After defeating the Braves on Monday - on the road at that - it looked like maybe the Mets had more fight in them than anyone had thought after the trade deadline purge. However, after a nailbiter on Tuesday and a blowout on Wednesday, the Mets find themselves back where they were before the Cardinals series: not really in the Wild Card hunt, but not out of it yet.
Currently eight games out of the third Wild Card spot, the Mets certainly, from a team philosophy perspective, are trying to tank, or at least are accepting their lot as a bottom tier team playing for draft position. But the players, as is absolutely their right, are trying to win every game, and so the team is still somewhat trapped in limbo.
The Angels technically have a better record (61-67) than the Mets (59-69), but the Angels are coming into this series with an even darker cloud hanging over them. The Halos are 3-7 in their last ten games, just put Mike Trout back on the IL one (1) day after being activated and, on Wednesday, learned that Shohei Ohtani has a tear in his UCL and won’t pitch for the rest of the season. Ohtani may require surgery, which would end both halves of his season and may mean a 2024 season without pitching as well.
And so, this weekend series is a battle between teams going through some shit right now. Whenever we Mets fans get down on the team and the general experience of being a Mets fan, it is good to remember that there are folks worse off than we are. The Angels have had two of the best players of their generation and can’t figure out a way to be much better than a team giving significant at-bats to Rafael Ortega.
Friday, August 25: Kodai Senga vs. Patrick Sandoval, 7:10 PM EDT on WPIX
Senga (2023): 129.2 IP, 154 K, 61 BB, 12 HR, 3.19 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.249 WHIP, 3.2 bWAR
One of the few bright spots of the Mets’ season has been the emergence of Kodai Senga, who settled in after a few rough starts to become the most dependable and exciting member of the 2023 starting rotation. In the month of August, Senga has put together a 3-1 record, while adapting and adjusting his game. Throwing less forkballs than earlier in the season, and therefore getting less strikeouts, Senga is getting crafty and walking less as well. The biggest change from earlier this season is Senga’s control of the long ball; after giving up five home runs in April, he’s only given up seven since. One came in his last start, the only blemish on his seven inning, five strikeout performances against the Cardinals.
Sandoval (2023): 117.0 IP, 102 K, 55 BB, 9 HR, 4.08 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 1.453 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR
Sandoval has been effectively league average all season, giving the Angels innings and keeping them in ballgames. However, the Angels have lost 15 of his 22 starts, including his last four. Sandoval has only recorded an out after the fifth inning three times since June 1 and, in his last start, he surrendered six runs (only two earned) against the Rays in a 10-6 loss.
Saturday, August 26: Carlos Carrasco vs. Chase Silseth, 7:10 PM EDT on SNY
Carrasco (2023): 88.1 IP, 65 K, 38 BB, 17 HR, 6.42 ERA, 5.79 FIP, 1.653 WHIP, -0.9 bWAR
Cookie seems like one of the truly good guys in the game, and so watching him struggle so mightily in 2023 has been a miserable experience. In 2021, his first season in Queens, Carrasco had what was arguably the worst season of his career, battling back after injury and struggling along the way. 2022 was a different story, with Carrasco looking solid all season, but 2023 seems like a bad repeat of 2021. Carrasco has had exactly one game without an earned run all season, and two with one. But it isn’t just the runs, he’s also not logging many innings, going four and three innings in his last two starts, respectively.
Silseth (2023): 45.0 IP, 50 K, 21 BB, 9 HR, 4.00 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 1.289 WHIP, 0.7 bWAR
Chase Silseth began the year in the Angels’ bullpen, but has transitioned into a starter since his return from the minors in July. Thus far, it’s going pretty well, with the Angels winning four of his five starts. In fact, until his last start, he’s thrown at least five innings with two earned runs of less. His last start, against the Rays on Saturday, was a messy affair, going three and two-thirds innings, walking three, giving up five hits and five earned runs.
Sunday, August 27: David Peterson vs. TBD, 12:05 PM EDT on Peacock
Peterson (2023): 77.1 IP, 83 K, 38 BB, 13 HR, 5.59 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.668 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR
The David Peterson experiment is still very much ongoing but, as always, it is a frustrating one. Since moving back into the rotation full time in August, Peterson has yet to make it out of the fifth inning, and only making it out of the fourth inning once. The Peterson experience is so singular, too; his “best” start of the month was a three-inning performance where he walked three and gave up one hit but no earned runs...in a 10-3 loss. In his worst start of the month, he went four and two-thirds innings, giving up seven hits, two walks, and four earned runs...in a 10-4 victory.
TBD: Who knows?
Prediction: Senga looks great, Carrasco and Peterson look like trash, but the Mets still take two of three because the Angels having a week.
How will the Mets fare in their three-game series with the Angels?
This poll is closed
The Mets rub salt in the Angels’ many wounds, sweeping the series.
Senga and [insert less terrible starter here] lead the Mets to a series win, taking two of three.
Senga is the last man standing, Mets lose two.
The Angels in the Outfield from the 1994 kids’ classic work their magic and let the living Angels sweep the Mets.