New York Mets Series Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (6/22-6-24)

The New York Mets had a disappointing end to their road trip, but return home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets went 3-7 on their road trip and finally saw their bats come back to life. Unfortunately, the Mets pitching suffered badly in the hitter friendly conditions in Colorado. The Dodgers had a disappointing start to their season but they have a 38-35 record and are 2.5 games out of first place. The Mets lost all seven games they played against the Dodgers last season.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

(6/22, 7:10 PM) Alex Wood (2-5, 4.22 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.82 ERA)

(6/23, 7:15 PM) Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.76 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (5-2, 1.51 ERA)

(6/24, 1:10 PM) Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (2-6, 8.60 ERA)

Hitting, But No Pitching

The Mets finally figured out how to score some runs on the road trip, but that should be taken with a grain of salt. They played in two very hitter friendly environments and have not hit well when they return to Citi Field. Jacob deGrom was able to put together a terrific start in Colorado because he is on another level right now. The Mets should look to take advantage of sub-par pitching and Kershaw opting to make a MLB start right off the DL.

The Mets made some roster moves after their final game in Colorado. They sent down Chris Flexen and Paul Sewald to Triple-A and moved A.J. Ramos to the 60-day DL. Hansel Robles was designated for assignment which made room for Kevin Kaczmarski and Drew Smith on the Mets roster. Kaczmarski was hitting .346 and Smith had a 2.88 ERA before being called up.

Dodgers Ace Has Returned

Around 5:30 on Friday, the Dodgers announced Clayton Kershaw is opting to pitch Saturday against Jacob deGrom instead of taking a rehab start. He was originally scheduled to come back on June 28 from a back injury. Kershaw vs. deGrom has the makings of a pitcher’s duel, but in his last start before heading to the DL, Kershaw’s velocity was down. He did not hit 90 mph at any point for the first time in his career.

The Dodgers have had their fair share of injuries cost them this season. Pedro Baez, Corey Seager and Kershaw headline just a few of the names that have spent time on the shelf this season. Met nemesis Chase Utley will be activated for this weekend’s series and will receive his typical welcome from the Mets fans. Matt Kemp has been healthy this season and has seen a resurgence in his game. He is hitting .322 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs and has slowly returned to the Matt Kemp of old.

Matchups to Lookout For

Chase Utley vs. Jacob deGrom: 4-17 (.235) Double, 4 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Wilmer Flores vs. Clayton Kershaw: 3-15 (.200) 4 Strikeouts

Chase Utley vs. Zack Wheeler: 4-15 (.267) Double, Home Run, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Wilmer Flores vs. Alex Wood: 5-14 (.357) 2 Doubles, Home Run, 2 Walks, 5 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Matt Kemp w/RISP in 2018: 20-49 (.408) 3 Doubles, 4 Home Runs, 5 Walks, 9 Strikeouts

Michael Conforto at Citi Field in 2018: 13-88 (.148) Double, 2 Home Runs, 13 Walks, 28 Strikeouts

Mets Lose Their Second Straight Slugfest With the Rockies

After a promising three game win streak, the New York Mets have comeback to lose consecutive games against the Colorado Rockies. Both nights they lost 10-8 and did not receive any length from their starting pitchers. Even thought the Mets scored more than five runs in their fifth straight game, they left 12 men on base which came back to haunt them.

Struggles For Lugo

Seth Lugo failed to find any consistency on any of his pitches which led to six runs allowed in three innings. Pitchers seem to have trouble throwing their curveball in the Colorado altitude. Lugo fell victim to this trend and was unable to find the handle on his best pitch. It was clear when Nolan Arenado launched his 15th home run way back in left field.

Robert Gsellman also struggled in his outing last night as he allowed a three run home run to Ryan McMahon. The homer put the Rockies back in front and the rally came with two men already out in the fifth. Ian Desmond walked on an extremely close 3-2 pitch that could have easily been called strike three. His walk was followed up by a Tom Murphy single which set up the McMahon home run.

Mets Inability to Capitalize

The Mets had a chance to tie and take the lead in the following half of game. They loaded the bases with one out and Mickey Callaway decided to send up Kevin Plawecki to pinch hit for Gsellman instead of Amed Rosario. Plawecki ended up grounding into an inning ending double play and killed all of the Mets momentum for the rest of the game. Rosario does not have the patience Plawecki has, but is faster and does not hit groundballs to the left side of infield at a high rate. A fly ball or a groundball would still get a run in with the speed Rosario possesses.

