewers general manager] Doug [Melvin] gets something that really makes sense, he's going to be with us."
"You can think about it all you want, but there's nothing you can do," Gallardo said of the swirling trade rumors. "There's really nothing you can do. You just have to go out there and pitch, and then wait around to see what happens. It's already hard enough to pitch at this level to begin with, so the last thing you need is to be thinking about things like that."
After three consecutive starts between June 10-20 without allowing an earned run, Gallardo has allowed 11 earned runs in seven innings over his last two outings.
"That's baseball," Roenicke said after Monday's 10-5 loss to the Nationals. "You don't expect to see it from Yovani because he's been so consistent in his career, but he's at a point right now where, for some reason, he's deep in counts almost every batter. You can't survive if you keep doing that."
Brewers: BP for Braun
As the next step in his return from a right hand injury he sustained on June 9, outfielder Ryan Braun will take batting practice on the field before Saturday's game.
While there is still no timetable on Braun's return, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner took swings on back-to-back days on Tuesday and Wednesday for the first time since his injury. When he is cleared to play again, Braun will stay with the Brewers instead of being sent down for a Minor League rehab assignment.
• The first three players in Brewers' batting order on Friday night -- Norichika Aoki (.296), Jean Segura (.322) and Carlos Gomez (.320) -- all rank among the top 20 batting averages in the NL through Friday night's action. Only the Cardinals have more players in the top 20.
Mets: Extra innings exploits
The Mets played their 10th extra-inning game of the season on Thursday, falling, 5-4, to the D-backs in 15 innings. Paired with Monday night's 5-4 win in 13 innings, Thursday's outcome marked the second time this season the Mets have played two extra-inning games in the same series.
• First baseman Ike Davis went 3-for-5 with two RBIs on Friday in his return from a four-week stint with Triple-A Las Vegas. After a dreadful start to the 2013 season, Davis tweaked his swing during his Minor League stint and hit .293 with seven home runs in 75 Minor League at-bats.
The move will likely push Josh Satin, who has hit .375 during his current 10-game hitting streak, out of the everyday lineup. Satin has been an offensive revelation since seeing significant playing time during the team's mid-June series in Atlanta and may see time at second, third or in left field with Davis' return to first base.
• After Friday night's game, the Mets improved to 7-14 against the NL Central this year, while the Brewers fell to 11-7 against the NL East.
• The Mets produced their second-highest run total of the season in Friday night's 12-5 win.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.