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Mets conclude pre-All Star Game schedule with four against Pirates

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The first-place Mets will look to close out the first half on a high note.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets (45-38) will finish off the first half schedule with a four-game set at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates (32-54). The Mets played the Pirates twice during that terrific second-half run they had in 2019 and defeated Pittsburgh in five out of six games, including winning all three at Citi Field.

The Mets celebrated the official midway point of the season on Monday with a 4-2 against the Brewers. New York turned to Tylor Megill, who gave his team another solid outing. He surrendered a homer to Omar Narváez, but the Mets came back to tie it against Brandon Woodruff in the bottom half of that frame. Megill kept it close until the team’s bats finally broke through against the All Star Woodruff in the seventh. Pete Alonso provided the big hit with a two-run double, and Michael Conforto broke out of an 0-for-13 with a run-scoring single. Things got dicey in the ninth with Edwin Díaz on the mound, and despite giving up a run and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate, he settled in and closed out the victory.

Tuesday’s game was rained out despite Steve Cohen’s continued insistence that the game would be starting at some point that evening, and the Mets were tasked with another doubleheader on Wednesday. This time, it was a split affair, with Jacob deGrom facing off against Corbin Burnes in a duel of All Star pitchers in Game One. Luis Urías greeted Jake rudely with a leadoff homer, but deGrom bounced back to retire 13 straight before giving up another homer in the fifth, this time to Jace Peterson. That was all he would give up, as he struck out ten over seven innings, including the 1,500th of his career. On offense, the Mets tied things up in the first, but wasted a golden opportunity to tack on more. They trailed heading into the seventh, when José Peraza launched a one-out homer against the previously-perfect-in-save-opportunities Josh Hader. Milwaukee went ahead against Díaz, but the Mets loaded the bases up against Brent Suter in the bottom of the eighth, which gave Jeff McNeil the opportunity to play hero with a game-winning, two-run single.

The Mets went quietly in the night game, as they often have during this recent stretch. Robert Stock started his first game for his new club and allowed two runs in four innings, both of which game on a Manny Piña dinger. Drew Smith served up a long ball to Willy Adames to extend Milwaukee’s lead to three. The Mets had their best chance in the sixth against Brad Boxberger, as they loaded the bases with nobody out, but Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith, and Alonso all struck out. Miguel Castro gave up a two-run shot to Urías, which put the game well out of reach and resulted in a 5-0 final.

Nimmo’s return has been a big boost to a previously-scuffling offense. He has picked up right where he left off prior to his IL stint, slashing .364/.391/.455 with a 138 wRC+ in six games. In the five games he’s started, the Mets have scored 28 runs, and he has been right in the middle of the action. With his walk-off hit yesterday, McNeil has continued his strong play. It took him a while to look like something resembling the old McNeil following his hamstring injury, but the second baseman has posted a .310/.394/.310 slash line with a 110 wRC+ over his last ten games.

Lindor picked up another run-scoring hit in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader, and continues his solid play. Since May 29, he is hitting .261/.350/.457 with six homers and a 127 wRC+ in 39 games. Over that same stretch of time, Pete Alonso is hitting .277/.340/.515 with nine homers and a 133 wRC+ in 37 games.

The Pirates ride into Citi Field after helping New York out with a series win against the Atlanta Braves. They took the first two against Atlanta before getting routed in the Wednesday finale. Prior to that, they ended the Brewers’ 11-game winning streak on Sunday after dropping the first three.

The last-place Pirates have two players traveling to Coors Field for the All Star game. Second baseman Adam Frazier got voted in by the fans and will start the game after slashing .326/.396/.461 with four homers, a team-leading 52 runs scored, and a 137 wRC+ in a team-high 85 games. Frazier’s 2.6 fWAR is third among all NL second basemen. Outfielder Bryan Reynolds, meanwhile, was added to the All Star roster as a reserve. He leads the club with a 3.2 fWAR and a 150 wRC+ while hitting .305/.392/.523 with a team-best 15 home runs in 83 games.

Thursday, July 8: JT Brubaker vs. Taijuan Walker, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Brubaker (2021): 83.2 IP, 81 K, 18 BB, 16 HR, 4.09 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 1.1 bWAR

Brubaker has had a mostly-solid sophomore year for Pittsburgh, though he is coming off one of his rockier performances of the year. In his last start against the Brewers, he was charged with five earned runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He gave up three home runs in the start for the second time this year, which upped his HR/9 to 1.7 on the season. He also threw a season-high 93 pitches, tossing 57 of them (61%) for strikes. This will be the former sixth round pick’s first time seeing the Mets in his career.

