By Paul DiSclafani:
After their surprising four game sweep of the Chicago Cubs last weekend, the Mets (46-38) took care of business against the Marlins, winning the rubber game, 4-2 and can now set their sights on the First Place Nationals, who come into New York for a four game weekend set.
After being swept by Washington, the Mets were left for dead heading into their big rematch series with the Cubbies, but pulled themselves out of the offensive funk that plagued them for most of the month of June, shocking everyone, including themselves, and sweeping all four games against the team with the best record in the league. But that left them vulnerable this week as their personal tormentors, the Marlins, came into town.
With Matt Harvey on the mound for the Holiday game on Monday, the Mets found themselves in a 6-0 hole before chipping away at the lead, scoring in each of their last five frames for an 8-6 comeback win for their fifth straight. But on Tuesday they laid an egg, dropping a 5-2 decision as Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs. That set up the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon.
Wilmer Flores, who hit two home runs on Sunday when he tied a franchise record going 6-6 against the Cubs, hit two more today as the Mets get a win for Jacob deGrom, 4-2. DeGrom, who hadn’t won a game since April 30th (10 straight starts) has now won two straight as the Mets have won six of their last seven.
DeGrom (W, 5-4) pitched seven strong innings, striking out seven and allowing two runs. Both came in the form of solo home runs by Stanton, who also hit two home runs on Tuesday. Stanton hit milestone #200 in the sixth inning. He hit home runs in his last two AB’s on Tuesday and his first two AB’s on Wednesday, giving him four home runs in consecutive AB’s. Last time that happened was with Albert Pulols in 2006.
Jose Reyes got to play shortstop instead of third base when Asdrubal Cabrera was unable to play due to a family emergency and made the most of his second start in his re-debut with the Mets. After taking an 0-4 collar on Tuesday, Reyes smacked two doubles as the leadoff hitter. “He creates a lot of problems at the top of the lineup,” Neil Walker said. “He’s going to be important for us setting the table for the guys in the middle.”
Curtis Granderson, batting behind Reyes in the lineup, drove in two runs in the third inning to give the Mets a 3-0 lead before Stanton got one back in the top of the fourth. But Flores got that one right back in the bottom of the inning.
Addison Reed pitched a perfect 8th while protecting a 4-2 lead, setting up first time All-Star closer Jeurys Familia to get the final three outs for his 30th save of the year. Familia has now registered 46 consecutive regular season saves.
Now the Nationals, with a four game lead over the Mets, come into town before the All-Star break, for a four game series. After being swept in their previous series, the Mets have fought back, winning six of their last seven, but trimming only two games from the Nationals lead. This might be considered a “statement” series for the Mets, their chance to show the Nationals they are not going to go quietly into the night.
Game one will feature 43 year-old Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87) against rookie Lucas Giolito (0-0, 0.00). The highly regarded Giolito made his major league debut against the Mets on June 28, throwing four shutout innings of one-hit ball before the rain came and he needed to be replaced.
The rest of the series probable pitchers shape up like this:
- Game 2 (FRI): Noah Syndergaard (9-3, 2.41) vs Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71)
- Game 3 (SAT): Logan Verrett (3-5, 4.01) vs Max Scherzer (9-6, 3.21)
- Game 4 (SUN): Steven Matz (7-4, 3.34) vs Gio Gonzalez (4-8, 4,79)
HARVEY ON THE DL
Matt Harvey landed on the 15-Day DL with “discomfort in his right shoulder”. After meeting with team doctors, Harvey will visit a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) specialist Robert Thompson in St. Louis on Thursday. Maybe this at least partially explains the recent poor performances Harvey has experienced. Zack Wheeler is not expected back until late July, so the logical choice will be Logan Verrett to take Harvey’s spot in the rotation.
Harvey is just 4-10 in his 17 starts with an ERA of 4.86. He has allowed 111 hits in 92.2 innings, the fourth highest hit total in the league and tied for the league lead with 10 losses.
Former Mets pitcher Chris Young experienced “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome” in his career and was miserable until he had surgery. Obviously, the Mets are worried enough that Harvey might also be suffering from TOS that he is seeing an expert on the subject tomorrow.
THE RETURN OF JOSE REYES
The superstitious baseball fan will point to Tuesday’s Mets loss, following a five game winning streak, as proof that you don’t mess with success and that putting Jose Reyes into the lineup jinxed the Mets. Guess that lasted only one game as Reyes followed his 0-4 re-debut with the Mets on Tuesday with two doubles and a run scored in Wednesday’s win. Reyes, for all his baggage, gives the Mets the one thing that no one on the current roster can – speed. Is it really a bad thing that he took a spot away from Matt Reynolds?
POSITIVES: Familia is only the 15th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 30 saves before the All-Star break, which happens to be a Mets record. Three of the other 14 did it in 2013: Jim Johnson (33), Joe Nathan (30) and Mariano Rivera (30) … Granderson, Flores and Reyes all had two hits … Flores now has seven home runs … Cespedes (0-4) snapped a nine game hitting streak and has had a hit in 13 of his last 15 games, raising his average from .280 to .304
NEGATIVES: Got a bad feeling about Harvey going to see a Thoracic Outlet Syndrome expert …
Paul DiSclafani is a featured author at “A View From the Bench”, an official affiliate of MLB.com. “A View from the Bench” is recognized in the Top 100 of MLB.com/blogs.