The Mets (70-39) will look to keep on rolling as they take on the Reds (44-63) at Citi Field. The Mets played Cincinnati earlier this year at Great American Ball Park and took two out of three games in the series.
The Mets just finished up a thrilling series against the division rival Braves as they won four out of five against Atlanta to add three games to their division lead. Things kicked off with a 6-4 victory on Thursday, as the Mets hammered four homers en route to the win. Tyler Naquin, in his first home game as a Met, was responsible for two of those dingers, becoming the first player in franchise history to contribute a multi-homer game in his first home game with the club. Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach also went back-to-back, becoming the third pair of Mets teammates to do that in 2022. The Braves clawed their way back, and a Ronald Acuña Jr. two-run homer into the apple cut the lead to 5-3, but the Mets were able to hang on for the win.
Friday was a different story, as the Mets fell 9-6 on black out night in a game they would like to block out of their memory. Taijuan Walker had his worst start of the year, allowing eight runs in one-plus innings of work after appearing to hurt himself in the first—both he and Buck Showalter have since said he is fine. The Mets fought their way back, as Darin Ruf doubled home two for his first hit as a Met and Eduardo Escobar singled home a run to cut the lead to three. After the bullpen tossed seven scoreless innings leading into the eighth, Atlanta added a run on a William Contreras, a run with Jeff McNeil got back with a ninth inning homer of his own. It was too little too late, however, and the comeback fell three runs short.
For the second time this season, the Mets swept a doubleheader from the Braves at Citi Field, as they took Game 1 8-5 and Game 2 6-2. In the day game, the Mets never trailed, as Alonso and Vogelbach drove in runs with singles in the first, McNeil added one with a single in the third, and Lindor drove in two with a double off the wall in the sixth. David Peterson provided 5 1⁄3 strong innings after getting called up, but the bullpen struggled to keep that distance. Acuña Jr. and Olson brought home runs with singles in the seventh—both runs ended up being charged to Seth Lugo—though the Mets got three back in the bottom half of the frame. The Mets turned to 27th man Yoan López with a six-run lead, but he was ineffective and was tagged for three runs, which forced Showalter to have to use Edwin Díaz to earn the save and complete the victory.
In the night cap, the Mets benefited from Atlanta’s sloppy defense, as three errors resulted in a couple of unearned runs and propelled the Mets to victory. Alonso singled home a run in the third, and the Mets added two more later on a Ruf ground eout, while an error and a Max Fried faceplant into the field helped the third run cross the plate. Later in the game, Alonso scored on a Canha fielder’s choice after originally being called out at the plate in a dramatic moment that inspired a strong fist pump from the ebullient first baseman. Atlanta clawed their way back against the Mets’ depleted bullpen, but this game was never really in doubt after Max Scherzer absolutely dominated with seven shutout innings and 11 strikeouts.
Sunday marked Jacob deGrom’s return to the Citi Field mound after 396 days, and the club celebrated with a 5-2 win to extend their lead in the NL East to 6.5 games. deGrom was about as close to perfect as one can get, retiring the first 17 batters he faced before tiring and in the sixth. He issued a walk to Ehire Adrianza, which broke up the perfect game, and serving up a two-run homer to Dansby Swanson to end the no-hit bid. By then, the Mets had used a four-spot against Spencer Strider to put some distance between them and the Braves. Alonso contributed two of those runs with a double that struck the third base bag, one of the many “lucky hits” that irked the Braves and their fans over the weekend, while Canha drove home two more with a double into the left field gap. In the end, Mets’ pitchers struck out 19, which included deGrom’s 12 and Díaz’s three in the ninth.
The Mets have won 12 out of 16 games since the All Star break, which includes the two lackluster efforts right out of the gate. They have gotten strong contributions up and down the roster, which bodes well for them in October, proving they are one of the deepest teams in the league. Of course, their two big hitters have been a big reason for the recent surge. Alonso has slashed .393/.485/.750 with five homers, 15 runs batted in, and a 240 wRC+ in 15 games since the break. Alonso now finds himself tied with Aaron Judge for most RBI (93) in baseball, while also inserting himself into the top-10 in wRC+ (152). Meanwhile, Lindor remains red-hot, hitting .393/.470/.643 with three homers, 14 runs scored, and a 214 wRC+ in 15 games post-break.
The Reds come into this series after taking two out of three against the Brewers. They dropped the first game by a 5-1 score before rebounding to take the final two games, with Sunday’s victory coming in extra innings.
