By Declan Finn
The New York Mets dropped yet another series to start the week, losing the final two games of a three-game set with the San Diego Padres, letting up a total of 14 runs in the pair of defeats. It was the Mets' second straight series loss to underwhelming teams, including dropping two of three to the Miami Marlins last weekend. But thanks to the Washington Nationals not playing much better ball, and actually a game worse over the past 10, the Mets are still in the thick of the NL East title race.
The Mets are four games over .500 and trail the Nationals by a half-game for the division lead through 54 games, exactly one-third of the way through the season. That's the good news. The bad news is if the team continues to play the way it has over the past two weeks, they won't stick around for long. The Mets get another chance to win a series against a sub-.500 team starting Thursday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Here is our inside look at the four-game series.
New York Mets (29-25, 2nd Place NL East)
at Arizona Diamondbacks (25-27, 4th Place NL West)
Thursday, 9:40 p.m.
Matt Harvey (5-3, 3.11) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (3-3, 5.08)
Friday, 9:40 p.m.
Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.42) vs. Chase Anderson (1-1, 3.26)
Saturday, 10:10 p.m.
Bartolo Colon (8-3, 4.72) vs. Archie Bradley (2-3, 5.80)
Sunday, 4:10 p.m.
Jacob deGrom (6-4, 2.41) vs. Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.03)
The Mets appeared well on their way to going on a prolonged winning streak after putting together two straight victories, against the Marlins and Padres, the latter of which deGrom had near no-hit stuff, allowing two hits and no walks in eight shutout innings, striking out eight in an electric performance. But the Mets fell right back down after that, dropping two straight to the Padres heading into this series in Arizona. The Mets are 6-9 over their last 15 games and have been unable to put together any kind of momentum since their 13-3 start. The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, have won four of their last five series, with wins coming against the Marlins (four-game sweep), Cubs, Brewers and Braves. They've won four of their last six and are 10-6 over their last 16 games. Arizona is 5.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West.
Three Diamondbacks To Know
1. Paul Goldschmidt might be the best player in baseball you've heard very little about. He's batting .349 with 40 runs scored, 13 doubles, 15 home runs and 44 RBI in 52 games this season, all gigantic numbers. It gets better. Over his last six games, he's batting .500 (11-for-22) with 11 runs, four doubles, three homers and six RBI. Goldschmidt is second in the NL in batting average, runs, RBI, walks, slugging and OBS and is fifth in home runs. He's signed through 2018 on a five-year, $32.05 million deal, so the Diamondbacks are getting a steal.
2. Another player you might not know much about is A.J. Pollock, who is off to a tremendous start himself in Arizona. Pollock is batting .318 with 37 runs scored, 10 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 23 RBI and 13 stolen bases. He's 8-for-his-last 20 with four runs, two doubles, a triple, two home runs and five RBI over his last four games. With his speed and hot bat, the Mets are going to have to be wary of him at all times.
3. Ender Inciarte continues our trend of unknown starts on the West Coast. Inciarte is hitting .284 with 33 runs, 10 doubles, a triple, two homers, 20 RBI and eight steals in 52 games. He's had hits in eight of his last 10 games. He did take an 0-for-5 against the Braves Wednesday, so the Mets might catch him on a cold streak.
After an off day Monday, the Mets return home to begin a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants starting Tuesday night.