The .500 Mets (60-60), who earned their first win of this brutal 13-game stretch yesterday, will try desperately to build some momentum and climb back into the NL East race as they head to the City of Angels for a four-game rematch with the Dodgers. Los Angeles just swept the Mets at Citi Field last weekend, winning the first two in ten innings before concluding the series with a laugher.
The Mets dropped the first two against the Giants before salvaging the matinee finale in a thrilling extra inning affair. After flying all the way from New York to California on the red eye following their Sunday Night Baseball embarrassment, the Mets dropped the opener 7-5. Rich Hill was solid through three but fell apart in the fourth, surrendering five consecutive hits to kick things off before being removed. With his club down 2-0, Pete Alonso contributed a two-run triple—the team’s first three-bagger in 69 games—and came home on a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a brief lead. It was short-lived, as Kris Bryant crushed a two-run shot off of Miguel Castro to give San Francisco the lead for good. The Giants added three runs on back-to-back jacks from Bryant and Brandon Belt off Trevor May. Jonathan Villar’s two-run homer made it a two-run ballgame, but that was as close as the Mets would get.
The Mets fell 3-2 on Tuesday despite a fantastic outing from Marcus Stroman. The right-hander tossed seven innings of three-run ball, contributed a single, made a highlight-reel defensive play, and then managed to anger the Mets’ beat after the game, so it was an all-around game for Stroman. Unfortunately, the two homers he gave up were more than the team’s putrid offense could make up for, but he ended up saving the bullpen, which would come in handy for the team’s Wednesday game. Pete Alonso did hit a homer in the eighth, but that was about it for the offense.
The Mets won a wild, twelve-inning game on Wednesday by a 6-2 final score. The Giants mustered one run against Tylor Megill, who was terrific, and for while it looked like the parade of Giants’ relievers who took over for an injured Anthony DeSclafani would make it hold up. The Mets managed just three hits heading into the ninth, but they mounted a rally and pushed a run across on a J.D. Davis sacrifice fly to knot things up at one. After Edwin Díaz pitched two scintillating scoreless innings, the Mets took the lead on a Michael Conforto run-scoring double in the eleventh, but Jeurys Familia gave it right back. In the 12th, Kevin Pillar—who came so close to hitting a home run in his previous at-bat—sent one far over the left field wall for a three-run homer that gave the Mets the lead for good. Chance Sisco, in his first plate appearance as a Met, added a run-scoring double, and Jake Reed closed things out for the victory.
Conforto, who has had a brutal season as he approaches free agency, has picked it up in August and been the team’s best hitter by far. For the month, he owns a team-leading 149 wRC+ while slashing .304/.391/.518 with two homers. 11 runs scored, and a 0.5 fWAR in 17 games. Villar, who hit the late homer in Monday’s loss, leads the club with four long balls this month while hitting .273/.322/.491 with a 122 wRC+ and a 0.4 fWAR in 17 games. On the other side of things, Jeff McNeil is having a rough go of it this month as he battles through a 1-for-22 slump. In August, the infielder has posted a .177/.239/.290 slash line with a 49 wRC+ and a -0.3 fWAR in 17 games. That’s not as bad as Dominic Smith, who is hitting .237/.238/.271 with a 38 wRC+ and a -0.4 fWAR in 17 August games.
With the Phillies dropping their first two games to the Diamondbacks, the Mets have narrowed their deficit to second-place Philadelphia to one game. Unfortunately, in that span, the Braves have overtaken both squads. The Braves have won 13 of their 16 games in August, including six straight and nine of their last ten. With their sweep of the Marlins, they have opened up a three-and-a-half game lead on the Phillies, and a four-and-a-half game cushion on New York. They do play an eight-game stretch against the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers later this month, which will constitute the toughest part of their remaining schedule and the best opportunity for a team to close the gap on them.
The Dodgers ride into this series on a six-game winning streak, which began with their three-game sweep of the Mets last weekend. On top of that, they are coming off a sweep against the lowly Pirates at home. With their win, and with San Francisco’s loss yesterday, they have cut the lead in the NL West race to three games.
The Dodgers continue to lead the league in offense, as their 5.24 runs-per-game is tops in the NL and third-best in MLB. Since arriving in Los Angeles, Trea Turner has posted a 105 wRC+ while slashing .286/.340/.405 with ten runs scored and a 0.2 fWAR in 11 games. Max Muncy remains the player to watch on this club, as he leads the Dodgers with six August home runs while hitting .260/.373/.680 with a team-best 174 wRC+ and a 0.8 fWAR in 14 games. Cody Bellinger, who picked up the game-winning hit last Saturday against the Mets, has been better this month, slashing .235/.278/.569 with four homers, a 124 wRC+, and a 0.4 fWAR in 14 games.
Thursday, August 19: Taijuan Walker vs. TBD, 10:10 p.m. on SNY
Walker (2021): 117.2 IP, 110 K, 44 BB, 17 HR, 3.75 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 1.1 bWAR
Walker pitched his heart out in his last start, as he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. With one out, he surrendered a Will Smith solo shot to break up both the no-no and the shut out, and he gave up another single in the frame before being pulled. In all, he gave up one earned run on two hits, with three walks and eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings. It was his longest start since he completed seven innings back on June 15 against the Cubs. It was far and away his best outing post-All Star break, and his second straight quality start. Hopefully this is a sign that Walker has come out of his slump and can recapture some of the glory of his first half, because the Mets will need him to pitch like this if they have any hopes of making a run at the postseason.
The Dodgers are reportedly going with a “bulk-free bullpen game”, and all hands will be on deck according to David Roberts.
Friday, August 20: Carlos Carrasco vs. Walker Buehler, 10:10 p.m. on SNY
Carrasco (2021): 11.1 IP, 12 K, 3 BB, 5 HR, 10.32 ERA, 7.58 FIP, 1.85 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR
Things have just not come easy for Carrasco since returning from his injury. After two encouraging starts against the Reds and the Marlins, he had a rain-abbreviated outing against the Nationals in which he gave up a three-run shot to Juan Soto and gave up four runs over one-plus innings, and then he got knocked around by the mighty Dodgers his last time out. He surrendered three home runs over two innings and was ultimately charged with six earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He threw 57 pitches, which is five under the max he’s thrown, but because of his poor outings, he has not been able to stretch beyond 62 pitches. Much of this could be the result of not having a proper spring training, but it’s still a disappointing start to Carrasco’s Mets career.
Buehler (2021): 154.2 IP, 162 K, 41 BB, 14 HR, 2.09 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 0.94 WHIP, 5.4 bWAR
Buehler showed Mets fans why he is a Cy Young contender with a dominant outing his last time out at Citi Field. The right-hander allowed four hits over seven innings, with the lone real blemish against his record being Conforto’s fourth inning solo homer. He struck out ten and walked three, and threw 70 of his 110 pitches (63.6%) for strikes. In the process, he lowered his National League-leading ERA to 2.09. He went toe-to-toe with Walker, who was tossing a no-hitter for much of the game, and kept his team in it long enough for them to rally and win.
Saturday, August 21: Rich Hill vs. Max Scherzer, 4:05 p.m. on WPIX
Hill (2021): 117.0 IP, 105 K, 43 BB, 16 HR, 4.08 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
Hill got off to a good start in his last outing, but ran into trouble in the fourth and wasn’t able to get out of it. He started that inning by surrendering five straight hits, which signaled the end of his evening. In all, he went 3.2 innings and was charged with two earned runs on six hits. It marked his second straight appearance in which he failed to throw at least four innings after tossing five in each of his first three Mets’ starts. The veteran lefty’s numbers have dipped since arriving in New York, as he owns a 4.98 ERA, a 4.60 FIP, and a 1.39 WHIP in 21.2 innings with the Mets after posting a 3.98 ERA, a 4.56 FIP, and a 1.16 WHIP in 95.1 innings for the Rays.
Scherzer (2021): 127.1 IP, 170 K, 31 BB, 19 HR, 2.69 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 0.90 WHIP, 3.1 bWAR
Scherzer didn’t have to do much in his last outing against the Mets, as L.A.’s offense did all of the heavy lifting and made his job easy. Still, the veteran turned in another solid performance, limiting New York to two earned runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks over six innings pitched. He picked up his second victory in three starts for the Dodgers, and now owns a 2.20 ERA, a 1.70 FIP, and a 0.92 WHIP in three starts with his new club. The right-hander currently leads all qualified NL starters in WHIP and at age 37, is putting together another incredible season in a Hall of Fame career. The Mets will be happy when they don’t have to see Scherzer face them anymore, as he has dominated them to the tune of a 2.71 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP with 205 strikeouts in 156 career innings.
Sunday, August 22: Marcus Stroman vs. David Price, 4:05 p.m. on WPIX
Stroman (2021): 139.1 IP, 123 K, 33 BB, 14 HR, 2.84 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 2.7 bWAR
In a year where pretty much everyone who has put on a Mets uniform has gotten injured, Stroman has been the most reliable of the bunch in staying on the field. he leads the NL with 25 starts, which is a testament to his ability to take the ball every fifth day. In his last outing, he struck out nine over seven innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits in that start. He has now gone at least five innings in nine straight outings, and he has kept his ERA under three for pretty much the entire season. Since the All Star break, he owns a 3.07 ERA and a 3.22 FIP in 41.0 innings.
Price (2021): 59.2 IP, 50 K, 16 BB, 7 HR, 3.62 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 0.7 bWAR
After opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, Price transitioned back this season as a reliever before eventually earning a spot back in L.A.’s rotation. Seven of his last eight appearances have been as a starter, though he still has not gone six innings in any start this year. His numbers are pretty much identical in both roles, as he owns a 3.62 ERA as a starter versus a 3.63 ERA as a relief pitcher. In his last outing, he held the Pirates to two earned runs on three hits and fell one out shy of picking up the victory.
Prediction: The Mets drop three out of four against the Dodgers.
How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Dodgers?
This poll is closed
A four-game sweep for the Mets? Sure! Why not?
The Mets pick up a much-needed series win by taking three of four.
The Mets and Dodgers split a pair in California.
The Mets sneak a win in but drop the series.
The Dodgers make it another sweep as they beat the Mets in all four.