The New York Mets (77-72) embark on their final road trip of 2019 as they try to keep their fading playoff hopes alive against the Colorado Rockies (65-85). Earlier this year, the Mets took two out of three from the Rockies at Citi Field.
The Mets went toe-to-toe with the National League’s best team over the weekend and ended up dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Things got off to a positive start on Friday night as J.D. Davis hit a home run in the bottom of the first against Clayton Kershaw. Noah Syndergaard looked good early in the game but was the victim of a Gavin Lux three-run home run in the fourth that capped off a four-run frame. Things went steadily downhill from there, as the bullpen fanned the flames and the offense had no answer to Dodgers’ pitching as New York fell 9-2.
Saturday night was a matchup of two 2019 Cy Young hopefuls, and the pitchers were up to the task. Jacob deGrom and Hyun-Jin Ryu threw up zeroes on the board all night as they bolstered their case for the award. The Mets finally broke through in the eighth innings thanks to unlikely hero Rajai Davis. The reserve outfielder was called upon with the bases loaded and two outs and contributed a three-run double to bring home the only runs of the game. Seth Lugo, who pitched the eighth in relief of deGrom, picked up the victory, while Justin Wilson got the save.
The Mets got Zack Wheeler’s best on Sunday night, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to pick up a series victory. Brandon Nimmo drove home two runs with a triple down the right field line, but the offense went to sleep after that and did next-to-nothing against Walker Buehler and a cavalcade of Los Angeles relief pitchers. Meanwhile their opponent’s offense chipped away with one run in the fourth off Wheeler, one run in the eighth off Wilson, and one run in the ninth off Lugo. It’s hard to blame the bullpen on this one, as a lack of reliable options has forced Mickey Callaway’s hand and has resulted in him calling on his two best arms one too many times in such a short span.
With the loss, the Mets saw themselves fall to four games back after the Chicago Cubs beat down the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend while scoring 47 runs in the process. While the Mets remained above the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, they also saw themselves fall three back of the Milwaukee Brewers. With 13 games to play, the team will need to, at minimum, win 11 to give themselves a chance. Even that might not be enough, given Milwaukee’s easy schedule. The St. Louis Cardinals, who lead the National League Central, do play the Cubs seven more times, which likely gives the Mets their best chance to gain some ground.
The Mets’ biggest hitters have chosen the absolute worst time to slump as the season winds down the team’s hopes dwindling. After taking another hitless night, Pete Alonso is now 0-for-20 after his two home run performance on Monday night. Jeff McNeil has seen his chances at a batting title slip away with his recent slump. On the homestand, he went 8-for-34 with two home runs as he ended up hitting .235/.350/.471 with a 120 wRC+. Michael Conforto, meanwhile, slashed .207/.324/.448 while hitting two home runs and putting up a 106 wRC+ in eight games during the homestand.
The Rockies enter this series as winners of five of their last six games. Over the weekend, the last-place squad swept the San Diego Padres while scoring 31 runs across the three games at Coors Field. Prior to that, they took two of three from the Cardinals while improbably winning a paid of 2-1 games. This series caps off a nine-game homestand before they travel to Los Angeles and then to take on the San Francisco Giants.
Offense is not a problem for Colorado, as their three big hitters are still putting up numbers that you would expect from them. Nolan Arenado is still having a terrific season after signing a long-term extension to stay in Colorado. The third baseman enters Monday with 40 home runs while hitting .315/.380/.595 to go along with a .280 ISO, a 129 wRC+, and a 5.4 fWAR, all of which lead the team. Shortstop Trevor Story enters with a .296/.359/.553 slash line along with 32 home runs, a .256 ISO, a 118 wRC+, and a 5.2 fWAR. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon is also having a great season, hitting .317/.364/.575 with 28 home runs, a team-high 106 runs scored, a .258 ISO, a 124 wRC+, and a 1.7 fWAR.
Colorado has been let down by their pitching, which owns the worst ERA (5.65) and the worst FIP (5.21) in the National League. Those numbers trail only the Baltimore Orioles among major league teams. When separating starters from relievers, their bullpen’s 5.22 ERA trails only the Washington Nationals, while their 5.17 FIP is the worst in the league. Their rotation carries a 5.94 ERA, which registers as the worst among all major league teams, while their 5.23 FIP is second-worse (again, to the Orioles).
