New York Mets: The Week Ahead

By Matt Musico

Due to yesterday’s rain out, the Mets are looking at eight games in the next seven days. Miguel Batista and Dillon Gee are taking the mound this afternoon during a single admission double header that will determine the winner of the current four game set that is tied at one win a piece. Then, the Mets finish their latest homestand by welcoming the Marlins into town for the first time this year, along with former shortstop Jose Reyes.

It will no doubt be an emotional time, and there will be mixed reactions from the crowd; we can wait for the report from Michael Lecolant, one of our staff writers who is fortunate enough to have a ticket to get into the stadium tomorrow night. With the return of Reyes aside, this is an important divisional battle. The Mets are standing at 8-6 while the Marlins are at 7-8, and whatever these two teams do over the course of the next few weeks will determine their true identity. Both New York and Miami have the top of their rotation set to face off against one another:

Josh Johnson (0-2) vs. Johan Santana (0-2)

Mark Buerhle (1-2) vs. R.A. Dickey (2-1)

Ricky Nolasco (2-0) vs. Jonathon Niese (2-0)

These pitching match-ups will make for great battles within each contest. The Mets have been able to stay above .500 even though they’ve struggled a bit after their surprising 4-0 start; their .257 team batting average is good for ninth in the MLB, while their 53 runs scored only rank better than three other teams (Oakland, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh). It has been their pitching that has kept them afloat, which has had their own struggles. The team’s 3.77 ERA (15th) and 1.42 WHIP (25th) don’t look overly impressive, but it’s been good enough to keep this team in the hunt for the top of the division.

On the other hand, the Marlins have been playing a lot better since the start of the season, despite losing their last two games over the weekend. Their .245 team average is 18th in the league, but that is a big improvement over the first couple of weeks, where they were hovering around the bottom of the barrel. As a team, they have scored 57 runs, which ranks 24th, and shows us that the pitching staffs will be the difference maker in this series. Miami’s staff has been more consistent this year, with a 3.27 team ERA (9th) and 1.20 WHIP (9th) put them in the top tier of the league.

Once this series concludes, the Mets embark on their second road trip of the season, starting it with a three-game weekend series in Colorado against the Rockies. Colorado didn’t start off this year well either, but are entering the week at 8-7 and second in the NL West behind the Dodgers, and playing well of late, going 6-4 in their last ten games. All the probable pitchers haven’t been announced yet for this series, but if all goes to plan, it will be Pelfrey, Gee, and Santana to face Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and company at Coors Field.

The one constant for the Rockies this year is that they are a solid offensive team; they have a balanced attack, with 5th best batting average in the league (.266) and 72 runs scored, good enough for 8th in the MLB. What Jim Tracy and his coaching staff is hoping for this year that they didn’t get last year was better pitching…well, they haven’t exactly gotten that yet. Their team ERA stands at 4.50 (24th) and their WHIP at 1.36 (20th), which shows us why they’re still hanging around .500 as a club.

New York has a chance to come in and take this series because they have shown that they can be a good road team (43-38 in 2011, 3-3 in 2012), whereas Colorado has somehow found a way to struggle in Denver (38-43 in 2011, 5-4 in 2012). It will be an interesting week for the Mets; with the biggest highlight being the return of their once favorite shortstop, Jose Reyes.

Thanks for reading! You can follow Rising Apple on Twitter at @RisingAppleBlog and like us here on Facebook.