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Mets begin crucial June stretch with three games against the Giants

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The series begins with a pitching rematch from the 2016 Wild Card game.

MLB: New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets (28-31) return home after another dismal road trip to take on the last-place San Francisco Giants (24-34) for three games. The Mets won four out of their seven games against the Giants last year, which included a split at Citi Field. The Mets own a disappointing 15-19 record against the Giants at Citi Field since the park opened in 2009.

After following up a demoralizing 1-5 road trip with what looked like a season-reviving 6-1 homestand, the Mets suffered another setback on the west coast. After dropping three out of four to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets lost two out of three in the desert against the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete their 2-5 west coast swing. While, historically, the Mets have often struggled at Citi Field and performed better on the road, the Mets have been unable to figure things out away from New York this season. So far in 2019, the Mets are 13-22 on the road and 15-9 at home.

The club earned their lone weekend win on Friday, when they pushed two runs across in the eighth to complete a 5-4 comeback win. Zack Wheeler served up two home runs in the sixth to turn a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 deficit, but his team picked him up with a late-inning rally. J.D. Davis tied the game with a pinch-hit single to plate Todd Frazier, and Carlos Gomez came off to the bench to contribute a double to score Adeiny Hechavarria. With the overworked Edwin Diaz unavailable, Robert Gsellman closed things out in the ninth.

The Diamondbacks gave the Mets a taste of their own medicine on Saturday, as they scored four in the eighth to tie the game before walking things off in the eleventh. Jacob deGrom outperformed Zack Greinke and was well on his way to a well-deserved win, but a hip cramp slowed him down in the seventh and forced him to exit earlier than anticipated. Jeurys Familia entered and escape the jam, but things unraveled in the eighth. Familia and Gsellman each allowed two runs, with Tyler Bashlor gave up the winning run in extras.

The team failed to show up on Sunday, as they dropped the rubber game 7-1. Steven Matz had another brutal first inning, and the team never recovered as the offense picked up just six hits. Their lone run came courtesy of a Wilson Ramos home run, but it was not enough to overcome the three runs Arizona scored in the first. With the loss, the Mets fell to 1-6 in rubber games this year. New York has also failed to win a series at Chase Field since April 2014.

With his home run on Sunday, Ramos has continued his torrid stretch, which dates back to mid-May. In his last 17 games, Ramos is slashing .360/.448/.620 with four home runs, a 181 wRC+ and a 0.6 fWAR in that span. Those numbers are matched only by Frazier’s recent run, which comes with continued playing time in the absence of injured infielder Jed Lowrie. Over his last 17 games, Frazier has a .345/.433/.552 slash line with two home runs, a 167 wRC+, and a team-leading 0.7 fWAR in that run. Both of their numbers can be seen as BABIP-aided, as Ramos owns a .378 BABIP while Frazier has a a .419 BABIP since May 16.

Over the weekend, Mickey Callaway told reporters that Lowrie was running and participating in baseball activities, although the manager did not offer a timetable for Lowrie’s return to the lineup. The club has been suffering through a myriad of injuries to key individuals, although they recently got both Michael Conforto and Seth Lugo back. It also looks as if Robinson Cano could return for Tuesday’s game against the Giants. It’s still anybody’s guess as to when Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil will be well enough to return from their injuries.

The Giants arrive at Citi Field with the second-worst run differential in the National League at -76. Over their last six games, they’ve faced the team with the worst winning percentage in the National League and the team with the worst winning percentage in the American League, and came away with a split. After dropping two out of three against the Miami Marlins and losing the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles, they won back-to-back games over the weekend to even out their road trip record at 3-3. They will return to San Francisco after facing the Mets.

Collectively, the Giants are hitting .221/.289/.365 as a team, with a 74 wRC+. Their OBP is the lowest among National League clubs, while their slugging percentage and OPS ranks ahead of just the Marlins.Their 216 runs scored on the season is the third-worst in Major League Baseball. After injuring his hamstring during Saturday’s victory and missing Sunday’s game, it’s unclear whether Buster Posey will be healthy enough to suit up in the series opener.

Posey, who is in his eleventh season with the Giants, is slashing .257/.321/.408 with three home runs, a 95 wRC+ and a team best 1.1 fWAR in 46 games. Another long-time Giant, first baseman Brandon Belt, is having a solid offensive season for the offensively-challenged San Francisco squad. He is currently hitting .243/.357/.469 with a team-leading eight home runs, a 121 wRC+, and a 0.5 fWAR in 55 games.

Brandon Crawford, on the other hand, is having the worst season of his nine-year run with the Giants. The shortstop owns a .214/.285/.333 slash line with a 66 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR in 55 games. Former Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria continues to perform below his career averages in San Francisco. The 2009 Rookie of the Year and three-time All Star is hitting .220/.302/.412 with seven home runs, a 90 wRC+, and a 0.7 fWAR.

