The Mets started to get rolling over the weekend only to leave a sour taste in their fans’ mouths on Sunday with a blowout loss to the Angels in the series finale. It seems like we’re saying this a lot these days, but that loss only counts as one and the Mets still have plenty of time to right the ship.
Soon, they might have the talent to do so as well. Steven Matz and Yoenis Cespedes are both really close to 100 percent and will be tremendously helpful to New York’s efforts. Cespedes will be useful because he’s awesome and Matz will be useful because he’s not Tommy Milone. I still believe in Milone, though, despite what happened on Sunday. As long as every home run he gives up from here on out comes with nobody on base, he’s going to be just fine. Even if Milone doesn’t get that lucky, let’s wait for Matt Harvey to have a quality start before we kick the new guy to the curb.
Anyway, before the reinforcements arrive, the Mets can make some headway in the National League by beating up on this horrible San Diego Padres team that is 14th in the senior circuit in both runs scored and runs allowed per game. Yes, the Mets are the one team below the Friars in runs allowed, but at least our boys can score a little bit.
Until Matz returns, we’ll have to rely on the current crop of arms, but San Diego does plenty to limit run scoring on their own end. First baseman Wil Myers is having another nice season with 11 home runs and an .862 OPS, but he’s slowed down recently with no hits in his last four games and a .768 OPS this month. Plus, it’s hard to be too scared of Myers when the two guys batting behind him are Yangervis Solarte (.226/.302/.327) and Hunter Renfroe (.218/.275/.412). That’s a lot of outs coming from the middle of the order, but to Renfroe’s credit, he had three hits including a double on Sunday and has a .338 on-base percentage in May.
The most interesting guy in San Diego’s lineup might be Ryan Schimpf, who was drafted out of LSU back in 2009 but didn’t make the majors until last season as a 28-year-old. That persistence makes Schimpf inspiring enough, but what’s really fascinating is how he might be the most three-true-outcomes guy ever. Despite his unsightly .165 batting average, Schimpf has 10 home runs and a .303 OBP, two figures that combine to make him somewhat useful at third base. Of his 155 plate appearances this season, 86 of them (55 percent) have ended in a strikeout, a walk, or a home run. In fact, Schimpf has only 11 hits that haven’t cleared the wall in 2017.
Jose Reyes is expected to play in this series after missing Sunday’s game with a tight ribcage, and that could give the Mets a boost. Although Reyes is still only hitting .205/.282/.329 for the season, he’s got six hits in his last three games played and has only struck out five times in May compared to 17 times in April. That’s all the improvement New York needs to see to keep Reyes in the lineup, at least until Asdrubal Cabrera is ready to play again or the front office shows a willingness to call up Amed Rosario.
Elsewhere near the top of the order, we’re hopeful that Jay Bruce can spark a return to his hot play with that three-run home run he hit on Sunday. After carrying the offense for the first month of the campaign, the longtime Cincinnati outfielder has a .709 OPS with four home runs in May. New York’s offense has deepened lately with the emergence of Neil Walker and Rene Rivera plus the return of Lucas Duda, but it would still be nice if Bruce could provide value more consistently.
Tuesday, May 23: Jhoulys Chacin
Important stats: 52.2 IP, 43 K, 18 BB, 7 HR, 4.61 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 1.25 WHIP
Favorite pitches: slider (80 mph), two-seam fastball (91 mph), four-seam fastball (91 mph)
This former Colorado right-hander has pretty intense home/road splits so far. At Petco Park in San Diego, he’s allowed just two runs in four starts, but everywhere else Chacin has an 8.67 ERA. However, his last road outing wasn’t so bad, with three runs allowed in six-plus innings against the White Sox. Overall, he’s doing a good job providing the Padres with the solid innings they need, and his 54-percent ground ball rate could make him attractive at the trade deadline if he cuts back on the disasters away from home.
