The New York Mets are returning home after a dreadful end to a road trip that had begun with the signs of a long win streak. After taking a marathon, 16-inning game to open the series in Miami, the bats went cold, only able to push across 8 runs in the final 3 games to have their first 3-game losing streak of the season. The Mets have now lost back-to-back series to Miami, after winning all 5 against them last season.
On the bright side, they do return home to again face Philadelphia, who they swept on the road to start the road trip last week. Another positive is that they will not be facing the current ace of the Phillies’ pitching staff, Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 1.65 ERA), or the team strikeout leader, Jerad Eickhoff, who has 18.
Offensively, Philadelphia is lead by Cesar Hernandez, who carries a .346 average into the series to go with 3 Home Runs and 18 Hits. Maikel Franco leads with 9 RBI, but 6 of those came against the Mets last week.
Ironically, the Mets offensive slump this weekend coincided with Yoenis Cespedes missing some time due to illness. Cespedes still leads the team with 6 Home Runs after his 3 Home Run outburst in Miami on Thursday, and also leads with 10 RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera leads the team with a .286 batting average. On the downside, Curtis Granderson (.174) and Jose Reyes (.087) continue to slump in the early going.
Here are the pitching matchups:
Eflin gets the call up from the Minors to make the start in place of Clay Buchholz, who faces a long stint on the DL after meeting with Dr. James Andrews following his loss to the Mets last week. Trivia fact: Eflin was traded to the Phillies in the deal that sent perennial Met nemesis Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. Wheeler continues to make his way back from injury, picking up his first win since 2014 last week against Philadelphia. After a rocky outing in his first game, Wheeler showed signs of settling back in against Philadelphia.
This looks to be the matchup between both team’s weakest links in the rotation. Velasquez has given up 9 Earned Runs in the last 9 innings over 2 games against the Mets and Nationals. Likewise, Gsellman has given up 11 in the last 2 games (9.2 innings).
While the Mets luck out in not facing Hellickson, the Phillies are not so lucky, getting to face Syndergaard, who somehow has 2 No-Decisions this season, partly based on the Mets up and down offense that seems to be down when he is on the mound.
The Philadelphia Phillies series is the start of a nine game home stand that brings the Nationals to town this weekend.