The New York Mets (27-30) finally got a day off yesterday, and they were definitely happy to get it. Things have been going for poorly for the Mets, who have lost four in a row and went just 7-11 over a brutal stretch of 18 games in 17 days. The season isn’t lost yet, but the Mets will need to right the ship soon if they hope to salvage a playoff race. The schedule makers may help the Mets today, as the struggling Baltimore Orioles (17-41) come to town to begin a two game series. First pitch for the opener is scheduled for 7:10 pm at Citi Field.
The Orioles finished in last place in the American League East in 2017, when they went just 75-87 to finish 18 games back of the Boston Red Sox. Despite a strong track record the previous few years, Baltimore chose not to do much early in the winter, largely sitting out of free agency until spring training, when they added starting pitchers Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb to a weak rotation. The moves have been disasters, as both Cashner (2-7, 5.02 ERA) and Cobb (1-7, 6.80 ERA) have flopped, helping contribute to a horrendous pitching staff that has an ERA of 5.00. Baltimore was also hurt by an offseason knee injury for closer Zach Britton, knocking him out for half the season and removing a key piece from the bullpen. The Orioles are also having trouble scoring runs, averaging just 3.71 runs per game despite the presence of all world shortstop Manny Machado (.327/18/47), who leads the team in virtually every hitting category. Machado is slated to become a free agent after the season and is unlikely to re-sign in Baltimore, so it seems like Buck Showalter’s group is simply counting down the days until the front office deals its star player to avoid losing him for nothing in the winter.
The Mets will send lefty Jason Vargas (2-3, 8.53 ERA) to the mound tonight. Vargas was surprisingly effective in his last start, tossing five shutout innings on three days rest to defeat the Atlanta Braves last Wednesday. The Orioles will counter with one of their own free agent disappointments, the aforementioned Cobb. Cobb delivered one of his best starts of the season his last time out, allowing three runs in seven innings against the Washington Nationals on May 28th, but was stuck with a loss due to a lack of run support.
New York Mets Lineup:
- LF Brandon Nimmo
- 2B Asdrubal Cabrera
- RF Jay Bruce
- 3B Todd Frazier
- CF Michael Conforto
- C Kevin Plawecki
- 1B Adrian Gonzalez
- SP Jason Vargas
- SS Amed Rosario
- The Mets won three out of four against the Orioles when the teams last met back in 2015, including both meetings at Citi Field.
- Vargas is 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA in nine career starts against the Orioles.
- Cobb has only faced the Mets once in his career, giving up five runs in 6.2 innings in a loss back in 2012, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.
- The Mets have activated Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak from the disabled list. Buddy Baumann was designated for assignment while Gerson Bautista was sent down to the minor leagues to make room for the pair on the active roster.
- Frazier, who is making his first start for the Mets since May 7th, will bat cleanup and play third base.
- Devin Mesoraco, who is dealing with hamstring tightness, is out of the Mets’ lineup for a second straight game. Kevin Plawecki will catch and bat sixth.
- Asdrubal Cabrera is back in the Mets’ lineup after getting the day off on Sunday. Cabrera will bat second and play second base.