Mets starter, Matt Harvey: Speaking of disasters... at least this guy is relatively healthy, right? Seriously, though, even if he didn’t impress during his latest start in Phoenix, Harvey showed some positive signs when he struck out Paul Goldschmidt twice and got a positive review from Dan Warthen. On the other hand, he also checked off all the boxes on the “lousy Harvey start” list. Almost as many walks as strikeouts? Check. fewer than six innings pitched? Check. At least one home run allowed? Yup.
Wednesday, May 24: Jarred Cosart
Important stats: 13.1 IP, 7 K, 7 BB, 0 HR, 2.70 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 1.50 WHIP
Favorite pitches: sinker (93 mph), four-seam fastball (93 mph), knuckle curve (78 mph)
Ah, Jarred Cosart. You might remember him from such films as “The Phillies just made another trade that ensured their 2008 title will be their last one ever” and “That time the Mets inexplicably lost to the Marlins.” The latter has a lot of sequels, but the original is the best, I promise you. The 26-year-old has been a starter for pretty much his whole big league career, but he started 2017 in the bullpen before Trevor Cahill got hurt and forced San Diego to make a change. After a couple of fill-in outings in April, Cosart suffered a hamstring injury himself and just recently returned with a solid five innings of one-run ball against Milwaukee last Thursday.
Mets starter, Robert Gsellman: Jacob deGrom endured a blister during his last start, and Zack Wheeler needs a day off as well. Those two factors mean that Gsellman returns to the rotation a little earlier than expected. The California native has been a disappointment so far this season, but his latest relief outing went pretty well. That’s the only really good thing I can say about him, though. Oh, he’s still got a pretty nasty ground ball rate; that’s something. Still, Gsellman hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning since April 19 and is barely ahead of Milone in the “pitchers we enjoy watching” pecking order.
Thursday, May 25: Mystery starter
This was supposed to be Jered Weaver’s place in the rotation, but he’s been placed on the disabled list with hip inflammation after allowing seven runs in less than an inning during his last start. San Diego hasn’t announced a replacement yet, but the team could just use rotation regular Luis Perdomo in this spot. Thanks to the day off on Monday, he’d be working on four days of rest, and the 24-year-old Dominican threw just 78 pitches in his last start. Unfortunately, that was due to him allowing eight runs in three innings to Arizona.
Mets starter, Jacob deGrom: deGrom was incredible for seven innings while helping the Mets shut out the Angels on Friday night, so of course something has to be wrong with him. Hopefully this troublesome blister is cleared up thanks to the extra day of rest and deGrom is ready to rock on Thursday night. New York’s best active pitcher is having a great strikeout year so far, but fans would gladly trade in some of those swings and misses for fewer home runs and walks.
The Padres did a great job last year by trading away Fernando Rodney while he still had value. Not even a year later, the veteran closer is unfit even for the Mets’ desperate relief situation. The bad news is that now San Diego has Brandon Maurer in the closer role, and he hasn’t been successful with a 6.88 ERA and two blown saves in his last three opportunities. However, manager Andy Green would be best served sticking with Maurer since he has 22 strikeouts and four walks in 17 innings pitched. The real problem has been a .400 BABIP and 52-percent strand rate, so it seems that Maurer’s ERA is destined to shrink.
Mets brass should be on the lookout for guys like Maurer who have a much higher ERA than FIP since they can be potential trade candidates. If New York hopes to contend for a National League postseason spot, a bullpen acquisition will probably be necessary just to spread out the innings a little more. Terry Collins is already trying out some new guys, but Neil Ramirez’s first two appearances have not gone well, and Gsellman is about to be slotted back in the rotation. Fortunately, Paul Sewald is here to save the day, as he was brought into a high-leverage situation on Friday night and got a huge strikeout. We’re only going to see more of Sewald in the coming games with the way Hansel Robles has pitched recently. He’s allowed multiple runs in his last three outings and is unusable until he regains Collins’s trust.
How will the Mets fare against the Padres this week?
This poll is closed
Assert dominance with a sweep!
Win two of three.
Win one of three.
Hopefully we’ll be numb to this soon.