The Mets (30-24) return home to Citi Field for a gut-check homestand, which begins with three games against the San Diego Padres (37-27). The two clubs squared off at Petco Park last weekend, with the Padres taking the first two before the Mets recovered to win the last two. As things creep back towards normal with more people getting vaccinated—if you’re reading this and haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, seriously, go get your shot—the Mets are lifting most capacity limits, so Citi Field will feel about as close to full as it’s been all year. The stadium will allow for just over 33,000 people to attend the game, with 90% of those seats reserved for fully vaccinated individuals. With Jacob deGrom on the mound on Friday, the place will be rocking.
It was a tale of two games for the Mets at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles. On Tuesday night, New York was routed by Baltimore in a 10-3 laugher. Pete Alonso hit a laser beam home run in the first to put New York ahead by two, but David Peterson was not up to the task of holding his team’s lead. He was removed in the third after giving up four earned runs, and things got progressively worse from there as the Orioles put four on the board against Robert Gsellman. Alonso did add a solo homer in the ninth inning to give the Mets their first two-homer game of the season, which represented the lone bright spot in an ugly loss.
The Mets rebounded on Wednesday and pounded The Dark Knight, dropping seven runs on Matt Harvey for the second time in a month. The Mets hit six homers in the 14-1 win, including multi-homer games from Kevin Pillar and Billy McKinney, as well as home runs from Alonso and Mason Williams. On the mound, Taijuan Walker bounced back from his subpar outing at Petco Park and tossed seven strong innings of one-run ball while striking out nine, earning his fifth victory of the season. Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless eighth, and Seth Lugo made his third appearance since returning from the injured list, striking out one and allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth.
Alonso has assuaged any fears of any lingering health issues with his hand since returning from the IL on May 31. In nine games, he’s slashed .371/.405/.743 with four homers, nine runs scored, and 12 runs driven in to go along with a 215 wRC+. He now leads the club with ten homers, an .849 OPS, a .235 ISO, and a 137 wRC+ on the season, as he makes his push to start at first base for the National League All Star team.
Following his three-hit game on Wednesday, which included two home runs, Pillar has continued his inspiring play since returning from a terrifying injury. The outfielder has slashed .296/.321/.529 with a 134 wRC+ in eight games since his return. Rounding out the players who recorded multi-homer games in Baltimore, McKinney has been an incredible find for the club since arriving from the Milwaukee Brewers. Since landing in New York, McKinney is hitting .275/.341/.700 with four home runs and a 180 wRC+ in 12 games. With Albert Almora Jr. on a rehab assignment and expected to return in the next couple of weeks, the team will have some decisions to make with their roster, but it’s impossible to imagine a scenario where McKinney doesn’t keep his spot on the roster as one of the team’s reserve outfielders going forward.
Since the Mets last saw the Padres, San Diego dropped two of three against the Chicago Cubs. They took the opener 9-4, but were held to one run in each of the next two games as they fell 7-1 and 3-1. Like the Mets, they are coming off of an off-day on Thursday. The Padres have lost six of nine games during the month of June, falling to third in the National League West behind the first-place San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They trail the first-place Giants by two-and-a-half games while residing one game behind the Dodgers.
Much of San Diego’s struggles stem from their big hitters scuffling during the month. Fernando Tatis Jr. only has a 51 wRC+ while slashing .172/.226/.310 with one homer in eight games during the month. Jake Cronenworth, who had gotten off to a scorching-hot start, has cooled down, hitting .212/.278/.242 with a 53 wRC+ in nine games. Eric Hosmer meanwhile has been borderline unplayable during the month, hitting .121/.147/.152 with a -16 wRC+ and a -0.5 fWAR in nine games. Conversely, Tommy Pham is slashing .238/.448/.429 with two homers and a 155 wRC+ in eight June games. Manny Machado leads the club with two homers this month while hitting .250/.281/.464 with a 98 wRC+ in eight games.
