Pros/Cons For The Mets In Their Series Rematch With The Royals
These two teams already met on opening day for the start of their World Series grudge matches. Kansas City took the first game 4-3, and the Mets split the series two days later with a 2-0 win of their own. Since then, neither team imagined themselves being in the positions they are now. The World Series champion Royals got off to a slow start this season, but have since caught up to within a game of the AL Central leading Indians. The Mets began peaking in the early months, but injuries and an icy cold offense have landed them 5.5 games back of the NL East leading Nationals.
- Travis d'Arnaud is activated from the DL and batting 8th in the lineup for the Mets. D'Arnaud is the first necessary piece the Mets have gotten back from injury. Travis swings a big bat and will contribute immediately to the lack of offense the Mets have been displaying over the last month. His activation also means the sending down of Kevin Plawecki to Triple-A Las Vegas. I've seen enough of Plawecki for now, maybe even a little too much. His defense is shaky and he's still figuring it out with the bat. Rivera is a much better option to keep on the roster to back up d'Arnaud. He's throwing out a good 36% of runners this year and can hold his own at the plate.
- The Mets are facing Ian Kennedy tonight, who is 5-5 on the year with a 4.17 ERA. Kennedy is the 4th starter in the Kansas City rotation. Kennedy has been good at times this year, but he struggles giving up the long ball. His 16 home runs allowed this year is tied for 3rd most among eligible pitchers around the league. Kennedy has also experienced less success on the road this year. Considering the Mets live and die by the home run, and are playing at home tonight, this matchup seems to be a perfect opportunity to break out of this slump and get a good win against a good team.
- Noah Syndergaard was scheduled to make the start tonight against the Royals, but Terry Collins and the Mets decided to switch his day with Bartolo Colon's. This move was made in order to ensure that Syndergaard would be tossing heat against the division-leading Nationals later this week, and in their other matchup before the All-Star break. This is TEEEEEEECHNICALLY a con considering the Norse God won't be raining thunderbolts down on the Royals lineup tonight. However, it's lowkey a pro as well because any time that overgrown chia pet, Big Sexy, takes the mound you can chalk it up as either a win or something spectacular will happen. Emphasis on the "will".
- The Mets offense is non-existent at this point in the season. Their lineup has been depleted by injuries, but the addition of Travis d'Arnaud will add some pop. Their success stems from the long ball but they need to start focusing on the little things right now. I'm talking small ball here. Base-running has been awful from every angle. Runners are being thrown out and picked off (ie: Flores getting hosed out at home plate with 0 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning during a comeback). And God forbid somebody decides to steal a base here and there. A quality win tonight could build momentum and spirits in the locker room. However, they're going to have to play much smarter on the base paths, and take advantage of the home run prone Ian Kennedy.