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Mets begin interleague play against the Blue Jays

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The Mets welcome back old friend Curtis Granderson and the Blue Jays for a quick two-game interleague matchup.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets (19-18) head back home after an eventful road trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia for a quick two-game interleague series with the Toronto Blue Jays (21-20). After trading Matt Harvey to the Reds and gaining a new catcher in Devin Mesoraco, the Mets come home looking a little different as they welcome an old friend back to Citi Field.

On Friday night, Jake Arrieta was having his way with the Mets lineup, shutting them out for 7 and 13 innings. Steven Matz had a near-identical start to his previous one last Saturday at home against the Rockies, allowing a first-inning solo homer to the number three hitter, Odubel Herrera in this case, and putting up zeroes the rest of the way through five innings. It wasn’t until the ninth inning where a little Mets magic would come out. After a Wilmer Flores single, Michael Conforto took Phillies closer Hector Neris deep to right field, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. On the very next pitch, Devin Mesoraco launched one to left field for his first hit as a Met, extending the lead to 3-1 in what would be the final score.

Saturday night brought the rain and a tornado watch to the Philadelphia skies, as the game was postponed to August 16. Noah Syndergaard was scheduled to pitch and had begun his warm up routine, only to find out the game would be delayed and eventually postponed just 15 minutes prior to first pitch. Those circumstances led to Syndergaard’s start to be pushed back to Tuesday against the Blue Jays, his original organization.

Sunday afternoon’s game was delayed for an hour before Jacob deGrom made his return from the DL. Suffice to say, it was not an ideal return for deGrom. After a first inning where he threw 45-pitches and gave up three walks, albeit striking out two and escaping without a run allowed, deGrom was pulled as the Mets erred on the side of caution. Robert Gsellman followed with three scoreless innings of his own and Yoenis Cespedes launched a go-ahead solo shot in the top of the sixth. However, the lead was short-lived as Paul Sewald surrendered a pinch-hit three-run homer to Nick Williams in the bottom of the sixth in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Phillies.

The Toronto Blue Jays sit firmly in third place behind the Yankees and Red Sox in the top-heavy AL East. A mix of underperforming veteran stars and injuries have hampered the Jays’ offense. 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson has gotten off to a slow start and missed 18 games due to right shoulder inflammation. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales and catcher Russell Martin have hit a paltry .154 and .172 respectively, but valuable lineup contributions have come from some unexpected places. Former Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte leads the Jays in home runs with nine, backup catcher Luke Maile owns a .902 OPS, and a certain former Met outfielder leads the team in OBP.

Curtis Granderson will be making his return to Citi Field for the first time since he was traded from the Mets to the Dodgers on August 19 of last year. Despite not making an impact during the final two months of the season and being left off of the Dodgers’ World Series roster, Granderson signed a 1-year, $5 million deal with Toronto in the offseason and has played like the Grandyman of old. Avoiding his usual April-May cold stretch, Granderson has a .431 OBP with three home runs, 13 RBI and a .266 AVG. Grandy should get a warm welcome back to Queens as he was one of the most successful free agent signings the Mets have had in recent years. A popular veteran presence in the clubhouse, deliverer of many clutch moments, follower of the Good First-Baseman Lucas Duda, and a tireless advocate for youth development in the community, Grandy is one of a kind.

Another alumnus from the 2015 NL championship team, reliever Tyler Clippard, has been a pleasant surprise in the back end of the Toronto bullpen. Boasting a 1.23 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP, Clippard is one of many veteran relievers stepping up to fill the void left by closer Roberto Osuna, who is in the middle of legal trouble after being arrested on an assault charge and placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball.

Perhaps the biggest area of concern for the Jays is their starting rotation. None of their starters have an ERA under 4.00 and Marcus Stroman, native of Medford, NY, was just placed on the DL with right shoulder fatigue. Possessing a mix of veterans and a young stud in the making in Aaron Sanchez, the Blue Jays are hoping the rotation can hold up enough to keep them competitive in the division, if not the AL Wild Card race down the stretch.

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday, May 15: Jaime Garcia vs. Noah Syndergaard, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Garcia (2018): 35 IP, 35 K, 18 BB, 8 HR, 5.40 ERA, 5.92 FIP, 1.57 WHIP

Garcia has had a tough time with his command this season, and his last start showed just that. Allowing five walks and a hit batsman in five innings against the Mariners last Wednesday, Garcia hasn’t had a start longer than 5 and 13 innings since Opening Day.

Syndergaard (2018): 46.2 IP, 54 K, 10 BB, 4 HR, 3.09 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 1.20 WHIP

This won’t be Syndergaard’s first start against his old organization; he faced off against Toronto in his rookie season in 2015 and struck out 11 in six innings. Developing into the crown jewel of the R.A. Dickey trade in 2013, Syndergaard will look to show off to the Jays some more of what they’re missing.

Wednesday, May 16: J.A. Happ vs. Zack Wheeler, 1:10 p.m. on SNY

Happ (2018): 45 IP, 56 K, 13 BB, 9 HR, 4.80 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 1.26 WHIP

Happ gave up seven runs on 10 hits in just 3 and 13 innings during his last start against the Mariners on Thursday, his worst start of 2018. The 35-year-old journeyman has had a career renaissance north of the border, posting a 20-win season in 2016 and becoming one of Toronto’s more reliable options in the starting rotation.

Wheeler (2018): 34 IP, 31 K, 14 BB, 4 HR, 5.03 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.44 WHIP

After getting trounced for eight runs against Colorado, Wheeler had a nice bounce back start in Cincinnati on Wednesday, allowing one run in six innings with seven punch-outs. Wheeler will need more starts like that one to stabilize the back end of a Mets rotation that is in dire need of consistency.

Prediction: Mets split with the Jays.

Poll

How will the Mets fare against the Blue Jays this series?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    A mini sweep would be pretty good, eh?
    (44 votes)
  • 30%
    A split, nothing to write home about.
    (32 votes)
  • 18%
    Blame Canada, get swept.
    (19 votes)
  • 8%
    Pizza!
    (9 votes)
104 votes total Vote Now