The New York Mets visit St. Louis for the first time in 2009 to play the Cardinals in a three-game series.
Game 1: Oliver Perez vs. Todd Wellemeyer
Which Ollie will show — Dr. Perez or Mr. Hyde? Nobody knows. Wellemeyer is a prime example of why Dave Duncan cannot be paid enough to be an MLB pitching coach.
Game 2: John Maine vs. Joel Pineiro
Will John Maine ever get past the fifth inning? Pineiro, another scrap heap success story for Duncan’s resume, has a perfect 2-0 record but a 5.40 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP thus far. Last year, the Mets battered him for 21 hits, 2 homers, and 9 runs in 9 innings, so perhaps this can be the game in which they finally send some runners home.
Game 3: Livan Hernandez vs. Kyle Lohse
This is a day game, 1:40 PM start. Before the season, I predicted Livan would be the Mets’ third-best starter before it was all said and done. He’s currently #2, which is as much a credit to Hernandez as it is due to the erratic performances of the other Mets starters. Lohse is off to a hot start, with two wins and a 2.57 ERA. Lohse was 1-1 vs. the Mets last season.
The Mets are hitting .236 with RISP, with David Wright going 2-for-13 by himself. Wright, however, is 5-for-7 lifetime against Wellemeyer, and could shake his slump in the opener. Luis Castillo is currently leading the Mets with a .389 AVG while Ryan Church leads the team with 6 doubles, a .477 OBP, and a 1.018 OPS.
The Cardinals still have Albert Pujols, and surround him with a fairly balanced attack of LH and RH hitters. Ryan Ludwick is so far showing that 2008 was not a fluke, leading the Cardinals in the three major offensive categories. He’s batting .405 with 5 HR and 15 RBI through 10 games. However, another player to watch is 3B fill-in Brian Barden, who has slugged 3 dingers and 19 total bases in 22 ABs and is hitting .409.
Hard to say which way this series will go. Much depends on the efforts of Perez and Maine, who have become the poster children for inconsistency.