clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mets take on first-place Twins in three-game series in Minnesota

The Mets are set to take on Carlos Correa and the Twins for the first time this season.

Cleveland Guardians v. Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Coming off a split of a two-game series against the Nationals, the Mets are in Minnesota this weekend, set to play three games against the Twins. And for the first time since agreeing to almost signing Carlos Correa, the team will see him as an opponent.

Having had two days off this week, the Mets blew out the Nationals on Tuesday night in a game that included a lot of home runs—including Pete Alonso’s 42nd of the year. But on Wednesday night, despite getting a gem from José Butto, the team scored just two runs and its bullpen coughed up a two-run lead and ultimately lost the game.

Like their series against the Mariners last weekend, this weekend sees the Mets playing against a current division leader. Unlike the Mariners, though, the Twins have been pretty steadily atop the American League Central this year. having never been more than a half-game back of the division lead all season. They’ve had sole possession of first place since mid-July, and they’re currently sitting on a fairly comfortable six-game lead over the Guardians.

Getting back to Correa for a minute, the 28-year-old has struggled in the first year of the deal he ultimately signed with the Twins over the offseason—a contract that guarantees six years and has the potential to go to nine years if all of its options vest. The past ankle injury that so greatly concerned the Giants and Mets—after each of those teams initially agreed to even longer terms with Correa—hasn’t had an impact on his playing time this year. But in 546 plate appearances, Correa has hit .229/.310/.396 with a paltry 93 wRC+. He’s still hit 17 home runs thus far and could match the 22 he hit for the Twins last year, but he finished his 2022 campaign with a 140 wRC+, one of the best marks of his very good career.

Zooming out to take a look at the Twins as a team, their offense has put up 4.65 runs per game, a couple of hundredths of a run above the major league average this year. But when it comes to run prevention, the Twins have the sixth-best rate with just 4.16 runs allowed per game.

Detractors might point to the fact that the American League Central is weak, as it’s the only division in baseball that has just one team with a winning record in it. At times this year, the team leading the division—whether it was the Twins or Guardians—had a sub-.500 record. And two of the four worst teams in baseball—the Royals and White Sox—are both in the division.

While Carlos Correa has struggled, fellow infielder Royce Lewis is finally healthy and thriving at the major league level. The 24-year-old had been a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball ahead of the 2019 season, and his potential remained so good that not even a long list of injuries derailed his status as one of the top fifty prospects in the game right up to this year. Lewis has still missed time with injuries this year, but when he’s been on the field, he’s been superb.

Playing third base alongside Correa on the left side of the infield, Lewis has made 188 plate appearances and has hit .316/.367/.534 with 11 home runs and a 148 wRC+. Among Twins hitters who have made 100 plate appearances this year, Lewis has easily been their best hitter by wRC+, though three less familiar names have hit significantly better than the league average, too: Matt Wallner (134 wRC+), Ryan Jeffers (132 wRC+), and Edouard Julien (131 wRC+).

You’ll find former Marlins infielder Donovan Solano on the Twins’ roster, too. Now 35 years old, Solano made a few stops around the league between his stint in Miami and his arrival in Minnesota, but he’s been very good this year with a 123 wRC+. He’s racked up 391 plate appearances, too, and needs only five more to set his career high in PA in a single season.

It might stand out that Byron Buxton’s name hasn’t come up yet, especially given how outstanding the oft-injured outfielder was over the past few seasons when healthy. At the moment, the 29-year-old is on the injured list with a hamstring injury, even though the Twins have deployed him exclusively as a designate hitter this year. Former National League East rival Michael A. Taylor has handled center field duties for much of the season, but he too is on the injured list at the moment.

In 347 plate appearances this year while healthy, though, Buxton’s power was there, as he has 17 home runs to his name. But his overall line—.207/.294/.438 with a 97 wRC+—is a few notches below the marks he had put up in recent years.

On the mound, the Twins have one of the best pitchers in the American League this year in Sonny Gray, whose 2.98 ERA is eight-hundredths of a run behind Gerrit Cole for the American League lead. Those two pitchers are certainly in the Cy Young race, with Kyle Bradish of the Orioles and Luis Castillo of the Mariners very slightly behind Gray in ERA and in the mix, as well. Fortunately for the Mets, they’ll miss Gray this weekend.

