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The Mets will battle in Seattle without Lucas Duda

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We’re going to miss the big guy, but there’s still a lot of work to get done.

Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At 51-52, the Mariners aren’t anything to write home about this year. In fact, they have the same number of losses as the Mets, but thanks to the mediocrity of the American League, Seattle is just three-and-a-half games back of the Wild Card instead of nine back like the Mets are.

Maybe it’s a good thing that the Mets aren’t within spitting distance of the postseason, though. We all know that the team is flawed, and this way they won’t throw minor league talent away to acquire David Phelps like Seattle did last week. It’s not as though Phelps isn’t a decent relief pitcher, but he’s not a high-impact guy for a team that’s already getting solid right-handed bullpen work from Tony Zych and Nick Vincent.

Instead, the Mariners could have traded for Lucas Duda, the wonderful first baseman who the Mets just sent to Tampa Bay on Thursday evening. Seattle’s current first baseman Danny Valencia can crush lefties, but he’s only hitting .257/.304/.391 against right-handed hurlers this season.

Overall, Seattle’s lineup is pretty deep thanks to a surprisingly strong performance from former Yankees farmhand Ben Gamel as well as newcomer Jean Segura, who’s done a good job replicating his breakout campaign for Arizona last year. Segura isn’t hitting for the type of power that made him such an attractive trade target over the winter, but there’s plenty of that in the middle of the order with Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano combining for 39 home runs.

With Duda jettisoned to the AL East, we’ll likely see Jay Bruce play some first base for the Mets so that Michael Conforto can be in the lineup every day. The new arrangement should also allow the team to continue showcasing Curtis Granderson, as he could be the next player to say goodbye to Queens. The other “hug watch” guy to look out for is Asdrubal Cabrera, and he’s doing his best to stand out with seven hits and just one strikeout during the San Diego series.

In the bullpen, we’ll be keeping our eye on Hansel Robles, who could play a key role next year for a franchise that doesn’t like to break the bank on relief pitchers. After two scoreless innings in San Diego on Wednesday night, he’s got nine strikeouts, one walk, and one run allowed in five-plus innings since his mid-July promotion. In fact, Robles has been pretty great overall this year save for a three-game stretch in May that saw him completely blow up with 12 runs allowed in fewer than three frames. The Mets are bound to trade Addison Reed before August 1, but maybe next year’s bullpen isn’t so hopeless with Robles improving and help coming from whichever starters don’t make the rotation.

Probable pitchers

Friday, July 28: Rafael Montero vs. Ariel Miranda, 10:10 p.m. on SNY

Montero: 52.0 IP, 52 K, 26 BB, 5 HR, 5.19 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 1.73 WHIP

The ERA and WHIP might not show it yet, but Montero is slowly working his way back into the good graces of Mets fans. Last Sunday he had his longest outing of the season with seven innings, and he managed to make it a quality start despite three home runs allowed. That barrage may have been karmic payback for the way Montero has avoided home runs in 2017, but at least his BABIP is finally starting to drop, and with only one walk allowed in each of his last three games, opponents are finding it harder to reach base against him.

Miranda: 115.0 IP, 88 K, 39 BB, 22 HR, 4.30 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 1.16 WHIP

This former Baltimore prospect was traded for Wade Miley at last year’s trade deadline, and the deal is already paying off for Seattle. While Miley is leading the league with 62 walks and owns a 5.69 ERA, Miranda has been somewhat decent despite allowing a monstrous amount of home runs. That problem probably isn’t going away since the Cuban southpaw is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, something that should keep him from allowing many base hits throughout his career.

Saturday, July 29: Jacob deGrom vs. Yovani Gallardo, 4:10 p.m. on SNY

deGrom: 133.2 IP, 152 K, 42 BB, 19 HR, 3.30 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 1.16 WHIP

Last Monday was another day and another deep start for deGrom, and if he keeps on like this, we’ll be talking about him as a dark horse Cy Young candidate in September. On the other hand, there are probably some folks who would like to see New York’s ace shut down later in the year if the Mets are out of contention, but those people hate fun. Baseball is supposed to be fun, and pitchers only learn to pitch 200 innings by pitching 200 innings.

Gallardo: 92.0 IP, 70 K, 40 BB, 14 HR, 5.58 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.49 WHIP

Gallardo was sent to the bullpen after allowing 18 runs in 21 innings during June, but he’s back in the rotation now that Sam Gaviglio has proven equally ineffective. In his return to starting pitching, the Mexican right-hander gave up three solo home runs to the Yankees but held them to just those three runs in five innings. Back in his Brewers days, Gallardo used to strike out a batter per inning, but he’s missing fewer bats nowadays, and that’s making his control issues tougher to deal with.

Sunday, July 30: Seth Lugo vs. James Paxton, 4:10 p.m. on PIX11

Lugo: 52.2 IP, 34 K, 14 BB, 6 HR, 4.10 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 1.35 WHIP

Lugo wasn’t mentioned much in trade talks before a rumor dropped earlier this week about the Cubs being interested in him for his spin rate and breakout potential. Of course, those two factors are good reasons for the Mets to hold onto the Louisiana native, especially as their last bumper crop of hurlers becomes more expensive. With a 3.32 career ERA and five years of team control remaining, Lugo is building up a track record that could make him a cost-effective asset for a long time.

Paxton: 101.1 IP, 117 K, 31 BB, 5 HR, 2.84 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 1.11 WHIP

Felix Hernandez might not be the dominant boss he once was, but Mariners fans have a new ace to enjoy in the 28-year-old Paxton. He’s now second in the majors in FIP after holding Boston scoreless for seven innings on Monday, and it’s hard to see him slowing down anytime soon due to his steady development over the past three seasons. The Canadian lefty hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since June ended, so we could be looking at another no-fun Sunday for the Metsies.

Prediction: Mets win two of three.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in Seattle this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Put Seattle to sleep with a sweep!
    (19 votes)
  • 21%
    Win two of three.
    (27 votes)
  • 35%
    Win one of three.
    (45 votes)
  • 12%
    Maybe the Mets just needed more coffee.
    (16 votes)
  • 16%
    Pizza!
    (21 votes)
128 votes total Vote Now