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Mets and Reds face off for three games at Citi Field

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The Mets have lost five of their last six games heading into this series

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets (45-64) welcome the Cincinnati Reds (49-63) to Citi Field for three games to close out their seven-game homestand. The Mets lost two out of three to the Reds at Great American Ball Park earlier this year but have won 11 of the last 13 games they’ve played against Cincinnati at home. The Reds have gone 41-35 since starting the year 8-27.

The Mets have dropped five of their last six games as they enter play today. They lost three out of four against the Atlanta Braves and went a combined 5-for-29 (.172) with runners in scoring position. Their inability to drive runners in cost them in Sunday’s contest, as Wilmer Flores led off the tenth inning with a double but Michael Conforto, Jose Bautista and Todd Frazier were unable to bring the tying run home.

The aforementioned Bautista is mired in an 0-for-23 slump and has struck out 12 times during that stretch. Meanwhile, Frazier is 1-for-his-last-13 with six strikeouts since coming off the disabled list. On a positive note, Jeff McNeil notched his first career four-hit game during Saturday’s victory and has a 158 wRC+ and a .912 OPS since his call-up.

The starting pitching fared better in this series and was headlined by stellar performances from Jacob deGrom (eight innings, two runs, nine strikeouts) and Zack Wheeler (seven innings, zero runs, nine strikeouts) in the middle two games. Overall, the starters posted a 3.12 ERA in 26 innings against Atlanta. The bullpen also bounced back after a rough series against the Washington Nationals, allowing two earned runs on six hits over 11 innings.

Matt Harvey will make his first trip to Citi Field since being traded last May, but he is not scheduled to start any of the three games. Harvey took the baseball world by storm upon being promoted in 2012 and started the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field and Games 1 and 5 of the 2015 World Series for the Mets. In total, he made 104 starts for the club and posted a 3.66 ERA with 612 strikeouts.

Injuries derailed the later part of his tenure in New York, and he was demoted to the bullpen and eventually dealt earlier this year. Since the trade, he has a 4.79 ERA, a 4.81 FIP, and a 1.27 WHIP in 77 innings with the Reds after posting a 7.00 ERA, a 5.68 FIP, and a 1.56 WHIP in 27 innings with the Mets. Harvey is part of a rotation that has the worst ERA (5.22) and FIP (5.21) in the National League.

The Reds are much more proficient on the offensive side of the ball, ranking third in the National League in batting (.258) and wRC+ (99), and fifth in OPS (.742). Joey Votto, the team’s long-time first baseman, ranks first in the National League with a .425 on-base percentage, while 2018 All-Star Scooter Gennett ranks first among National League second basemen with a .310 batting average and second with a 128 wRC+.

Monday, August 6: Homer Bailey vs. Noah Syndergaard, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Bailey (2018): 76.2 IP, 52 K, 27 BB, 16 HR, 5.87 ERA, 5.62 FIP, 1.51 WHIP

Bailey comes into this series after pitching his best game of the year against the Chicago Cubs. Despite being saddled with the loss, he tossed a complete game and allowed only two earned runs and three hits. It is his second straight start giving up two earned runs after missing nearly two months with right knee inflammation. He had allowed at least four earned runs in six of his seven appearances prior to the injury, which includes a May 7 outing against the Mets in which he was tagged for six earned runs in four innings of work.

Syndergaard (2018): 81.2 IP, 87 K, 16 BB, 6 HR, 2.98 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 1.22 WHIP

In his first start back from hand, foot, and mouth disease, Syndergaard was able to get through seven innings for the first time since May 20 and needed only 91 pitches to do it. After giving up a two-run home run to Anthony Rendon in the third inning, he retired 15 of the last 16 batters he faced before being relieved by Lugo. Syndergaard has dominated the Reds to the tune of a 1.98 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in four career starts. Their best hitter, Votto, is hitless in 11 at-bats against Syndergaard.

Tuesday, August 7: Sal Romano vs. Jason Vargas, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Romano (2018): 116.0 IP, 82 K, 42 BB, 21 HR, 5.12 ERA, 5.24 FIP, 1.42 WHIP

It’s been one step forward, one step back for Romano this year, as the second-year pitcher has been unable to carry any positive momentum from his good starts into his next outing. In his last start, he gave up four earned runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings to the Detroit Tigers. The long ball has continued to burn him all year long, as he given up a league-leading 21 home runs. One of his best starts of 2018 came on May 9 against the Mets (six innings, one earned run), and his seven strikeouts from that game remains his season high.

Vargas (2018): 47.0 IP, 42 K, 20 BB, 12 HR, 8.23 ERA, 6.16 FIP, 1.79 WHIP

Vargas gave the Mets another subpar performance against Atlanta, allowing four earned runs over five innings while tying a season high with seven strikeouts. Vargas has not tossed a pitch in the sixth inning this year, but it seems as if he will continue to make starts as long as he’s healthy. With Corey Oswalt impressing more and more with each passing start, it will be interesting to see if Vargas remains in the rotation once Steven Matz returns from the disabled list. For now, the team will have to hope that their lone offseason starting pitching investment can turn his disappointing 2018 season around and provide a reason to believe in him going into 2019.

Wednesday, August 8: TBD vs. Jacob deGrom, 12:10 p.m. on SNY

TBD

The Reds have not named a starter for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale.

deGrom (2018): 146.1 IP, 173 K, 33 BB, 8 HR, 1.85 ERA, 2.29 FIP, 0.97 WHIP

Another day, another wasted deGrom gem. In his last outing against the Braves, he again went eight innings, allowed two earned runs, and came away with a loss. He even drove in the lone Mets run on a single, but the rest of the offense mustered just one additional hit. Collectively, the team is hitting just .205 in his 22 starts and have scored zero, one, or two runs in ten of those games. He became the first pitcher in 102 years to have a sub-2.00 ERA but hold a losing record in his first 22 starts. He continues to lead the league in ERA and FIP and should be considered the favorite for the Cy Young Award, but his five wins could keep that prize out of his hands.

Predictions: The Mets will take two out of three against the Reds.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three-game series with the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Three in a row before they take their show on the road
    (11 votes)
  • 37%
    Two out of three would make me happy
    (31 votes)
  • 22%
    Mets manage just one win against the Reds
    (19 votes)
  • 10%
    Mets are left seeing red after being swept
    (9 votes)
  • 15%
    Pizza!
    (13 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now