After finishing off first road series sweep of 2019, the New York Mets (44-51) ride high into the Bay Area to take on the equally-hot San Francisco Giants (47-49). The Mets have won their last four games—two in Miami, two in Minnesota—while the Giants have earned victories in each of their last five games. Earlier this season, New York took two out of three from San Francisco at Citi Field.
The Mets marched into Minneapolis and took both games against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins. On Tuesday, the team eked out a one-run victory thanks to a slump-busting four-hit night from Michael Conforto and five shutout innings from the beleaguered bullpen. Despite getting just four innings from starter Steven Matz, a combination of six relievers pitched in to help shut out the Twins’ lineup. The night was not without its tense moments, as Robert Gsellman put the first two runners he faced on base to start the sixth, but the team was able to escape with the lead in tact. Meanwhile, Edwin Diaz loaded the bases in the ninth but got Nelson Cruz to pop up to close out the game.
Wednesday afternoon’s finale was close up until the seventh, when the Mets’ bats got to work and pounded Minnesota into submission. New York put up 14 runs in the game, with 12 of those coming in the seventh inning onward. Dominic Smith broke the ice and gave the Mets their first lead of the contest with a pinch hit three-run home run in the seventh. Pete Alonso, who has been mired in a slump since the team resumed activities following the break, launched a monumental 474-foot home run that registered as the longest homer by a Met in the Statcast era. Meanwhile, Jason Vargas turned in six quality innings while limiting the Twins to three runs to pick up his fourth win of 2019.
Not to be outdone by Conforto’s four-hit night on Tuesday, Amed Rosario picked up four hits of his own in Wednesday’s win. Rosario got his team on the board in the third with a solo home run, which made Rosario the youngest Met to hit ten home runs and steal ten bases in the same season since David Wright and Jose Reyes each accomplished the feat in 2006. With the four hits, Rosario is now slashing .455/.500/.697 with eight runs scored, a .242 ISO, and a 218 wRC+ in 10 July games. Alonso’s 31st home run of the year, meanwhile, puts him just ten back of the franchise single-season record of 41, which was accomplished by Todd Hundley in 1996 and matched by Carlos Beltran in 2006.
The Giants enter this series on a winning streak of their own after sweeping the Colorado Rockies in a four-game set at Coors Field. Prior to that, they took two out of three from the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. In total, San Francisco has won 13 of their last 16 games as they’ve inched to within two games of .500 after owning the second-worst record in the National League for much of the first half of the season.
Heading into June 28, San Francisco was 12 games below .500 and owned the worst wRC+ (73) and second-worst OPS (.659) and offensive fWAR (1.7) among all National League squads while scoring the second-fewest runs (307). Since then, the Giants lead the league with a .905 OPS, a 133 wRC+, a .235 ISO, and a 5.0 fWAR while scoring the most runs (124) and leading the way in home runs (30).
The turn-around has been led by third baseman Evan Longoria, who is hitting .371/.450/.943 with a team-high six home runs, 13 runs batted in, a .571 ISO, a 247 wRC+, and a 0.9 fWAR since June 28. Not to be outdone, shortstop Brandon Crawford is slashing .366/.435/.756 with four home runs, 13 runs batted in, a .390 ISO, a 204 wRC+, and a 0.7 fWAR in his last 12 games. Buster Posey, meanwhile, is hitting .400/.449/.600 with a 178 wRC+ and a 0.8 fWAR in his last 12 games. It will be a stark difference and a considerable challenge for the Mets’ pitching staff, who faced a struggling lineup the last time these two teams faced off in June.
Thursday, July 18: Noah Syndergaard vs. Madison Bumgarner, 9:45 p.m. on SNY
Syndergaard (2019): 112.2 IP, 110 K, 30 BB, 14 HR, 4.55 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 1.24 WHIP
Syndergaard was scintillating over seven stellar innings against the Miami Marlins on July 13. In his first start back from the All Star break, Thor got his team back on a winning track as he limited his opponent to two earned runs on five hits. His nine strikeouts were his most in a start since May 24, and at one point he retired five consecutive Marlins via the strikeout. He faltered a bit in the fourth and gave up two runs, but he recovered to set down the final 11 batters that he faced on the evening. Last September, Syndergaard tossed a complete game two-hitter in San Francisco while allowing one run and striking out 11.
