After a successful 5-2 home stand against the Brewers and Marlins, the Mets (45-24) head to Houston to play a short series (two games) against the Astros (41-25). It will be a battle of two first-place teams, as the Astros lead the AL West with the second-best record in the American League, while the Mets are first in the NL East with the best record in the National League.
The Mets have been cruising since they returned home from their grueling West Coast road trip against the Dodgers, Padres, and Angels. It was especially nice to see them beat their NL East rival Marlins in decisive fashion during their four-game series. The Mets got solid pitching from Carlos Carrasco and David Peterson against the Marlins, and on the offensive side, Francisco Lindor homered in back-to-back games. Pete Alonso also hit a grand slam – his second of the season.
There were also a few negatives during the series against the Marlins. Seth Lugo surrendered a grand slam to Marlins rookie Jerar Incarnation in the third at-bat of his major league debut. Jeff McNeil left the final game of the series in the fourth inning after his right hamstring tightened up while scoring on a wild pitch. Buck Showalter said after the game that McNeil was likely to be “day-to-day” with this injury. JD Davis was also hit by a pitch during the final game, which injured the same hand he had surgery on this off-season. Initial X-rays were negative, and Davis remained in the game after the plunking.
The Astros are coming into this series with a commanding 10-game lead in the AL West. Part of that huge lead is explained by poor play from their division rival Angles, who went through a recent 14-game losing streak. But the Astros have also taken advantage of the Angels’ misfortune by having a decent June and winning nine of their last 16 games. They have not had an overly dominant June, but winning three of their five series so far has been enough to increase their division lead.
The Astros have been getting excellent production from their DH Yordan Alvarez, who’s slashing .311 / .403 / .623 and has hit 18 homers. Alvarez gave the Astros a scare on Saturday when he injured his hand while swinging during his last at-bat against the White Sox. The team feared that Alvarez had broken his hamate bone, but tests on Sunday revealed that was not the case. Alvarez is officially day-to-day, so it’s possible he’ll be available against the Mets this series.
Houston has also benefited from a nice season from rookie short stop Jeremy Peñawho has flourished since taking over the position from Carlos Correa after he departed for Minnesota in the off-season. Unfortunately for the Astros, Peña is currently on the injured list, as he injured his thumb while diving for a ball.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022: RHP Trevor Williams (1-3, 3.53 ERA) vs. RHP Jose Urquidy (5-3, 4.99 ERA)
Williams’ last two outings for the Mets have been in relief. He pitched 2/3 of an inning against the Angels on June 11 and he tossed 2 1/3 innings against the Brewers on June 15. He’s back in the rotation this series because Tylor Megill is on the injured list again, this time due to a strained right shoulder. Williams’ last start was against the Dodgers back on June 5, where he gave up only two runs in five innings, en route to helping the Mets secure a split series against LA
Uriquidy has not thrown a scoreless outing since his May 5 start against the Tigers. In his most recent start, Urquidy gave up three runs in six innings against the Rangers. Urquidy has never faced the Mets in his career, and only Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, and Lindor have had at-bats against him. All three have decent numbers against Urquidy, but the sample size is extremely small, with three at-bats each for Mars and Lindor, and 11 at-bats for Canha.
Wednesday, June 22, 2022: RHP Carlos Carrasco (8-2, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Garcia (4-5, 3.41 ERA)
Carrasco has faced the Astros nine times in his career, with eight starts and one relief appearance against them. In those nine appearances, Carrasco has a 3.69 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. His most recent outing against the Astros was in 2019, when he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings. In his last outing this season, Carrasco gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Like Urquidy, Garcia has also never faced the Mets in his career. The only current Met with an at-bat against Garcia is Mark Canha, who is 2-for-4 with one home run against him. In his last outing against the Rangers, Garcia gave up two runs in six innings.
This short series is going to be an interesting one. The pitching matchups are close to even, and both teams are solid offensively. Since anything can happen in a short series, it wouldn’t be surprising to see either the Mets or the Astros sweep both games, or to see them split the series.