clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mets are California Dreamin’ (of some wins) as they travel to San Diego to face Padres

New, 9 comments

The Mets will look to figure things out on the West Coast against an improved Padres team.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets (16-18) look to recover from a lost weekend in Milwaukee as they head west to take on the San Diego Padres (19-16). The Mets won four out of six games against the Padres last year, including taking two of three at Citi Field and at Petco Park.

The Mets couldn’t muster much offense as they were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers. They did just enough to lose each game, scoring a grand total of six runs on 23 hits. The Mets jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning of Friday night’s game but couldn’t push another run across against starter Brandon Woodruff and three Brewers relievers. Steven Matz quickly gave the run back on a Lorenzo Cain solo home run on the third pitch he threw, and surrendered a game-deciding two-run home run to Ryan Braun in the fifth inning of an otherwise solid start.

Saturday’s game was an 18-inning marathon that saw the team fall after taking a lead in extras. The Mets again jumped ahead by one run—this time in the second inning—but Milwaukee got two in the second off Zack Wheeler. Wheeler settled down and gave the club seven strong innings, but the Mets failed to score again until the ninth, when Pete Alonso hit a game-tying home run. Neither team scored again until the 18th, when New York jumped ahead in the top-half of the inning before Chris Flexen surrendered two in the bottom half. Ryan Braun scorched the Mets for six hits on the (very long) evening.

On Sunday, the offense was missing yet again in a 3-2 loss. Jason Vargas lasted four innings and allowed three earned runs, although a Keon Broxton misplay in right field prolonged the inning to Christian Yelich to hit a two-run home run into the third deck at Miller Park. Vargas was eventually removed for a pinch hitter after experiencing mild hamstring tightness. Following a two-error game on Saturday, Amed Rosario was one of the few regulars in the lineup and contributed half of the team’s six hits. Juan Lagares also hit his second home run to bring the team to within a run, but that was as close as they would get. The sweep dropped the Mets into third place in the division behind the Atlanta Braves. The Mets now trail the first-place Philadelphia Phillies by three-and-a-half games.

As the weather has attempted to warm up, the Mets’ offense has gone completely cold. Since scoring six runs or more in seven consecutive games from April 6 through April 13, the team has only scored six or more in three games. In that span, they are averaging just 3.23 runs per game (42 runs in 13 contests). In those 13 games, the team as a whole is hitting .221/.291/.332 with a collective 72 wRC+ and a .111 ISO. Their .622 OPS ranks ahead of only the Miami Marlins since April 22. The offensive outage is even more frustrating when looking at the team’s pitching, which has gotten back on track after struggling out of the gate while the offense was excelling.

When looking at individual players’ numbers, things look even more dire. Brandon Nimmo, who seemed like he might be breaking out of his doldrums, is hitless in his last 25 at-bats and hasn’t picked up a hit since the second inning on April 28. On the season, Nimmo has dropped to .194/.320/.320 with an 83 wRC+. Meanwhile, Broxton broke an 0-for-19 with a fifth inning double, but is hitting just .156/.223/.178 with a 17 wRC+ in 49 plate appearances this year. Todd Frazier has not recorded a hit in 12 at-bats and has posted a .146/.167/.293 slash line with a 22 wRC+ in 42 plate appearances since returning from the Injured List.

After getting the day off following an 0-for-7 Saturday, Robinson Cano pinch hit in the eighth inning for Adeiny Hechavarria and struck out swinging. Cano is now 0-for-his-last-13 and has picked up just two hits in 18 at-bats since returning to the lineup on May 1. The Mets will be hard pressed to get back on track offensively against the Padres, who own the second-best ERA (3.70) and the third-best FIP (3.99) among all National League clubs. The Padres also rank second in the National League with a 7.5% walk rate and fourth with a 23.9% strikeout rate, while the Mets own the fourth-worst strikeout rate among NL offenses at 24.8%.

After finishing with the second-worst record in the National League in 2018 (66-96), the Padres are improved this year thanks to a young core built around Fernando Tatis Jr., widely considered to be the best prospect in the game heading into 2019. The Mets will not see Tatis Jr. this time around, as the 20-year-old shortstop landed on the IL on April 30 with a left hamstring strain. Tatis Jr. has recently resumed baseball activities, but his return date remains unclear. Prior to suffering the injury, the youngster proved to be as good as advertised, hitting .300/.360/.550 with six home runs, a 141 wRC+, and a 1.1 fWAR.

