The Oakland Athletics may be scuffling a bit on offense, but their struggles seem small in comparison to recent hitting woes of the New York Mets. The Athletics, who host the Mets on Tuesday for the first of two games, return home after dropping five straight for the first time since May 6-10, 2013. Oakland (73-51) has owned the best record in the majors for much of the season, but the slide has allowed the Los Angeles Angels (73-50) to take a one-half game lead in the American League West.

The Athletics' league-best offense has been grounded in August, batting an AL-worst .224 and averaging 3.7 runs since dealing Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester at the trade deadline. The Mets managed a four-game split with the Chicago Cubs despite tying a dubious team record on Monday by becoming the first team in 10 years to produce four hits or fewer in five consecutive games. Although New York ended its six-game streak of recording one extra-base hit or less in the 4-1 loss to the Cubs, it is the only team with a lower team batting average in August than the Athletics (.206).

TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), CSN California (Oakland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Dillon Gee (4-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. Athletics LH Scott Kazmir (13-5, 2.78)

Gee fell to 0-4 with a 5.60 ERA in six starts since July 9 following Thursday's 4-1 setback versus Washington. The 28-year-old Texas native, who gave up four runs on four hits and four walks in six frames in the outing, has surrendered two homers in three of his last six turns during the longest winless streak of his career. Gee is 5-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 11 all-time interleague starts, but was roughed up in his only career outing against the Athletics in 2011, yielding four runs on three hits and six walks over four innings.

Much like his team, Kazmir has struggled in August, falling to 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA this month after allowing three runs in seven frames in a loss at Kansas City on Wednesday. The rough stretch comes after the former Mets farmhand, who has already matched his career high in victories, went 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in four July outings. Kazmir was pounded for seven runs in three innings in a loss to the Mets on June 24, evening his mark at 1-1 in two career starts against the team that traded him away in 2004.


1. During its lackluster run in August, Oakland is 3-10 when scoring three runs or fewer and 4-0 when scoring four runs or more.

2. Mets 2B Daniel Murphy's ninth-inning double in Monday's loss was the 187th of his career, tying him with Daryl Strawberry for eighth on the club's all-time list.

3. Athletics RHP Fernando Abad has stranded all 23 of his inherited runners - the best mark among major-league relievers that have not allowed an inherited runner to score.

PREDICTION: Athletics 6, Mets 2