Such is the strategy for a San Francisco squad eyeing a second National League West title in three years and a New York club that has exceeded the expectations of many who presumed it would find comfort near the basement of the NL East.
The Giants added pop to their lineup in dealing for outfielder Hunter Pence, who went 0-for-4 in his debut Wednesday.
"It's great to pencil his name in there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're excited about it."
They also added versatility with the acquisition of infielder Marco Scutaro. He'll help man the hot corner while everyday third baseman Pablo Sandoval recovers from a strained hamstring.
For the Mets, stability in the starting rotation will be paramount if the club is to maintain its clutch on third place in the division. Outside of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, the Mets' starters have been shaky, especially with Johan Santana shelved for about another week and righty Dillon Gee out for the season. Jon Niese delivered a stellar outing Wednesday, but the Mets are now relying on youngsters Jeremy Hefner and Matt Harvey to shoulder some of the burden.
Chris Young (2-5, 4.58 ERA), an All-Star with San Diego in 2007, hasn't been too consistent. He'll get the nod against the Giants on Thursday in the final tilt of a four-game set at AT&T Park.
In Young's last outing, he surrendered six runs on seven hits in four innings of a 6-3 loss to Arizona.
"It was just too inconsistent," Young said of his outing. "Physically, I felt good. That's what's disappointing, is I felt better than the way I pitched. But that's part of it. I'll keep working and hopefully I'll be better in five days."
Mets: Wheeler promoted to Triple-A
On Wednesday, the Mets vaulted top prospect Zack Wheeler to Triple-A Buffalo, one day after he struck out a season-high 11 batters in his final start for Double-A Binghamton.
"Everybody's raving about his stuff," Collins said. "It's the same thing with any young pitcher: He's got to learn how to command it."
Wheeler, 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA for Binghamton this year, went to the Mets last July in exchange for outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Closer Frank Francisco is expected to join the Mets for their weekend series in San Diego. The right-hander threw a scoreless inning Wednesday for Binghamton.
Giants: Zito eager to embrace home stretch
Barry Zito (8-7 3.89 ERA), who will start for San Francisco on Thursday, has been a bright spot for the Giants this season. Though he suffered the loss in his most recent outing, a 10-0 drubbing at the hands of the Dodgers, Zito said he's looking forward to pitching in a pennant race during the final two months of the regular season.
"That's how we like it. It's the Major Leagues," Zito said. "We're excited to come down to the wire and fight it out for the next two months."
Pence, who hit .271 with 17 homers and 59 RBIs in 101 games for Philadelphia this season prior to the trade, expects his numbers to improve in San Francisco.
"I think it's more than likely it's going to get better," Pence said. "I don't think my swing has been in the greatest rhythm. We have to find out in the next two months, but it has to get better. All of July I was really off. I caught something these last few games, though, that has felt really good."
Giants outfielder Angel Pagan missed Tuesday's contest with a bruised hand, but pinch-hit during Wednesday's game.
Mets outfielder Andres Torres was out of the lineup for a second straight game Wednesday with an injured right thumb, though he did come on as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the ninth.