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Mets welcome Twins to Citi Field for brief two-game set

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The Mets last hosted the Twins in 2016, when they swept them in a critical September series.

Minnesota Twins v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Mets will look to bounce back from their first series loss of 2019 as they welcome the Minnesota Twins to Queens for a two-game set. Following the conclusion of this series, the Mets will head out on a ten-game road trip and won’t return to Citi Field until April 22.

The Mets have bested the Twins the last seven times they’ve faced them, and last lost to them on June 26, 2010 in a game Johan Santana started. New York swept them in Minnesota in 2013—an April series which featured a make-up game in August—and at Citi Field in September 2016. The latter series came as the Mets were battling for a postseason spot and featured a dramatic middle game in which Curtis Granderson launched a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the 11th and a game-winning solo home run in the bottom of the 12th to propel the team to a memorable victory. Overall, the Mets have won 11 out of 18 games against the Twins.

The Mets endured a tough Sunday loss but took some positives away after launching an improbable comeback attempt against Max Scherzer and the beleaguered Washington Nationals bullpen that fell short. New York trailed 12-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh thanks in large part to a combined 12 walks allowed by Zack Wheeler and Tim Peterson in the first six innings. The Mets then began their comeback attempt in earnest, which was highlighted by three-run home runs by Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto. Washington was forced to use their closer, Sean Doolittle, to recorder the final two outs, which itself was a minor victory. In addition to the offense coming alive, both Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo looked good in back-to-back scoreless innings after each pitcher struggled early in the season.

The Mets split the first two contests, as they dropped their home opener 4-0 after a strange travel schedule and a random drug test led to the team returning to New York around three in the morning for their scheduled 1:10pm game. The result was a listless performance against Stephen Strasburg, as the club could only muster four hits. After a much-needed day off, the team rebounded to defeat the Nationals 6-5 on Saturday behind solo home runs from J.D. Davis (2), Robinson Cano, Alonso, and Conforto, as well as a run-scoring single from Keon Broxton in the eighth inning to put the Mets ahead for good. In the win, Steven Matz contributed five solid shutout innings, although a high pitch count as a result of four walks knocked him out of the game earlier than the team would like.

The Twins enter play on Tuesday with five wins in eight games. After opening the season by taking two out of three at home against the Cleveland Indians — the presumptive favorites to win the American League Central — they swept a two-game series on the road against the Kansas City Royals before dropping two out of three against the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies. Leading the charge on offense for the Twins is 25-year-old shortstop Jorge Polanco, who is hitting .375/.429/.688 in their first eight games with a 215 wRC+ and a team-leading 0.6 fWAR.

Perhaps the most interesting player to watch this series will be backup catcher/third baseman Willians Astudillo, who has become something of a baseball fan-favorite since debuting last year. Astudillo — who bounced around the minors for the Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Arizona Diamondbacks before finding a home with the Twins — has simply hit since being called up last June. So far, La Tortuga has recorded seven hits in 14 at-bats over five games. Of those seven hits, he has three doubles and one home run to go along with one walk and zero strikeouts.

Dating back to last season, when he finished with a .355/.371/.516 slash line in 30 games, he has picked up 40 hits in his first 107 at-bats and has a 163 wRC+ and a 1.2 fWAR. Astudillo has also avoided striking out, as he’s struck out just three times in his brief career and has a 2.6% strikeout rate. If nothing else, he’s been a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 9: Kyle Gibson vs. Jacob deGrom, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Gibson (2019): 4.2 IP, 2 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 9.64 ERA, 6.16 FIP, 2.14 WHIP

In his first start of the year against the Royals, Gibson was roughed up and ended up allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits over 4.2 innings. He threw just 48 of his 84 pitches for strikes and walked two to go along with two strikeouts. The 31-year-old, who is in his seventh season in Minnesota, is coming off a year in which he posted a career-best 3.64 ERA and struck out a career-best 179 batters while pitching a career-high 196.2 innings. The Mets got the best of Gibson when they last saw him in 2016, as they scored three runs off of him and defeated Minnesota to complete a sweep.

deGrom (2019): 13.0 IP, 24 K, 2 BB, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA, -0.28 FIP, 0.77 WHIP

It’s almost boring writing about deGrom (key word: almost), as he’s settled into a seemingly monotonous level of pure dominance. He is coming off a start in which he allowed just three hits and struck out a career-high 14 Marlins batters over seven innings. Two starts into the year, he’s putting up numbers that threaten to rival his historic 2018 results. He will look to extend his streak of consecutive quality starts to 27 and consecutive starts allowing three runs or fewer to 32. He also has not allowed an earned run in his last 26 innings and has only allowed one home run in his last seven starts. Oh, and he also hit a solo home run against the Marlins. deGrom received his Cy Young Award in an on-field presentation prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals. For fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the trophy, it will be on display in the Mets Hall of Fame at Citi Field for the remainder of the season before deGrom takes it home.

Wednesday, April 10: Jake Odorizzi vs. Noah Syndergaard, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Odorizzi (2019): 6.2 IP, 12 K, 5 BB, 1 HR, 6.75 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 1.20 WHIP

Odorizzi’s last start could not have gone much worse, as he lasted just two-thirds of an inning and threw just 36 pitches against the Phillies as his team got trounced 10-4. While he only gave up two hits, he was charged with five runs (four earned) while walking three and striking out one. It’s a stark contrast from his season debut on March 30 against the Cleveland Indians, when he struck out eleven and pitched six innings of one run ball in a losing effort. Odorizzi has made only one start against the Mets as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 and allowed one earned run in 6.2 innings.

Syndergaard (2019): 12.0 IP, 13 K, 2 BB, 2 HR, 4.50 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 0.83 WHIP

Syndergaard took the loss on Thursday despite carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowing just one hit — a Victor Robles solo home run — during his outing. He temporarily lost control in an uneven second inning, as he walked Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman on just nine pitches and then threw a wild pitch to advance the runners. Soto came around to score, which proved to be the only run that Washington would need. The hard-throwing Syndergaard was able to settle down after the second and struck out six batters. Thor has never seen the Twins in his career.

Prediction: The Mets sweep the Twins for the third straight time as they complete a winning homestand.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their two game series against the Twins?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    A short sweep is just as sweet!
    (150 votes)
  • 16%
    Each team grabs a win in this series
    (32 votes)
  • 2%
    Minny sweeps the Mets as New York falls closer to .500
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    Pizza!! (One last New York slice before hitting the road)
    (12 votes)
198 votes total Vote Now