Carlos Gomez still loves going back to New York. Not because it means playing against the Mets, the team that signed him, brought him to the big leagues and traded him away, but because it means some good Dominican cooking.
"I have so much family there, a lot of aunts, and my wife has even more family there than me," Gomez said. "It's like I'm home."
Gomez will be "home" from Tuesday through Thursday, when the Brewers finish the first portion of their travel-heavy June with a three-game series at Citi Field.
Gomez has already played six regular-season games at Citi Field as a visitor, plus the 2013 All-Star Game, so the novelty has worn off. But it's another chance for Mets fans to see the type of difference-maker Gomez has become, all these years later after New York shipped him to Minnesota in the Johan Santana trade. He entered Sunday third in the National League with 31 extra-base hits and was in the top 10 in OPS, total bases, slugging percentage, runs, doubles, batting average, home runs and stolen bases.
Gomez is hitting cleanup these days and has been taking some very confident swings on this road trip, on more than one occasion going down to one knee after a whiff. But manager Ron Roenicke shrugged off the idea that Gomez is swinging harder while hitting fourth.
"He was doing that leading off, too. I don't think it's [more pronounced]," Roenicke said. "I can remember the first pitch of a game doing the same thing, down on a knee with the helmet off. Gomey, from game to game, he's different. Sometimes he's a little more subdued and he's trying to hit the ball to right field, and some days it's the full gorilla, trying to hit it 600 feet pulled down the line. I don't know what I'm getting from day to day.
"It seems to be working, so let him do whatever," Roenicke said.
Given the state of the Mets generally and their outfield specifically, they probably wish they had a player as dynamic as Gomez. With center fielder/leadoff man Juan Lagares and reserve outfielder Eric Young Jr. both on the disabled list, the New York outfield hasn't packed much of a punch. Curtis Granderson and Chris Young are both batting close to .200.
They will be among those trying to turn things around following the Mets' 11-day, 11-game, three-city, sub-.500 road trip that concluded with a series loss to the owners of the best record in baseball, the Giants.
Not that they get any real break now. After an off-day Monday -- their first since May 19 -- the Mets get the Brewers, who have the second-best mark in the NL at 37-26, for the first half of a six-game homestand.
Brewers: Estrada fighting through funk
Brewers starter Marco Estrada posted a 3.13 ERA in his first six starts and a 5.30 ERA in his last six, and he has surrendered a Major League-leading 18 home runs. He was one of the pitchers Roenicke had in mind this weekend while discussing the Brewers' recent results.
"It's not so automatic like it was, that everybody was having a great outing," Roenicke said. "I still think they're doing a good job of keeping us in ballgames. The offense, obviously, is great for 2-3 weeks and they're keeping us at a point where that offense is able to take over and we get some wins.
"Kyle [Lohse] is locked in, [Matt] Garza's last couple, I thought, were really good. So I think those guys are good. But [Yovani Gallardo] is a little off, Marco's a little off and Wily [Peralta] is a little off. So hopefully we get that figured out."
Wednesday against the Twins, Estrada gave up four runs in six innings. He allowed three walks and six hits, including a homer for the ninth straight start.
Mets: Recker and Teagarden to split time
With regular catcher Travis d'Arnaud working out the kinks in his swing at Triple-A Las Vegas, Anthony Recker and Taylor Teagarden will split time behind the plate for the Mets.
Recker has struggled to make contact consistently at the big league level, striking out 32 times in 90 plate appearances entering Sunday's play. But he does bring power to the lineup, with seven of his 18 hits going for extra bases.
Teagarden, 30, already has six partial Major League seasons on his resume. The Mets informed him of his callup late Saturday night, and Teagarden took an early-morning flight from Las Vegas to meet the team in San Francisco. He spent the entirety of Spring Training in big league camp, so he is plenty familiar with the Mets' pitching staff.
"It's not like I'm coming into a brand new team," Teagarden said. "Hopefully it shouldn't take too much to get acclimated to these guys and get on the same page, so that there's no learning curve."
• Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a second turn through a Major League rotation for the first time since last September. He's been quite versatile for New York since joining the team late last season by appearing in 25 games, including nine starts and all sorts of different relief situations.
Matsuzaka has been effective over the course of those 72 1/3 innings, too, posting a 3.86 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 8.3 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate. Matsuzaka even recorded a save on April 24.
• The Mets' losing streak, which reached six games following their 6-4 loss to San Francisco on Sunday, was their second of at least five games in the last month. They also lost five straight May 5-10. The team's seven walk-off losses are the most in the Majors.
• The Brewers are 18-13 on the road. Their starters this series -- Estrada, Peralta and Lohse -- have a combined 3.95 road ERA this season.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.