On a positive note, Dom Smith had a breakout game. The new left fielder came within a home run of the cycle and seems very comfortable in his new position. Smith showed his ability to drive the ball to all fields and will continue to play everyday until Jay Bruce or Yoenis Cespedes return. The Mets hope to win the final game and get a split of the series. Steven Matz will get the “getaway day” start and hopefully give the Mets some much needed innings.

New York Mets Series Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (6/14-6/17)

The New York Mets offense went quiet once again as they lost both games against the Atlanta Braves. They will start west coast trip in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. The last series the Mets won came against the D’Backs way back on May 18-20 at Citi Field. Both teams have gone in different directions since that series. The Mets are eight games under .500 and the D’Backs are in first place in the NL West.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(6/14, 9:40 PM) Jason Vargas (2-4, 7.71 ERA) vs. Matt Koch (4-3, 4.20 ERA)

(6/15, 9:40 PM) Seth Lugo (2-1, 1.77 ERA) vs. Zach Godley (6-5, 4.97 ERA)

(6/16, 10:10 PM) Steven Matz (2-4, 3.53 ERA vs. Patrick Corbin (6-2, 3.21 ERA)

(6/17, 4:10 PM) Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.98 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (1-1, 3.21 ERA)

Horrible Mets Offense

There are so many ways to describe how awful the Mets offense has been lately. There is no exaggeration when talking about how historically bad they have been over the last couple of weeks. Elias Sports Bureau compiled a stat saying “The Mets are the first team in the Modern Era (since 1900) to score 15 or fewer runs and compile fewer than 50 hits over an 11-game span.” It it amazing to think the Mets managed to squeeze one win out of those 11 games. Arizona is a hitter friendly environment, but the Mets are not capable of hitting mediocre pitching right now.

Seth Lugo and Jason Vargas will both make starts in the series even though both have been trending in different directions. Lugo has been the second best pitcher on the team, behind Jacob deGrom. He has taken the swingman role and ran with it, his 1.77 ERA is fourth among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched. On the other hand, Vargas has looked like an absolute disaster this season. He has struggled to the point where the Mets look to skip his starts whenever they can. His last two starts have been better but they need him to pitch like someone who belongs in the big leagues.

D’backs Have Flipped The Script

The D’backs started March/April on fire but had a dreadful 8-19 May. It seems like all they needed was the calendar to flip because they have a 9-3 record in June. They have relied on decent starting pitching and a killer bullpen that has a 2.55 ERA. Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger have created a lethal eighth and ninth inning combination in the back of their bullpen. The 34-year old rookie, Yoshihisa Hirano, has surprised many with his 1.55 ERA in 32 games.

Paul Goldschmidt disappointed many when he batted .144 throughout the month of May. Just like the rest of the team, it needed the calendar to turn from May to June. Since June started he is 22-48 (.457) with a 1.481 OPS and has already surpassed the amount of hits he had in May. It is not surprising to see a correlation between Goldy’s hot hitting and the D’backs winning ways.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jose Reyes vs. Patrick Corbin: 7-13 (.539) 3 Doubles, Walk, Strikeout

Alex Avila vs. Jason Vargas: 5-17 (.294) Double, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Jose Bautista vs. Clay Buchholz: 14-61 (.230) 3 Doubles, Home Run, 9 Walks, 13 Strikeouts

Paul Goldschmidt vs. Zack Wheeler: 3-12 (.250) Double, Walk, Strikeout

Interesting Stats

Brandon Nimmo in innings 7-9: 18-50 (.360) 4 Doubles, Triple, 2 Home Runs, 11 Walks, 13 Strikeouts

Paul Goldschmidt w/RISP: 9-51 (.176) 3 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 Home Runs, 13 Walks, 17 Strikeouts

New York Mets Suffer Another Tough Loss to the Atlanta Braves

The New York Mets had a promising 2-1 lead over the Atlanta Braves in the sixth. Unfortunately, a six run sixth inning for the Braves put the game out of reach for the Mets.

Callaway Loses His Cool

Mickey Callaway had his first managerial ejection as a manager after disputing a non-call when Brandon Nimmo was hit on his elbow. In the same inning Jay Bruce seemed to break out of his funk when he drilled a bases loaded double to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Mets hopes were quickly put out when Devin Mesoraco grounded into a double play with runners on second and third to end the inning.

