The New York Mets open play in St. Louis today against the St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams have impressed early in the season, and like the Giants, playing the Cardinals will be a huge test for this Mets team. Except, this time the team won't be playing in the friendly confines of their own stadium, they will have to travel to Busch Stadium and play on the road.
The Cardinals have some potent pieces in their lineup that the Mets pitching staff will have to watch out for. While the team's staff has impressed thus far this year, if they want to keep things rolling, they must watch out for these three Cardinals hitters.
Mets must watch out for Nolan Arenado
It should be no surprise that Nolan Arenado appears on this list. Arenado is the centerpiece of the Cardinals lineup, and any team who plays St. Louis must make sure to slow him down if they want to win. He's off to a red hot start once again this season and is a big reason why the team has started off as one of the best teams in the National League.
He doesn't just excel against the rest of the major leagues, he has been very productive against the Mets in his career thus far. According to the Ultimate Mets Database (UMDB), Arenado is a lifetime .283 hitter against the Mets, and has tallied 12 home runs and 43 RBI, in 51 games against the Mets. Add in the fact that he's one of the best defensive infielders in all of baseball, in addition to strong numbers against the team, and it's easy to see why the team must watch out for him.
Mets must watch out for Paul DeJong
Unlike Arenado, Paul DeJong is not off to a great start to begin the 2022 season. The slugging shortstop has not been known for his power thus far in his career, and not so much his batting average. He's a one-time All-Star, and while he hasn't been quite the same player since his 2019 All-Star season, he still possesses plenty of pop to scare opposing teams.
There's no team that fears him more than the Mets, as DeJong has dominated the Mets thus far in his young career. According to UMDB, DeJong is hitting .347 against the Mets in his career, with 10 home runs, 11 doubles, and 17 RBI, in only 98 at-bats. Despite a relatively small sample size, DeJong has proven to be one of the biggest thorns in the Mets' side thus far in his career, and the pitching staff will definitely need to be wary of him and pitch carefully when he's up.
Mets must watch out for Paul Goldschmidt
The other big bat in the middle of the order that the Mets must worry about is Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is a six-time All-Star and has been one of the league's top first basemen for much of his professional career, dating back to his days with the Diamondbacks. He's such a feared hitter due to his ability to hit not only for power, but also for average, and that combination has made him one of the league's top-run producers during his career.
Like Arenado, Goldschmidt's play has stayed on par when he's played against the Mets in his career. According to UMDB, Goldschmidt is hitting .290, with 14 home runs, 19 doubles and 37 RBI against the Mets in his career, in 64 games played. Add in the fact that he runs better than most first baseman in the league, and can steal a base from time to time, and it's easy to see why Goldschmidt is one of the league's best hitters.
If the Mets are to have success against the Cardinals, they must find a way to limit the damage from these three players. If they can do that, they should be in a good spot, however if they don't it could be a long series for the Mets' rotation and bullpen.