We’ve finally made it, guys. These last three games in Philadelphia mark the end of a disappointing regular season and the beginning of an offseason that will hopefully help turn the Mets back into a winning organization. Sure, it’s a little sad that we won’t get to watch the Mets play baseball again until spring training starts up, but it’s also going to be exciting to see how the front office addresses the team’s issues over the next few months.
Or maybe the front office will refuse to spend money and we’ll get stuck with a team that looks an awful like the one that has been taking the field for the past month. That would be sad, especially since Jose Reyes probably won’t keep hitting like he has in September. During the month, he has five home runs, eight stolen bases and a .900 OPS. That’s not enough to convince most fans that the 34-year-old is back to his old self, but it might earn the former All-Star a roster spot with New York in 2018 alongside fellow veteran infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.
Another player likely returning to the Mets is Travis d’Arnaud. He’s also playing well this month by hitting .305/.354/.695 with six home runs. The 28-year-old might never be the All-Star he looked like as a prospect, but he’s looking more and more like a capable starting catcher these days, and that’s better than nothing.
We’ll also get a sneak peek at superstar hurler Noah Syndergaard after he made a one-inning cameo last Saturday against Washington. The Texan could pitch another inning or two on Sunday to whet the appetite of fans who are waiting for New York’s rotation to return to greatness. There doesn’t seem to be much purpose to exposing Syndergaard to game action at this stage in the season, but he should give this season-ending series a little juice, if nothing else.
For Philadelphia fans, all eyes will be on Rhys Hoskins. The rookie slugger hasn’t homered in two weeks, and people are getting worried. Over his last 13 games without a home run, Hoskins is hitting .125/.294/.200, but he continues to draw walks at a solid rate. That’s a good sign for a guy who has found a way to get on base at every level of the minor leagues. Even if Hoskins doesn’t hit another home run for the rest of the season, he’ll enter 2018 as one of the most intriguing sluggers in baseball and perhaps the driving force behind Philadelphia’s return to relevance.
Friday, September 29: Matt Harvey vs. Ben Lively, 7:05 p.m. on SNY
Harvey: 88.2 IP, 64 K, 44 BB, 20 HR, 6.60 ERA, 6.34 FIP, 1.66 WHIP
Just once in his past six starts has Harvey finished the fifth inning or allowed fewer than three runs. Even if he comes out like gangbusters on Friday night and has a solid outing, he’s going to have to prove himself all over again during 2018 spring training. Despite his extended stretches of brilliance and celebrity with the Mets, Harvey has been bad for so long this year that it’s fair to bring his rotation spot into question if he doesn’t look better in March.
Lively: 82.2 IP, 51 K, 24 BB, 11 HR, 4.35 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 1.31 WHIP
Lively isn’t the most exciting pitcher in the world, but he has a future as a mid-rotation starter with the way he eats up innings. Plus, he’s been great against the Mets in 2017 with just three runs allowed in 13.1 innings spread over two starts. Between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the big leagues this year, Lively has thrown nearly 180 innings, so it wouldn’t be crazy to see him shoot for 200 next season as a 26-year-old.
Saturday, September 30: Jacob deGrom vs. Henderson Alvarez, 7:05 p.m. on PIX11
deGrom: 201.1 IP, 239 K, 59 BB, 28 HR, 3.53 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 1.19 WHIP
It’s great to see deGrom making this start considering that some fans thought he would be shut down once the Mets dropped out of contention. The staff’s workhorse and former college shortstop is one of Dan Warthen’s greatest triumphs, so it would be interesting to learn how deGrom feels about the pitching coach possibly nearing the end of his New York tenure.
Alvarez: 10.0 IP, 6 K, 5 BB, 2 HR, 3.60 ERA, 6.06 FIP, 1.40 WHIP
Shoulder issues have kept this former Miami starter from building on his brilliant 2014 campaign, but the resilient Alvarez has worked his way back to the majors with Philadelphia. In his 2017 debut on September 17, he had a chance to perform against the Oakland team that he attempted a comeback with in 2016, but that didn’t work out so well, as Alvarez allowed four runs in five innings. His next outing went much better with five scoreless frames in Atlanta. This weekend is his last chance to build confidence this season, so it’s worth noting that the Venezuelan right-hander pitched a no-hitter four years ago today at the end of the 2013 campaign.
Sunday, October 1: Seth Lugo vs. Nick Pivetta, 3:05 p.m. on SNY
Lugo: 97.1 IP, 81 K, 25 BB, 12 HR, 4.72 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 1.37 WHIP
Lugo’s stock is on the rise as we head into the offseason, as he just shut down Atlanta with six scoreless frames. It was also Lugo’s first start with zero walks this month and his second all season with more than six strikeouts. He’s got 24 strikeouts compared to just five walks in September, so it’s fair to say that Lugo is playing some of the best baseball of his career, even if his ERA doesn’t quite show it.
Pivetta: 128.0 IP, 133 K, 52 BB, 25 HR, 6.26 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 1.52 WHIP
Like Lugo, Pivetta threw six scoreless innings against Atlanta in his latest outing. The good news is that the Mets have had an easier time hitting the Canadian hurler than their rivals. New York has laid six runs on Pivetta in each of his last two starts against the team. On the other hand, Pivetta is doing a better job with his control lately with just seven walks in five starts this month despite a 2017 average of 3.66 walks per nine innings.
Prediction: Mets win two of three.
How will the Mets fare against the Phillies this weekend?
This poll is closed
Finish strong with a sweep!
Win two of three.
Win one of three.
Just wait until next year.