After dropping two of three against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres look to end the homestead on a positive note as they welcome the New York Mets for a three-game series before kicking off a five-game road trip.
The Mets are coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. In Game Two of the series, the Brewers and Mets went 18 innings in a game that took five hours and twenty-two minutes to complete, but it was one the Mets lost despite using eight pitchers.
However, despite the battered bullpen, the Mets still have one of their best starting pitchers going for them in the series opener and will lean on him throughout the game.
With the numbers Chris Paddack has put up, one would think he was playing MLB The Show. Throughout the month, the rookie ranks fourth in all of baseball in ERA (1.91) while leading in WHIP (0.70), batting average against (.126), on-base percentage (.197), slugging percentage (.207) and (.404). He’s also posted 35 strikeouts against nine walks in 33 innings. Excellent numbers for a rookie pitcher while going up against teams like the Braves and Mariners.
However, Major League Baseball decided he wasn’t worthy for NL Rookie of the Month and gave that honor to Pete Alonso, the Mets’ rookie first baseman who posted a .292/.382/.642 batting line with a 1.024 OPS. The Paddack-Alonso matchup will be one that will be talked about all game but, with Paddack pitching the way he has been, the Mets should be worried. Especially with a curveball that has only been getting better since the beginning of the season.
San Diego won’t be facing an easy opponent either as 2018 Cy Young winner Jacob Degrom takes the hill for the Mets. DeGrom went through a rough patch on the mound from April 9th to April 26th, allowing six, three, and five runs in three starts. However, he bounced back in his previous start by pitching seven shutout innings against the Reds and striking out six. For the San Diego batters, they are hoping they get the shaky version of Degrom rather than the Cy Young Degrom.
The newest member of the Padres rotation, the addition of Quantrill means that the Padres will be using a six-man rotation for the time being. How long that remains with the current state of the bullpen remains to be seen but, if Quantrill pitches as he did in his major league debut, the Padres might just have to keep him on the roster. In his debut against the Atlanta Braves, Quantrill pitched 5.2 innings while allowing just two runs. What was most impressive was his composure on the mound as well as his command of his pitches, a feat that impressed even the Braves.
Coming off one of the best starts of the season if not his career, Syndergaard will look to keep it going versus the Padres. His last start saw him carry the Mets to victory by shutting out the Reds while striking out ten. He also got the only run in the game with a solo home run that helped net a win for the Mets. In only three starts against the Padres, he is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA.
Game 3: (Wednesday, May 8th – 12:40 PM PDT) Matt Strahm (1-2, 3.03 ERA) vs TBD
Continuing a surprise start to the season is Strahm, who has benefitted from the extra day of rest granted by the six-man rotation. In his last turn against the Braves, he pitched six innings while allowing two runs while striking out six. In his last four starts, Strahm has pitched 25 innings, allowed five runs, struck out 23, and walked none. San Diego will certainly like more of that production out of Strahm, even if he is averaging 92 MPH on his fastball.
It is currently unknown who will start for the Mets in the final game of the series. Steven Matz, the original starter, was scratched from his most recent bullpen due to nerve irritation in his pitching elbow, always an ominous sign for a promising young starter like Matz. If he can’t go, then right-handers Drew Gagnon is a possible option to make a spot start in his place. Keep an eye out for more word on Matz from New York manager Mickey Calloway.
Players to Watch
San Diego Padres: Eric Hosmer
At the beginning of the season, it seemed like Hosmer was going to struggle yet again. He upped his hitting streak to four games against the Dodgers on Sunday and has gone 11-28 in his last seven games and has been one of the hottest hitters for the Padres. For his career against the Mets, he has gone 17-51 with two doubles.
New York Mets: Pete Alonso
As mentioned above, the NL Rookie of the Month has had a monster April. But he has cooled down as of late, hitting .214 over his last 15 games with only three home runs in that span. He has also struck out 18 times while walking just five times. The home run power is there, and he is always a dangerous hitter, especially with runners on base, but San Diego will look to neutralize that power.