The Amazin's invade the Steel City to tangle with the Bucs on Memorial Day Weekend.
New York Mets (19-26, 3rd Place NL East, 8.5GB) at
Pittsburgh Pirates (22-26, Last Place NL Central, 4GB)
The Mets could have very easily swept the 3 game series from the Padres to pick up some ground on the Nationals, but once again dropping 2 out of 3 isn’t going to do it.
After exploding for 7 runs in the first inning of Tuesday’s game en route to the 9-3 win, the bullpen once again failed to hold a lead, and San Diego came back from 5-1 down for the win on Wednesday. The Padres took the rubber game, when (as we’ve seen numerous times throughout the Mets existence), a pitcher making their Major League debut looks like the second coming of Cy Young. Pushing Jacob deGrom back a start due to weather may or may not have made a difference, but we’ll never know.
The Pirates now come to town also a team struggling to find their way in 2017, just as the Mets are.
About the Pirates: The Pirates come in after splitting a 4-game series with Atlanta, but had previously taken 2 out of 3 from both Philadelphia and Washington prior to that.
Pittsburgh comes in as the 11th best team in the National League on offense, with a .236 team batting average, which is not far behind the Mets .240 average. But Pittsburgh has only hit 45 Home Runs in 48 games this year. Much of this can be attributed to Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang currently serving suspensions for drug-related offenses. Josh Harrison leads the team with a .304 batting average, while Josh Bell’s 9 Home Runs and 20 RBI are also tops.
Former Yankee Ivan Nova is spending his first full season with the Pirates, and already has 5 wins to go along with his 2.83 ERA. The Mets will miss Nova in this series, but will face team strikeout leader Gerrit Cole in the series opener.
Mets Injury Update: Travis d’Arnaud returned to the active roster after dealing with a wrist issue. Tommy Millone was placed on the DL with a left knee sprain. Asdrubal Cabrera is also scheduled to play this weekend after being activated on Thursday (sprained thumb). Jay Bruce has been dealing with some back issues this week. Steven Matz, and Seth Lugo are scheduled to return soon, and perhaps provide some stability to the starting rotation and bullpen. Yoenis Cespedes is expected to start his rehab assignment shortly.
Here are the scheduled pitching matchups for this weekend:
Friday: Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85) vs. deGrom (3-1, 3.56)
After winning his first start of the season, Kuhl has lost his last 4 decisions, and has had 4 no-decisions. In the no-decision games, the Pirates are 2-2, however. Kuhl does not give up a lot of home runs, allowing only 3 this season, but has struggled with his control. deGrom makes his start a day later than originally scheduled, presumably not wanting to waste a start from him in the event Thursday’s game did not last past the first few innings. deGrom looks to repeat his performance against the Angels last Friday, where he tossed 7 innings of shutout ball in the 3-0 Mets win.
Saturday: Cole (2-5, 3.36) vs. Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74)
Cole’s high strikeout level is offset buy the fact that he continues to rack up high pitch counts in each game. He averages 95.8 pitches per game, while only averaging 6.1 innings in each. He is also the victim of poor run support, as the Pirates average just 2.8 runs per game in his starts. Wheeler, on the other hand has enjoyed run support of 4.125 in his starts. Wheeler has 2 wins and 2 no-decisions in his last four starts, where the Mets have gone 3-1 in those games.
Sunday: Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69) vs. Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36)
This should be a high scoring, drawn out affair as long as these two remain in the game. Each has had struggles this year with both control and giving up the long ball. In his last 5 starts, Glasnow has allowed 6 Home Runs, while walking 13. Harvey has also allowed 6 Home Runs, but did not allow any in his last start against the Padres. Harvey has walked 21 in the last 5 starts.