The Braves stormed right back against Zack Wheeler who held them to one run over the first five innings. Freddie Freeman led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to tie the game at two. The six run inning was capped off by a grand slam by Ozzie Albies. The home run came off Paul Sewald but three of those runs were charged to Wheeler. The Mets bullpen continues to show how unreliable they are.

Bounces Going The Braves Way

The Mets came within inches of ending the sixth inning with the game still close. Ender Inciarte blooped a single past Amed Rosario to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. Shortly after, he was handed a gift of a stolen base when Asdrubal Cabrera dropped the ball attempting to tag Inciarte. Both plays would have ended the inning if the out was recorded. These type of situations tend favor good teams like the Braves and hurt struggling teams like the Mets.

Once Inciarte blooped the single over Rosario’s glove, there was a sense of the game being over at that moment. The poor Mets offense continued their historically bad offensive struggles which kills any momentum their pitchers give them. They were set down 1-2-3, five times and managed a measly three hits. The Mets are now 28-35 and have no reason to think they will sniff the .500 mark again this season.

Jacob deGrom will pitch on Wednesday, hoping to get enough runs to finally get a win he deserves. It may be another one of those starts where deGrom needs to throw a shutout to win and even that may not be enough for the Mets ace.

New York Mets Series Preview: Atlanta Braves (6/12-6/13)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

The New York Mets look to rebound on a long road trip after a 1-8 home stand. They start their trip with a short two game series in Atlanta against the Braves. The Braves have taken seven of the ten games against the Mets this season. The last series the Mets played in Atlanta started the spiral that led to the poor home stand. The Braves are currently tied for first place with the Washington Nationals.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(6/12, 7:35 PM) Zack Wheeler (2-4, 4.57 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (5-4, 2.31 ERA)

(6/13, 12:10 PM) Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.57 ERA) vs. Mike Soroka (1-1, 3.68 ERA)

The Streak is Over

The Mets finally broke their eight game losing streak with a 2-0 win against the New York Yankees. The offense has continued to struggle but the combination of Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Anthony Swarzak shut the Bronx Bombers. The Mets will turn to Wheeler and deGrom to give the Mets an opportunity to comeback in the NL East. deGrom has been terrific all season and Wheeler has found his groove over his last two starts. He held the Chicago Cubs to two runs and shutout the Baltimore Orioles over seven innings.

The Mets made a small overhaul to their roster after Sunday night’s game ended. They released first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and designated Jose Lobaton for assignment. This opened up two roster spots for Dominic Smith and Ty Kelly. Smith will likely have a platoon role with Jay Bruce at first base. Kelly will be the utility guy he has been for his entire career. Kelly and Jose Reyes might see more playing time with Asdrubal Cabrera suffering a hamstring injury during Sunday night’s game.

Booming Braves

The Braves have been one of baseball’s surprises in 2018. They look like true contenders for the NL East crown and can hold their own with the Washington Nationals. Freddie Freeman has returned to his MVP form after it was halted when he was hit in his hand last year. Freeman is tied for the NL lead in Average and leads the NL in OPS. Nick Markakis has also put together a terrific season and is fifth in the NL with a .327 average.

Since June started the Braves are only 4-5 and have their highest ERA of any month this season. Mike Foltynewicz has emerged as the ace the Braves hoped he would become. He is fifth in the NL in ERA and strikeouts and has one of the five complete games thrown in the NL. Dan Winkler has also been dominant out of the Braves bullpen with a 1.03 ERA in 28 appearances. The Braves certainly have plenty of pieces to compete for a playoff spot this season and will be one of the reasons why the Nationals will not run away with the division.

Matchups to Lookout For

Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Mike Foltynewicz: 3-5 (.600) Double, Home Run, Strikeout

Freddie Freeman vs. Zack Wheeler: 7-14 (.500) 2 Doubles, Home Run, 9 Walks, 3 Strikeouts

Todd Frazier vs. Mike Foltynewicz: 1-8 (.125) Home Run, Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Ender Inciarte vs. Jacob deGrom: 5-26 (.192) Double, 2 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Jacob deGrom during day games in his career: 19-8, 1.95 ERA, 268 IP, 293 Strikeouts

Freddie Freeman vs. Left Handed Pitching in 2018: 35-91 (.385) 6 Doubles, 6 Home Runs, 9 Walks, 19 Strikeouts

New York Mets Series Preview: New York Yankees (6/8-6/10)

The New York Mets are still winless during this home stand and face the mighty New York Yankees in this year’s Subway Series. The Mets come off back to back sweeps at the hands of the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles and their offense was anemic in both series. The Yankees are polar opposites of their New York counterpart. They come in with the second best record in baseball and a team set for a World Series run. The Yankees swept the Subway Series in 2017.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(6/8, 7:10 PM) Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.49 ERA)

