Inside Pitch: Milledge slumping

Lastings Milledge was not in Sunday's lineup.

Lastings Milledge was not in the lineup Sunday, but manager Willie Randolph said it was a matter of giving playing time to Ricky Ledee and Endy Chavez as opposed to being unhappy with the rookie outfielder.

Since Milledge's recall from Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 1, he is hitting .179 (5-for-28) with eight strikeouts and three RBIs.

"I'm just not getting any hits, and that's the name of the game," Milledge said. "I haven't lost any confidence. A lot of great players have had problems in their first year."

Randolph said the Mets' double-digit lead in the National League East has afforded them the opportunity to play Milledge without pressure.

"With the situation we have in the standings, we can sit back and watch him play," Randolph said. "I don't want to overanalyze every at-bat."

REPLAY: Steve Trachsel threw 6 2/3 strong innings and Michael Tucker hit his 125th career homer in the eighth inning Sunday to lead the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Nationals.

Tucker, released by the Nationals at the end of spring training, refused to bite on the revenge angle. "It's another game," he said. "It doesn't matter what team it is."

It was Tucker's first homer since July 17, 2005, when he was playing for San Francisco.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Mets manager Willie Randolph plans to use six starters when the rosters are expanded in an effort to rest them for the postseason. What he's not planning on is limiting their pitch counts.
  • INF Chris Woodward, who has had only 11 at-bats since July 24, is expected to start Monday at Philadelphia.
  • RHP John Maine continues to impress Willie Randolph with his composure, but the Mets manager said it is premature to speculate whether he Maine will be in the playoff rotation. Maine's scoreless streak ended Saturday at 26 innings, as he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against Washington.
  • OF Lastings Milledge is 5-for-28 (.179) since he was recalled Aug. 1 from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • OF Michael Tucker, released by Washington coming out of spring training, hit a homer in the eighth inning against the Nationals to lift the Mets to a 3-1 victory Sunday. It was his first homer since July 17, 2005, when he was with San Francisco.
  • LHP Billy Wagner took over 15th place on the all-time saves list with his 312th Sunday at Washington. Next up is Robb Nen with 314.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of Mets with at least 74 RBIs.

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