It turns out that the New York Mets’ road trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia wasn’t what the doctor ordered. The Mets (19-18) went 2-3 on the rain shortened trip, dropping to a game above .500 and staring at a brutal stretch of the schedule. Beginning Friday, the Mets will play 18 games in 17 days without an off day, a stretch that could sink them before the summer even begins if they aren’t careful. There is business to attend to before that stretch begins, however, in the form of a two game interleague series with the Toronto Blue Jays (21-2) to kick off an eight game home stand. First pitch for the opener of this two game set is scheduled for 7:10 pm at Citi Field.
It was hard to tell what to make of the Blue Jays entering the season. After making the playoffs for two straight years, Toronto collapsed in 2017, going 76-86 to finish in fourth place in the American League East. The Blue Jays had a relatively quiet offseason, adding veteran pieces via trade (Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals, Yangervis Solarte from the Padres) and free agency (old friends Curtis Granderson and Tyler Clippard along with well traveled lefty Jaime Garcia) to supplement their core. The mix appeared to work early on, as Toronto raced out to a 17-12 start by May 1st. The Blue Jays have gone into a tail spin since them, losing eight of their next 12 games to fall into third place in the division. To make matters worse, star closer Roberto Osuna was placed on administrative leave after he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, unsettling what had been a stable bullpen. Unless things improve quickly, Toronto could be headed for a mid-summer fire sale to try and extract some value from pending free agents Josh Donaldson, Marco Estrada, and J.A. Happ.
The Mets will send one time Blue Jays’ farm hand Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 3.09 ERA) to the mound tonight. Syndergaard last pitched on May 6th, when he allowed two runs in six uneven innings against the Colorado Rockies, but didn’t factor in the decision in a game the Mets went on to lose 3-2. He had been scheduled to start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, but after a rainout the Mets opted to push Syndergaard back to tonight to keep Jacob deGrom on schedule in his return from the disabled list. The Blue Jays will counter with the aforementioned Garcia (2-2, 5.40 ERA). Garcia pitched well in his last start, allowing two runs (one earned) in five innings against the Seattle Mariners last Wednesday, but didn’t receive a decision. The Blue Jays ended up winning the game 5-2.
New York Mets Lineup:
- LF Brandon Nimmo
- CF Juan Lagares
- 2B Asdrubal Cabrera
- 1B Wilmer Flores
- RF Jay Bruce
- C Devin Mesoraco
- 3B Jose Reyes
- SP Noah Syndergaard
- SS Amed Rosario
- The Mets and Blue Jays last met in 2015, when the teams split a four game series, with the Mets winning the two games at Citi Field on June 15th and 16th.
- The Mets went just 7-13 in interleague play in 2017.
- Syndergaard has faced the Blue Jays once, allowing one run in six innings and striking out 11 batters, but didn’t factor in the decision.
- Garcia is 2-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 10 career starts against the Mets.
- Yoenis Cespedes is out of the lineup as the Mets weigh a potential stint on the disabled list since his groin injury hasn’t improved. Brandon Nimmo will start in left field tonight and bat leadoff.
- Wilmer Flores, who is 4 for 12 with a pair of homers against Garcia, will start at first base tonight for Adrian Gonzalez and bat cleanup.
- Jose Reyes, who is 6 for 17 against Garcia lifetime, will start at third base tonight and bat seventh.
- Jay Bruce is back with the Mets after spending the weekend on the paternity leave list. Dominic Smith was optioned back to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Bruce on the active roster.
- Jerry Blevins has gone on paternity leave. Lefty Buddy Baumann has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Blevins’ place on the active roster.
- The Mets have recalled right hander Jacob Rhame from Triple-A Las Vegas. Corey Oswalt was sent down to the 51’s to make room for Rhame on the active roster.
- The Mets will start Juan Lagares in center field tonight with a lefty on the mound. Lagares will bat second.
- Tonight will mark Curtis Granderson’s return to Queens after spending nearly four years with the Mets. During his Mets’ career, Granderson batted .239 with 95 home runs, 247 RBI’s, and 317 runs scored.