A Series By The Bay

This weekend, the Mets fly to the other coast to take on the San Francisco Giants in a four game series by the bay. The Mets and Giants have the exact same record of 18-15 coming into this series.  The Giants have been winning of late, taking six of their last ten games. At home, the Giants have a 12-5 record, the first time they have had a winning home record in some time now.

The Mets have taken the season series from the Giants dating back to 2003. 2009 is not the year for the Mets to start changing things up.

The numbers don’t lie. The Mets are beating the Giants in every offensive category to this point. The Mets are tied for first in the league with a .288 batting average. Compare that with the Giants who are in thirteenth with a .251 BA. The Mets have outscored the Giants by 33 runs so far. As a team, the Mets are outpitching the Giants as well, although at a slimmer margin.  The Mets are 3rd in the league with a 3.95 team ERA.  The Giants are 6th with a team ERA of 4.13. The two X factors in these numbers, in my opinion, are Carlos Delgado and Tim Lincecum.  Delgado has been a big contributor to the Mets offensive numbers, and will not likely see a pitch in this series. On the other side of the diamond, Lincecum has not put up the numbers that everyone has expected, but seems to be quickly regaining the form that earned him the NL Cy Young Award last year.

Tonight, we will see John Maine (3-2, 4.54) match up against Jonathon Sanchez (1-3, 4.78).  Mets fans have started to see Maine find himself in his last two outings. Sanchez, on the other hand, has struggled, posting a 9.00 ERA in his last two starts. However, Sanchez has fared better at home, where he is yet to allow an earned run. The Mets have shown a preference for feeding on left-handed pitching. Let’s hope that continues tonight.

Friday will feature a matchup of our fifth starter, Livan Hernandez (3-1, 5.08) against SF ace Tim Lincecum (3-1, 3.25). As “The Freak” continues to regain his Cy Young form, the Mets will need Hernandez to try to outlast him, and try to get some timely hits.

Saturday afternoon will match up Johan Santana (4-2, 0.78) and Randy Johnson (3-3, 5.89). The Mets offense will need to redeem themselves in the eyes of their ace. Randy Johnson may not be hitting triple digits these days, but he’s coming in consistently at 91-92 MPH, which, in my book, is still pretty fast.

The Mets will line up Mike Pelfrey (4-0, 4.89) against SF hurler Matt Cain (3-1, 3.00) in an ESPN matchup at 8:00pm. Like Maine, Pelfrey has been regaining his form in his last few starts, and Giants have historically had trouble when facing Big Pelf. While Cain has a very good arm, he has struggled against the Mets.

Offensively, Mets starters will need to pay close attention to Randy Winn, Emmanuel Burress and Edgar Renteria this weekend.  While the Giants only have one starter hitting above .300 on the year (Pablo Sandoval – .301), the above three are all hitting well over the last week. Luckily, these Giants are not real legitimate power threats at the plate.

The Mets should walk away with three wins against San Francisco this weekend if they want to prove their mettle and maintain their first place status.

Last year, the Mets had to cross the country four times to play against West Coast teams. It wore hard on this team. Thankfully, they only have to go across twice this year as interleague matches the NL East versus the AL East. I can only imagine what the time change and travel does to the players. As a fan, these late nights really drain me, and I’m thankful that this series falls (mostly) on a weekend.