Another week off the calendar and another seemingly trap series for the Diamondbacks. The team fell flat on its face over the weekend dropping two winnable games against the Pirates to even the 4 game series. The Diamondbacks remain 3 games behind the Rockies for the division lead coming into the series. Worse still, it remains to be seen if the team may again be without A.J. Pollock and David Peralta for an extended period of time. The Mets are coming off of a 4 game losing streak and a series sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, but Arizona would be foolish to take this opponent lightly. Zack Godley (1-0, 2.25 ERA) makes his third start of the season against Zack Wheeler (2-2, 4.18 ERA) in the series opener.
In this week’s edition of Snake in the Grass, the Pit sits down with Aaron Yorke of Amazin’ Avenue, the Mets SB Nation site. We thank him for taking time away from Derek Jeter Day to discuss topics of lesser importance. We know he was just as thrilled in #2’s jersey retirement as fans were in Arizona.
Diamondbacks fans want to know where is Addison Reed, and what have the Mets done with him? The former D’back has pitched great in May (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 SO, 0 BB). With Familia having an arterial clot in his right shoulder, how confident are you with Reed as closer?
AY: I’m more confident in Reed than I was in Familia, that’s for sure. While Familia achieved impressive save totals during the past two seasons, he also struggled with his walk rate, and that small issue turned into a major problem during his first few appearances of 2017. Reed, on the other hand, is coming off of a season in which he was one of the most effective relief pitchers in baseball and has been nearly perfect this season expect for the four home runs he’s allowed. Reed for sure is more prone to the home run ball than Familia, but the former Diamondbacks closer gave up just seven over the last two season combined, so he should prove reliable going forward.
Where does the Mets fanbase stand on the Matt Harvey issue? His relationship with the organization has become progressively worse. Which party is right? Are both parties to blame? Was the most recent issue blown out of proportion?
AY: Everything about the Mets is blown out of proportion if you assume that all 30 major league clubs are owed the same amount of attention. When you add in the Harvey factor, it turned one missed start into a national news story. No one is happy with how the Mets handle their pitching staff, but the same fans mostly agree that the star hurler has been out of line with his behavior. If Harvey doesn’t improve his play soon, the fans at Citi Field will let him hear it.
The Mets are 16-20 and 7.5 games behind the Nationals for the NL East Division lead. Most outside of the division expected a two horse race between those teams. Injuries appear to be the biggest issue for the Mets. Is there any reason to believe they will make the playoffs this year? Will they have a shot at the division title, or are they playing for a wild card spot at this point?
AY: Even if you didn’t think that the Nationals had a talent advantage over the Mets at the start of the year, they certainly do now with how New York has suffered injuries to star players. The division is going to be tough to win with the hole that the Mets have dug, but the Wild Card race is full of unproven competitors like Arizona, Colorado, and a St. Louis team that’s not in vintage form. If the Mets get healthy and their offense continues to hit like it has in recent weeks, the Wild Card is still in play.
What is the New York fashion scene’s verdict on the Diamondbacks’ uniforms? What is your most/least favorite of the obscene amount of options?
AY: I’m one of the few who has nice things to say about Arizona’s uniforms. I love the darker gray on the road set, and the teal piping makes the letters stand out. Plus, the team responded to criticism and got rid of the “bloody sock” mess on the bottom of the pants from last year. Still, I’d like to see a return of the purple since everyone is wearing red these days, am I right?
Currently, the Mets pitching staff has allowed the 2nd most runs in the MLB. Tommy Milone was picked up on waivers. Will he make spot starts, or do you think he will be a permanent part of the rotation?
AY: I personally think that Milone will stick, but it depends on a number of factors. Currently, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are working their way back from injuries and could push the new acquisition out of the rotation. However, you also have to factor in the poor performance of Robert Gsellman and Matt Harvey this season. If Milone uses this opportunity to outperform the two right-handers, the Mets will have to think about sending one of them to the minor leagues when Matz returns.
Do you feel that the Mets pitching staff is capable of restraining the Diamondbacks’ offense at Chase Field?
AY: Based on the firepower in Arizona’s lineup as well as the performance of New York’s pitching staff in Milwaukee, I’d say this is a longshot.
How do the Mets win the upcoming series versus the Diamondbacks? What are your predictions for the series?
AY: In a nutshell, the Mets will need to play a lot better than they have been during their four-game losing streak. Zack Wheeler and Milone must repeat the solid performances they had against San Francisco while Michael Conforto and Neil Walker knock in some more runs. Thanks to Conforto, Jay Bruce, and the recent surge of Walker, the offense is the least of New York’s worries despite the absence of Yoenis Cespedes. Putting runs on the board won’t matter, though, if the bullpen continues to be a horror show. I think the Mets win one of three.