Walker (2021): 85.0 IP, 87 K, 27 BB, 6 HR, 2.44 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, 2.1 bWAR

Walker was unfortunately left off the NL All Star roster, which is a shame because, while the extra rest will be nice and a benefit to his club, the right-hander deserves the recognition for his fantastic first half. deGrom, as recently as Wednesday, has mentioned he would like to see Walker get his spot on the team, as the ace does not intend to make the trip to Colorado. In his last start against the New York Yankees, he carried a no-hitter into the sixth, before Aaron Judge promptly deposited his one-out offering into the stands for a home run. In the end, he gave up two earned runs on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 5.2 innings as he picked up his seventh win.

Friday, July 9: TBD vs. Marcus Stroman, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

TBD

The Pirates have not yet named a starting pitcher for Friday’s game against the Mets.

Stroman (2021): 93.1 IP, 78 K, 25 BB, 9 HR, 2.60 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 1.5 bWAR

Stroman struggled again in his last start, which makes it at least a mild concern for the team. He was again done in by his defense, as a Lindor error on a would-be double play opened the floodgates to two Yankee runs in the second, but he still looked wild at times, even giving up a run on a wild pitch in the fifth. He did battle through five innings and kept his team enough in the game to give them the opportunity to rally against Aroldis Chapman in the seventh. In the end, he was charged with five runs (three earned) on six hits with one walk and a hit batter. He also didn’t strike out a single batter in the outing.

Saturday, July 10: Tyler Anderson vs. Tylor Megill, 4:10 p.m. on WPIX

Anderson (2021): 92.1 IP, 78 K, 24 BB, 15 HR, 4.39 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR

Anderson put forth his best start of 2021, which was enough to stop Milwaukee’s 11-game winning streak. In his July 4 start, the former first round pick scattered three hits over seven shutout innings while walking two and striking out six to earn his fourth win of the season and his first since his May 9 outing against the Chicago Cubs. Since allowing six earned runs over six inning on June 15, the left-hander has pitched to a 2.41 ERA, a 3.97 FIP, and a 0.91 WHIP over 18.2 innings in his last three starts.

Megill (2021): 14.1 IP, 19 K, 6 BB, 3 HR, 3.77 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR

Megill has continued to impress as his team continues giving him chances, mostly because their options otherwise just don’t inspire any confidence. Tasked with facing one of the best starters in the National League on Monday, Megill was up to the challenge and once again kept his team in the game until the bats could wake up. He has allowed six earned runs at the major league level, all of which have come on home runs, and that trend continued as he served up a solo homer to Narváev in the fourth for the lone blemish against his record. New York has won each of his three starts so far, and with reinforcements still a ways away, he’ll likely get at least a couple more starts on the other end of the break.

Sunday, July 11: Chase De Jong vs. TBD, 1:10 p.m. on WPIX

De Jong (2021): 33.2 IP, 30 K, 14 BB, 6 HR, 5.08 ERA, 5.04 FIP, 1.55 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR

After bouncing around across three American League organizations over the previous four seasons, De Jong is finally getting an extended look at the big league level with the Pirates in 2021. The former second round pick, who was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, earned the second win of his major league career on Monday, and the first since 2018 when he pitched for the Minnesota Twins. The right-hander tossed five innings against the Braves while giving up one earned run on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. It was a similar line to his first start for Pittsburgh, when he allowed one earned on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies. In between, he made five June starts and pitched to a 6.46 ERA, a 5.84 FIP, and a 1.69 WHIP in 23.2 innings.

TBD

The Mets have not yet named a starting pitcher for Sunday afternoon’s finale against the Pirates. Nick Tropeano is a candidate for the start, as he has served as the 27th man a couple of times but has yet to appear in a game for the Mets. New York has also hinted at using deGrom for an inning or two to get some work in and to avoid pitching him in the All Star Game.

Prediction: The Mets take three out four from Pittsburgh!

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Pirates?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    The Mets close out the first half with a sweep!
    (28 votes)
  • 50%
    The Mets go into the break on a high note with three of four.
    (69 votes)
  • 15%
    The Mets and Pirates split their four before the All Star Game.
    (21 votes)
  • 1%
    The Mets drop three of four to Pittsburgh at Citi Field.
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    The Mets get beat down by the Bucs in a four game sweep.
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    Pizza!
    (13 votes)
136 votes total Vote Now