After a much-needed day off, the hapless Mets return to Citi Field for a weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. New York’s first interleague contest of the year comes on the heels of a winless six-game road trip, their longest without a victory since 1999.
After extra innings simply prolonged what felt like another inevitable loss on Wednesday afternoon in Arizona, Terry Collins’ fading squad fell to seven games under .500 for the first time in almost three years and will try to regroup in Flushing against the American League’s reigning MVP at a time where he is really hitting his stride.
The Angels have won four in a row backed by a scorching Mike Trout, who has homered in five of the club’s last six games and leads the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases.
When he fills out the lineup card on Saturday, Collins will be preparing to manage his 1,013th game in a Mets uniform — passing Davey Johnson for the most in franchise history. The oldest active manager in the majors, Collins has compiled a 497-514 (.492) regular season record in seven seasons at the helm in New York, including back-to-back postseason appearances in 2015-16. He will turn 68 years old a week after reaching the milestone.
When and Where
Game 1: Friday @ 7:10 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 2: Saturday @ 7:15 p.m. EST (TV: FOX; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 3: Sunday @ 1:10 p.m. EST (TV: WPIX; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Friday: Partly cloudy with a low of 57F and winds between 10-20 mph.
Saturday: Partly cloudy with a low of 52F and winds between 10-15 mph.
Sunday: Partly cloudy with a high of 64F and winds between 10-20 mph.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 4.34 ERA, 6.19 DRA, .284 TAv, -0.4 WARP) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (2-1, 4.07 ERA, 2.21 DRA, .254 TAv, 1.8 WARP)
Nolasco has been stung by the long ball in May, surrendering two home runs in each of his three starts. Although he has yet to record a decision this month, the Angels have lost each of the journeyman’s outings despite a 10-strikeout performance in Oakland on May 8.
The shaggy-haired deGrom also recorded a no-decision in an 11-9 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday, charged with four runs on eight hits over six innings.
Saturday: RHP Alex Meyer (2-1, 5.59 ERA, 5.15 DRA, .287 TAv, 0.1 WARP) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (2-2, 3.76 ERA, 5.06 DRA, .240 TAv, 0.2 WARP)
Meyer earned the victory against Detroit his last time out, lowering his ERA by just over two full points behind 6.1 innings of one-run ball. The 27-year-old rookie has won two in a row.
Wheeler will attempt to hurl his third straight quality start, allowing two runs in 12 innings while holding opponents to a .205 BA so far this month.
Sunday: RHP Jesse Chavez (3-5, 4.22 ERA, 3.77 DRA, .246 TAv, 0.9 WARP) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (1-1, 6.25 ERA, 6.33 DRA, .296 TAv, -0.4 WARP)
Despite being among the league leaders with five losses, Chavez has pitched better than his numbers indicate. The 10-year veteran defeated the White Sox on Monday, charged with three runs on five hits over seven frames.
Milone struggled in his recent outing as a rotation stopgap, taking the loss in Arizona on Tuesday night after allowing five runs in 5.2 innings.
Angels CF Mike Trout (1.702 OPS in past six games, 2.7 WARP on the season)
Angels OF Cameron Maybin (8-for-10 with 3 doubles and 4 runs scored since Tuesday)
Angels 1B Albert Pujols (7 RBIs this past week)
Mets IF/OF T.J. Rivera (did not reach base in 10 plate appearances at Chase Field)
Mets OF Michael Conforto (1-for-14 with 8 strikeouts in Arizona)
When We Last Met
The Angels won two out of three in Anaheim back in April of 2014, with former Mets catcher Anthony Recker driving in the winning run with a solo shot in the 13th inning to seal the team’s only win of the series.
It’s Literally a 10-Day DL
Angels: Pujols (hamstring tightness) was pulled in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game after experiencing some discomfort while trying to stretch a double the prior inning. RHP Mike Morin (neck tightness) was scheduled to face live action in Arizona on Thursday afternoon.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (left elbow inflammation) started for High-A St. Lucie in Lakeland on Thursday night, the Long Island native’s first rehab outing since beginning the season on the disabled list. Matz pitched three innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks while striking out three. He was followed by RHP Seth Lugo (partial tear in UCL of right elbow), who finished with 3.2 scoreless innings. Their batterymate was Travis d’Arnaud (right wrist bruise), also making his first rehab appearance. He singled twice in four at-bats while catching for seven frames.
“It’s very easy to unravel right now and I will not let that happen here. We are not going to do that. We’re going to still stay together, play together, get on the same end of the rope and pull together. I will not let this team get down. I will not do it. We got back to .500. We’ll do it again.” – Collins following Wednesday’s extra-inning loss
“We met in Milwaukee and the one thing I told them is look, you can’t feel sorry for yourself because nobody else does. The other thing is you’re big league players and you’ve got to get ready to play.” – Collins on his recent team meeting
“It takes 27 outs to win a game so we never give in… We have a bunch of guys here that give good, quality at-bats.” – Pujols after singling in the winning run on Tuesday vs. the White Sox, a night where he passed Carl Yastrzemski for sole possession of 11th place on baseball’s all-time RBI list
Photo credit: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports