The Mets (32-36) will look to close their homestand out on a high note as they face the Cardinals (27-42) for three games. New York dominated the season series last year, winning five of seven, including three of four at Citi Field. The all-time series has not been as kind to the Mets, as they’ve won 361 and dropped 405 games to St. Louis.
The Mets are coming off a split against the Yankees in Round One of the Subway Series. New York (the National League one) dropped the opener 7-6, as Max Scherzer could not make a four-run lead stick. Giancarlo Stanton kicked off the proceedings with a home run in the first inning, but Brandon Nimmo got it back with a leadoff homer. The Mets scored five against Luis Severino in the first three frames, but Scherzer gave it all back in the fourth, and the Mets found themselves behind 6-5. Luis Guillorme tied the game in the fifth on a single that scored Brett Baty, but Josh Donaldson’s sac fly in the sixth proved to be the difference. Drew Smith was also tossed in this one for using sticky stuff, and was banned for ten games by the league, which added insult to injury.
It never seemed for a moment that the Mets would prevail on Wednesday, but prevail they did with a 4-3 walk-off win in ten innings. Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander gave the fans the pitcher’s duel they were anticipating, and the game, which was scoreless going into the fifth, was 1-1 in the seventh with both aces out of the game. The Mets then surrendered two runs without the benefit of a Yankees hit, as sloppy play and a steal of home gave the Yankees a lead. The Mets tied it in the bottom of the seventh, as four consecutive walks led to the first run, and a Starling Marte single led to the game-tying run. However, Nimmo, who made costly defensive plays on Tuesday, made a baserunning gaffe that cost his team a chance for more. Thankfully, Nimmo redeemed himself in the tenth with a clutch walk-off double to put the Mets in the win column after back-to-back defeats.
The Cardinals arrive at Citi Field on a five-game losing streak after getting unceremoniously swept at home by the Giants. They almost won the last game, but a two-run homer in the ninth by Mike Yastrzemski tied things up, and they fell 8-5 in ten innings. Before that, they lost two of three to the Reds, so all told, they went 1-5 on their homestand.
It’s almost unfathomable that the Cardinals, who won the NL Central crown last year and have been the picture of consistency for much of my life as a baseball fan, would be this atrocious. But they currently find themselves with the worst record in the league, and third-worst in all of baseball behind only the Royals and Athletics. Much of their struggles have come as a result of their pitching. Their rotation enters play today sporting a 4.69 ERA. Their bullpen owns a 4.25 ERA, which is right in the middle of the pack in the NL.
Offense is not the problem for St. Louis. They are fifth in the NL in wRC+ (106) and sixth in runs (315) and OPS (.744). That’s no surprise with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado anchoring the corners of the infield. Goldschmidt is slashing .288/.382/.488 this year with 11 homers, a team-leading 44 runs scored, and a team-best 141 wRC+. He also leads the club with a 2.2 fWAR in 67 games. Nolan Arenado, meanwhile, is hitting .283/.331/.488 with 13 homers, a 122 wRC+, and a 1.4 fWAR in 66 games. Willson Contreras’ struggles, however, have been well documented, as the new addition, who has been moved around in terms of what position he is playing, is hitting .198/.292/.347 with seven homers, an 81 wRC+, and a 0.2 fWAR in 63 games.
Friday, June 16: Miles Mikolas vs. Tylor Megill, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Mikolas (2023): 80.2 IP, 62 K, 17 BB, 8 HR, 4,02 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR
Mikolas has had a really weird season. He owns a 7.46 ERA through his first five starts, then lowered it to 3.74 over his next eight, and is coming off a really rough start against Cincinnati. His last time out, he allowed five earned runs on seven hits over six innings as he absorbed his second loss in as many starts. Prior to that, however, he posted a 1.89 ERA over six starts in May. In that stretch, he struck out 29 and held batters to a .213 average against him.
Megill (2023): 63.0 IP, 49 K, 35 BB, 8 HR, 5.14 ERA, 5.18 FIP, 1.70 WHIP, -0.4 bWAR
With José Quintana on a rehab assignment as we speak, Megill’s time in Flushing may be up. The right-hander has been really abysmal as of late, save for a solid, if somewhat shaky, start against the Blue Jays on June 3. In his most recent outing against the Pirates, he was tattooed for nine runs nine runs (seven earned) on eight hits over 3 2⁄3 innings. It was the third time in four starts that he failed to pitch into the fifth, and he has now given up 22 runs (16 earned) during that four-start stretch. The club briefly entertained the idea of skipping Megill’s start thanks tot he abundance of off days in favor of an extra reliever, but he will get his next scheduled start as planned.
Saturday, June 17: Adam Wainwright vs. Kodai Senga, 4:10 p.m. on WPIX
Wainwright (2023): 37.1 IP, 21 K, 11 BB, 4 HR, 5.79 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 1.71 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR
Wainwright continues to pitch solely to torture Mets fans, I’m convinced, because truly no fan of the Orange and Blue can see his name without thinking of that pitch. You know the one. If it’s any consolation, the 41-year-old has been very bad this year after missing the first month of the year with a groin injury he suffered during the World Baseball Classic. In his last start against Cincinnati, he went 5 2⁄3 innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits, with two strikeouts and one walk.
Senga (2023): 64.2 IP, 79 K, 40 BB, 7 HR, 3.34 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR
Two things continue to be true about Senga: He is the team’s best starting pitcher in 2023, and he struggles with his command. In his last outing in Pittsburgh, he picked up his sixth win in the big leagues, hurling seven innings of two-hit ball. He allowed just one unearned run, and he struck out six, but he also walked four. It makes the seventh time this year that he’s issued at least four free passes. Despite that, his ghost fork continues to have the highest whiff rate of any pitch in the majors this season.
Sunday, June 18: Matthew Liberatore vs. Carlos Carrasco, 1:40 p.m. on WPIX
Liberatore (2023): 21.0 IP, 16 K, 10 BB, 1 HR, 5.14 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 1.457 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR
Liberatore was drafted in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Rays, and was sent to St. Louis as part of the trade that netted Tampa Bay Randy Arozarena. After a brief cup of coffee with the Cardinals last year (5.97 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 1.73 WHIP in 34 2⁄3 innings), he’s gotten a sustained chance in the rotation this year, to similar results. The left-hander is coming off his best (and longest) start of 2023, as he tossed six innings of two-run ball while striking out five. It was not enough, however, as St. Louis dropped his third straight start.
Carrasco (2023): 41.0 IP, 24 K, 18 BB, 8 HR, 5.71 ERA, 6.25 FIP, 1.46 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR
Carrasco’s last start was a tough one, as he worked his pitch count up to 81 in the fifth and couldn’t escape the frame. Over 4 2⁄3 innings, he allowed two earned runs on six hits, with three walks and just one strikeout. It wasn’t the worst start in the world, but he picked up his third loss of the season for his troubles. Carrasco tends to thrive in the summer months, so as the weather warms up, there is a hope that he can start to resemble the pitcher he has been for much of his solid career, as the team will need him for this pivotal stretch.
Prediction: The Mets take two of three from the Cardinals.
How will the Mets fare in this three game series against the Pirates.
This poll is closed
The Mets sweep the lowly Cardinals to end the homestand on a four-game winning streak!
The Mets take two of three to build up some good vibes.
The Mets take one, but they drop two to St. Louis.
The Mets take a step back as they’re swept by the Cardinals.