The Brewers stink right? They are 18-23 and 5-5 in their last 10 games. They are tanking this season, and so they must be awful. Wait what’s that? They’ve scored more runs then the Mets this season? Really? They rank 15th in runs scored and the Mets are 24th despite all of our home runs. OPS? Both the Mets and Brewers have a .731 team OPS and sit behind 12 other teams in those rankings. The Brewers just took 2 out of 3 from the Cubs. Not too shabby.
Luckily, it’s the pitching staff that defines the Mets and is the big differentiator between the two teams. The Mets team ERA still ranks third in baseball while the Brewers sit at 27th with a 4.87 ERA. The Mets pen ERA is tops in all the land. The recent beatdowns of Matt Harvey and Bartolo Colon has dropped our starting staff ERA out of the top 5.
I would like to think that this is a good time for the Mets to have a big home series against a “bad” team. But the Mets are playing like crap right now. We’ve lost 7 of our last 10. As a pessimistic Mets fan, this feels like a series where a dog doo team will come to town and field goal kick us right in the face. I could easily see the Brewers snagging 2 out of 3 at Citi Field and leaving us beaten and bloodied for our trip to Washington. But we have one big thing going for us:
Three Aces: Sure the Matt Harvey reality has Mets fans down in the dumps. But the good news is we have our three ace strategy in play this weekend. Matz/deGrom/Thor go against this Brewer squad. We need to win. Let’s sweep. We have a rotation full of stoppers and that’s exactly what we need from them. Stop this bleeding.
Game 1: Steven Matz vs. Wily Peralta
Since his 17 win 2014 season, Wily Peralta has been nothing short of El Stinko. He’s rocking a 7.30 ERA this season. He’s been spanked in nearly all of his 2016 starts. The Mets crushed him last May in New York. He went 5 innings and gave up 5 runs on 9 hits. Notable Matchups: Lucas Duda is 3 for 9 against him. Maybe this matchup will help Duda get out of his funk. Curtis Granderson is 5 for 8 with two home runs. Ditto on Grandy and funks. Neil Walker is 4 for 14 with a home run, Eric Campbell is 2 for 3 and Juan Lagares is 2 for 3. David Wright is 0 for 8.
Other than his horrendous opening start of the season, Steven Matz has been exceptional. This is his first start back after the first ElbowGate of the season. The doctors say he is fine. He felt fine after his bullpen sessions and whatnot. The Mets may be careful with his pitch count, but let’s hope his issues are behind him for now and he can contribute again. We need his studliness now more than ever with Matt Harvey struggling. The Brewers aren’t a particularly good lefty hitting team coming in at 18th in OPS against lefties. But Ryan Braun (.336 career average) and Jonathan Lucroy (.297 career average) historically crush lefties. Although Lucroy has been bad against lefties this season (6 for 40).
Game 2: Jacob deGrom vs. Zach Davies
Zach Davies is a 23 year old young righty that the Mets haven’t faced. He’s 1-3 with a 5.58 ERA on the season. He’s not a hard thrower. He’s the pitcher the Brewers acquired from the Orioles when they sent them Gerardo Parra at last year’s trade deadline. His first three starts of the season were poor. However, two of his last three appearances have been quality starts, and he hasn’t surrendered more than 2 runs in his last three outings.
As much as people have tried to make a big deal about deGrom’s 2016 diminished velocity, he’s been very good in all 6 starts this season but short of dominant. He’s 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA. He’s gone 5+ innings in all 6 starts and hasn’t surrendered more than 3 runs. He can be better. We all know that because we’ve seen him at his best. He dominated the Brew Crew last season (2-0). He went 6 innings and gave up a run at Citi Field last May. In Milwaukee in June he pitched 8 scoreless with 7 Ks. This home start is a great opportunity for Jake to really put together his first super dominant outing of the season.
Game 3: Noah Syndergaard vs. Chase Anderson
Chase Anderson is a back end starter type, and the Brewers acquired him from the Diamondbacks in the January Jean Segura trade. He’s 2-5 with a 5.32 ERA. He’s been bad. Last season he faced the Mets twice and went 0-1. He went 5.2 innings and gave up one run in Milwaukee last June. In July, the Mets chased him from the Citi Field game after 4.1 innings, 8 hits and 4 runs. That being said, he dominated the Cubs in his last start going 8.2 innings and surrendering two runs. Yeah that’s not a typo. This guy shut down the Cubs. Good luck to the Mets. Notable Matchups: Juan Lagares is 3 for 5 with a home run and Lucas Duda is 1 for 5 with a home run.
