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Flailing Mets kick off road trip with three against Reds

The Mets (and their fans) are just looking for any signs of life.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After their brief pit stop in New York, the Mets (17-18) head back to the road, beginning with three against the Reds (14-20). The Mets took five of the six games against the Reds last season, including two of three at Great American Ballpark.

The Mets lost two out of three to the Rockies at Citi Field, which dropped them under .500 for the first time since they fell to 3-4 all the way back on April 5. They broke their three-game losing streak on Friday night with a resounding 1-0 victory to at least temporarily stop the bleeding. Kodai Senga turned in one of his best outings as a Met, tossing six shutout innings to earn his fourth win of the season. On offense, the team still looked lifeless, save for a Brandon Nimmo solo home run, which was enough to secure the win. The Rockies mounted a rally in the top of the eighth, but a line drive single by Ryan McMahon hit baserunner Brenton Doyle, which was a lucky break for New York that ended the inning and killed Colorado’s blossoming rally.

The Mets returned to their losing ways with a listless effort on Saturday, which resulted in a 5-2 defeat. Tylor Megil struggled on the mound, surrendering three runs over 4 23 innings. The extent of New York’s offense was run-scoring ground outs by Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor in the first and third innings, respectively, but aside from that the bats were quiet yet again. Ezequiel Tovar’s two-run homer in the sixth gave the Rockies some breathing room and, the way the Mets were playing, it might as well have been a ten-run lead.

The Mets endured another embarrassing series loss after getting throttled 13-6 by the Rockies on Sunday. After falling behind in the first on a Randal Grichuk home run off Joey Lucchesi, the Mets actually jumped ahead 3-1 thanks to a Jeff McNeil run scoring single and a two-run single by Brett Baty. It could have been more, but Daniel Vogelbach was thrown out trying to get to second on a Luis Guillorme single before Baty could cross the plate, which negated the fourth run from officially scoring. The Mets maintained a lead into the fifth, but a seven-run inning propelled the Rockies into a lead that they would not relinquish.

We can continue scrutinizing the team’s pitching (and rightfully so) but the offense quite simply has not been good enough during these past 14 games. During this 3-11 stretch, the team’s two biggest bats, Alonso and Lindor, have gone ice cold, which could be the result of pressing in order to make something happen. Alonso, who got off to a red-hot start to his season, is hitting .140/.218/.240 with one home run and six runs batted in since the April 22 loss to the Giants that started this downward spiral. During that span, he has posted a 34 wRC+ in those 14 games, and his -0.4 fWAR is the worst among the team’s regulars. Lindor, meanwhile, is slashing .196/.268/.333 with one homer, eight runs batted in, a 71 wRC+, and a 0.2 fWAR in 14 games.

Two of the team’s best hitters during that span? Believe it or not: Brett Baty and Francisco Álvarez. Baty leads the club with a 156 wRC+ since April 22 while slashing .326/.383/.535 with two homers and a team-best 0.5 fWAR in 13 games. Álvarez is hitting .296/.367/.481 with one homer, a 138 wRC+, and a 0.3 fWAR in 11 games.

The Reds come into this series after losing two out of three to the White Sox. They split the first two games, losing the opener 5-4 and winning the middle game 5-3. They were trounced by Chicago 17-4 in the series finale.

Jonathan India, who hit a sophomore slump after winning NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2021, has bounced back nicely this year. The second baseman is slashing .306/.397/.460 with three homers, a team-high 27 runs scored and a team-best 130 wRC+, resulting in a 1.2 fWAR, which is tied for the team lead with T.J. Friedl. Friedl, in his third season with Cincinnati since debuting in 2021, is hitting .319/.366/.478 with three homers and a 123 wRC+. At 27 and 26, respectively, Friedl and India have at least provided the team something to look forward to for a franchise that has been mired near the bottom of the National League Central standings for the better part of the past decade. Joey Votto, who has been part of all of those Reds teams, will not appear in this series, as he remains out after undergoing surgery last August.

Tuesday, May 9: Max Scherzer vs. Luke Weaver, 6:40 p.m. on SNY

Scherzer (2023): 22.2 IP, 20 K, 10 BB, 6 HR, 5.56 ERA, 6.36 FIP, 1.41 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR

Things could not have gone much worse for Scherzer in his return from a ten-game ban for a combination of sweat and rosin. He lasted 3 13 innings, allowing a season-high six earned runs and eight hits while striking out only three and walking one. More concerning was his fastball, which routinely sat at about 92-93 m.p.h.—Christian Romo already examined how his once-elite heater is now his biggest problem—and he was unable to put hitters away all night. It’s quite simple: If this is the Scherzer the Mets are getting in 2023, their chances of reaching the postseason for a second consecutive season diminish greatly.

Weaver (2023): 16.0 IP, 19 K, 6 BB, 5 HR, 7.88 ERA, 6.36 FIP, 1.69 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Weaver began the year on the IL after experiencing forearm discomfort, and he finally made his debut on April 20 for his team. Unfortunately, he hasn’t performed well since his return, allowing at least four earned runs in each of his three outings. His last start was his shortest, as he only lasted 4 13 innings while giving up a season-high nine hits. The right-hander also struck out only three while walking two, and was charged with four earned runs.

Wednesday, May 10: Justin Verlander vs. Hunter Greene, 6:40 p.m. on SNY

Verlander (2023): 5.0 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 2 HR, 3.60 ERA, 7.16 FIP, 1.20 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR

Verlander made his first start as a Met after a month-long absence. He got off to a rocky start, surrendering back-to-back dingers in the first inning, but he settled down nicely and finished with four scoreless innings after the first. He wasn’t his sharpest, but given his extended absence, it was a fine showing. The Mets will need Verlander to regain his old form if they are going to have any chance of making it to the postseason this year.

Greene (2023): 33.2 IP, 47 K, 12 BB, 3 HR, 3.74 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 1.43 WHIP, 0.7 bWAR

After a solid rookie campaign, Greene has gotten off to a great start in his sophomore season. The right-hander ended April with a 2.89 ERA and a 2.36 FIP in six starts, though he is coming off his worst outing of the year. He began May by allowing five earned runs on seven hits over 5 23 innings against the White Sox, which saddled him with his second loss of the year. He faced the Mets once during his rookie season, allowing six earned runs on seven hits over 5 13 innings in a home loss.

Thursday, May 11: Kodai Senga vs. Nick Lodolo, 12:35 p.m. on SNY

Senga (2023): 32.0 IP, 36 K, 22 BB, 5 HR, 3.38 ERA, 5.20 FIP, 1.47 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

Senga turned in perhaps his finest start his last time out against the Rockies. He scattered two hits and tossed six scoreless innings to pick up his fourth victory. It was the second time he asted six innings in major league career, and this one came after a nine-day break in between starts due to rainouts. On the negative side, he walked four batters for the fourth consecutive outing, which continus to remain a concern for Senga and the team. He threw 52.6% of his pitches (53 of 101) for strikes, and has thrown 59% of his pitches this year for strikes.

Lodolo (2023): 30.2 IP, 44 K, 9 BB, 8 HR, 6.16 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 1.73 WHIP, 0.2 bWAR

Lodolo finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting last year after pitching to a 3.66 ERA, a 3.90 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP over his 19 starts last year. He hasn’t had quite the same success this year, and his numbers across the board have inflated. One thing has remained consistent: The left-hander continues to hit batters at a truly unbelievable clip. He led the NL with 19 hit batters last year, and he leads the league again this year. He is coming off a start in which he was charged with three earned runs over five innings against the Athletics on April 30. His best start of the year came against the Phillies back on April 8, when he tossed seven shutout innings and struck out 12 batters.

Prediction: With their three best pitchers on the mound, the Mets finally win another series as they take two out of three from the Reds.


How will the Mets fare in their three-game series against the Reds?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    The Mets pick up a much-needed sweep in Cincinnati!
    (22 votes)
  • 36%
    The Mets repeat their result from last year’s series in Cincinnati by taking two of three.
    (37 votes)
  • 22%
    The Mets lose yet another series as they drop two out of three to the Reds.
    (23 votes)
  • 6%
    The Mets are swept for a second straight road series.
    (7 votes)
  • 11%
    (12 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now