Diamondbacks-Mets preview

NEW YORK -- A lot has changed for Arizona pitcher Zack Greinke and the New York Mets since they last saw one another. Greinke will do his best Tuesday night to send the Mets another step closer to joining his Diamondbacks in playing out the string on Tuesday night.

Greinke is scheduled to come off the disabled list and start against the Mets in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field on Tuesday.

It will be the first time Greinke faces the Mets since last Oct. 15, when he allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings and took the loss as the Mets edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series.

Greinke made one of the most surprising decisions of the off-season six weeks later, when he signed a six-year deal with the Diamondbacks worth $206 million instead of returning to the Dodgers, for whom he had formed a lethal 1-2 punch atop the rotation with left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

The decision has not worked out as anticipated for either the Diamondbacks or Greinke. Arizona expected to challenge the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants for the NL West crown but entered Monday with a 45-66 record, tied for the second-worst mark in the majors.

Greinke is a robust 10-3, but his ERA of 3.62 is more than twice as high as the 1.66 ERA he fashioned last year. He appeared to be rounding into peak form in June, when he posted a 1.63 ERA in six starts before suffering a left oblique injury on June 28. He said he felt fine in a rehab start for Triple-A Reno last Wednesday, when he gave up five runs over five innings and hoped the poor results weren't a harbinger of things to come in the majors.

"They've always been really bad outings for me," Greinke said, referring to previous rehab stints. "And then I always do bad once I get back to the big leagues, too. Hopefully that part will change."

The defending NL champion Mets will be looking for some change themselves. New York (54-51) has not won two straight games since July 6-7 yet finished play Sunday just two games behind the Miami Marlins in the race for the NL's second wild-card spot.

"We've got to start winning some games," said Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, who homered in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Detroit Tigers. "I think we know we're going to get hot here sometime soon. So there is that urgency."

Left-hander Steven Matz is scheduled to take the mound for the Mets against Greinke. Matz took the loss in his most recent start last Wednesday, when he gave up six runs over six innings as the Mets fell to the New York Yankees 9-5 at Yankee Stadium. The loss dropped Matz to 1-7 in his last 12 starts, a stretch in which he has a 4.54 ERA.