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Series Preview: New York Mets vs. Milwaukee Brewers

The Mets look to score some runs against a team that isn't great at preventing them.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Boy, that weekend was rough, huh? At least we won't have to hear any more about how the Mets' good record is only a product of poor divisional opponents. On the other hand, that's mostly because that record isn't so good anymore. At 36-35, the Mets are tied with Atlanta in the loss column and in danger of falling into third place in the National League East if their offensive struggles continue.

Against the Braves, the Mets were swept because they scored just one total run during great starts by Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Hopefully Miller Park will be a friendlier venue for run scoring as the Mets look to make up ground against a Brewers team that has lost eight of nine games and is now just one loss away from having the worst record in baseball.

The lonely seller's market

Ever since the Brewers got off to a dreadful start this season and fired manager Ron Roenicke, we've been hearing about how they would make a great trade partner for the Mets. After all, it's not every year that a team fires its skipper and still considers itself a candidate for the postseason. It turns out that Milwaukee may have picked the right year to go in the tank, because it seems that every National League team save for the Brewers and Phillies has a chance to at least compete for a Wild Card spot. That makes for quite the seller's market.

But which guys are the Brewers really selling? Dealing with Milwaukee is not going to do the Mets any good if helpful outfielders like Carlos Gomez are considered untouchable, but as Brew Crew Ball points out, anyone can be had for the right price.

Even though Gomez is dealing with a hip injury right now (he could return to the lineup as early as tonight), he's considered a great asset because of his MVP-like performances from the past two seasons as well as his affordable contract. Thanks to an extension he signed before the 2013 season, Gomez is owed just $8 million this year and $9 million next year, making the outfielder one of the best deals in the bigs.

If the Mets are willing to deal from their young pitching talent, we might see talks between them and the Brewers heat up between now and the July 31 trade deadline. Even though Gomez has a difference of 19 percent between his strikeout and walk rates this year, he's maintained his ability to hit the ball hard when he does make contact. That would make him a big improvement on New York's current corner outfielders, Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer.

A more realistic target

Gomez makes such an attractive target because he's the rare available superstar who the Mets would seemingly be able to afford beyond the 2015 season. However, it's those same qualities that will make the trade price on Gomez quite steep. One player who might be a little easier to acquire is Gerardo Parra, who has been surprisingly effective on offense this season.

Always a great defensive player since he broke in with the Diamondbacks in 2010, Parra is hitting .292/.323/.445 this year thanks to a .343 BABIP and an increase in power. Considering that he's 28 years old and has a history of high BABIP, this performance could be a real increase in Parra's offensive value and not just a mirage.

Parra hits free agency after 2015, so he likely would not cost much to acquire. The real question is if he provides enough of an improvement over Granderson and Cuddyer to be worth trading for. Based on Cuddyer's unsurprising drop in power and disturbing rise in strikeout rate, that answer is getting closer and closer to "yes." Granderson might not be worth the money his contract is paying him, but at least he's drawing enough walks and hitting enough home runs to be useful.

More pitching advantages, more problems?

Hey, look. More pitchers the Mets should be able to beat? I'm not going to confirm after last weekend's disaster, but the Brewers certainly don't have the most intimidating rotation in the world. Tonight's starter, Mike Fiers, is at least better than his 4.50 ERA would indicate. He's striking out around 10 batters per nine innings, which he did last year while throwing a 2.13 ERA in 71.2 innings. The big difference is that the right-hander's walk rate has gone up two percent while his BABIP has risen an insane 160 points.

The true Fiers is probably somewhere in between the 2014 and 2015 versions, and based off that strikeout rate, he still has a chance to be a late-blooming contributor. His opponent tonight is Jon Niese, who has rolled out three straight quality starts in June to give the Steven Matz train some pause. However, Niese still depends too much on this Mets defense to make you comfortable on any given night.

Jimmy Nelson is a guy who hasn't been able to replicate his minor league strikeout rates in the big leagues. Add to that his rising walk and home run rates, and you've got a player who is still struggling to prove that he can be a consistent starter. Nelson will go up against Bartolo Colon, who has thrown too many clunkers this season, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is still outstanding enough to give the Mets a chance if the ball stays in the yard.

Date Time Television Mets Probable Starter Brewers Probable Starter
June 23, 2015 8:10 PM SNY Jon Niese Mike Fiers
June 24, 2015 8:10 PM SNY Bartolo Colon Jimmy Nelson
June 25, 2015 2:10 PM SNY, MLBN Jacob deGrom Taylor Jungmann

Finally, we have deGrom looking to continue his streak of excellent starts against rookie right-hander Taylor Jungmann. The kid has been pretty impressive in his first three major league starts with 14 strikeouts, four walks, and seven runs allowed in 18 innings. However, prior to getting called up, Jungmann was walking four batters per nine innings at Triple-A for two straight seasons. Some quick math tells me that he's walked half that many in the bigs so far. Hopefully the Mets will be able to break him.

Oh, and after deGrom is amazing again, can we finally admit that he's the best pitcher on the team?

Prediction: Mets win two out of three, please?

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