Series preview: Mets head to Boston for two games

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Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets (73-77, third place in National League East Division) travel to Boston to face their coach Alex cora‘s Red Sox (86-65, second in the American League East Division) in a brief two-game streak starting Tuesday night.

The Mets come out of a homestand that has seen them win three of nine games against the Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies. The Red Sox swept the Baltimore Orioles three games at Fenway Park in their most recent series.

Former Mets owner Fred Wilpon has previously spoken about the importance of playing meaningful games in September. The Mets will do just that in this series in Boston. However, the games will be much more meaningful for the Red Sox than for the Mets. Alex Cora’s crew are stuck in a three-way battle with the Yankees and Blue Jays for the two American League wildcard spots. The Red Sox currently hold the top wildcard spot, which would give them the home game in a one-game playoff. However, they lead the Yankees by just two games and Toronto by one in the loss column. It’s quite a battle that will be played out over the next two weeks.

On the side of the Mets, they remain mathematically alive in the division races (following six games) and wildcard (following seven and a half games), but barely. The Mets had every chance to come close in the divisional race last week, when the Braves lost four of five games played. However, after taking two of three from the Yankees, the Mets were swept away three games by the Cardinals and lost two of three to the Phillies.

The Mets have had a tough second half of the season and, as mentioned above, haven’t capitalized on the mediocrity of their division opponents. Since their July 17 game in Pittsburgh, when the Mets lost a 6-0 lead they held in the eighth inning, the men in orange and blue are 24-38. As of July 28, the Mets were 54-46 and led their division by five games. They have a 19-31 record since then. Despite all of that, and losing eleven of thirteen to the Dodgers and Giants in August, the Mets had their chances. They didn’t take advantage of it and with twelve games to go, they are basically playing the rope.

The weather should hold up and allow games to go off without incident, although there is a risk of scattered showers in Boston on Wednesday night.

Let’s take a look at the pitching clashes scheduled for the two-game set.

Series preview: Mets head to Boston for two games

Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday September 21: RHP Marcus Stroman (9-12) NYM vs LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (11-8) BOS 7:10 pm

Stroman was solid once again in his last outing, against the Cardinals at Citi Field on September 14. He took a no-call, pitching six innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits. The Mets lost the game in extra innings. The Long Island native is launching into a 2.88 ERA and a WHIP of 1.12 in 2021.

He pitched much better than his record suggests and has been consistent all season. ERA of Stroman per month:

  • April – 1.84
  • May – 3.07
  • June – 2.40
  • July – 3.21
  • August – 3.60
  • September – 3.13

The Mets face a decision on Stroman this offseason (as is the case with multiple players). Marcus has argued for a heavy contract based on his performance in 2021.

Rodriguez has a high ERA (5.00) to go with a WHIP of 1.38 in 2021. He has struck out 165 batters in 142.1 innings pitched this year. The 28-year-old Venezuelan is 62-39 in his career over five seasons. Rodriguez started well in 2021, posting a 3.52 ERA in April. It struggled in May and June, with ERAs of over six in the two months. He lowered his monthly ERA to 4.71 in July and improved in August (3.33) and September (4.02).

The game can be seen locally on SNY and heard locally on WCBS 880 am radio.

Series preview: Mets head to Boston for two games

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday September 22: RHP Tylor Megill (3-5) NYM vs LHP Chris Sale (4-0) BOS 7:10 pm

Megill was manhandled on her last start, against the Cardinals at Citi Field on September 15. In that game, the Long Beach, Calif., Native lasted just three innings, allowing six earned runs on nine hits. Prior to that start, Megill probably had her best start in the major leagues, pitching seven two-run innings against the Yankees on September 10.

Megill has a 4.57 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP this season. He had an exceptional July (after arriving in June), posting a sparkling 1.04 ERA. August and September were another story for Megill. His August ERA was 6.44 and he set an ERA of 6.75 in September.

There have been questions about Megill’s workload in 2021 as he has pitched more innings this season than any other in his career. The Mets have said they have no plans to shut down Megill until the end of the season, and the tall right-hander has indicated he wants to pitch. His last two (or maybe three) starts will be important to both Megill and the Mets as the pitcher tries to carve out a place for himself in the 2022 rotation, and the Mets will assess his suitability for that role.

Southpaw Chris Sale will take the ball for the Red Sox on Wednesday night. He’s won four of his six starts and posted a 2.40 ERA with 31 strikeouts since returning from the injured list about a month ago.

His last timeout, Sale allowed a run on two hits while striking out one and not walking a single hitter in five shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles on his return from the COVID-19 roster. Sale has only passed the fifth round once in his six outings this season.

The game can be seen locally on SNY and heard locally on WCBS 880 am radio.

Miscellaneous serial notes

The Red Sox have a tagging average of 0.261 (third in MLB) and the Mets have a tagging average of 0.239 (21st).

The Red Sox hit 201 home runs (8th), the Mets hit 165 home runs (24th).

Red Sox team OPS is 0.776 (third), Mets team OPS is 0.706 (24th)

The leaders of the Red Sox OPS are Rafael Devers (.884), Alex Bogaerts (.878), JD Martinez (.867)

The OPS leaders of the Mets are Pete Alonso (.850), Brandon nimmo (.837). Javier Baez (.824), Jonathan villar (.760), Francisco lindor (.725)

The Red Sox have a staff ERA of 4.28 (15th), the Mets staff ERA is 3.84 (8th).

The Red Sox and Mets played two games at Citi Field in April, with the Red Sox winning them both, including a 1-0 decision on April 28 in which Jacob of Grom took the loss for New York. The Mets will look to reciprocate in historic Fenway Park this week.

It’s not over until it’s over. The Mets are set to win five in a row this week (they head to Milwaukee for three games after Boston) and are hoping for help from the Diamondbacks and Padres, who face the Braves. The Phillies, who are just three games behind Atlanta, will face the terrible Orioles this week and then take on the Pirates this weekend.

It’s clear the Mets’ odds are not good, but they have no one to blame except themselves for not seizing the opportunity when it was there for them.

Series preview: Mets head to Boston for two games


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