Cincinnati really struggles on both offense and defense, which is a reason why they have one of the worst records in the National League. Coming into play today, their rotation has a 5.00 ERA and a 4.55 FIP, both of which are third-worst in the NL. Their bullpen, meanwhile, has a 5.07 ERA, which is the worst mark in the majors. On offense, their team sports an 89 wRC+, which is second-worst in the NL, while their .688 team OPS is the third-worst mark in the NL.
Monday, August 8: Justin Dunn vs. Chris Bassitt, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Dunn (Career): 102.2 IP, 92 K, 69 BB, 16 HR, 3.94 ERA, 5.61 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
Dunn, a former Met farmhand, will make his first appearance against his old club on Monday and his first start for Cincinnati. Dunn, who was drafted in the first rounded of the 2016 MLB Draft, was part of the deal that brought star closer Edwin Díaz to New York, though his inclusion in the trade was overshadowed by Jarred Kelenic’s presence. He pitched in parts of three seasons for the Mariners and, while his ERA is respectable, he has greatly struggled with walks. From 2019-2021, Dunn had the second-worst BB/9 (6.05) among all starting pitchers with at least 100.0 innings under their belt, behind only Jon Gant, another former Met prospect. He arrived in Cincinnati as part of the trade that netted Seattle Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez back in March, and has been stashed in Triple-A ever since. In seven Triple-A starts, he has posted a 6.92 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP, with 16 walks and 23 strikeouts over 26.0 innings.
Bassitt (2022): 122.0 IP, 121 K, 33 BB, 15 HR, 3.61 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 2.1 bWAR
Bassitt was spectacular in his last start against the Nationals, hurling seven shutout innings against a severely-depleted Washington lineup. He scattered six starts and worked around trouble, never relenting and keeping his opponent off the board in the end. He struck out four while walking one to earn his eighth victory of as a Met. He was a nice rebound after he allowed four earned runs over six innings against the Marlins in his previous outing. Even with that slight hiccup, he owns a 2.52 ERA, a 3.00 FIP, and a 0.95 WHIP in 53.2 innings since June 14.
Tuesday, August 9: Mike Minor vs. Carlos Carrasco, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Minor (2022): 56.2 IP, 51 K, 26 BB, 15 HR, 6.19 ERA, 6.57 FIP, 1.57 WHIP, -0.4 bWAR
After a career-best season in 2019 that earned him his first All Star nod and an eighth place finish in AL Cy Young voting as a member of Rangers, has not been able to match that success since. He posted a 5.56 ERA for Texas and the Athletics in 2020 and a 5.05 ERA in 28 starts for for the Royals in 2021 before landing on the Reds this year. In 11 starts so far, he is pitching to a career-worst 6.19 ERA and 6.57 FIP in 56.2 innings. Minor missed the first two months with a sore shoulder and has not really recovered. He has allowed at least three earned runs in eight of his 11 outings this season and has not gone more than 6 1⁄3 innings in any of them. His last time out, he has handed his eighth loss after allowing three earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts in 5 1⁄3 innings.
Carrasco (2022): 117.2 IP, 114 K, 31 BB, 12 HR, 3.82 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 1.28 WHIP, 1.7 bWAR
Carrasco saw his career-long scoreless inning streak end at 22 2⁄3 innings, but he was still really good against the Braves. All three runs against him came in the fifth, two of which came off the bat of Acuña Jr., but otherwise he had another quality start with three earned runs on four hits over six innings. He peppered the strike zone all night and was extremely efficient, tossing 62 of his 89 pitches (70%) for strikes. He has really turned a corner since those two starts against the Astros and has established himself as a reliable rotation stalwart for the Mets, which will be huge down the stretch.
Wednesday, August 10: TBD vs. Taijuan Walker, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
The Reds have not yet named a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s series finale.
Walker (2022): 104.1 IP, 80 K, 28 BB, 9 HR, 3.45 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 1.9 bWAR
Walker had his worst start of the season his last time out, allowing a season-high eight earned runs in one inning. He spiked a pitch in the first and seemed to be favoring his hip for much of the remainder of the inning, and the Braves were teeing off on seemingly every pitch he threw. With a doubleheader on Saturday, Showalter kept him in for the second, and he couldn’t record a single out before being lifted. He swore after the game that he felt fine, which is good though raises concerns about what might have been causing his issues. It might be that he was tipping his pitching like his start against the Yankees last September, or perhaps he just couldn’t locate any of his pitches. It’ll be worth watching his Wednesday start to see how he rebounds and if there is any carry-over from Friday’s debacle.
Prediction: The Mets sweep the Reds!
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Reds?
This poll is closed
The Mets keep the good times rolling with a sweep of the Reds!
The Mets replicate their July series against Cincinnati by taking two of three.
The Mets win one but they drop two.
The Mets are left seeing red as Cincinnati sweep them at Citi Field.