(6/9, 7:15 PM) Domingo German (0-4, 5.44 ERA) vs. Steven Matz (2-4, 3.42 ERA)

(6/10, 8:05 PM) Luis Severino (9-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (4-1, 3.06 ERA)

New Regime, Same Story

The Mets have seen the same old story at Citi Field, they cannot score and they cannot win. The starting pitching has certainly been great for the Mets, but the team has failed in every other part of the game. The Mets scored one run in 18 innings against the dreadful Orioles pitching staff. Every hitter looks like they are pressing right now and trying to carry their offense by themselves. There is no sense of a team concept where everyone is trying to work together to get out of the slump they are in.

Manager Mickey Callaway certainly has to take most of the blame for what has been going on during this long cold streak. He has not been dealt the best hand when it comes to the group of guys on this roster, but Terry Collins has done more with less in the past. Callaway has also made some questionable moves with his lineup and bullpen. These bullpen moves have caused Jeurys Familia to begin questioning what his role is on this team. No matter which way anyone looks at it, Callaway as the “pitching guru” is still questionable and in his short career he has looked like an “offensive novice.”

Kings of New York

The Yankees are a loaded and talented baseball team. They lead baseball in home runs and RBIs which should be no surprise to anyone who follows baseball. What should surprise many people is that the Yankees have a 40-18 record while Gary Sanchez is hitting. 201, Giancarlo Stanton has been inconsistent and Didi Gregorious has been nonexistent since the end of April. It will be scary to see what happens when these guys are performing like they usually do. There is no doubt the Yankees will be playing October baseball, but the Red Sox could force them to play a Wild Card game.

With a lineup as stacked as the Yankees, their pitching does not have to be brilliant. Luis Severino has been the clear cut ace that he was meant to be. He is fifth in baseball with a 2.20 ERA, second with nine wins and sixth with 102 strikeouts. With Jordan Montgomery going under the knife for Tommy John Surgery, they Yankees will certainly make another move to bolster their rotation. Cole Hamels has been the name thrown around and he certainly put the Yankees in a spot to finally beat the Houston Astros and Red Sox.

The atmosphere will certainly be wild this weekend and hopefully the Mets will give something for their home fans to cheer for. It also would not be surprising if 30,000 Yankee fans took over Citi Field and turned it into Yankee Stadium.

Matchups to Lookout For

Giancarlo Stanton vs. Jacob deGrom: 9-22 (.409) Double, 4 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Luis Severino: 2-5 (.400) Double, Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Giancarlo Stanton vs. Noah Syndergaard: 0-11 (.000) Walk, 6 Strikeouts

Jose Bautista vs. Luis Severino: 2-13 (.154) Home Run, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Giancarlo Stanton at Citi Field: .258 AVG, 21 Home Runs, 43 RBI

Michael Conforto vs. Power Pitchers: 14-64 (.182 AVG), 2 Home Runs, 7 RBIs, 21 Strikeouts 

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-Total runs under 8.5

-Gleyber Torres OVER 0.5 hits

New York Mets Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (6/5-6/6)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

After a disappointing four game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, the New York Mets hope to rebound two game series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles have lost seven games in a row and currently have the worst record in baseball (17-41). The Mets need to sweep the series if they want to start turning their season around.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(6/5, 7:10 PM) Alex Cobb (1-7, 6.80) vs. Jason Vargas (2-3, 8.53 ERA)

(6/6, 1:10 PM) Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.46 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-4, 5.14 ERA)

The Cubs Mauled the Mets

The Cubs overmatched the Mets in almost every facet of the game. The Mets were held to six runs in four games and their bullpen allowed a scary 16 runs in those games. The Mets starters were the lone bright spot throughout the series. After their starters exited the game, there was a feeling of hopelessness in the Mets bullpen.

Manager Mickey Callaway was out managed and looked way over his head throughout the series. Joe Maddon showed why he is a top tier manager in baseball and Callaway seemed a step behind in every game. Reinforcements will be on their way as Todd Frazier is expected to return to third base in the series. Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard are also expected to return in the following series against the New York Yankees. The Mets will need their superstars back because the team currently looks lost and has no true leadership in the clubhouse.