Noah Syndergaard has been nothing short of Cy Young caliber in 2016. That last start against the Nationals on Tuesday was uplifting. It’s been the bright spot in this recent Mets slump-a-dump. Last year he faced the Brewers at Citi. He got the win going 6 innings, surrendering 1 run and striking out 5 Brewers. I fully expect him to dominate because he’s done nothing but that all season. You raise the expectation bar and the fans expect perfection. Thor will deliver.
Things To Look For:
What’s Hitting?: We can dominate on the mound all we want this weekend, but the team won’t win if the offense continues to be MIA. Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda, and Kevin Plawecki have all been horrendous lately. Even Neil Walker and Asdrubal have cooled. I don’t have answers. Just prayers and uncontrollable pessimism.
Hot Crew: The usual suspects top the Brewers hot hitter list. Ryan Braun is hitting .364 with 7 home runs. Jonathan Lucroy is hitting .304 with 6 home runs. Jonathan Villar is hitting .284 and has 13 stolen bases. He’s been a solid fantasy league starter. Aaron Hill had a crummy past couple of years in Arizona, but he’s hitting .250 with 4 bombs on the season. He’s hitting .340 in his last 15 games. First basemen Chris Carter is doing his boom or bust thing with 12 home runs and a .245 average. His 12 bombs are super impressive, but he’s hitting .179 in his last 15 games.
Kirky 3 Bombs: Captain Kirk Nieuwenhius moved out to Milwaukee, and he’s having the best couple months of his career. He’s hitting .278 with an .849 OPS. He hit the game winning two run home run against the Cubs yesterday. Baaahahaha. Kirky 3 Bombs! He’s been platooning in centerfield, and is doing everything we hoped he would one day do for the Mets. Meanwhile Alejandro De Aza took up the Kirk mantle and hits under .200 while striking out whenever he pinch hits. Sheesh. The Brewers just called up centerfielder Keon Broxton, so we will see if that impacts their regular lineup.
Future Mets: Jonathan Lucroy is dying to get out of Milwaukee. He was begging off the team in spring training. I wrote about this a while back, but if Mr. Brittlesworth Travis d’Arnaud insists on staying in California and getting rehab massages all day, then we may need to explore a trade for Lucroy.
Vindicated: Ryan Braun is such a schmuck. He’s back to killing it. Juice? Magic? Skill? Who cares. I’ll never forget how he laughed in our faces. How he insisted he was innocent of steroid use and told us all off when he got off on a technicality. He ruined that poor lab technicians life because the guy mailed his steroid filled urine sample a day late. Go to hell Braun. Definitely don’t go to the Nationals when they come around shopping for an outfield upgrade. Don’t do that.
Pentastic: The few optimistic Mets fans pointed out during Harvey’s meltdown game against the Nats, that the pen pitched 6.1 scoreless innings. Oooh great I’m so happy the pen was able to preserve that humiliating 9-1 defeat for us. But in all seriousness the pen has been tops in the league. Fantastic. Keep firing away those scoreless innings. I’m sure the pen will be full of overused blue eyed corpses by the time Harvey and the rotation hits it’s stride in the summer.
Reinforcements: Speaking of the pen, Erik Goeddel and Sean Gilmartin are in town. Rumor has it Goeddel will be activated (Soup demotion?!? No way!) if Harvey stays on the roster, and if Harvey goes on the DL then Gilmartin will join the roster.
Do People Not Boo?: So I’ve been reading non-stop that people are ashamed that Mets fans booed Harvey as he exited the field after his horrendous start against the Nationals. Now I was at this game. I heard all the booing. Are people really shocked by booing? Is this a real thing? Harvey gave up 9 runs in 2.2 innings. Is there a single park or fan base in the league that doesn’t boo their starter if he gets lit up for 9 runs in 2 innings? No way in hell. People boo. Everyone boos. People complain when they aren’t satisfied with a product or service. That’s how life works. Fans go to the game and want to see an exceptional product. Booing is the way sports fans express dissatisfaction with said product. I’m not trying to lump Matt Harvey in with Time Warner Cable or your run of the mill dog crap service provider. But whenever my internet goes out I boo my cable box. And by boo I mean smash my hand on top of it until it resets. That doesn’t mean I don’t love TV. You can be mad at Time Warner or a specific clueless cable representative when they blow it. It’s allowed. My grandmother said people used to toss tomatoes at performers at legitimate theater events. Fans and audience and members always express their problems with performers and always will. That being said, I didn’t boo at yesterday’s game because I’m better than everyone else.