There aren’t a lot of positives surrounding New York’s National League club in recent weeks. Mired in controversies, suspensions, and so many injuries that one could mistake the Citi Field diamond for a gridiron, the Mets (16-20) still managed to win four of six and head into this past weekend with some perceived momentum.
That came to a screeching halt at Miller Park where a three-game sweep by the Brewers included a backbreaking loss on Sunday in which New York blew a 7-1 lead and continued to spiral towards what could rapidly become a lost season.
Six weeks in and a little over a fifth of the way through, a year that began with so much promise has morphed into the baseball equivalent of a sinking ship as the Mets find themselves 7.5 games back of first-place Washington, with perhaps not enough viable reinforcements in the pipeline to plug the growing number of holes in the hull.
Terry Collins’ beleaguered squad now heads into the desert to face the Arizona Diamondbacks (21-18) and the red-hot Zack Greinke. They’ll need to answer the bell and show some fight in this three-game set to tamper the growing pessimism from a fan base not historically known for noticing silver linings, and also to boost some confidence in a clubhouse that may be starting to feel a little snakebitten themselves.
When and Where
Game 1: Monday @ 9:40 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 2: Tuesday @ 9:40 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 3: Wednesday @ 3:40 p.m. EST (TV: SNY, MLB Network; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Note that these conditions are only applicable if the retractable roof is open.
Monday: Clear with a low of 61F and winds between 10-20 mph.
Tuesday: Mostly clear with a low of 62F and winds between 10-15 mph.
Wednesday: Sunny with a high near 85F and winds between 10-20 mph.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-2, 4.18 ERA, 5.00 DRA, .234 TAv, 0.1 WARP) vs. RHP Zack Godley (1-0, 2.25 ERA, 3.23 DRA, .202 TAv, 0.3 WARP)
The Mets’ most consistent starter so far, Wheeler will try to stop the bleeding in the series opener after holding the Giants to one run in six strong innings at Citi Field last week.
Godley will attempt to build on an even better performance, beating the Tigers at home on Wednesday behind seven frames of one-run ball while throwing just 88 pitches.
Tuesday: LHP Tommy Milone (1-0, 5.88 ERA, 5.82 DRA, .296 TAv, -0.2 WARP) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (4-2, 2.79 ERA, 1.79 DRA, .229 TAv, 2.1 WARP)
Milone will make his second start for the Mets since being selected off waivers from the Brewers last Sunday. The veteran southpaw was effective in a loss to the Giants, allowing two runs in five innings while striking out five.
Greinke had a no-hitter broken up in the eighth inning on Thursday against Pittsburgh, a solo shot off the bat of Pittsburgh outfielder Gregory Polanco. It would be the only hit against the former Cy Young Award winner in a masterful performance, striking out 11 Pirates and walking only one. The Diamondbacks ace is 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.
Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (2-3, 5.62 ERA, 5.85 DRA, .282 TAv, -0.2 WARP) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (3-4, 4.17 ERA, 6.45 DRA, .275 TAv, -0.6 WARP)
Corbin has also struggled of late, earning the win on Friday despite being charged with four runs in six unimpressive frames.
Mets 2B Neil Walker (8-for-13 with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs in Milwaukee)
Mets IF/OF T.J. Rivera (.362 BA with 9 RBIs in May, with at least one hit in 11 of 12 games played)
Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt (3 home runs and 5 RBIs in his last three games)
Diamondbacks SS Nick Ahmed (.417 BA with 3 home runs over last four games played)
Diamondbacks 3B Jake Lamb (7 hits in last 14 at-bats)
Mets OF Curtis Granderson (5-for-30 (.167) since May 5)
Mets starting pitchers (5.16 ERA worst in the majors coming into Monday’s action)
Mets bullpen (0-2 with an 11.77 ERA during four-game losing streak)
Diamondbacks LF Yasmany Tomas (.129 BA (4-for-31) with one extra-base hit in May)
When We Last Met
Arizona took two out of three at Chase Field in August, scoring 28 runs in the series.
It’s Literally a 10-Day DL
Diamondbacks: Outfielders A.J. Pollock (right groin) and David Peralta (tightness in right glute) were both injured in Sunday’s finale against Pittsburgh and will be evaluated further on Monday. Pollock’s injury appears to be the more serious of the two, and he may not be available for this series. Catcher Chris Iannetta will also miss New York’s visit after being hit in the face with a pitch on Friday and placed on the 7-day concussion DL.
Mets: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (left thumb) could be headed to the disabled list as well, although he has stated to reporters that he would like to play through the injury. If he were shelved, the two-time All-Star would become the ninth Mets player currently on the DL. The team is waiting until Tuesday to make a decision on Cabrera. Seth Lugo (partial tear of UCL in right elbow) and Steven Matz (left elbow inflammation) are each scheduled to begin minor league rehab assignments later in the week.
“This is the big leagues. They’re down there. That’s their job. Their job is to come in and get outs and when you call upon them they’ve got to come in and do the job, or eventually you’ve got to find somebody else.” – Collins, following Sunday’s loss, on the state of the Mets’ bullpen
“I think anytime you have somebody stumble the way he did you want to just make sure before advancing forward with any type of diagnosis that you have the proper evaluation.” – Arizona manager Torey Lovullo on Pollock’s injury
Photo credit: Joe Camporeale – USA Today Sports