Well, the losing streak is finally over. After 13 long games, the Diamondbacks made it back into the win column against the Cardinals in the series finales yesterday. There was much rejoicing, but not much time for rest as the Mets come straight into town today.
The Mets currently are leading the NL East over the Braves by 3.5 games. They’ve managed this despite missing time from DeGrom, Snydergaard, Alonso, and others. This weekend saw them complete a one game sweep of the Braves after the first and third games of the series were rained out.
Game 1: Jacob DeGrom (3-2, 0.60 WHIP, 478 ERA+) vs. Merrill Kelly (2-5, 1.31 WHIP, 85 ERA+)
DeGrom was supposed to pitch in the finale of the Mets-Braves series yesterday, but after that game was rained out, his start was pushed a day to the first game in the Mets-Dbacks series. Lucky us. There really isn’t a lot to say about DeGrom that hasn’t already been said. He’s easily the best active pitcher, and a fun thought exercise is to see where he matches up against the historical greats. He is famous for the lack of run support the Mets give him, however, which is about as close to an Achilles Heel as he has. The man is a living video game and that ERA+ above is the best way to emphasize that. League average ERA+ is 100(give or take). That means he is almost five times better than league average, at least by that metric.
Over the month of May, Kelly has been incredibly consistent. He hasn’t given up more than three runs all month, and four of his five starts have been between 5 2⁄3 innings or 6 1⁄3 innings. However, given who he is going up against, a three run outing would put the team in a deficit not likely to over come, so the Diamondbacks will be looking for a strong outing from a pitcher that hasn’t quite managed the successes he had in 2019 and 2020.
Game 2: David Peterson (1-4, 1.27 WHIP, 78 ERA+) vs. Caleb Smith (2-1, 1.34 WHIP, 126 ERA+, 1 GS)
Peterson debuted in the shortened 2020 season and did well. However, in basically the same number of innings, he has taken a step back this season. His ERA has gone up by over a run, even though the walks are down and the strikeouts are up. This month has seen him get knocked around a couple times, managing to only go 4 2⁄3 innings two starts ago, and earlier in the month not being able to make it out of the second inning.
Caleb Smith is making his reurn to the rotation for the Diamondbacks in the second game of the series. He did make the Opening Week rotation, but only last one start and was quickly sent to the bullpen. He thrived there, putting up an ERA of 2.70 over 30 innings. That was enough for Lovullo and the rest of the team to send him back to the rotation. We’ll see how it goes this time around.
Game 3: Marcus Stroman (4-4, 1.04 WHIP, 154 ERA+) vs Madison Bumgarner (4-5, 1.16 WHIP, 79 ERA+)
Stroman has done very well for the Mets this season, typically being able to be counted on for six or seven innings, and only a couple of runs at most. His last start was a perfect example; he went six innings against the Rockies, gave up no runs, three K’s, three hits, and two walks. He’s not perfect, however, and was tagged for five runs as recently as the 16th. He’ll be another tough outing for the Diamondbacks.
Bumgarner was looking like he had turned the corner for a solid six starts, but has looked more like the Bumgarner we got last season and the beginning of this his past two. Over two starts against the Rockies and Cardinals, he pitched 10 innings, gave up 14 runs, 11 earned, only struck out six batters, and walked four Cardinals. It’s definitely not encouraging, and we can only wait and see which Bumgarner shows up on Wednesday.
Look, the win was nice. It was great to see Peralta and Escobar using Baxter’s severed head to once again lead a victory dance in the clubhouse. But it doesn’t mean a whole lot. The issues that are bringing the team down are still there, and the Mets are a good team with their two best pitchers facing the Diamondbacks this series. The offense won’t be able to help much, more than likely, and the pitching has shown nothing to indicate it can pick up that slack. I don’t think they set straight off onto another long losing streak, though, so I think they pick up one win this series. Hopefully, luck falls on their side and they manage more, but I’m not holding my breath.