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Stretch against best of the West mercifully ends with three at home against Giants

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The Mets have fallen far out of the race over these past ten games.

MLB: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets (61-63) are back home to finally (!) finish off this 13-game stretch against the two best teams in the National League with three against the Giants (80-44). The Mets dropped two of three to San Francisco last week at Oracle Park, and, overall, they have two wins against eight losses during this brutal schedule. As a result, they have fallen six-and-a-half games back of the Braves in the National League East race.

The Mets dropped the first three against the Dodgers in California while salvaging their series finale on Sunday. On Thursday, the Mets fell by a 4-1 score, as they went hitless in three plate appearances with runners in scoring position while stranding five on base. In all, they had just six hits against seven Dodgers’ relievers. Taijuan Walker wasn’t as effective as he was against Los Angeles at Citi Field, but really, it would have hardly mattered anyway.

The Mets fell 3-2 on Friday, as they were once again no match for Walker Buehler. Carlos Carrasco turned in a better outing, going five innings for the first time as a Mets and allowing three runs. Pete Alonso hit a solo homer in the fourth, and he drove in another run in the eighth on a single, but that was all the offense for New York on the evening.

The Mets dropped their fourth one-run contest to the Dodgers on Saturday, this time falling by a 4-3 score with David Wright in the house. Rich Hill surrendered three solo homers, including one to Trea Turner on his second pitch of the afternoon, but he was otherwise fine. Brandon Nimmo’s home run brought the Mets to within two, but Miguel Castro gave L.A. an insurance run by walking three straight batters following a leadoff single in the sixth. Alonso hit a two-run shot to bring New York back to within one run, but that was as close as they would get.

The Mets flipped the script and avoided a season series sweep with a 7-2 win on Sunday. The Mets dropped a three-spot against David Price in the first, with Javier Báez acting as the sparkplug with a run-scoring double to get things started. Marcus Stroman gave two back in the fifth, but was otherwise strong again over six innings. Báez added a big two-out double in the seventh inning, and J.D. Davis brought him home with a two-run homer to give the Mets some much-needed insurance. New York scored two more runs in the ninth, and the trio of Jeurys Familia, Trevor May, and Edwin Díaz pitched scoreless innings to secure the victory.

While the Mets have continued to underperform offensively, Alonso has thrived overall as he puts together another strong season. The Polar Bear is on an eight-game hitting streak, during which he has slashed .313/.389/.688 with a team-high three homers, seven runs scored, eight runs batted in, a team-best 187 wRC+, and a 0.4 fWAR. Nimmo has also continued his stellar play, hitting .333/.421/.455 with one homer, six runs scored, a 146 wRC+, and a 0.4 fWAR in eight games.

Jeff McNeil struggled on the road trip, hitting .138/.194/.241 with a 23 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR in the seven games. Dominic Smith has continued his brutal play, slashing .048/.045/.048 with a -77 wRC+ and a -0.5 fWAR in six games during the road trip. With Báez back in the lineup, and with Francisco Lindor due back any day now, Smith stands to lose a lot of playing time as the team presumably pivots towards putting McNeil in left field and J.D. Davis at third base.

Since the Mets left San Francisco, the Giants picked up a series win against the Athletics. They dropped the opening contest but earned victories in the next two games. During the month of August, the Giants have won 15 games while losing five. They enter play tonight with a two-and-a-half game lead in the NL West.

The Mets got a first-hand look last week at what they missed out on in Kris Bryant. Since arriving in San Francisco, Bryant is hitting .274/.329/.507 with a team-high four homers, a 122 wRC+, and a 0.5 fWAR in 19 games. Brandon Crawford, meanwhile, has been San Francisco’s best hitter in August, slashing .347/.372/.486 with a team-leading 128 wRC+ and a 0.6 fWAR in 18 games. Buster Posey has posted a .250/.364/.411 slash line with a 116 wRC+ and a 0.5 fWAR in 16 August games.