Rebuilding Year For the O’s

The Orioles are in a rebuilding position and never had a true chance to compete this season. Like most Oriole teams, they have a mediocre pitching staff that has the third worst ERA, worst WHIP and batting average against in baseball. They have put a lot of stock into Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy to anchor this Orioles pitching staff for the future, but they have not lived up to their expectations. Even a great manager like Buck Showalter has not been able to compete with this roster.

The lone storyline for the Orioles is their star shortstop Manny Machado. After a down year in terms of his batting average, he has bounced back to put together a strong season. He is in the top-10 of all three triple crown categories and is a free agent at the end of the season. He will be traded and the Orioles have asked for a lot in return. At age 25, he will headline a stacked 2018-19 free agent class and will certainly draw offers north of the $200 million mark.

Matchups to Lookout For (Not Much Analysis Here)

Nobody on the Orioles has a .300+ average against Jason Vargas and only Mark Trumbo has faced Zack Wheeler

Nobody on the Mets has an .300+ average against Alex Cobb and only Todd Frazier, Jose Bautista and Adrian Gonzalez have faced Dylan Bundy (0-for their careers)

Manny Machado is good at baseball

Interesting Stats

Manny Machado in Late & Close Situations in 2018: 13-29 (.448) 2 Doubles, 4 RBI, 8 Walks, 4 Strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera in Late & Close Situations in 2018: 19-44 (.432) 1.308 OPS, 13 RBIs

New York Mets Injury Report (6/3)

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

The injury bug has returned to haunt the New York Mets again and their play has suffered because of it. Almost half of the original 40-man roster has spent time on the disabled list this season.

Injury Filled Outfield

Jay Bruce (back spasms) was removed from Friday night’s game and was held out of the lineup Saturday night. Bruce was originally in the lineup but could not get his back loose enough to play a whole game. Bruce did have a pinch-hitting appearance but struck out. He is currently day-to-day, but the injury could linger if he keeps playing through it.

Juan Lagares (torn plantar plate in his left foot) was transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL on Thursday. Lagares figured to be out for the entire season and this move sealed his fate. This allowed the Mets to open another spot on their 40-man roster.

Thor’s Surprise Injury

Noah Syndergaard (strained ligament in his right index finger) was put on the 10-day DL last week which came to the surprise of many people. He already missed one start and expects to miss his next scheduled start against the Baltimore Orioles. He will likely return next weekend against the New York Yankees and the Mets will need him if they want any chance to shut down the Yankees lineup.

Steven Matz (sprained middle finger) played catch on Thursday and threw a bullpen session Friday. He will make his next start today against the Chicago Cubs. Matz has had an up and down season but he has a 3.55 ERA. One of the big improvements the Mets hope to see is Matz ability to work deeper into the game.

A.J. Ramos (right rotator cuff tightness) was placed on the 10-day DL last week after a disastrous start to his season. He had a 6.41 ERA and was big contributor to the failures of the Mets bullpen. There is no timetable for his return, but is eligible to return in the next couple of days. Ramos will likely be sent back to the 10-day again because he will still need time to recover.

Wilmer Flores (lower back soreness) was also placed on the 10-day DL last week. He had struggled with throwing the ball during the series after the Milwaukee Brewers and the back soreness may have contributed to his problems. He must be examined before he can start baseball activities again but will be out for another week or two at least.

When Will Cespedes Comeback?

Yoenis Cespedes (hip) started a running program and could very soon start a rehab assignment. Cespedes has already missed two weeks and the Mets have desperately needed his bat in the lineup. The rehab assignment should start next weekend and the Mets will be very careful with Cespedes. He has a long history of leg injuries and problems.

Todd Frazier (hamstring) started a rehab assignment with the Las Vegas 51s on Thursday. He hopes to return during this week’s series against the Orioles. This was the first time that he has ever been on the DL and the Mets have missed him at third base. It will be interesting to see if Frazier’s return will be the reason Jose Reyes is DFA’d.

Anthony Swarzak (oblique) is set to start a rehab assignment this week. He is scheduled to pitch Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and it will be the first time he has pitched in two months. Swarzak should be expected to return once his rehab assignment ends and the Mets need him badly. The bullpen has been absolutely dreadful and it showed once again Saturday night against the Cubs.

David Wright (back, shoulder) played catch in the outfield on Thursday which is his first real baseball activity in months. Sandy Alderson expects him to ramp it up in 1-3 weeks which would start his long road back to the big leagues. There is no telling to what he actually has left in the tank but Mets fans would love to see him play before he officially hangs it up.