If you were wondering where Dallas Keuchel was pitching these days, you won’t have to look and further than the series opener, which he’ll start for Minnesota. And the Mets will see a familiar face in Pablo Lopez, formerly of the Marlins, in the series finale.

Last but not least, the Twins’ bullpen sits in the middle of the pack across baseball with a 4.05 ERA that ranks 16th. The hard-throwing Jhoan Duran has done well as their closer, though, with a 2.60 ERA and a 2.77 FIP in 55.1 innings.

Friday, September 8: Kodai Senga vs. Dallas Keuchel, 8:10 PM EDT on SNY

Senga (2023): 143.1 IP, 176 K, 66 BB, 13 HR, 3.08 ERA ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.228 WHIP, 3.7 bWAR

Under slightly different circumstances, Senga might have a shot at both the National League Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards with his excellent first campaign in Major League Baseball. As things stand, the 30-year-old master of the ghost fork has been excellent, and he would have a shot at the Cy Young if Blake Snell and Justin Steele were to slip up. Unfortunately, those two pitchers only widened the ERA gap, with Snell currently at 2.50. Still, there’s room for error ahead of Senga, and there are still a few starts left for Senga to lower his own ERA. The fact that we can talk about a fringe Cy Young candidacy speaks volumes to how much Senga has improved—especially in terms of cutting down his walk rate—as the season has progressed this year.

Keuchel (2023): 21.1 IP, 8 K, 7 BB, 2 HR, 5.06 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 1.500 WHIP, 0.0 bWAR

A former Cy Young winner himself, you might have missed that Keuchel signed with the Twins in the first place—and in that regard, you would not be alone. The 35-year-old lefty inked a minor league deal with Minnesota in June, and he only made his debut fairly recently. Things haven’t gone well thus far, and Keuchel likely wouldn’t be in this rotation if not for Tyler Mahle’s need for Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

Saturday, Septeber 9: David Peterson vs. Kenta Maeda, 2:10 PM EDT on SNY

Peterson (2023): 88.1 IP, 95 K, 41 BB, 14 HR, 5.40 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 1.608 WHIP, 0.2 bWAR

If anyone knows what Joey Lucchesi did to not deserve another look in the Mets’ rotation following the trade deadline, please let us know. As for Peterson, this will be his seventh start since rejoining the Mets’ rotation in August. Over the previous six starts, he has a 5.76 ERA, which is better than what he was doing in his first stint in the rotation but still well below league average.

Maeda (2023): 83.2 IP, 93 K, 23 BB, 14 HR, 4.73 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 1.267 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR

Having missed the entire 2022 season following Tommy John surgery, Maeda hasn’t been spectacular in 17 starts for the Twins this year. He’s struggled mightily lately, as he has a 7.50 ERA over his past four starts. The Twins were able to win just one of those four games.

Sunday, September 10: Tylor Megill vs. Pablo López, 2:10 PM EDT on SNY

Megill (2023): 102.1 IP, 88 K, 49 BB, 16 HR, 5.28 ERA, 5.15 FIP, 1.661 WHIP, -0.2 bWAR

So as to not pick solely on David Peterson, again, we’re not sure why Joey Lucchesi isn’t getting any major league playing time during this phase of the Mets’ season. Megill has a 5.52 ERA since the trade deadline, which is when he was called back up to the big leagues to fill one of the rotation spots vacated by the Mets’ trades of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

López (2023): 170.2 IP, 199 K, 46 BB, 21 HR, 3.64 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 1.184 WHIP, 3.2 bWAR

The Twins got López in a trade that sent Luis Arraez to the Marlins over the offseason, and while it can’t be easy for Twins fans to see Arraez leading all of baseball in batting average in Miami, Minnesota has needed López’s production on the mound. Sure, maybe you’d like to see the ERA a few ticks better than it is, but the combination of durability and competitive performance have made the 27-year-old the most important part of the Twins’ rotation aside from Sonny Gray.

Prediction: While the pitching matchup heavily favors the Mets tonight, the team wins the opener but drops the second and third game of the weekend for a series loss to the Twins.


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

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Let’s Go Crazy: The Mets sweep!
    (8 votes)
  • 22%
    Raspberry Beret: The Mets take two of three to win the series.
    (18 votes)
  • 40%
    When Doves Cry: The Mets win one game, but the Twins take the series.
    (33 votes)
  • 12%
    Purple Rain: The Twins sweep the Mets.
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    (12 votes)
81 votes total Vote Now