By Matt Straub
The New York Mets just can’t keep a good thing going these days. There’s a chance to change that starting tonight in San Diego, however, as the Mets can take advantage of another struggling team, the Padres. San Diego has a couple of good pitchers going, but also an awful one, meaning the Mets need only to win that one and split the other two to win the series.
Starting this road trip with a series win would be great for a team which just dropped two of three to the bumbling Marlins and continues to be unable to get any sustained momentum going after their phenomenal start. The team which started 13-3 and captured everyone’s attention is 15-20 since and is now in danger of missing the playoffs. Yes there’s a long way to go, but the Mets are starting to too closely resemble the bad teams of recent years again, and must do something to gain some confidence again.
With such a big road trip about to start, let’s break down a huge series against the Padres to find out how the Mets can take advantage of an opportunity for a change.
New York Mets (28-23, 2nd place NL East)
at San Diego Padres (25-27, 3rd place NL West)
Monday, 10:10 p.m.
Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.71) vs. Andrew Cashner (2-7, 3.00)
Tuesday, 10:10 p.m.
Noah Syndergaard (2-2, 2.55) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-5, 7.15)
Wednesday, 9:10 p.m.
Dillon Gee (0-2, 3.86) vs. James Shields (6-0, 3.69)
The Padres have climbed back into the periphery of the playoff chase by winning four of their last six. If nothing else, they have shaken off the stench of the 2-8 stretch which preceeded this good stretch. San Diego expected much more after rebuilding the team in the offseason, but you have to start somwhere. The Mets just two of three to the Marlins and, as is too often the case lately, are 5-5 in their last 10. They are fortunate to have had Washington run into another bad weekend, as the Nationals’ struggles at various times are the only thing keeping the Mets from falling way behind. If the season had ended Monday morning the Mets would have been out of the playoffs, but there is plenty of time left. Still, the Mets need to do more than tread water sometime soon.
Three Padres To Watch
1. Craig Kimbrel has a bunch of saves, but he also has an ERA close to five. If the Mets are close in the ninth in these games, there will be more hope than when they used to see him against the Braves. The inflated numbers aren’t from one bad game, so the Mets can feel good about facing him.
2. Ian Kennedy, someone New York fans remember well, has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball so far this season. He is still getting to start, however, and the Mets will send one of their top young guns up against him. Winning that game is important on the way to taking this series.
3. Matt Kemp has been showing signs of life at the plate lately, just in time for the Mets to have to worry about him. The Padres have a bunch of big names who haven’t produced yet, and the Mets would love to keep it that way for three more days.
The road trip continues in Arizona next for a weekend set which begins with Matt Harvey on the hill.