Mets – Reds Preview
Can the Mets make it ten?
The Mets won 9 straight games, turning themselves into a juggernaut that could only be stopped by the All-Star break. Let’s hope they can regain their momentum tonight as they open a 4-game series in Cincinnati.
Game One: Johan Santana vs. Johnny Cueto
Johan’s less-than-stellar record hides his sparkling ERA. We keep hearing how he is a “second half pitcher”. Well, it’s now officially the second half, so start kicking some butt, Mr. Santana!
Cueto got rocked by the Mets back in May, lasting only 4 2/3 and allowing 6 runs on 8 hits. He might have been spooked by the big stage in NYC, and could be more comfortable in Cincinnati. He’s been up and down, sometimes spectacular, sometimes awful — a lot like Mike Pelfrey was until recently.
Game Two: John Maine vs. Bronson Arroyo
Last year John Maine was on a hot streak going into the ASB, then faltered. This year, he faltered going into the break, so let’s hope the time off is a positive, rather than a negative, this time around. I’d like to see Dan Warthen fix Maine’s mechanics, which to me appear to be a bit off.
Arroyo keeps coming up in trade rumors, and I’m not sure why. Yes, he lit the world on fire in his first half-season in Cincinnati in 2006, but hasn’t been anything special since. Like in the “other” league, once the NL hitters got used to Arroyo, he became over-exposed and isn’t much more than a .500 pitcher. His ERA is currently a hair under 6.
Game Three: Oliver Perez vs. Josh Fogg
My my … Josh Fogg is still drawing a big league paycheck? Wonders never cease. He carries a 7.94 ERA into the game, high enough to keep Adam Eaton looking effective.
Oliver Perez has been nasty — in a good way — over his last three starts. My biggest concern is, will he take the Reds lightly and pitch down to the competition? This may turn out to be the key game of the series.
Game Four: Pedro Martinez vs Edinson Volquez
Volquez is currently the best Reds pitcher, though I’m not sure I’d trade Josh Hamilton for him. Had he not allowed a two-run homer to J.D. Drew, perhaps Billy Wagner’s performance wouldn’t have been so glaring. In any case, Volquez pitched 7 innings and struck out 10 in his last “real” game, and sports a 12-3 record and 2.29 ERA. Not too shabby.
Will Pedro really make the start? We think so, but no one knows for sure. Last time out, it was a tight shoulder that was due to a tight groin. His hamstring appears to be OK, and we think the toe is completely healed. What else can he injure? Just ask Orlando Hernandez … who for all we know could be replacing Pedro in the rotation sooner rather than later.
This four-game jaunt is a warmup for Philadelphia; I don’t expect the Mets to get to 13 in a row, and will be very happy with a split. That may sound pessimistic, but there are some things concerning me:
1. Cueto is capable of pitching lights-out, and shutting down the Mets’ Alouless and Churchless offense.
2. John Maine’s last three starts have been troubling.
3. Can Ollie keep it up?
You’d think nine straight wins would fill me with confidence, but I still have “guarded optimism”. If the Mets can take two, there’s a good chance they go into Philly in the same position they’re in right now: second place, a half game back. I’m fine with that.