Bumgarner (2019): 116.2 IP, 121 K, 25 BB, 17 HR, 3.86 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 1.22 WHIP
Despite the climb in the standings, the Giants are still very much expected to be sellers at the deadline, meaning Bumgarner’s days with the Giants are likely limited. In 11 seasons, he’s posted a 3.09 ERA, a 3.29 FIP, and a 1.11 WHIP with 1,712 strikeouts in San Francisco, but those numbers don’t speak to his postseason dominance, specifically on the 2014 World Series-winning team. In his last start against the Brewers, Bumgarner pitched five innings while allowing one unearned run on seven hits with six strikeouts. While Bumgarner has owned the Mets as of late, the team managed to end his scoreless streak against them by scoring three runs in the sixth back in June. Despite the two home runs they hit off the dominant left-hander, they still lost.
Friday, July 19: Jacob deGrom vs. Tyler Beede, 10:15 p.m. on SNY
deGrom (2019): 115.0 IP, 144 K, 28 BB, 14 HR, 3.21 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 1.12 WHIP
The final line showed deGrom giving up only one earned run while earning just his fifth victory of 2019—his first win since June 18—but things didn’t quite go that smoothly for the ace in Miami. While he was able to keep the Marlins in check for most of the afternoon, deGrom labored through his outing as his pitch count rose to 94 after five innings. The right-hander gave up six hits and walked three while striking out six, but his offense was able to lift him up after letting him down so often over the past two years. In three starts at Oracle Park, deGrom owns a 3.86 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 21 innings.
Beede (2019): 51.1 IP, 50 K, 28 BB, 9 HR, 5.44 ERA, 5.30 FIP, 1.58 WHIP
The 26-year-old Beede is slowly but surely lowering his ERA, one start at a time. In his first outing of 2019, he surrendered eight runs (seven earned) in 2.1 innings to give him a 27.00 ERA. After finding his way into the bullpen, he got back in the rotation and tossed six innings of one-run ball on May 30. He struggled a bit in June, specifically in a start against the Mets on June 5 where he was charged with six runs (five earned) over five innings. Things have gotten better for the young right-hander in July, with his best start coming on July 2. In that appearance against the San Diego Padres, he pitched seven innings and gave up one earned run on four hits. In his last outing, he picked up the win while allowing three earned runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings.
Saturday, July 20: TBD vs. Jeff Samardzija, 4:05 p.m. on WPIX
The Mets will need to call up a pitcher to start on Saturday, given Zack Wheeler’s injured list stint. Likely options include Walker Lockett and Corey Oswalt.
Samardzija (2019): 105.1 IP, 89 K, 29 BB, 16 HR, 3.93 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 1.18 WHIP
After closing out June with three consecutive rough starts (14 earned runs over 16 innings), Samardzija is having a stellar July so far, much like his team. He opened the month by tossing eight efficient innings against the Padres while allowing two earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts to earn the win. He followed that with seven shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 7, as he again earned the victory. In a 19-2 romp against the Rockies on July 15, he pitched 6.2 innings while allowing two earned runs on four hits with a season-high nine strikeouts. As a result, he’s lowered his 2019 ERA from 4.52 to 3.93 over the course of those three appearances. The veteran right-hander has traditionally struggled against the Mets and has yet to best them while pitching to a 7.32 ERA in 35.2 innings (5 starts) against them.
Sunday, July 21: Steven Matz vs. Drew Pomeranz, 4:05 p.m. on SNY
Matz (2019): 85.0 IP, 80 K, 30 BB, 19 HR, 4.87 ERA, 5.43 FIP, 1.48 WHIP
Matz returned to the rotation after a brief stint in the bullpen and tossed four innings of two-run ball in Minnesota on Tuesday night. He was hindered by a 75-pitch limit and made it to 68 before Mickey Callaway pulled him before the start of the fifth. Matz surrendered five hits and was charged with two earned runs while striking out two in the outing. It was encouraging that Matz didn’t allow any runs in the first inning after giving up two first inning runs in each of his last three starts. This will only be Matz’s second ever start at Oracle Park after he tossed seven one-run innings in his first go-around last September. In the start, he struck out a 2018 season-high 11 batters.
Pomeranz (2019): 72.1 IP, 84 K, 35 BB, 17 HR, 6.10 ERA, 5.56 FIP, 1.70 WHIP
It has been a year to forget for Pomeranz, who was a member of the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox club. After making the All Star team in 2016 and earning a career-best 17 victories with a 3.32 ERA and a 3.84 FIP in 2017, he has been unable to replicate that success last season or this year in San Francisco. He has only pitched into the sixth inning three times this season while completing six innings once back in April. In his last outing, he managed to pitch five innings while limiting the Rockies to one earned run on three hits.
Prediction: The Mets and Giants will play to a split over the next four days.
How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Giants?
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The Mets slay the Giants in a four game sweep!
The Mets cool off the red-hot Giants by taking three of four.
The Mets and Giants each earn two wins.
The Giants remain hot, while the Mets escape the Bay Area with one win.
The Mets return to reality after being squashed by the Giants in a sweep.