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Mets take on red hot Cardinals in St. Louis

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The Mets travel to Busch Stadium for a three-game set with the first-place Redbirds.

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The New York Mets (14-6) continue their road trip with a stop in St. Louis to begin a three-game series with the Cardinals (13-8). The Mets are coming off back-to-back series losses to the Nationals and Braves, while St. Louis has won eight of their last nine games, including two sweeps over the last-place Cincinnati Reds and a weather-induced split with the Chicago Cubs.

On Thursday, Matt Harvey pitched his way out of the rotation with another tough outing, allowing six runs in the first three innings in an ugly 12-4 loss to the Braves. The offense couldn’t solve Matt Wisler, who held the Mets to just one run on two hits in seven innings. Friday brought better luck the Mets way, as a slumping Yoenis Cespedes came through in the twelfth inning with a clutch go-ahead RBI single after six shutout innings from the bullpen and a quality start from Noah Syndergaard led the team to a 5-3 win.

Jacob deGrom suffered an unfortunate case of déjà vu on Saturday. After last Monday’s nightmarish eighth inning bullpen implosion against the Nationals, deGrom had another stellar start of seven innings with ten strikeouts and no runs allowed against Atlanta. But once again, the bullpen imploded in the eighth inning, blowing a three-run lead as Ender Inciarte walked off with a drag bunt that brought home the winning run in a 4-3 loss. Sunday afternoon saw rain showers all day in Atlanta, and the Mets found themselves with two straight days without a game after Monday’s scheduled off day.

The Cardinals have taken advantage of an easy stretch of games that included seven with the floundering Reds, finding themselves in a tie for first in the NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers. Shortstop (and certified Met killerTM) Paul DeJong leads the Cardinal offense in home runs with seven while first baseman Jose Martinez has followed up his surprise 2017 season with an impressive start to 2018: .329 AVG, 16 RBI, and a .935 OPS. Age seemingly hasn’t slowed down Yadier Molina, as the 35-year-old perennial All-Star catcher has raked with six homers and 16 RBI. Third baseman Matt Carpenter has been mired in a slump, hitting just .174 with a modest .641 OPS. Second baseman Kolten Wong has also struggled mightily with an even worse .146 AVG and .489 OPS as fellow infielders Greg Garcia and Jedd Gyorko have put up stellar stats in comparison, nipping at his heels for playing time at second.

Jordan Hicks has been a revelation for an uneven St. Louis bullpen: a 0.00 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP in 11.2 innings. The 21-year-old rookie has suddenly become a key setup man. With injuries to Brett Cecil, Ryan Sherriff, and Sam Tuivailala, and Greg Holland struggling to find his command, Hicks and current closer Bud Norris have led the way at the back end of the pen.

The Cardinals will again be without Adam Wainwright, who missed the opening series in Queens due to a hamstring strain. Wainwright developed right elbow inflammation and was placed on the 10-day DL. Scheduled to start on Tuesday, the Cards moved up Luke Weaver and have yet to announce starters for Wednesday and Thursday.

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday, April 24: Zack Wheeler vs. Luke Weaver, 8:15 p.m. on SNY

Wheeler (2018): 13.0 IP, 9 K, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2.77 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.00 WHIP

Wheeler will start the first game after getting rained out of his originally scheduled start against the Braves. With Jason Vargas on the way back from the DL and ready to make his Mets debut in San Diego this weekend, Wheeler has quietly put together two solid starts against Miami and Washington. With Matt Harvey delegated to the bullpen, Wheeler could very well be in line to remain in the rotation for the time being.

Weaver (2018): 21.1 IP, 20 K, 6 BB, 1 HR, 4.22 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 1.27 WHIP

Weaver had his first bad start of 2018 on Thursday against the Cubs, surrendering six runs on nine hits in four innings of work. Weaver, the DeLand, FL native, the same hometown as Jacob deGrom, held the Mets to one run on five hits in five innings on April 1st. Weaver is a big-time strikeout pitcher: in 60.1 innings last season, he racked up 72 punch-outs against 17 walks.

Wednesday, April 25: Steven Matz vs. Michael Wacha, 8:15 p.m. on SNY

Matz (2018): 18.1 IP, 23 K, 8 BB, 5 HR, 4.42 ERA, 5.67 FIP, 1.14 WHIP

Lifted for a pinch-hitter after four innings and 74 pitches against the Nationals, Matz didn’t take too kindly to the decision after retiring 10 in a row, slamming down his bat and helmet on the on-deck circle after being called back to the dugout. After slogging through a 33-pitch first inning, Matz will look to have a cleaner start out of the gate versus the Cardinals, who hit him hard in his first start of the season.

Wacha (2018): 21.1 IP, 15 K, 11 BB, 2 HR, 4.22 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 1.45 WHIP

Wacha had the best start of his 2018 season so far, going 6 23 allowing just one run on six hits (all singles) in a 3-1 win over the Reds on Friday. Wacha will look for a better result against the Mets this time around than on March 31, when gave up two home runs to Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes at Citi Field, the only home runs he’s allowed so far this year.

Thursday, April 26: Noah Syndergaard vs. Carlos Martinez, 1:15 p.m. on SNY

Syndergaard (2018): 27.1 IP, 39 K, 5 BB, 3 HR, 3.29 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 1.06 WHIP

Syndergaard went six innings against the Braves, allowing three runs on a season-high seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Some lengthier outings would be nice, as Thor’s pitch counts have been skyrocketing in the early innings, limiting how far into games he can pitch despite how nasty his fastball, sinker, and change-up has been.

Martinez (2018): 31.2 IP, 37 K, 17 BB, 1 HR, 1.42 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 1.13 WHIP

Walks have been a major problem for Martinez in what has been an otherwise solid start to his season. On Opening Day the Mets walked six times and scored four off of Martinez, knocking him out of the game after 4 13 innings. Martinez has looked to have put that start in the rearview mirror, allowing just one run in four starts since then.

Prediction: Mets win two of three.

Poll

How will the Mets fare against the Cardinals in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    St. Louis will be the cleanest city in the country after this sweep!
    (56 votes)
  • 43%
    66.6% win ratio!
    (141 votes)
  • 21%
    One for three.
    (71 votes)
  • 11%
    Mets get smoked like a BBQ brisket, lose all three.
    (36 votes)
  • 7%
    Pizza!
    (23 votes)
327 votes total Vote Now