The Mets finally play someone outside their division when the San Francisco Giants come to town. Last time the Mets faced the Giants, Madison Bumgarner took control of the Wild Card game and ended the Mets’ season. This year, both clubs are below .500 entering the rematch and facing a slew of injuries. The Mets have shown some life, riding a hot offense to series wins against Atlanta and Miami.
The Giants enter the series with the worst record in the National League at 11-21. Somehow the Giants have been even worse than that record indicates, with a staggering -53 run differential. Bumgarner has been out for weeks after his dirt bike accident but still leads the team in wins above replacement!
WHEN AND WHERE
Game 1: Monday @ 7:10 p.m. (TV: SNY and ESPN; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 2: Tuesday @ 7:10 p.m. (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 3: Wednesday @ 1:10 p.m. (TV: SNY, MLB Network (out of market only); RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Monday: Cool and cloudy but no rain or wind in the forecast. Low of 52F
Tuesday: Cool and cloudy but only a very slight chance of rain or wind in the forecast. Low of 52F
Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a high of 61F. Winds around 7 mph.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Monday: LHP Matt Moore (1-4, 6.75 ERA, 10.11 DRA, .316 TAv, -1.8 WARP) vs. RHP Jacob DeGrom (2-1, 3.68 ERA, 2.32 DRA, .260 TAv, 1.3 WARP)
Matt Moore has spent three years as a cautionary tale that the baseline “recovery rate” from Tommy John surgery means getting back to the majors. He’s been below replacement since his 2014 surgery and absolutely dreadful to start 2017. deGrom seems to have looked at the shaky fielders behind him and decided to do it all himself. He’s struck out 31.6 percent of opposing batters – fifth best in the game – but he’s also ballooned to walking 10.3 percent of opposing batters.
Tuesday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-4, 5.03 ERA, 2.82 DRA, .250 TAv, 1.1 WARP) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.78 ERA, 5.79 DRA, .258 TAv, -0.1 WARP)
If Jeff Samardzija maintains his current pace, he could be a 20 game loser with an ERA over five but still be a five win player! The more likely scenario is his ERA drops. Samardzija has been extremely unlucky with fly balls leaving the ballpark and failing to strand runners. Wheeler hasn’t been great so far, but his strikeout and walk rates aren’t too different than before Tommy John surgery.
Sunday: RHP Matt Cain (2-1, 4.70 ERA, 6.70 DRA, .286 TAv, -0.5 WARP) vs. RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 10.45 ERA, 9.50 DRA, .411 TAv, -0.5 WARP) or RHP Matt Harvey (2-2, 5.14 ERA, 5.18 DRA, .287 TAv, 0.1 WARP)
Mets’ starters may be begging to start a day game after a night game to pad their stats. Matt Cain entered Sunday with the lowest ERA of any healthy Giants starter. That’s how bad their pitching has been. The only real positive about Cain’s season so far is he hasn’t missed a start yet this season.
It’s unclear at this point who will walk out of the doghouse to pitch for the Mets. Montero was so bad on Friday night that Sandy Alderson said he’s not a lock to make this start. Since the Mets suspended Matt Harvey for three days, he could come back and take Montero’s spot in the rotation. This may be a good sign of how deep a hole Harvey has dug for himself, since the Mets went out of their way not to explain which team rule he broke.
Giants C Buster Posey (8-for-22 with a home run in his last 6 games)
Giants 3B Eduardo Nunez (7-for-21 with 4 doubles in the last week)
Mets IF T.J. Rivera (.500 OBP last week)
Mets OF Michael Conforto (8-for-24 with six walks in the last week)
Mets OF Jay Bruce (Five extra base hits and 9 RBI last week)
Giants RF Hunter Pence (.200 OBP last week)
Giants 1B/LF Brandon Belt (4-for-24 for 12 strikeouts in his last 7 games)
Mets OF Curtis Granderson (3-for-19 last week, but two doubles, a homer and four walks…that’s as close as any Met hitter gets to “cold” lately)
WHEN WE LAST MET
Last year’s wild card game was a pitching duel for the ages. Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner traded zeroes. The only runs came when utility infielder Connor Gillaspie hit a three-run homer off Jeurys Familia in the top of the ninth. Now Bumgarner and Syndergaard are both on the disabled list for months. Gillaspie has a .462 OPS. Both teams had injuries to their top hitter and are without their starting shortstop. San Francisco looks like what would happen to the Mets if they had even less depth. Apparently that’s possible.
WEIRDEST. SUSPENSION. EVER?
The Mets haven’t explained why they suspended Harvey, except for saying it’s not related to the prank in Kevin Plawecki’s locker over the weekend. Jon Heyman cited unnamed sources that Harvey played golf early Saturday, got a headache, and didn’t go to the game. Heyman also reported that Harvey would file a grievance, but at press time no one has said this on the record. Harvey would have to appeal directly to an arbitrator that the suspension is unwarranted. Ken Rosenthal cites “a source close to Harvey” saying there was just a miscommunication after a migraine. However, unnamed sources (presumably different sources) told Rosenthal that Harvey did not respond to initial texts from the team and didn’t respond at all until after he was supposed to arrive at Citi Field.
There’s a lot of smoke and innuendo here, but no one has gone on the record about what Harvey may or may not have done.
It’s literally a 10-day DL
Asdrubal Cabrera’s MRI showed no ligament damage in his thumb and the Mets didn’t put him on the DL before Sunday’s game. Sandy Alderson said the Mets’ philosophy is to “try to manage a player through injuries” instead of putting them on the DL immediately, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team playing short-handed again.
The Mets claimed Tommy Milone off waivers from the Brewers on Sunday. The left-handed starter may be an option to replace Rafael Montero’s turn in the rotation, but he’s still likely to be a below replacement option.
“We had to make a statement today. Everybody’s different, but we’ve got a job to do here, and this guy has a chance to be one of the best in the game, and it’s got to become his No. 1 priority right now.” – Terry Collins, making a vague statement to WOR about Harvey’s suspension.
“(Reds starting pitcher Scott Feldman) was good, but to be honest, it’s hard to say how good because, boy, we’ve really struggled here with the bats. Score five runs in a three-game series? I didn’t see that coming.” – Giants manager Bruce Bochy, after getting shut out Sunday.
Photo credit: Sergio Estrada – USA Today Sports