The Mets (45-24) head back on the road as they stop over in Texas for a brief two-game set against the first-place Astros (41-25). The Mets and Astros haven’t squared off since 2017, when Houston swept a three-game series at Minute Maid Park, which was the first series played in Houston following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
The Mets picked up another series win, taking three out of four from the Marlins over the weekend. Friday was Pride Night at Citi Field—you can read more about how the team fully embraced the occasion in Grace Carbone’s wonderful piece—and the Mets came out swinging as they clubbed the Marlins 10-4. Francisco Lindor, who was mired in a slump after slamming his finger in a door earlier this month, crushed a three-run homer in the first inning to give his team an early lead. After Miami got one back in the fifth, the Mets put up a seven-spot in the fifth, highlighted by Pete Alonso’s second career Grand Slam.
The Mets won their third straight on Saturday as they held on for a 3-2 victory. Jeff McNeil broke the ice with a run-scoring single in the second, and Lindor hit a two-run homer—his second dinger is as many days—in the third. Miami got a run off Taijuan Walker in the seventh and another off Edwin Díaz in the ninth, but the Mets’ closer was able to slam the door shut from there to notch the save and preserve the win.
The Mets’ winning streak came to an end with a 6-2 loss on Father’s Day. The first six innings featured a terrific pitcher’s duel between Chris Bassitt and Sandy Alcántara, as the two hurlers traded zeroes into the bottom half of the sixth. The Mets broke through on a Lindor run-scoring single, which looked like it could be enough. In the top half of the seventh, Jerar Encarnacion, playing in his first career game and with an outfield assist already to his name, hit a grand slam off Seth Lugo to put Miami ahead for good.
The Mets bounced back with a 6-0 win on Monday to earn their 16th series win in 21 tries this year. The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a bases loaded walk in the first, and that turned out to be all David Peterson needed. With his first child on the way any day now, the left-hander gave a really encouraging effort over 5.1 shutout innings. Brandon Nimmo ended an 0-for-11 skid with three hits, while Eduardo Escobar ended a long hitless streak with a two-run single in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach.
Lindor had himself a nice bounceback series over the weekend, hitting two homers and driving in seven runs after a prolonged slump. In the two weeks prior to that, he had only nine hits in 52 at-bats, coinciding with him accidentally slamming the door on his finger on June 2.
The Astros took two out of three from the White Sox over the weekend. In all, Houston enter this series as winners of five of their last seven games and have opened up a comfortable 9.5 game lead over the second-place Angels in the AL West as they look to win their fifth division crown in six seasons.
Houston, as has been the case for much of their run of dominance, is a well-rounded baseball team. Their 113 wRC+ is second-best to the Yankees in the American League, and fourth-best in baseball. Meanwhile, their rotation sports a 3.31 ERA, which is second-best—again, to the Yankees—in the American League, and third-best in the sport. Their bullpen owns a sparkling 2.59 ERA, which is the best mark among all 30 MLB squads.
Yordan Álvarez is having an MVP-caliber season for Houston, and may be the front-runner for the award if Aaron Judge did not exist. He’s currently hitting .311/.403/.623 with a team-leading 193 wRC+ and 2.9 fWAR in 59 games. He also leads the club with 18 homers and 41 runs scored. He did recently injure his hand and is listed as day-to-day, so he may or may not play in these two games. José Altuve, unsurprisingly, is having another great year, slashing .274/.345/.507 with 12 homers, a 148 wRC+, and a 1.5 fWAR in 51 games.
Kyle Tucker, who broke out last season, is having another outstanding campaign, hitting .260/.352/.488 with 13 homers, a team-leading 11 stolen bases, a 144 wRC+, and a 2.4 fWAR in 61 games. Yuli Gurriel is one of the lone players struggling for Houston this year, as he currently owns a .222/.273/.376 slash line with an 88 wRC+ in 60 games.
Tuesday, June 21: Trevor Williams vs. José Urquidy, 8:10 p.m. on SNY
Williams (2022): 35.2 IP, 33 K, 8 BB, 4 HR, 3.53 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 1.26 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
Williams will get the spot start in place of Tylor Megill, who has been shut down from throwing for at least four weeks following his latest injury. Given Max Scherzer’s impending return and the abundance of off days in the next week, this could be Williams’ last start for a little while. His last two appearances came in mop up duty in blowout losses but, prior to that, he had a really solid start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 5. In that outing, he allowed two earned runs on six hits, with five strikeouts and no walks in 5.0 innings. He’s been a really key cog to the team’s pitching staff and has stepped in for injured starters in a pinch while also providing innings out of the pen when called upon, and he should continue getting the call as long as he keeps performing like he has so far.
Urquidy (2022): 61.1 IP, 47 K, 12 BB, 12 HR, 4.99 ERA, 4.82 FIP, 1.52 WHIP, -0.6 bWAR
After three solid seasons in a row to begin his major league career, Urquidy is having his worst season yet at the big league level. If the season ended today, the right-hander would be putting up the worst ERA, FIP, WHIP, and bWAR of his career. He still shows glimpses of greatness, like his six shutout innings against the Tigers on May 5 or his 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings against the Rangers on May 22, but his results have not been consistently up to that level. In his last start, he went 6.0 innings against Texas and gave up three earned runs on five hits. Prior to that, the Mariners tagged him for five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 4.1 innings.
Wednesday, June 22: Carlos Carrasco vs. Luis Garcia, 2:10 p.m. on SNY
Carrasco (2022): 75.0 IP, 75 K, 16 BB, 6 HR, 3.96 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR
Carrasco was cruising in his last start against Miami up until the seventh inning, when he was pulled with one out following a walk and a hit. Adonis Medina came in and allowed the two runs to cross the plate, which ended up putting three earned runs on his ledger. In all, he went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, with seven strikeouts and two walks. He ended up throwing 71% of his pitches (70 of 98) for strikes. With his club’s offensive explosion, the right-hander picked up his league-leading eighth victory of 2022.
Garcia (2022): 66.0 IP, 69 K, 18 BB, 12 HR, 3.41 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 0.3 bWAR
Garcia finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting last season, thanks to a season in which he posted a 3.48 ERA, a 3.63 FIP, and a 1.18 WHIP with 167 strikeouts in 155.1 innings. The 25-year-old is following that up with another strong, if not quite as good, year in 2022 for Houston. The right-hander is coming off a terrific start against Texas, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, with nine strikeouts and no walks in 6.0 innings. It was a nice bounce back after he was tagged for five earned runs in 4.1 innings in his previous outing against Miami.
Prediction: The Mets and Astros split their short series.
How will the Mets fare in their two game series against the Astros?
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Two games means two wins for the Mets!
The Mets and Astros split their series.
The Mets fall victim to the first-place ‘Stros in a two-game sweep.