Well, that just happened. The Mets were demolished in a four-game series by the Dodgers, who hit 15 home runs and outscored New York 36-11. Now 10 games under .500 and 12 out of the National League East lead, the blue and orange brigade is facing a seemingly insurmountable climb back into the postseason race.
Never to fear, though. There is still plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks. There’s the trade deadline! And perhaps even the promotion of some exciting prospects? Just kidding with that second part. The trade deadline should be fun, though, and so should this upcoming series in San Francisco. It turns out that the Giants with their 27 wins and -91 run differential are even bigger losers than the Mets are. Bruce Bochy’s team is so miserable that it just lost 9 of its last 10 games, including three out of four to Atlanta this week.
The really sad part is that San Francisco — who, like the Mets, was considered a postseason contender back in April — hasn’t even been hurt by that many injuries save for the sprained shoulder that Madison Bumgarner suffered in a dirt bike accident. Even if the legendary lefty was healthy, he wouldn’t be able to completely rescue his team from a floundering offense that is one of the worst in franchise history.
The Giants would be better served with some better luck with runners in scoring position, but still, they are last in the National League in slugging and second-to-last in on-base percentage. This is mostly about guys not named Buster Posey failing to produce like they have in the past. Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence in particular are having miserable seasons, as both players are slugging under .400 while failing to get on base 30 percent of the time.
At least Denard Span is heating up lately with hits in eight of his last nine games, including Thursday night when he didn’t even start. San Francisco could use some production out of the top of the lineup, especially with Eduardo Nunez continuing to sit out with a hamstring injury. It has become apparent that the Giants should have put him on the disabled list last week, but at least Kelby Tomlinson is there to fill in. Never mind, he has zero extra-base hits in 61 at-bats this year.
The bullpen situation isn’t as bad for San Francisco, but it’s taken a blow recently when Derek Law gave up multiple runs in three straight outings. The promising young right-hander was filling in for Mark Melancon at closer when the Mets last saw the Giants, but now he’s down at Triple-A to work out his issues. In his place is Kyle Crick, a rookie from Texas who is looking to carve out his own role in the pen. He had a great debut in Atlanta on Thursday and will be someone to watch this weekend.
Meanwhile, Mets fans will be watching to see if Asdrubal Cabrera takes over second base when he makes his expected return from injury this weekend. The switch, which would make Jose Reyes the regular shortstop, has been hinted at this week, but it’s doubtful to make a big impact on New York’s porous infield defense.
It will also be interesting to see what happens in the leadoff spot, where Curtis Granderson has hit first-inning home runs off of southpaws in the last two games. The Grandy Man was supposed to be the odd man out of the crowded outfield situation, but he could play his way into the lineup more often, especially if Michael Conforto continues to scuffle.
Friday, June 23: Seth Lugo vs. Ty Blach, 10:15 p.m. on SNY
Lugo: 13.2 IP, 11 K, 4 BB, 2 HR, 2.63 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 1.24 WHIP
The temporary insertion of Tyler Pill into the starting rotation allows for Lugo to take an extra day of rest in advance of his first ever start at AT&T Park. He’s coming off a game in which he allowed one earned run in each of the first three innings against Washington before settling down and letting in just one unearned run during the next three-and-two-thirds frames. So far in 2017, Lugo is relying more on his curveball and changeup than he did last year, so it will be fun to see if that continues going forward.
Blach: 76.2 IP, 35 K, 16 BB, 7 HR, 4.23 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 1.23 WHIP
The lefty out of Creighton has been able to work surprisingly deep into games for a guy who started the season in the bullpen. Blach has finished the seventh inning in six of his 10 starts, including a complete game shutout in Philadelphia on June 2. Since then, he hasn’t been quite as good, with his ERA rising about a run over his last three outings. Nevertheless, Blach has done a good job this year making batters earn their way on while at the same time not surrendering too many home runs.
Saturday, June 24: Jacob deGrom vs. Johnny Cueto, 7:15 p.m. on FOX
deGrom: 89.0 IP, 106 K, 36 BB, 13 HR, 3.94 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 1.33 WHIP
While preventing a sweep against Washington last Sunday, deGrom had his second straight brilliant performance. He went eight innings against New York’s rivals while letting up just one unearned run. Walks continue to be a bit of an issue for deGrom, but Mets fans these days are just glad to have one pitcher in the rotation who’s capable of blowing opponents away. Since Washington boats the best offense in the league, expectations will be sky-high for this start in the Bay Area.
Cueto: 93.2 IP, 90 K, 25 BB, 17 HR, 4.42 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 1.30 WHIP
Like many a pitcher in baseball this year, Cueto’s ERA has been ruined by the home run ball. It would help if the Dominican right-hander’s ground ball rate hadn’t decreased by 10 percent, but he’s still pitching at a level closer to his incredible 2016 than the ERA indicates. With six home runs allowed over four starts this month, Cueto is now up to 1.63 home runs allowed per nine innings in 2017.
Sunday, June 25: Rafael Montero vs. Matt Moore, 4:05 p.m. on SNY
Montero: 26.1 IP, 28 K, 19 BB, 2 HR, 6.49 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 2.09 WHIP
In order to continue New York’s plan of starting everyone in the rotation on five days of rest, Montero will step in and make a spot start on Sunday. It could turn into something more if Zack Wheeler needs more than 10 days on the disabled list, but hopefully we won’t see too much more of Montero in the rotation this year. On the bright side, his last two relief outings weren’t bad. In total, he allowed just one run in six-and-two-thirds innings with eight strikeouts and two walks. Those numbers would make for a fine start for the 26-year-old, so there’s some hope for a quality outing despite Montero’s absurd WHIP figure.
Moore: 85.0 IP, 71 K, 32 BB, 12 HR, 5.82 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 1.58 WHIP
The Giants have to be thrilled that Moore has been able to stay healthy so far in 2017, but his performance could use a boost. So far this month, he’s got an 8.55 ERA thanks to a recent blow-up in Denver, but his latest outing in Atlanta went pretty well with just three runs and one walk allowed in seven frames. Since he’s such a fly-ball pitcher, you’d expect Moore to have success at home, and that’s been exactly the case. At AT&T Park, he sports a 3.07 ERA compared to a 8.39 mark on the road.
Prediction: Mets win two of three.
How will the Mets fare in San Francisco this weekend?
This poll is closed
Don’t leave California without a sweep!
Win two of three.
Win one of three.
Sell, sell, sell!