Tuesday, June 4: Madison Bumgarner vs. Noah Syndergaard, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Bumgarner (2019): 74.0 IP, 74 K, 14 BB, 10 HR, 4.01 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 1.19 WHIP

With the Giants heading nowhere and expected to sell at the deadline, Tuesday night’s starter could be on the move some time in July. Bumgarner, who turns 30 on August 1, is in the final year of his contract and could net a large return from a contending team who sees the left-hander as the missing piece for their team’s World Series chances. Bumgarner is far from the the same pitcher who made four consecutive All Star games from 2013-2016 and dazzled in the 2014 World Series, but he’s still an imposing figure on the mound even in a down year. He got off to a rocky April but has mostly settled down in May. In each of his last two starts against the Atlanta Braves and the Marlins, he lasted six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits, although his team took the loss in both contests.

Syndergaard (2019): 75.1 IP, 77 K, 17 BB, 10 HR, 4.90 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 1.27 WHIP

Syndergaard certainly pitched well enough to win on Wednesday, and for a while he was in line to earn his fourth victory of 2019 before the team’s bullpen meltdown down in spectacular fashion. It wasn’t his best start, but he limited the damage against the Dodgers to three runs on seven hits over six innings. He needed a season-high 116 pitches to get through the outing, but he did manage to slightly lower his ERA in the process. He allowed all of his runs in the first three innings and then was able to settle down to put his team in a position to win.

Wednesday, June 5: Tyler Beede vs. Jason Vargas, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Beede (2019): 12.2 IP, 14 K, 11 BB, 2 HR, 7.82 ERA, 5.60 FIP, 2.37 WHIP

Beede is coming off the best start of his young career as he dominated the Marlins on May 30. The 2014 first round pick tossed six innings of one-run ball, although he failed to earn his first career victory. In his first start on May 3, Beede was shelled for eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits in just 2.1 innings. In two relief appearances in between those two starts, the right-hander allowed a total of three earned runs in 4.1 innings.

Vargas (2019): 36.1 IP, 29 K, 18 BB, 5 HR, 4.46 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 1.51 WHIP

Not even the most optimistic individual could have foreseen Vargas’s stellar outing against the Dodgers on May 30. The team’s fifth starter matched up with the National League ERA leader and went toe-to-toe with his counterpart, allowing just one earned run while tossing a season-best seven innings. He struck out a season-high six and only needed 98 pitches. Those numbers are impressive enough before you consider that he did it against perhaps the best offense in the National League. It wasn’t good enough to top Hyun-Jin Ryu, however, and Vargas had to settle for this third loss of the season. Although he hasn’t earned a win since his first start of 2019, he has allowed just one earned run in five of his last six starts.

Thursday, June 6: Shaun Anderson vs. Zack Wheeler, 12:10 p.m. on SNY

Anderson (2019): 22.0 IP, 13 K, 5 BB, 2 HR, 4.09 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 1.32 WHIP

Anderson earned his first career victory on June 1 against the Orioles. In his fourth career start, the 24-year old tossed seven innings while allowing two earned runs on five hits while throwing 100-plus pitches for the first time at the major league level. In each of his first three starts, the right-hander went exactly five innings. Anderson was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft and was eventually traded to San Francisco as part of the Eduardo Nunez deal. Anderson entered this season as the team’s fourth-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

Wheeler (2019): 77.0 IP, 87 K, 24 BB, 9 HR, 4.68 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 1.29 WHIP

Wheeler allowed four earned runs in seven innings against the Diamondbacks but picked up his team-leading fifth of 2019 anyway thanks to some timely offense in the eighth. He was cruising through much of the game but ran into trouble in the sixth and allowed two home runs to the first four batters he faced to put his team behind. Despite the hiccup, it was another successful outing for the 30-year-old right-hander, as he pitched into the seventh for the seventh time in his last nine starts. Wheeler has pitched to a 3.96 ERA and a 3.20 FIP with a 10.3 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9 in his last 61.1 innings dating back to his April 17 start.

Prediction: The Mets split the first two before winning the matinee rubber game against the last-place Giants.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Giants?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    The Mets take advantage of their last-place opponent with a sweep!
    (21 votes)
  • 38%
    The Mets take two out of three to start their homestand.
    (35 votes)
  • 17%
    The Mets take one but drop two against San Francisco.
    (16 votes)
  • 7%
    The Mets are crushed by the Giants in a sweep at Citi Field.
    (7 votes)
  • 12%
    Pizza!
    (11 votes)
90 votes total Vote Now