While the Mets will miss Tatis Jr., they will see third baseman Manny Machado, who signed a 10 year, $300 million contract with the Padres late in the offseason. Machado comes to the Padres after spending most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles and reaching the World Series last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers after getting traded prior to the deadline. Machado has gotten off to a pedestrian start with San Diego, hitting .236/.317/.449 with a 107 wRC+ and a 0.8 fWAR in 34 games.

The Padres dropped two out of three to the Dodgers over the weekend but salvaged the finale yesterday thanks to a Hunter Renfroe walk-off grand slam. They dropped a pair of one-run games on Friday and on Saturday, but otherwise held their own against the defending National League champions. Overall, the Padres have dropped five of their last eight.

Monday, May 6: Jacob deGrom vs. Chris Paddack, 10:10 p.m. on SNY

deGrom (2019): 33.0 IP, 49 K, 12 BB, 5 HR, 3.82 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 1.24 WHIP

That’s more like it. The deGrom of old showed up against the Cincinnati Reds on May 1, as he looked angry and determined on the mound while tossing seven sterling shutout innings. He allowed three hits and walked two batters while striking out six in an efficient and dominant performance. Unfortunately, the game felt like a 2018 redux as the team was unable to score for their ace and they eventually lost 1-0. Coincidentally (or not), deGrom has not allowed a run in any of the three games he’s pitched this season that were not delayed by rain. If anything, it speaks to deGrom being more comfortable in the warmer weather, which can be said about almost any pitcher. As the weather warms up and the rain holds off, except deGrom to continue to excel.

Paddack (2019): 33.0 IP, 35 K, 9 BB, 2 HR, 1.91 ERA, 2.71 FIP, 0.70 WHIP

With Alonso winning the National League Rookie of the Month for April, some have argued that Paddack was equally deserving of the honor. The 23-year-old rookie was fantastic in his first full month in the majors while leading the National League with a 0.697 WHIP and owning a sparkling 1.91 ERA. It’s highly likely that Paddack—who missed all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery and tossed just 80 innings between Single-A and Double-A last year—will be on an innings limit in 2019, but he has established himself as serious competitor for Rookie of the Year alongside teammate Tatis Jr. and the Mets’ Alonso. Paddack is coming off back-to-back wins against the Seattle Mariners and Braves in which he allowed a combined two earned runs on five hits while striking out 14 in 13 innings.

Tuesday, May 7: Noah Syndergaard vs. Cal Quantrill, 10:10 p.m. on SNY

Syndergaard (2019): 43.0 IP, 49 K, 11 BB, 5 HR, 5.02 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 1.28 WHIP

When the Mets needed Thor the most, he delivered his best performance of the season to save their bullpen and get them a quick and pain-free victory. Syndergaard tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout while striking out a season-high ten batters and needed just 104 pitches to do so against the Reds. He also crushed a solo home run for the only run of the game while the rest of the lineup struggled to get anything going offensively. It was only his second quality start of 2019 but one that he can build off for future outings, as his location and his pitch selection was much better than it has been while his velocity has remained consistent throughout the year.

Quantrill (2019): 5.2 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, 0 HR, 3.18 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 1.24 WHIP

Padres pitching prospect Quantrill made his debut against the Braves on May 1 and gave the Padres a solid outing. He was charged with two earned runs on six hits over 5.2 innings but took the loss anyway. Quantrill was drafted eighteenth overall by San Diego in the 2016 MLB Draft and is part of one of the youngest and most talented up-and-coming rotations in all of baseball. Prior to making his debut, Quantrill owned a 4.68 ERA and 4.02 FIP in 25 innings in Triple-A.

Wednesday, May 8: TBD vs. TBD, 3:40 p.m. on SNY

TBD (2019):

Matz was originally scheduled to start, but he was sent back to New York with nerve irritation in his left arm. Tests have confirmed that it he is suffering from a ‘minor nerve’ issue in his left forearm, and the team hopes that Matz will only need to miss one start. The team could call up Hector Santiago, who would be on regular rest, to take his place. Other options include Chris Flexen and Drew Gagnon, both of whom are currently on the roster.

TBD (2019):

The Padres have not announced a starter for Wednesday’s game.

Prediction: The Mets continue to sink in San Diego and drop two of three to the Padres.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Padres

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    The Mets charge back above .500 with a three-game sweep in San Diego
    (21 votes)
  • 19%
    The Mets temporarily right the ship with two wins against the Padres
    (16 votes)
  • 30%
    The Mets continue to sink as they lose two out of three
    (25 votes)
  • 18%
    The Mets freefall continues as they are swept in San Diego
    (15 votes)
  • 7%
    Pizza!
    (6 votes)
83 votes total Vote Now