Mets May Preview: A tale of two months lies ahead on the schedule

Pete Alonso, Luis Guillorme, Francisco Lindor, Mark Canha
Pete Alonso, Luis Guillorme, Francisco Lindor, Mark Canha / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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The Mets will host their first interleague games of the season from May 16-21 when they face two playoff teams from a year ago in the Rays and Guardians.

The Tampa Bay Rays have been an incredible story to start the 2023 campaign. What many pundits thought was a borderline playoff team going into the season is now one that is taking names and kicking everyone else around. They enter today's play at 23-6, three games better than the next best team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As a team, they batted .281 and had an .879 OPS, and lead the majors with 61 home runs, 14 more than the next highest team total, 6.7 runs per game is the best in the game too, and it's a team approach too. With Randy Arozarena, Yandy Diaz, Josh Lowe, Harold Ramirez, and Taylor Walls all have OPS+ over 170 and 70 or more plate appearances.

Then their pitching is something else too. The hard-throwing Shane McClanahan is 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 34 innings pitched, and all bu one of thier relievers who have thrown more than 10 innings this year have an ERA under 4.00. It's a tour de force that's dominating baseball.

Then come the Cleveland Guardians, who were the American League Central champions a year ago. The Guardians got off to a slow start. There hasn't been much hitting, as they've scored 3.83 runs per game over the early going.

Cleveland's star pitchers in starter Shane Bieber and reliever Emmanuel Clase have been their usual selves, but the rest of the staff has not held up their end either. It'll be interesting to see where Bieber's turn in the rotation is when the Guardians visit Citi Field from May 19-21.

The weekend affair will also mark the return of Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez to Citi Field as opposing players for the first time. Rosario, once the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, and Gimenez, the once touted prospect who turned heads in 2020 with his contact and defense, were both traded to Cleveland in the Francisco Lindor trade.