Series Preview: Mets vs. Diamondbacks
The 8-9 Diamondbacks are coming off a loss to the Reds as they enter Flushing to face the Mets in a three-game series.
Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups.
Game 1:Mike Pelfrey (0-2, 9.72) vs. Joe Saunders (0-2, 6.32)
Pelfrey has been awful, and his career numbers against the D-Backs provide no cause for confidence: he is 0-5 with a 6.69 ERA in seven starts against the Diamondbacks; that ERA is his highest against any team which he has made at least two starts against, and the highest of any pitcher opposing AZ. Further, he is the only active pitchers who has made at least seven starts against Arizona and not recorded a win (no other pitcher has less then two wins).
The good news is that the Diamondbacks have a lot of new personnel this year, so maybe Mike will have an easier time against them in the past.
Meanwhile, Joe Saunders was awful all spring and is continuing to pitch terribly in the regular season. Saunders is allowing more than a baserunner per inning; he’s walked 10 and allowed 23 hits in 15 innings.
Game 2: Dillon Gee (1-0, 1.59) vs. RHP Barry Enright (0-1, 6.23)
We can only hope that Gee continues to roll — and I think he can, purely by virtue of mystery (i.e., unfamiliarity on the part of AZ and an incomplete scouting report). I don’t know what to make of Enright, who has an average fastball and below-average secondary stuff. If he doesn’t have perfect command of the corners, he’s liable to be lit up. Even when he does have great control, I’m not sure his pitches are effective enough to keep good hitters from hitting. That said, I’m liking the Mets chances in this matchup.
Game 3: Jon Niese (0-3, 5.87) vs. Armando Galarraga (3-0, 6.00)
Will Niese throw with his ideal over-the-top release point or will he be just an inch or so to the side? A small difference, but it may be the key to whether he wins or loses. Galarraga has an unsightly ERA but three wins and no losses. He tends to be a fly ball pitcher which usually works well in Citi Field.
Catcher Miguel Montero is scorching hot, with a .358 AVG and 1.037 OPS. However, manager Kirk Gibson bats him 8th to “save his legs”. Huh? Well, fine with me — keep him buried.
The D-Backs were concerned with all the strikeouts by their hitters last year so they traded slugger Mark Reynolds to Baltimore, among other changes. Now they have a team that doesn’t strike out very often yet still hits for power — they are second in the NL in slugging percentage. However, Kelly Johnson still fans at record rates; he and David Wright are tied with Pedro Alvarez for most Ks in the NL with 23.
You won’t see Aaron Heilman in this series — he’s on the DL for the first time in his career. But you likely will see J.J. Putz, who as the AZ closer is 5-for-5 in save situations. Henry Blanco is Montero’s backup, but he has only 7 ABs (with no hits) thus far. Melvin Mora — remember when he was a Met? — is supposed to be the starting third baseman but has been yielding to the red-hot Ryan Roberts of late. Xavier Nady is also on the Diamondbacks, hitting .250; he might play 1B when Niese starts on Sunday.