As the Cubs get set to face the Mets for the second time this year and hope they can continue the dominance they began in Chicago in May, sweeping a four-game series, I asked Steven Schreiber, an editor at the SB Nation Mets site Amazin' Avenue to put together a brief summary of his team's season so far.
Where do I begin with the 2015 Mets? It's been a season of very high highs and low lows and we're only halfway through it. The highs for this team include an 11-game win streak in April and mostly excellent pitching, as you'd expect from an organization currently known for its young pitchers. Following up on his stellar Rookie of the Year campaign, Jacob deGrom has been one of the best pitchers in the NL and looks to be a lock for the NL All Star team and Matt Harvey has made a successful return from Tommy John surgery. Additionally, we've seen top prospects Noah Syndergaard and now Steven Matz join the rotation and successfully acclimate to the majors. The bullpen, despite a multitude of injuries, has been strong after being a tire fire for years. They're led by closer Jeurys Familia, who should be a strong consideration for an All-Star spot after taking the closer job from the injured/suspended Jenrry Mejia in April and running with it. Now to the lows and the first has to be the offense, which has been stagnant at best and downright incompetent otherwise. Injuries have robbed two of their best hitters, David Wright (8 games) and Travis d'Arnaud (19 games thanks to two DL stints) of the majority of their seasons and they've also seen other lineup cogs like Daniel Murphy and Dilson Herrera lose time to the DL. This has allowed depth players like Eric Campbell and Kevin Plawecki to get a large number of at bats and it hasn't been pretty. Additionally, Michael Cuddyer's mostly been a dud of a signing, while Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores have been inconsistent. The saving grace of late has been Curtis Granderson, who was raging hot over the last week or so. As a team, the defense has been plain bad and the Mets have thankfully remedied one mistake by moving Flores to 2B and inserting Ruben Tejada at SS. Flores made his best of a bad situation and UZR will actually say he was neutral there (I don't believe that for a second) but he's clearly not equipped to play shortstop in the big leagues. For whatever reason, the Mets have hit a lot better at Citi Field than on the road and that trend will need to continue for them to have a chance against the powerful Cubs' offense.
Yes, he really did write "powerful Cubs' offense." I guess he didn't see the Cardinals series.
Game One: Kyle Hendricks (2-4, 4.46 ERA, 1.220 WHIP, 3.71 FIP) vs. Jon Niese (3-7, 4.12 ERA, 1.518 WHIP, 4.38 FIP)
Game Two: Jon Lester (4-6, 4.03 ERA, 1.366 WHIP, 3.57 FIP) vs. Bartolo Colon (9-6, 4.89 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 3.89 FIP)
Game Three: Jake Arrieta (7-5, 2.94 ERA, 1.061 WHIP, 2.82 FIP) vs. Jacob deGrom (8-5, 2.15 ERA, 0.927 WHIP, 2.61 FIP)
The Mets spent a fair amount of time in first place after that 11-game winning streak. They moved back into first not necessarily on the strength of their own play in June, but because the Nationals were slumping. The Mets enter this series on a four-game winning streak that included a sweep of the Reds, but that followed a season-longest seven-game losing streak.
I promised all of you I would not call for any more sweeps in these previews and I'll stick to that, though I think it's certainly possible they could do that. They'll win two of three, and that'll be a nice way to come home for a 10-game homestand.
Jon Lester and Bartolo Colon have both been in the big leagues for the last nine years (except 2010). They were actually teammates on the 2008 Red Sox. Besides that, they have faced each other only twice, August 5, 2011 and July 3, 2012. Lester won the first game; both he and Colon got no-decisions in the second.
This could quite possibly be the worst-hitting pitcher matchup in baseball history, or certainly recent baseball history Between Lester and Colon they are 16-for-250 (.064, and of course all of those hits are Colon's), with one walk (by Lester) and 136 strikeouts. If nothing else, watching them bat against each other should be entertaining, if unproductive.
The Cubs host the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins in a three-game weekend series at Wrigley Field.