The Mets (47-27) return home to face the Astros (45-27) in a two-game set that mirrors the two games the teams played last week, with an evening Tuesday game and a matinee Wednesday affair. Houston swept the aforementioned two-game series, as Minute Maid Park has proven to be a difficult place for the Mets to win ballgames. This is only Houston’s second trip to Citi Field since moving to the American League in 2013. The only other time they visited post-move, the Mets won two of three in 2014 to conclude that season. They’ve won five of their last seven games against Houston at home, although they have never seen this Astros team, which has made three of the past five World Series, come to Citi Field.
The Mets took two of three from the Marlins over the weekend. Friday night was the Francisco Lindor show as the Mets grabbed a 5-3 victory in the series opener. Mr. Smile homered off Sandy Alcántara in the first and then contributed a bases-clearing three-run double in the sixth, which put New York up ahead for good. Taijuan Walker was solid, allowing three runs over his six innings of work to earn the win. After Drew Smith walked three over his 2/3 innings of work, Adam Ottavino came in with an impressive relief outing to finish off the seventh and toss a scoreless eighth for good measure. Edwin Díaz worked around two hits to close things out in the ninth.
New York won by an identical 5-3 score on Saturday afternoon to pick up their second series victory against the Marlins in as many weekends. The Mets got on the board first with a Pete Alonso home run, and plated two more runs against Trevor Rogers in the fourth to build a three-run lead. However, homers from Jesus Sanchez in the fourth and Bryan De La Cruz in the fifth knotted the score up at three. After failing to come through with second and third and nobody out in the fourth, and the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, Alonso redeemed himself with his second solo shot of the game in the eighth inning, which gave the Mets the lead once again. New York added an insurance run in the ninth, and Díaz was sensational as he struck out the side to shut the door on Miami.
The Mets failed at their bid for a sweep as the Marlins walked them off on Sunday afternoon in a game few people actually saw due to it being on Peacock. The Mets squandered a ton of opportunities throughout the afternoon, going just 1-for-13 with RISP while leaving seven on base. Miami struck first with a run in the first, but the Mets plated two in the third, including a solo homer from Brandon Nimmo. The Marlins tied it in the bottom half of that frame, and things remained knotted at two until the bottom of the ninth. Nick Fortes, of all people, played hero, launching a solo homer off Adam Ottavino to help his club avoid the sweep.
This week will mark the end of Phase 1 All Star voting, and a few Mets find themselves in a position to advance. Alonso currently finds himself in second place among NL first basemen, behind Cardinals’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Jeff McNeil and Lindor are in third place at second base and shortstop, respectively, while Starling Marte is fourth among NL outfielders. Mark Canha is on the bubble and find himself seventh among NL outfielders. Under the current voting rules, those who are in the top two in their position will advance, while the top six outfielders will make it beyond Phase 1. Voting continues until Thursday, June 30, and the finals begin on Tuesday, July 5. Fans can vote five times per day to help the Mets advance.
The Astros are coming off an eventful series split against the Yankees in the Bronx over the weekend. Closer Ryan Pressly blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Thursday night, surrendering a game-tying three-run homer to Aaron Hicks and a walk-off single to Aaron Judge. They rebounded for a 3-1 victory on Friday, then had three pitchers combine for a no-hitter on Saturday—their second combined no-no in the Bronx since the turn of the millennium—and finally lost on an Judge walk-off three-run homer on Sunday afternoon.
Tuesday, June 28: Framber Valdez vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Valdez (2022): 87.0 IP, 75 K, 31 BB, 5 HR, 2.90 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 1.13 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
Valdez is having arguably the best season of his five-year major league career. Since allowing six earned runs in 4.1 innings back on April 19 against the Angels—his worst start of the season—he owns a 2.59 ERA, a 3.32 FIP, and a 1.04 WHIP over 11 starts. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of those outings and has picked up a Quality Start in all but one of those appearances. His last time out, he allowed three earned runs on two hits over 6.0 innings against the Yankees. His one weakness is walks, as he had a 3.9 BB/9 last season and owns a 3.2 BB/9 this season.
Carrasco (2022): 77.1 IP, 77 K, 18 BB, 9 HR, 4.41 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR
Carrasco endured his worst start of the year against this same Houston team his last time out. He went 2.1 innings and was torched for five earned runs on four hits before exiting with lower back stiffness. He gave up four runs, including two home runs, to the first four batters he faced, and allowed three homers in all before his exit. Carrasco, who had mostly side-stepped the first inning woes that plagued him last season, saw those problems crop up for the first time all season. Thankfully, it seems he has had no ill effects from those his back pain, which will allow him to make his scheduled start on Tuesday, which is a big boost to a club that recently put Tylor Megill on the 60-Day IL and is still waiting for Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom to return from injuries.
Wednesday, June 29: Justin Verlander vs. Taijuan Walker, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
Verlander (2022): 89.1 IP, 84 K, 16 BB, 11 HR, 2.22 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, 2.0 bWAR
It’s rare to see a pitcher return to their peak following Tommy John Surgery, and even rarer for a pitcher to do so when closer to retirement than their peak. And yet, Verlander has seemingly returned to form following the surgery. After making one start in 2020 and missing all of 2021, Verlander is back and right in the hunt for the AL Cy Young Award are winning the title in 2019 and finishing second in 2018. The 37-year-old hurler is fourth among AL starters in ERA. His last time out, he held the Yankees to one earned run on four hits over 7.0 innings pitched.
Walker (2022): 65.1 IP, 49 K, 19 BB, 3 HR, 3.03 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 1.7 bWAR
Walker posted his third consecutive Quality Start in his last start, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, with two walks and five strikeouts over 6.0 innings. He tossed 66 of his 99 pitches (66.6%) for strikes and picked up his third consecutive victory. In five June starts, he owns a 3.26 ERA, a 2.27 FIP, and a 1.15 WHIP, with 30 strikeouts in 30.1 innings. He will look to continue his strong run as he closes out another strong first half for the Mets.
Prediction: The Mets flip the script and sweep the Astros!
How will the Mets fare in their two game series against the Astros?
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The Mets get their payback in a two-game sweep!
The Mets and Astros split their two-game set.
The Mets get swept yet again by the Astros.