Friday, June 1: Blake Snell vs. Jacob deGrom, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Snell (2021): 54.0 IP, 80 K, 32 BB, 8 HR, 4.83 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 1.43 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR
The Mets may have just fixed the struggling Snell. In his last outing against the Mets, he had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning before surrendering a leadoff hit to Francisco Lindor. With the shortstop reaching third on a two-base error following the hit, Snell found himself in immediate trouble after a relatively sweat-free outing. He buckled down, got the next three batters, and kept the Mets off the board. In total, he gave up just the one hit while striking out ten. Prior to that, he had failed to complete six innings of work in 27 of his last 28 starts, which includes his 2020 postseason run with the Tampa Bay Rays. If the Padres can unlock this side of Snell going forward, they could be that much more dangerous.
deGrom (2021): 58.0 IP, 93 K, 8 BB, 3 HR, 0.62 ERA, 1.03 FIP, 0.57 WHIP, 3.3 bWAR
It never gets boring trying to think of ways to properly describe Jacob deGrom’s greatness. Against one of the best teams in the National League, deGrom put forth another breathtaking outing. He struck out 11 over seven shutout innings, holding the potent Padres’ lineup to three hits and one walk. His 0.62 ERA represents the lowest mark for a starting pitcher through their first nine starts in a given season. More importantly, he pitched into the seventh, which is the first time he’s gone beyond six since his complete game shutout on April 23, putting to bed any fears of lingering problems following his IL stint. He only needed 85 pitches to get through his start and, in any of his last three appearances, he likely could have gone further if not for his team continuing to exercise caution with their prized pitcher. Facing the Padres for a second straight time, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to that lineup, and how that lineup adjusts to him.
Saturday, June 12: Joe Musgrove vs. Marcus Stroman, 4:10 p.m. on SNY
Musgrove (2021): 65.2 IP, 89 K, 13 BB, 8 HR, 2.33 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 0.84 WHIP, 1.3 bWAR
Musgrove was locked in a pitcher’s due with deGrom in his last start, and like so many good pitchers before him, he was no match for the GOAT. After four shutout innings, he saw his scoreless innings streak come to an end in the fifth after surrendering homers to José Peraza and to Lindor. In all, he gave up three earned runs on a season-high eight hits with one walk and ten strikeouts over five innings. It was the fourth time this season that he registered double-digit strikeouts, but it wasn’t enough to avoid his fifth loss of the season. He will try his hand again against the same team that beat him one week earlier.
Stroman (2021): 71.0 IP, 59 K, 17 BB, 7 HR, 2.41 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 1.07 WHIP, 1.3 bWAR
Stroman danced around danger all afternoon in his last start, and he largely came away unscathed as he tossed 6.2 innings against the Padres to earn his fifth win. The lone run against him was unearned, though it was his error on a throw to first that put the runner on base. He only allowed four hits, and he struck out seven, but he walked a season-high four. His command was not as sharp as it has been in his previous starts, but he was able to limit the damage. He threw 58 of his 98 pitches (59%) for strikes, which is below his season average of 67%. Still, he continues to perform well and bring good vibes to the top of the team’s rotation, which has been the club’s biggest strength so far this season.
Sunday, June 13: Chris Paddack vs. Joey Lucchesi, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
Paddack (2021): 52.2 IP, 48 K, 13 BB, 8 HR, 4.27 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, -0.6 bWAR
Paddack faced off against the Mets for the first time since manufacturing that absurd feud with Alonso in 2019 after he lost out on April Rookie of the Month honors. In that first start, he tossed 7.2 scoreless innings and punched out 11 Mets, but things didn’t go his way this time around. The pride of Single-A Lake Elsinore did record a quality start—his third in four outings—but he took his fifth loss of the year after allowing three earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts over six innings. Paddack hasn’t been nearly as impressive as he was during the first half of his rookie campaign, and has slid to the back of San Diego’s rotation.
Lucchesi (2021): 28.0 IP, 30 K, 8 BB, 3 HR, 5.79 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR
With each passing start, Joey Lucchesi keeps earning another turn in the rotation. Part of that is due to the continued absence of Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco, but Lucchesi has presented himself as the most palatable option to take that final turn every fifth day. In his last three starts, he’s pitched to a 1.46 ERA, a 2.82 FIP, and a 0.81 WHIP with a 28.9% K% in 12.2 innings. In his last outing, he pitched into the fifth for the first time as a starter this year. Because his ERA the second time through the order is 10.80 as a starter (as opposed to 3.77 the first time through), the team will likely continue to be cautious with him as soon as he reaches that part of the game, and he may not see many opportunities to pitch deep into games. Still, if he can pitch as he has his last three times out, he will likely continue to build trust with his team.
Prediction: The Mets take two out of three from the Padres to win the season series!
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Padres?
This poll is closed
The Mets sweep the struggling Padres!
For the second straight weekend, the Mets win two against San Diego.
The Mets steal one from the Padres, but they drop the series.
The Mets are slammed by San Diego in a three game sweep.