Less than a month ago, the Texas Rangers traded for Max Scherzer, attempting to bolster their rotation and cement their first-place status well into the dog days of summer. After winning 12 of the first 14 games since the trade deadline, it seemed like the plan worked, surging Mariners be damned!
To celebrate, they went out and lost ten of their next 11 games, lost sole possession of first place for the first time in over 100 days, and generally began to fall apart at the seams. Scherzer, for his part, has been better than he was as a Met, and the Rangers have won four of his five starts. But with the Mariners ten and one since the Rangers’ skid began, things are looking dicier for the Rangers, especially as they are tied with the Astros for the second wild card spot, and the Blue Jays are just 2.5 back of Houston. It’s a tight race, and there’s not much more ground Texas can comfortably lose before panic sets in.
The Mets, no strangers to losing a big division lead in the second half, continue to be mediocre in just about all aspects of their game. After taking a single game against the Angels this weekend, find themselves __ games back of the third Wild Card spot. Although the results won’t show it, the Mets got very good starts from both Kodai Senga and David Peterson this weekend, and the Quad-A Mets - DJ Stewart, Rafael Ortega, Jonathan Arauz - continue to produce in unsustainable amounts.
The Mets will miss Scherzer this series, which is probably good for all involved, but especially for members of the press who will have to rehash the ‘Mets aren’t going to contend in 2024’ narrative once again.
Monday, August 28: Tylor Megill vs Jon Gray, 7:10 PM EDT on SNY
Tylor Megill has been up and down from Syracuse all season long, and his most recent tenure in Queens has been in the unenviable role of filling in for Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer and, well, we love Big Drip, but he’s not a future Hall of Famer. At least, not yet.
He’s made four starts since his callup, and the Mets have lots three of those four, and Megill has been a big reason why they lost those games, giving up three, five, and five earned runs in those losing outings. He’s only pitched into the sixth inning once over that timespan, and has only gone one outing without a home run.
Jon Gray, on the other hand, is having a much better year than Megill. While he’s been touched up a bit during this current losing patch, he’s continued to pitch solidly, even if his second half has been less than inspiring.
Tuesday, August 29: Jose Quintana vs Andrew Heaney, 7:10 PM EDT on SNY
Andrew Heaney is following up an effective, though injury-shortened, year with the Dodgers - parlayed into a $12 million contract with a player option for next season - with another good year, this time with far less time spent on the Injured List. Heaney has not gone long in his last three outings, which led to the Rangers losing two of those three starts.
José Quintana joined the Mets rotation in late July and has showed why the Mets missed him so much while on the IL. Quintana is consistently making it into the sixth or seventh inning and keeping his team in the game. His worst start as a Met came in last Wednesday’s finale against the Braves, but that felt more like him becoming an official Met than anything really troubling.
Wednesday, August 30: Kodai Senga vs Dane Dunning, 6:40 PM EDT on SNY
Despite having what is clearly a career year for the young righty, Dane Dunning is not immune to the general ineffectiveness of the Rangers in August. He’s only had one start in August where he gave up less than three earned runs or went more than six innings. Since joining the rotation on May 5, Dunning has only had two outings that lasted less than five innings, one of which was his Friday night performance against the Twins.
He’ll face the Mets’ de facto Ace, Kodai Senga, who pitched brilliantly in a hard-luck loss to the Angels on Friday night. After a few starts where it felt like Senga was getting away from his ‘ghost’ forkball, he had the Angels off-balance and waving at the spooky off-speed pitch all night.
Prediction: While the Mets are far from the face of dominance right now, the Rangers are in free fall. The Mets take two of three.
How will the Mets fare in their three-game series with the Rangers?
This poll is closed
The Rangers continue to get in their own way and the Mets sweep.
Megill continues his rough August and the Mets take two of three.
The Rangers begin to right the ship, taking two of three.
The Mets prove even less effective than a team looking down the barrel of embarrassment, get swept by the Rangers.