Magic 8 Ball will the Mets win? Ask Again Later.
Good Teams Are Good: So in an even week of an even year, the Mets kick off a home series against the San Francisco Giants. If you believe in the magic Giants off again, on again World Series luck, then we’d be fools to even play this series. Why spit in the faces of the baseball gods when they have already determined the Giants fate as 2016 champs? Obviously that’s all BS. But you know what isn’t BS? Other than the opening series against Kansas City, we haven’t played a single good team. Cleveland is a stretch as a good team. This is our first real test, and we are lucky to have this series at home. The Giants are 4th in the league in runs scored. That’s much better than us. They are right there with the Mets in the top 10 for OPS and home runs. Their pitching thus far has not been nearly as effective as our staff and not nearly as effective as they envisioned it being. Their team ERA is 20th at 4.24. Both their bullpen and starters ERA have been around that number. We miss Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija in this series. But Cain and Peavy are tough veterans. Since our early offensive struggles against Philly and Miami, we have stomped on the crummy competition. Will we play up against the tough teams this year like we did in the playoffs? We shall see.
Game 1: Steven Matz vs. Jake Peavy
Peavy is 1-1 with a 6.86 ERA on the season. He pitched 7 strong innings last time out against the Marlins. Last year in July, he dominated the B.C. (Before Cespedes) Mets in San Francisco going 7 innings and giving up 2 runs. Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker have all hit a home run off of Peavy. Asdrubal is 7 for 26 lifetime, Yoenis Cespedes is 2 for 7. Curtis Granderson is 4 for 24 and David Wright is 3 for 19.
Game 2: Jacob deGrom vs Matt Cain
Cain is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA on the season. He was slapped around in his last three starts against the Rockies (in Colorado), Arizona, and then Miami. The Marlins had 10 hits against him, and he gave up 4 runs in 5.2 innings. Last July, Cain tossed 6 shutout innings in SF against us (B.C.). David Wright is 11 for 28 lifetime against Cain, Lucas Duda is 1 for 10 and Neil Walker is 2 for 10. Jacob deGrom crushed the Giants last year in San Francisco with 8 shutout innings. He gave up only 2 hits and struck out 10.
Game 3: Noah Syndergaard vs Madison Bumgarner
MadBum is 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA on the season. His last two starts against Arizona and San Diego were strong. We didn’t face him last season. Thor did not fare well against the Giants in New York last season. He took the loss in June when he gave up 10 hits and 4 runs over 6 innings. But that was rookie Thor. This is video game Thor. Asdrubal Cabrera is 2 for 3 lifetime against MadBum, Cespedes is 2 for 8, Neil Walker is 3 for 9, and David Wright 2 for 9. And guess what? Our new backup catcher Rene Rivera is 2 for 3 against MadBum with a home run and 5 RBIs. I’m guessing he draws the start.
Things To Look For:
Hot Giants and Former Mets: Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt are crushing it so far this year both hitting roughly .300. They need Pence in that lineup to stay competitive, so it’s nice to see that he’s avoiding the injury bug so far. My boy Angel Pagan is raking to the tune of a .325 average. Remember when the Mets pretended to trade Angel for legitimate reasons, but it was actually a pure cost cutting measure by the Wilpons? That was greeaaaat.
Former Future Mets: Denard Span is off to a decent start for the Giants at the top of the order. He’s only hitting .250, but I’m sure he’ll pick it up before long. I still can’t believe Scott Boras scored him a three year deal after he was injured for almost all of last season. Remember when the Mets promised to watch Span’s offseason workout, and then signed Alejandro De Aza to be the starting centerfielder instead, and then we brought Cespedes back in the end? Now THAT was actually great.
The Spine Is Wright?: David’s average is quietly down to .230. Since that two homer night in the opening game in Philly, Wright is 5 for 31. I read somewhere that Terry was going to give him the night off in the final game against the Reds, but David said he wanted to play. Will he play all three games against the Giants? He’ll definitely face Matt Cain on account of his career success against him. The problem with resting Wright is that Wilmer Flores has been abysmal. He’s hitting .083. Eric Campbell using David Wright’s spine as a bat could hit .083. It’ll be interesting to see if Terry continues to handle David with care or if he depends on him more due to Flores’ struggles.
Lefty Matchup: I wonder which of our left-handed hitters start on Sunday and which ones get the day off against MadBum. Despite Duda’s success against left-handed pitching last season, Terry gave him the day off against the lefty Adam Conley when we played Miami and then again when we faced Brian Finnegan this week. Curtis Granderson on the other hand has drawn starts against lefties. Duda has only faced Bum once and Grandy has three times. They are a combined 0-4. I’d like to say Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores have had success against him, but they are a combined 1 for 12. It may not matter who starts because he can flat out put away anyone.
Pen Fatigue: The Mets bullpen has been elite. The 2.54 bullpen ERA ranks 4th in the league. We are in the bottom 3rd of the league in bullpen innings pitched so it’s not as if we’ve overworked our relievers relative to the rest of baseball. I’m sure the mixing and matching of relievers will play a big part in the outcome of this series since the games will likely be close. Unless we crush old man Cain and Peavy. Maybe the dingers will keep flying. Let’s stay hot baby.