On the heels of yet another disappointing homestand where they were lucky to eke out one win, the Mets (50-61) head to Philadelphia to face a rebuilding club sporting the majors’ worst record.
After dropping the first five on their recent road trip, the Phillies (42-69) salvaged the final three games before returning to Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets shipped free agent-to-be Jay Bruce to Cleveland on Wednesday night for minor league right-hander Ryder Ryan, with the Indians taking on the remaining $3.7 million of Bruce’s salary in the deal.
The slugger’s replacement on the 25-man roster for tonight’s series opener will most likely be center fielder Juan Lagares, who has made seven rehab appearances for Double-A Binghamton this month as he recovers from thumb surgery that landed him on the shelf back in June.
While fans are clamoring to see first baseman Dominic Smith at the big league level, they may have to wait a little longer.
When and Where
Game 1: Thursday @ 7:05 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 2: Friday @ 7:05 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 3: Saturday @ 7:05 p.m. EST (TV: WPIX; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 4: Sunday @ 1:35 p.m. EST (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Thursday: Partly cloudy with a low of 66F; Winds between 5-10 mph
Friday: Scattered thunderstorms with a low of 69F; Winds between 5-10 mph; Chance of rain 80%
Saturday: Possibility of a stray shower or thunderstorm early and a low of 68F; Winds between 5-10 mph
Sunday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine and a high near 85F; Winds between 5-10 mph
Probable Pitching Matchups
Thursday: RHP Jacob deGrom (12-5, 3.36 ERA, 3.02 DRA, .238 TAv, 4.1 WARP) vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (2-6, 4.82 ERA, 5.22 DRA, .290 TAv, 0.3 WARP)
A shining star amongst a constellation of negativity this season, deGrom has lost his last two outings after winning eight in a row dating back to early June. The 29-year-old needed 99 pitches to get through five innings against a powerhouse Dodgers lineup on Friday, charged with three runs on five hits and three walks in his shortest outing in almost two months.
After a promising 2016 in which he struck out 152 in 131 innings, Velasquez has regressed a bit. Winless since May 1, he missed seven weeks with a strained flexor in his right elbow but has pitched fairly well since returning (3.00 ERA over 4 starts) despite walking a career-high six in Colorado on Friday.
Friday: RHP Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.55 ERA, 6.52 DRA, .288 TAv, -0.7 WARP) vs. RHP Nick Pivetta (4-7, 5.89 ERA, 5.39 DRA, .287 TAv, 0.2 WARP)
Lugo’s underwhelming sophomore campaign continued versus LA on Saturday, allowing three runs (including two homers) in 5.2 innings. He did not factor in the decision.
Pivetta’s first visit to the pitcher’s nightmare that is Coors Field did not end well. The 6’5″ rookie was pulled after just 2.2 innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) on seven hits in the loss.
Saturday: LHP Steven Matz (2-5, 5.77 ERA, 5.88 DRA, .300 TAv, -0.2 WARP) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (8-7, 3.12 ERA, 2.93 DRA, .229 TAv, 3.3 WARP)
Matz has struggled mightily in five starts since the All-Star break, with opponents hitting .433 alongside a whopping 1.164 OPS. The scuffling southpaw hasn’t won a game since June 28 and looks to turn the tide against a team that he has never faced.
Drafted seventh overall in 2014 and a cornerstone of Philadelphia’s future, Nola has been outstanding since mid-June – a span of nine starts in which the 24-year-old is 5-2 with a 1.76 ERA, including 70 strikeouts in 61.1 innings. His most recent outing was Sunday in Colorado, where he limited the Rockies to two runs on six hits across seven frames in a no-decision.
Sunday: RHP Chris Flexen (1-1, 8.49 ERA, 8.31 DRA, .391 TAv, -0.4 WARP) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (1-3, 5.67 ERA, 6.34 DRA, .296 TAv, -0.5 WARP)
Plugging a hole in the club’s injury-depleted rotation, Flexen made his third big league start on Tuesday night against Texas, pitching just well enough to earn his first win (5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 2 HR, 1 HBP).
Eflin was impressive in Atlanta on Tuesday, earning the victory behind seven innings of two-run ball in his return to the rotation. The second-year hurler was demoted back in May after a pair of miserable outings.
Phillies CF Odubel Herrera (5-for-8 with a double, two triples, a home run, 3 RBIs and 3 runs scored since Tuesday)
Phillies IF Freddy Galvis (.833 OPS in his last four games)
Phillies C Cameron Rupp (4-for-10 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs)
Phillies 1B Tommy Joseph (3-for-29 with 1 XBH this month)
Mets SS Amed Rosario (2-for-16 with 7 strikeouts and no extra-base hits or walks)
Mets IF Asdrubal Cabrera (.063 OBP on homestand)
Mets LF Yoenis Cespedes (2-for-16 over his last five games)
Mets IF Neil Walker (.174 OPS in August)
Mets 3B/SS Jose Reyes (9-for-56 since July 20 (.161 AVG))
When We Last Met
The Mets took two out of three in Flushing on June 30-July 1, both one-run victories. deGrom struck out 12 over seven innings in the series opener, allowing just one run en route to his eighth win.
It’s Literally a 10-Day DL
Phillies: No significant injury-related news
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (stress injury to right shoulder) threw batting practice on Tuesday and felt no ill effects the following day. A rehab assignment should not be far off, although the team has not yet committed to a date.
“You can’t ride one guy to get back in it. You need your lineup to produce and do what they are supposed to do, do what they are capable of doing. Right now, we got some guys that aren’t hitting.” – Mets manager Terry Collins on his team’s recent offensive woes
Photo credit: Brett Davis – USA Today Sports