Tuesday, August 24: Sammy Long vs. Tylor Megill, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Long (2021): 28.1 IP, 31 K, 10 BB, 3 HR, 5.72 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Long has had a unique journey to the major leaguers. The left-hander was drafted in the 18th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Rays, but decided to take EMT classes in the hopes of becoming a firefighter after his release in 2018. He eventually decided not to forego his major league dreams and latched on with the White Sox organization before making his way over to the Giants in November 2020. He was ranked the 11th best prospect in San Francisco’s organization and finally made his debut out of the pen on June 9th against the Rangers. He picked up his first win in his first career start, going six innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits with six strikeouts against the Phillies on June 20. In his most recent start, he lasted two innings against the Rockies and was charged with one earned run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Megill (2021): 56.0 IP, 60 K, 15 BB, 7 HR, 3.21 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR

Megill was terrific once again in his last outing. The rookie right-hander tossed six innings against this same Giants club, allowing one earned run on five hits. He walked two and struck out six as he settled for a no-decision thanks to New York’s lack of offense. It was the right-hander’s best start of the month and the first time he completed six innings of work since he picked up his first (and only) career win on July 23 against the Blue Jays. As his innings continue to climb and his workload increases beyond where it has ever been, it’s fair to wonder if New York will look to shut him down at some point in September.

Wednesday, August 25: Johnny Cueto vs. Taijuan Walker, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Cueto (2021): 104.0 IP, 92 K, 24 BB, 14 HR, 3.89 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 1.28 WHIP, 1.1 bWAR

Cueto is far from the pitcher who finished second in the NL Cy Young voting as a member of the Reds in 2014, but he has had a big bounce back year for the Giants. After making just four starts in 2019, he’s having his best season since his first season in San Francisco, when he finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting, as he has a 3.89 ERA in 19 starts. He is making his return from the injured list, after landing on the shelf on August 11 with a right flexor strain. In his last outing before hitting the IL, he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in 5.1 innings against the Brewers. He has gone at least five innings in each of his last ten starts, dating back to June 13.

Walker (2021): 123.2 IP, 114 K, 45 BB, 17 HR, 3.86 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR

Walker wasn’t quite as start in his last outing against the Dodgers as he was in his start at Citi Field. After carrying a no-hitter into the seventh in his prior outing, he went six innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits, with one walk and four strikeouts. His defense let him down at times, and he mostly did a good job of minimizing the damage. On a positive note, it was the first time the right-hander finished a start without allowing a home run since his outing against the Pirates on July 18. Prior to that, he had allowed 11 homers in his last five starts.

Thursday, August 26: Alex Wood vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Wood (2021): 120.1 IP, 130 K, 37 BB, 13 HR, 4.11 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR

Wood got off to a terrific start to his first season in San Francisco, pitching to a 1.75 ERA and earning victories in five out of those six outings. However, he hasn’t quite been as sharp since then, and owns a 5.23 ERA, a 3.71 FIP, and a 1.34 WHIP in his 14 starts since June 1. The nine-year veteran, who had his best season in his All Star 2017 campaign with the Dodgers, allowed two earned runs on five hits with a season-high nine strikeouts in his last outing against the A’s. In ten outings against the Mets, the left-hander has a 3.65 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 59.2 innings.

Carrasco (2021): 16.1 IP, 18 K, 4 BB, 5 HR, 8.82 ERA, 5.68 FIP, 1.65 WHIP, -0.6 bWAR

Carrasco has hardly had the start to his tenure in New York that he or the team had envisioned. Still, he made strides in his last start against the Dodgers. He went five innings for the first time as a Met and, after topping out at 62 pitches over his first five appearances, threw 78 in L.A. That means he is likely stretched out enough going forward that he can throw 80-90 in this outing. In his start out west, he retired the last eight batters he faced to end his start on a high note. In total, the 12-year veteran was charged with three earned runs on five hits, with a season-high six strikeouts.

Prediction: The Mets conclude this stretch from hell by dropping two out of three to the Giants.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Giants?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    The Mets stun the best team in the NL with a sweep!
    (21 votes)
  • 27%
    The Mets get back on track by taking two out of three.
    (31 votes)
  • 29%
    Like they did in California, the Mets win won by drop two.
    (34 votes)
  • 15%
    The Mets are swept to finish off this brutal stretch.
    (18 votes)
  • 8%
    Pizza!
    (10 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now