This current 9 game road trip started out great for the Mets taking 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks as they head to San Diego to take on a Padre team most feel is one of the best in baseball. It will be a good test for the Mets but also a test for the Padres since the Mets are also one of the elite teams in the National League.
The Mets have kept winning despite numerous obstacles and are starting to get some injured players back as Pete Alonso, Seth Lugo, and Kevin Pillar all returned this week and their presence helped the Mets take the rubber game of their series in Arizona. Alonso drove in 5 runs in the series including yesterday’s game winner, Seth Lugo looked sparkling in his debut and Kevin Pillar got 3 hits in the series providing leadership and commitment to the team effort.
Yesterday was one of the rare times the Mets starting pitching betrayed them as David Peterson could not get out of the first inning but the Met bullpen provided 8 innings of one run ball giving the offense every shot at the win. And speaking of the offense, 2 of the bats that have been struggling came alive this week as James McCann drove in 4 runs yesterday with a 3 run homer being a big first inning hit and Francisco Lindor had a 6 hit series including the base hit that got the ninth inning game winning rally started yesterday.
Lindor was his usual happy self after the game when he said, “I am back to being an offensive player and helping the team. It makes you feel good to help the team not just defensively but offensively .” Part of his offensive play that is obvious is Lindor to hitting to all fields and Met manager Luis Rojas acknowledged that when he said, ” He is using the whole field and that is helping him. He has a natural swing to pull the ball but I think he has gone back to trusting the ball to the big part of the field.”
The injuries this team has withstood is a testimony to the survive and advance mentality of this club. When JD Davis landed on the injured list on May 3 which was the date injuries started to pile up the Mets were 11-12 and since then they have gone 16-9 with 15 of those 25 games being played away from CitiField.
For the other members of the NL East, they blew a golden chance to take advantage of the plethora of Met injuries as some of them have had injuries to deal with (not to the extent the Mets have) and have seen the Mets rise above them in the standings despite missing many of the core players on the roster. And as the Met lineup starts to percolate they still remain the best pitching staff top to bottom with starters that perform and a bullpen that is deep. talented and focused.
This weekend they will play 4 games on the road against a Padre team that has talent but has some injury concerns heading into this series. Fernando Tatis Jr has an oblique strain and is day to day while 2 of their players-Tommy Pham and Ha-Seong Kim were involved in an outfield collision that put both players on the sideline and prompted a heated exchange in the Padre dugout.
This series in San Diego will feature some great pitching matchups as Taijuan Walker takes on Yu Darvish tonight while the Met bullpen will likely pitch Friday Night vs Blake Snell. Jacob deGrom will tangle with Joe Musgrove on Saturday while Marcus Stroman will finish the series on Sunday. And that bullpen game on Friday will likely feature Joey Lucchesi who will be facing his former Padre teammates.
Clearly this series could be a playoff preview as a trio of teams in the NL West-Padres, Dodgers and Giants–are all off to great starts while the Mets currently hold the largest divisional lead in baseball–up 4.5 games in the NL East.