The Mets (73-77) head north to the state of Massachusetts for two games against the Red Sox (86-65). The two clubs squared off way back in April at Citi Field, with Boston sweeping the two-game set. The Mets will look to walk away with two wins, but it might just be time for the team to surrender.
The Mets played three do-or-die games against the Phillies and came away with one win. Though they are still mathematically alive, losses in six of their last eight games have put their playoff hopes on life support. On Friday, they dropped another one-run contest, this time falling by a 4-3 score. They managed one run against Zack Wheeler, but were at least able to knock him out after five, which should have given them a chance against Philadelphia’s beleaguered and tired bullpen. Alas, it was New York’s pen that cracked, as Brad Hand and Seth Lugo each surrendered a run after Taijuan Walker gave up two runs over five innings. The Mets got to within one after scoring two in the eighth, but they once again came up short.
They decided to switch things up on Saturday and lose by two runs, as they dropped the middle game 5-3. Jean Segura hit solo homers off Carlos Carrasco in the first and third, but the right-hander settled down to give the Mets six strong innings. Hand then imploded, allowing three runs to put the game out of reach. The Mets scored a run in the seventh, and Brandon Nimmo’s eighth inning homer got the Mets to within two, but that was as close as they would get.
The Mets salvaged the series finale with a 3-2 victory on Sunday Night Baseball. The Mets fell behind 2-0, but they tied the game up on Dominic Smith’s pinch hit, two-run double. The bullpen held it from there, providing 4.1 innings of shutout ball. Meanwhile, Jeff McNeil hit a leadoff homer in the seventh inning, which gave New York their first lead of the game (and the series). Edwin Díaz closed it out in the ninth, getting Bryce Harper to fly out to deep left field to end the game.
The two big hits in that Mets win—the club’s first victory in exactly one week—came from two players who needed it most. Smith had the game-tying double in the fourth inning. The first-baseman-turned-outfielder has actually been better in a limited role this month, hitting .267/.353/.400 with a 113 wRC+ in 17 plate appearances in September, which has lifted his wRC+ on the year to 88. The big hit came off the bat of McNeil, who launched his first home run since August 1. In the month of September, McNeil is hitting .262/.303/.377 in 66 plate appearances. The outfielder now has a 94 wRC+ on the season.
The Red Sox enter this series as the leader in the American League Wild Card race. Boston currently has a one-game edge on the Blue Jays, who are ahead of the pack for the second Wild Card. Boston has a 2.5 game lead over the Yankees, who are the closest club on the outside of the race. The Red Sox enter this series on a four-game winning streak after taking the final two of their three-game series against the Mariners and sweeping the Orioles in a two-game set.
Xander Bogaerts, the pride of Aruba, continues to lead the way for the Red Sox. The outfielder leads the club with a 5.1 fWAR and a 134 wRC+ while hitting .301/.370/.508 with 22 home runs in 133 games. Rafael Devers has also had a terrific season, slashing .275/.352/.532 with a 132 wRC+ and a 4.5 fWAR while leading the team in home runs (34), runs scored (94), runs batted in (105), and games played (145). J.D. Martinez has also had another strong year for Boston and has a .285/.348/.519 slash line with 27 home runs, a 128 wRC+, and a 2.6 fWAR in 137 games.
Tuesday, September 21: Marcus Stroman vs. Eduardo Rodriguez, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Stroman (2021): 169.0 IP, 151 K, 40 BB, 14 HR, 2.88 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 3.6 bWAR
With Jacob deGrom missing the entire second half, Stroman has stepped in as the team’s ace, and has also stepped in as the hard-luck pitcher on the Mets. In his last start, he was once again solid, but the bullpen blew a chance for him to gain his tenth victory. The right-hander tossed six innings of two-run ball. He allowed four hits and struck out eight while walking one. It was his 14th straight start of at least five innings, dating back to the start of July. He currently leads the league with 31 starts while finding himself seventh in ERA. He has set himself for a big payday in the winter, and it will be up to New York to meet the demands and not let him get away.
Rodriguez (2021): 141.2 IP, 165 K, 40 BB, 19 HR, 5.00 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR
After finishing sixth in the 2019 season, Rodriguez missed the entire 2020 season after contracting COVID-19 and being diagnosed with myocarditis following his battle with the disease. It was a tough road back, and he has had an up-and-down 2021, which is to be expected after what he went through. Despite that, he has made 28 starts, and has had some great ones for Boston, including his last start. The left-hander held the Mariners to on two runs (one earned) on six hits, with six strikeouts and one walk over six innings, although it was not enough for him to get his 12th win.
Wednesday, September 22: Tylor Megill vs. TBD, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Megill (2021): 80.2 IP, 91 K, 22 BB, 16 HR, 4.57 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR
After his longest big league start, Megill endured his shortest start at the major league level his last time out. The right-hander went just three-plus innings, allowing six earned runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked two as he suffered his fifth loss. He has tattooed in the first inning, surrendering five runs to the Cardinals and never giving his team much of a chance despite multiple fruitless comeback attempts. Since August 1, he owns a 6.55 ERA, a 5.10 FIP, and a 1.43 WHIP in 45.1 innings. After not throwing a pitch in 2020, he has tossed 121.0 innings in 2021, which is almost 50 innings more than his previous high of 71.2 innings in the minors in 2019. Fatigue remains a factor, as he likely has either two of three outings left to go in his rookie campaign.
The Red Sox have not yet named a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game against the Mets.
Prediction: Like they did earlier in the year, the Mets will get swept by Boston.
How will the Mets fare in their two game series against the Red Sox?
This poll is closed
The Mets flip the script from their April series by sweeping the Red Sox!
New York and Boston play to a split in their two-game series.
The Mets are swept yet again.