Travis d’Arnaud and Rafael Montero (Tommy John Surgery) are still held out of baseball activities for the rest of the season. T.J. Rivera (TJS) is also waiting at least another month to start baseball activities.

Was Pulling Seth Lugo the Right Move?

The New York Mets lost the first game of their four game set against the Chicago Cubs, 5-1. The game started with Seth Lugo tossing four spectacular innings in his first start of the season. Manager Mickey Callaway pulled Lugo after 60 pitches because he has been in the bullpen. Hansel Robles replaced Lugo and returned to form by allowing a two run homer.

Lackluster Bullpen Performance

The move is definitely questionable considering the circumstances at hand. The bullpen has been extremely inconsistent and a fatigued Seth Lugo is more trustworthy than Hansel Robles. Lugo’s ability to keep the ball down and sharpness of his curveball would determine how fatigued he was. Like he has been all season, Lugo was sharp and cruised through a dangerous Cub lineup without facing any trouble. With Lugo probably getting one more start before Noah Syndergaard returns, the Mets certainly could have afforded to let him stretch himself out more.

If the Mets bullpen was more reliable they could afford to pull Lugo after 60 pitches, but right now there is no one outside of Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia that is trustworthy. The Mets are also not in a position to give away games as well. They needed to ride with their hot hand because they simply have no idea what they will receive from their starters. Jacob deGrom is the only reliable starter that is healthy and in the rotation.

Lugo definitely deserves another start and Callaway will likely up his pitch count if he has to remain in the rotation. He is a very effective pitcher, no matter when he pitches, and he is one of the few Mets pitchers who has been consistent this season. With Jason Vargas constantly treading on thin ice, it may not be long until Lugo becomes a permanent starter.

New York Mets Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (5/31-6/3)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

After a 3-5 road trip that included the New York Mets hitting “rock bottom”, they return to Citi Field for a monumental nine game home stand. They start off with a four game set against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs just finished a series where they took two out of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs took four out of the six games against the Mets in 2017.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(5/30, 7:10 PM) Jose Quintana (5-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (1-1, 2.48 ERA)

(6/1, 7:10 PM) Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.10 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-4, 5.40 ERA)

(6/2, 7:15 PM) TBD vs. Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.52 ERA)

(6/3, 1:10 PM) Jon Lester (5-2, 2.71 ERA) vs. TBD

Lugo Gets The Spot Start

The Mets will trot out Seth Lugo to the mound for the series opener against the Cubs. This is Lugo’s first start of the season and is in the place of Noah Syndergaard who landed on the 10-day DL. Lugo has been dynamite out of the bullpen this season and had his first real hiccup in the first game of Monday’s double header against the Atlanta Braves. In his career as a starter, he has a 12-6 record with a 4.09 ERA. This is expected to be his only start and will likely be limited to 65 pitches.

The Mets offense has slowly clawed their way out of the mess it was in last week. Brandon Nimmo has emerged as the Mets leadoff hitter and a quality everyday player. His .969 on-base plus slugging would be the ninth best in baseball, if he qualified. Amed Rosario has also seen his bat come to life over the last week. He is hitting .333 over his last seven games and has a .583 slugging percentage which is almost 200 points higher than what it is now.

The Cubs Without Arrieta

The Cubs come in with a 29-23 record with puts them 4.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. They still remain as one of the better teams in the NL with their young lineup and their revamped pitching staff. Kyle Schwarber has produced a bounce back season with 10 home runs and a .374 on base percentage. Javier Baez found his power stroke to lead the team with 13 home runs and is still one of the best fielders in baseball.

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are also quietly making their contributions to the Cubs lineup. Rizzo had started the season slowly but has hit .429 with 10 walks over his last seven games. When he is on his game, the Cubs possess one of the most feared lineups in baseball. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks continue to anchor the Cubs rotation with the loss of Jake Arrieta and are both in the top-15 for ERA in the NL.

Matchups to Lookout For

Anthony Rizzo vs. Jacob deGrom: 5-16 (.313) 1 Double, 1 Home Run, 2 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Tyler Chatwood: 4-13 (.308) Home Run, 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Ben Zobrist vs. Jacob deGrom: 0-9 (.000) Strikeout

Jay Bruce vs. Jon Lester: 3-23 (.130) Double, 2 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Kris Bryant vs. Left Handed Pitching in 2018: 19-43 (.442) 5 Doubles, Triple, 5 Home Runs

Brandon Nimmo During Day Games in 2018: 15-40 (.375) .545 OBP, 1.270 OPS