Monday, September 16: Steven Matz vs. Antonio Senzatela, 8:40 p.m. on SNY
Matz (2019): 145.1 IP, 139 K, 45 BB, 23 HR, 3.84 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 1.31 WHIP
Matz turned in another strong showing on Wednesday night, tossing six shutout innings against the Diamondbacks while scattering four hits, walking three batters, and striking out seven. He picked up ten wins for the first time in his major league career. In his last seven starts, Matz owns a 1.94 ERA and a 3.53 FIP with 42 strikeouts in 41.2 innings. Matz will have his work cut out for him on Monday, as he’s tasked with taming a tough right-handed lineup in a notoriously difficult park for pitchers. As well as he’s pitched at Citi Field, he’s been unreliable on the road. In 66.2 innings on the road, he has a 6.08 ERA and a 5.94 FIP.
Senzatela (2019): 108.2 IP, 62 K, 51 BB, 15 HR, 6.87 ERA, 5.36 FIP, 1.75 WHIP
Senzatela turned in one of his best starts of the year after three subpar outings in a row. Senzatela limited an opposing Cardinals lineup to one earned run on four hits with five strikeouts over six innings to pick up his ninth win of 2019. The right-hander had a 6.29 ERA in late-July and was optioned to Triple-A to try to right the ship. Once Kyle Freeland hit the injured list, the pitcher made his return. He allowed a total of 17 earned runs in his first three starts over just 9.2 innings. He faced the Mets back on June 7 and picked up the win while tossing six innings of one-run ball. In that appearance, he did not strike anybody out.
Tuesday, September 17: Marcus Stroman vs. Tim Melville, 8:40 p.m. on SNY
Stroman (2019): 166.2 IP, 142 K, 53 BB, 17 HR, 3.35 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 1.34 WHIP
Stroman gave the Mets his best performance on Thursday afternoon to lead his team to a series sweep. Stroman threw a pitch in the seventh inning for the first time in New York as he went 6.1 innings and allowed one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts. He did walk four, which is not ideal, but he was able to work around his control issues. He couldn’t escape the seventh, but the bullpen bailed him out, and the offense provided more than enough runs to help him pick up the win. In eight starts with the Mets, Stroman now owns a 4.50 ERA and a 4.62 FIP in 42 innings.
Melville (2019): 22.2 IP, 20 K, 11 BB, 6 HR, 5.16 ERA, 6.48 FIP, 1.54 WHIP
Few people have had a wilder ride than Melville. The right-hander was out of baseball last year and was pitching for the Long Island Ducks at the start of the 2019 season. When Colorado needed pitching help, they called on Melville to step in. Since then, the journeyman has made five starts. His first two were terrific, as he tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks to earn a win on August 21 anf then five shutout innings against the Braves on August 26. Since then, he’s come back down to earth a bit, although he did throw a season-high eight strikeouts while picking up a win against the Padres after pitching 5.2 innings on September 6. In his last outing against the Cardinals, he was tattooed for five earned runs in just three innings. St. Louis blasted four home runs against the former fourth round pick.
Wednesday, September 18: Noah Syndergaard vs. Jeff Hoffman, 3:10 p.m. on SNY
Syndergaard (2019): 180.0 IP, 180 K, 46 BB, 20 HR, 4.15 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 1.19 WHIP
The main story once again in Syndergaard’s last start was his issues throwing to Wilson Ramos. For the second straight start, he lasted just five innings and gave up four earned runs. This time around, it took him 102 pitches to labor through his five innings of work. With Syndergaard pitching on a day game after a night game in Colorado, it will be interesting to see how Callaway handles the situation. If he chooses to catch Tomas Nido on Tuesday night and opt for Ramos on Wednesday, it will say a lot about how the organization views their right-hander ahead of the offseason. With an off-day on Thursday, it would certainly behoove the team to give Ramos the day off with Syndergaard starting to get him two straight days of rest.
Hoffman (2019): 56.1 IP, 58 K, 27 BB, 16 HR, 7.03 ERA, 6.45 FIP, 1.67 WHIP
Hoffman has been up and down for the Rockies, this year, spending some time in Triple-A and some more time on the injured list. He’s gone at least five innings in each of his last three starts, which is an improvement after lasting just two innings and giving up seven earned runs against the Diamondbacks on August 13. He picked up his second win of 2019 in his last start after going 5.1 innings against the Padres and allowing four earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts. In doing so, he did walk a season-high six and also hit a batter.
Prediction: The Mets will drop two of three to the Rockies.
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Rockies?
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The Mets rock Colorado in a three game sweep!
The Mets take two to take another road series.
The Mets slip back with another series loss while stealing one game.
The Mets fall off a cliff in a three game sweep.