The Mets (85-50) head to one of baseball’s most beautiful ballparks as they square off with the Pirates (49-84) for three games. The Mets dropped four of seven to the Pirates last year, when they played them seven games in a row (four at Citi Field before the All Star break, three at PNC Park immediately after the All Star break).
With the Mets heading into the softest part of their schedule—they have the easiest schedule, record-wise, from here on out—the Mets got off on the wrong foot by dropping two of three against the last-place Nationals. On Friday, New York found themselves in a close game late, but a four-run sixth inning led to a 7-3 victory. Eduardo Escobar got Dollars 4 Dingers off to a roaring start with a two-run homer, and the Mets built a 3-1 lead before Washington tied it up. Pete Alonso put the Mets back in front with a solo homer, and New York added three more runs from there to secure the victory.
The Mets had a bad time on Saturday in a 7-1 loss. Max Scherzer was once again deprived of his 100th career win, though it wasn’t his fault. He was great for five innings—all he really gave up was a Luis García solo dinger in the firstbut exited after 67 pitches due to fatigue on his left side—he swears it was precautionary and hopes to make his next start in Miami. The Mets’ offense could do just about nothing against the worst version of Patrick Corbin, managing just one run—an Escobar homer, again—on three measly hits against the left-hander. Things remained knotted up at one until the eighth, when Adam Ottavino surrendered a solo home run to Lane Thomas to break the tie. Adonis Medina proceeded to put the game well out of reach by having a meltdown ninth inning in his return to the bigs after getting named a September call-up.
The Mets dropped the rubber match by an identical 7-1 score on Sunday. Once again, the offense did nothing against a bad pitcher—it was Corbin on Saturday, and Erick Fedde on Sunday—while Carlos Carrasco was not effective in his return from the IL. The less we say about this game, the better, as there were no positives to take from it.
The Pirates enter this game on a four-game losing streak. That started when they dropped the rubber match of their series to the Brewers, and continued when they were swept by the Blue Jays over the weekend.
Pittsburgh enters play today with the lowest wRC+ (80) and OPS (.646) in the National League. Meanwhile, their rotation sports a 4.76 ERA (fourth-worst in the NL) and a 4.33 FIP (fifth-worst in the NL). Their bullpen hasn’t been much better, pitching to a 4.61 ERA, which is the third-worst mark in the NL, despite featuring All Star closer David Bednar. Ke’Bryan Hayes is the player to watch on the Pirates, leading the club with a 2.3 fWAR while hitting .242/.311/.346 with an 86 wRC+ in 112 games. Bryan Reynolds, who was not traded at the deadline and remains a Pirate, is hitting .253/.334/.451 with a team-leading 21 homers, 48 runs batted in, and 58 runs scored in a team-high 116 games. He has a 1.8 fWAR while leading Pittsburgh with a 118 wRC+.
Monday, September 5: Taijuan Walker vs. Mitch Keller, 12:35 p.m. on SNY
Walker (2022): 122.2 IP, 93 K, 38 BB, 10 HR, 3.45 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 2.2 bWAR
In his second start since returning from back spasms, Walker held his own against a tough Dodgers lineup. He went 5 1⁄3 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked three and was left with a no-decision. Walker’s last few starts this season will be crucial for two reasons: The right-hander is playing for his next contract, and also playing for his spot in the team’s postseason rotation beyond the big three. Presumably, the decision will come down to Walker or Carlos Carrasco getting the fourth spot when the team needs one.
Keller (2022): 124.0 IP, 107 K, 46 BB, 12 HR, 4.43 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 1.46 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR
Keller, who was drafted in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft by Pittsburgh, has already surpassed his career high in innings pitched (124.0) and appearances (25) in his fourth season. The right-hander is also coming off one of the best starts of his season, going 6.0 innings and limiting Milwaukee to two earned runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out a season-high ten. The outing comes after he allowed seven runs (two earned) on seven hits in 3 2⁄3 innings against the Braves his last time out.
Tuesday, September 6: Jacob deGrom vs. Bryse Wilson, 6:35 p.m. on SNY
deGrom (2022): 36.1 IP, 55 K, 3 BB, 3 HR, 1.98 ERA, 1.42 FIP, 0.55 WHIP, 1.4 bWAR
deGrom was dominant against a tough Dodgers team, hurling 7.0 innings and limiting Los Angeles to one run on three hits. That run came off the bat of Mookie Betts on a solo home run in the sixth, but the Mets’ two runs helped earn him the victory. If was the third straight start that the right-hander struck out nine, giving him 55 punch outs against just three walks. The ace will get an extra day of rest between starts as a result of Carrasco’s return, so he should conceivably be under no restrictions this time around, especially since he has now thrown 90-plus pitches in two of his last three starts.
Wilson (2022): 82.1 IP, 55 K, 22 BB, 15 HR, 6.12 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 1.52 WHIP, -1.3 bWAR
Wilson was originally drafted by Atlanta in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft, but he never put it together for the Braves and was eventually shipped to the Pirates last season for Richard Rodriguez. He hasn’t done much better for his new team, and has really struggled this year for the Pirates. In his last start against the Brewers, he was tagged for three earned runs on five hits, with two walks and two strikeouts over 3.0 innings. Before that, the right-hander was charged with four runs (three earned) on five hits while lasting just 1.0 inning.
Wednesday, September 7: Chris Bassitt vs. Johan Oviedo, 6:35 p.m. on SNY
Chris Bassitt (2022): 154.1 IP, 143 K, 40 BB, 15 HR, 3.32 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 3.0 bWAR
Bassitt had a strong start against L.A., going 6.0 innings and allowing two earned runs to pick up his 12th win as a Met. He gave up six hits in the outing, while striking out four and walking three—the latter was his most free passes issued since he walked four on July 29. Since the start of August, Bassitt has pitched to a 1.83 ERA, a 2.71 FIP, and a 1.19 WHIP in 39 1⁄3 innings across six starts.
Oviedo (2022): 28.1 IP, 30 K, 10 BB, 4 HR, 2.86 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR
Oviedo started his career with the Cardinals in 2020 and pitched in parts of the last three seasons for St. Louis before heading to the Pirates in the Jose Quintana/Chris Stratton trade earlier this year. He made just one start against 13 relief appearances for the Cardinals this year, pitching to a 3.20 ERA and 4.07 FIP in 25 1⁄3 innings. He has made one start for the PIrates so far, shutting out the Blue Jays on two hits while walking three and striking out four batters over 3.0 innings.
Prediction: The Mets take two of three from the Pirates.
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Pirates?
This poll is closed
The Mets rebound with a sweep of the Pirates!
The Mets take two of three at PNC Park.
Like they did against Washington, the Mets drop two of three.
New York’s woes continue as they’re swept by the lowly Pirates.