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Series preview: Cleveland Indians at New York Mets

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Some interleague play after the off day

MLB: New York Mets at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken

The Tribe made it through the gauntlet against a bunch of really good American League teams and ended up just two games back of the Minnesota Twins when all was said and done. Not a bad few weeks. Now, they’ll open up a three-game set against the New York Mets, one of several teams currently fighting for a Wild Card spot in the National League.

Team in a box

2019 New York Mets

Record 64-60
Record 64-60
Runs Scored 602
Runs Allowed 586
Run Differential +16
Last 10 6-4
AVG .258
OBP .329
SLG .439
OPS .768
wRC+ 103
K/9 9.18
BB/9 3.24

The Mets have been on a nice little run in July and August, going 26-13 in that time to pull themselves to within two games of a Wild Card spot. It’s unlikely that they catch the Atlanta Braves for the NL East, but the Mets have plenty of exciting players to make some noise in October if they snag one of the Wild Card spots.

Projected starters

Tuesday, August 20 7:10 p.m. ET: LHP Steven Matz (v. Shane Bieber)

Steven Matz is in the middle of another down year. While his ERA last season was under four, the rest of his numbers didn’t look great. This year, his ERA has inflated past four and everything else is still trending in the wrong direction. Across 116.1 innings in 24 appearances (22 starts) this season, Matz has allowed 56 earned runs while walking 35 and striking out 109 (ERA+ 96). His main pitch this year has been his sinker (93 mph), which is good for getting swings and misses. He’ll mix in a change (85 mph) that gets flyballs, a curve (79 mph), and a hard slider (90 mph) that generates groundballs. His most recent start came on August 14 against the Braves; in that game, Matz went 6.0 innings and allowed 1 earned run on 2 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5.

Wednesday, August 21 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Marcus Stroman (v. Adam Plutko)

Marcus Stroman was traded for at the deadline in hopes that he would bolster the Mets’ rotation. In his limited time in New York, however, he has not impressed. When combined with his time in Toronto this season, however, Stroman is having another magnificent year, one that resulted in his first ever All-Star selection. Across 140.1 innings this season in 24 starts (21 with Toronto, 3 with New York), Stroman has allowed 50 earned runs while walking 44 and striking out 116 (ERA+ 140). He’s got a great groundball sinker (93 mph) that he pairs with his sweeping slider (86 mph) and his cutter (91 mph). His most recent start came on August 15 against the Braves; in that game, Stroman went 5.1 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits while walking 4 and striking out 5.

Thursday, August 22 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Noah Syndergaard (v. Aaron Civale)

THOR!...is having a kind of average year, actually. We’re actually not used to seeing Syndergaard pitch this...average. Even in 2017 when he only pitched 30.1 innings, they were incredible. Since entering the league in 2015, Syndergaard has pitched at an above-average to elite level every single year. And he’s still pitching better than some this season, but he’s not the dominant force that see saw in 2016. Across 154.0 innings in 24 starts this season, Thor has allowed 66 earned runs while walking 42 and striking out 151 (ERA+ 108). He still throws everything incredibly hard, including his fourseam (98 mph), sinker (98 mph), change (91 mph), and slider (89 mph). His curve (81 mph) is at a more manageable velocity. His most recent start came on August 16 against the Royals; in that game, Syndergaard went 6.0 innings and allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6.

Lineup highlights

1B Pete Alonso: Pete Alonso may well end up being the NL Rookie of the Year at the end of the season. He was in a tight race with Fernando Tatis Jr. of San Diego, but Tatis Jr. is out for the rest of the year with an injury. The other top contender is Mike Soroka of the Braves because he is pitching absolutely lights out this year. Anyway, back to Alonso. Across 526 plate appearances in 123 games, Alonso is slashing .271/.375/.604 (wRC+ 152). He, like a lot of first basemen not named Carlos Santana, struggles with striking out a ton (25.3%). However, when he does make contact, baseballs usually fly. Alonso is third in the NL in home runs with 40, behind Cody Bellinger (42) and Christian Yelich (41). Not bad company to keep. He also won the Home Run Derby this year (Vlad Jr. was robbed).

3B/OF J.D. Davis: J.D. Davis is not the first J.D. to find his stride after leaving Houston. In his first season with the Mets this year, Davis is slashing .312/.375/.513 (wRC+ 134). He’s cut his strikeout rate down to just over 20%, down from 25.7% in 2018. He’s still walking at a decent clip (8.8%), and while he doesn’t have quite the home run power that Alonso has, he has hit 14 home runs this season, good for fifth on his team. He’s been dealing with calf tightness recently, but it’s looking like he’ll be able to play in this series against the Tribe.

OF Michael Conforto: Michael Conforto has had a great couple of seasons for the Mets. His only down year was 2016, but every other year he’s been a well above-average bat in the New York lineup. This year is no exception. Across 493 plate appearances in 114 games this season, Conforto is slashing .258/.367/.495 (wRC+ 127). He, too, has cut the K% down over the past few seasons while his BB% has remained constant at 13%. Add in his consistent 20+ home run power (he has 26 this year), and you have yet another incredible bat in the Mets lineup.

New York Mets roster

FanGraphs

Poll

How many games will the Indians win against the Mets?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    3
    (46 votes)
  • 46%
    2
    (95 votes)
  • 21%
    1
    (44 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (18 votes)
203 votes total Vote Now