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Mets steamroll the Phillies, win another series, and create more distance in the NL East
Francisco Lindor drove in three more runs to bring his total to 23 in May
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets defeated the Phillies by a score of 8-2 on Saturday night at Citi Field and now have an 8.5 game lead in the NL East (Box)
Taijuan Walker started for the Mets and was solid over five innings, allowing two runs on six hits
Francisco Lindor continued his torrid stretch with two more hits including a triple and three RBI
Immediately after the Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the third, Jeff McNeil responded with a three-run home run to give the Mets the lead for good
Luis Guillorme reached based four times with three hits and a walk - he is now hitting .352/.439/.451 in 84 plate appearances over 30 games this season
The Mets are now 15-8 at home, 8-3 against the Phillies, 15-7 against the National League East, 12-2-1 in series, 24-7 when they score first, 22-3 when scoring five or more runs, and they earned their 10th comeback win of the season on Saturday
The Mets have won each of its first four series against the Phillies in 2022 - It is the first time they’ve won four straight series against the Phillies since winning six straight between 2016-17
Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in shoulder) says he feels completely normal, but didn’t offer a timetable for his return
Brandon Nimmo (sore wrist) received a cortisone injection and is day-to-day
Roster Moves 📰
OF Nick Plummer recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
RHP Yoan López optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
Who’s Hot 🔥
Francisco Lindor has 14 RBI in his last six games and has recorded at least one RBI in each of those games, the longest such streak in his career. His 37 RBI so far this season is one more than he had in the entire first half last year (87 games).
Jeff McNeil has six extra-base hits in his last eight games - he is hitting .345/.406/.690 during that span with four doubles, two home runs and five RBI with three multi-hit games
Colin Holderman has not allowed an earned run in the first six games of his career, a span of eight innings - he is the fifth Mets pitcher to accomplish do that and the first since Jack Leathersich in 2015
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (31-17) vs Phillies (21-26)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (4-2, 3.91 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (3-3, 3.38 ERA)
When: 7:08 PM EDT
Where to Watch: ESPN
The Mets offense is rolling right along… 📝
Any concerns about the Mets offense over the first month of the season are history, right? Because, the Mets are really socking the ball these days.
And given the state of their starting rotation, that is quite a good thing.
During 26 games in the month of May, the Mets have hit 26 home runs while posting a .269/.329/.417 line while averaging 5.4 runs per game during that span. Contrast that to their output in April when they slashed a .255/.341/.383 line and 4.5 runs per game.
Over the last 14 games in particular, the Mets have been white hot at the plate, hitting .288/.342/.467, having scored 90 runs during that span with 14 home runs to go along with it.
Obviously, the most notable uptick in the offense has been their power. Yes, Pete Alonso has 11 of the team’s 23 home runs this month (48 percent) but it’s more than just the home runs. The Mets have hit nine triples and 44 doubles in May. So yes, while Alonso is at the center of their power production, they’re getting line-to-line contributions from everyone, especially Jeff McNeil (.313/.362/.458, two homers, 17 RBI in May) Luis Guillorme (.409/.480/.523, two doubles and a home run in May) and Francisco Lindor (.340/.444/.640, two doubles, two triples, three home runs 18 RBI over his last 14 games).
The common denominator for the Mets offense through their ebbs and flows over the course of their first 48 games has been their contact-first approach. They’ve averaged under eight strikeouts per game so far this season, which in turn means they make contact and put the ball in play a lot. Their 78.6 percent contact rate is third-best in the game and their 19.6 percent strikeout rate is the fourth-lowest rate in the game. In turn, the Mets have a +53 run differential this season (third best in MLB) and their 238 runs scored is second only to the Dodgers.
(Next week’s series at Dodger Stadium should be very competitive.)
Of course, as I said before, offense goes in ebbs and flows. Slumps will eventually re-emerge especially as the Mets start to face tougher pitching when they head out west next weekend. But their ability to make consistent contact should help stem that tide when those slumps inevitably arrive.
But when that happens, the Mets worn down pitching staff will be put to a stiffer test and run prevention will become more paramount than it has been over the last couple of weeks, during which the staff has struggled as a unit. While the Mets are 8-5 over their last 13 games, the staff has posted a 5.06 ERA and has allowed 19 home runs with only 108 strikeouts in 119 innings during that span.
Again, it’s entirely predictable and somewhat expected the pitching would take a downturn - they’re now without Max Scherzer, they’ve been without Tylor Megill and don’t forget Jacob deGrom who is coming up on a year since the last big league pitch he threw. Then there’s the absence of Trevor May who has created a void in their bullpen and is unlikely to return in the foreseeable future.
That brings me to Dallas Keuchel.
Yes, he’s had a miserable year for the White Sox and last year could be equated to an equally miserable season on the south side of Chicago. On his best day, he’s a pitch-to-contact left-handed pitcher and his walk rate has escalated at a concerning rate over the last couple of years, equating to a 2.15 WHIP this season. None of that is a recipe for success.
But here’s something worth considering with Keuchel.
The White Sox are 25th in MLB with -9 defensive runs saved and 29th in the league with a -11.5 ultimate zone rating. That’s not exactly a match made in heaven for a pitcher like Keuchel who pitches to a ton of contact.
Contrast that to the Mets, who have three defensive runs saved (20th in MLB, which seems impossible to me, but whatever) and a 1.7 ultimate zone rating (14th in MLB), and the Mets could potentially get more out of Keuchel than the White Sox simply with their ability to make plays the White Sox struggle to make.
In the end, the Mets literally lack a fifth starting pitcher right now. Their bullpen is not designed nor functional enough to throw bullpen games every five days. While David Peterson has been good, he’s their sixth starter being asked to serve as a regular fourth starter behind Taijuan Walker who is a pitch-to-contact arm himself. After Keuchel clears waivers he would cost merely the prorated sum of the league minimum. If he stinks, they can cut and run but if he doesn’t he could serve as a serviceable bridge to Scherzer and deGrom in July.
The Mets certainly don’t have anything to lose in that regard.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Brandon McIlwain (OF, High-A): 4-for-4, 2 R
William Lugo (SS, Single-A) 2-for-4, 2B
Rowdy Jordan (OF, High-A) 2-for-4, BB, RBI, R
Around the League 🚩
Reds OF Tommy Pham was suspended three games for slapping Giants OF Joc Pederson on the field over a dispute involving their fantasy football league
The White Sox designated LHP Dallas Keuchel for assignment
The Nationals designed RHP Aaron Sánchez for assignment
The Blue Jays won their fourth game in a row, beating the Angels 6-5 to close to within 6.5 games of the Yankees in the AL East
The Angels placed 3B Anthony Rendon on the 10-day injured list with an injured wrist
Corey Seager doubled and homered for the Rangers in their 11-4 win over the A’s - that was the Rangers’ fourth win in a row and they’re now six games behind the Astros in the AL West