Talkin' Shoppach

ST. LOUIS -- Most major league clubs welcome the addition and the presence of a veteran catcher who can help a young pitching staff through the season.

Enter catcher Kelly Shoppach. With prior stops in Cleveland and Tampa Bay, working with younger staffs has become his specialty.

"I like the way he calls a game," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "He's done a good job."

Since arriving to the Mets on Aug. 14 in a trade with the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named, Shoppach has guided the staff and has provided a steadying influence.

"Anybody who played in Tampa Bay, with all of those young pitchers coming up there, you've got to know how to work them, you have to know their strengths and weaknesses," said Collins. "He's continued that over with our guys."

SIX AND COUNTING: Reliever Robert Carson has been near perfect since being recalled from Buffalo on Aug. 21. Entering Monday's game, the lefty has not allowed a run in his last six appearances over a span of 3 2/3 innings. Right-handed batters are hitting only .231 off him.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Third baseman David Wright ranks third in the NL with a .333 road batting average. Prior to Monday's start he was 85-for-255 with nine home runs. His .314 batting average is fifth in the league and he is tied for second in doubles with 37.