Series Preview: Mets @ Astros
It wasn’t pretty, but the Mets took the necessary 2 out of 3 from Colorado. This is a road trip where anything less than 4 wins to me is a failure. They have such a tough stretch of games coming up, that they need to win this series against Houston.
The Astros come into this series at 8-14, but they have a lot of young talent on this roster. Jose Altuve is a name you probably haven’t heard much about. Currently, he is hitting .373 with 7 doubles in 21 games.
Carlos Lee sprained his ankle, so it’s possible the Mets will either not see him in this series or he could be very limited.
In 22 games, the Astros have played in 8 1-run games. So they do play close to their competition, it will be important for the Mets to not let them creep back into any games.
Monday, 8:05 pm: R.A. Dickey versus Bud Norris
Norris is a strikeout pitcher, but he is very hittable. However, he’s done very well against the Mets. Despite his 1-1 record with a 4.85 ERA, the current Mets lineup has not seen the ball too well against him.
In fact, in 12 plate appearances, David Wright has 0 hits.
The patience of Mets hitters is starting to show against starting pitchers who go deep into counts. That will be a key here with Norris.
Dickey is coming off his best outing of the year throwing 7 innings, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 7 against the Marlins.
A young team probably hasn’t seen much of the knuckleball in their career. So this whole game to me rests on whether Dickey has good control of his knuckleball.
Tuesday, 8:05 pm: Jon Niese versus J.A. Happ
It’s the Mets old friend J.A. Happ again. What a drastic difference in performance for David Wright compared to his numbers against Norris.
In 15 plate appearances, Wright has a .462 average against Happ. Happ is 2-2 with a 4.82 ERA against the Mets.
Niese and Dickey have a ton of pressure on them now without Pelfrey. Sure, most of us expected them to be better than Pelfrey, but now the Mets need them to be. Niese has to start being a big time pitcher that the Mets can trust will win games against teams he’s supposed to beat.
A poor performance by Niese would be a huge letdown.
Wednesday, 2:05pm: Chris Schwinden v. Wandy Rodriguez
This matchup is exactly the reason why the first two games are huge for the Mets. I didn’t see enough from Schwinden to say I feel even a tad comfortable with this pitching matchup.
Rodriguez has pitched very well against the Mets, going 3-2 with a 2.91 ERA. On a bad team, he stands out as a player who deserves to be elsewhere.
What worries me about this series is that sometimes when a team is playing better than people expect, they then play down to the level of their competition.
The Mets have to treat this series as a must 2 out of 3. This has the potential for a trap series where the Mets sleepwalk through it. A big series for Terry Collins for sure.
The bullpen has taken a little bit of a beating here lately. So it will be refreshing to see them close games out if possible.
This series sets the Mets up for a big test early in the year. They will play Arizona, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Toronto in their next 16 games.
OVER/UNDER RUNS: (4-1 on the season) Riding a little hot streak here. Then again, the Mets made life easy with game 1 of the Rockies series. Tonight, the over/under is 8. Which I feel is a little low. With Niese/Schwinden v. Happ/Wandy, I have to go with an over/under of 23.5 for this series. I will take the UNDER, with the assumption that one of these teams has at least 1 very quiet game.
METS POTS: Going to take Ruben Tejada here. The kid is on fire right now. Who needs Reyes?
KEEP YOUR EYES ON: I mentioned him before but Altuve is quietly having an amazing season early on. His swing seems to fit his park very nicely, and he can create havoc on the base paths.
I’LL BE DRINKING A: Chimay Triple on Tap. It’s a Belgian Trappist beer. Google it.
About the Author: Michael J. Branda
My time with MMO began in July of 2009 when I wrote a Fan Post defending Omar Minaya (before it was cool to do that.) I grew up a Mets fan with the mid 1980's teams. My favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, I like to think I meet in the middle. I believe thinking of new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the same way has not produced results. However, I think over-thinking certain situations can get you into trouble. I'm excited for the new regime, because I believe they have pieces in place to focus on several aspects of the Mets organization. I've waited this long for a World Series, waiting a few more years for another chance isn't going to kill me.
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