Series #18: Revenge On The Mets

Series Quick Look
Friday, June 2, 7:10PM
Saturday, June 3, 7:15PM
Sunday, June 4, 1:10PM
at Citi Field, New York, NY

The Pirates (24-30) will face the Mets (23-28). Both teams have struggled to meet expectations as both teams have been without a large chunk of their roster. This will be the second time these two teams face each other this year. The Pirates are 10-17 on the road while the Mets are 13-16 at home. The Pirates come into this game winning just four of their last 10 whereas the Mets who have also struggled mightily recently are entering winning half of their games in their last 10. After playing each other a series ago where the Mets took two out of three, neither team has done anything to show they are a playoff team. With the National League looking very weak at this present time both of these teams could use this series to boomerang theirselves into the Wild Card talks.

ALL-TIME RECORD: Pirates lead 383-351
Last matchup…May 26-28 2017. Pirates lost two out of three that series in New York, being outscored 19-8.

About the Mets:
The Mets finished second in the NL East last year with a record of 87-75. This offseason, they stood about as pat as you could by not signing one player to their 40-man roster (imagine that). With all injuries they faced last year, they felt they would have quite the addition by simply getting those key players back. Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Lucas Duda, David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud, missed an enormous amount of time last year. All of these players not named David Wright were slated for a sizable amount of healthy playing time this year. Unfortunately, much like the Pirates past two season, that plan has not held together. Duda, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, d’Arnaud, Seth Lugo, Matz, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes have all seen some time on the DL while Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia seem to be out for most if not the remainder of the season.

If the injuries weren’t bad enough, the guys they do have healthy on the roster are not performing to par. Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson have been battling the Mendoza Line all year. Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman both have ERA’s over 4.90. The bullpen, which has been a staple of this organization, currently holds the 23rd worst ERA and FIP in baseball. If there has been a bright spot, you can say it has been with 24-year-old Michael Conforto who is sporting a 175 wRC+.


6/2: RHP Gerrit Cole (3.65 ERA/4.40 FIP, 108 FIP-) vs.
RHP Matt Harvey (4.95 ERA/5.95 FIP, 141 FIP-)

Gerrit Cole has struggled his past two starts. In his last start he allowed three home runs which has severely hindered him in 2017. The most home runs he allowed before this season was 11 and he has already hit 12 in just 66.2 innings. His 17.1 HR/FB% is almost triple his rate over the past two seasons. Cole is throwing his changeup more this year and very effectively, but his fastball is taking a bit of a hit this year (pun intended). Unlike Cole’s last start, Matt Harvey looked like one of the best in the game. Though he has once been considered that, Harvey has been nowhere near the pitcher the Mets envisioned him to groom into. His achilles heal has also been the home run this year as he has allowed 12 just as Cole. Harvey comes with a 20.7 HR/FB% quite high from his career norm of 9.3%. After enduring quite a few injuries and surgeries it looks like they’re taking quite a toll on him mechanically. Harvey has struggled with his release point and locating his pitches all year.

6/3: RHP Tyler Glasnow (3.36 ERA/3.93 FIP, 95 FIP-) vs.
RHP Robert Gsellman (5.75 ERA/4.36 FIP, 103 FIP-)

I would love to tell you that Tyler keeps making strides to look like a prospect who is going to make it in the bigs. The jury will still be out on that for awhile, but at this time he is simply not getting it done. Even with those moments and string of innings that he has impressed, Tyler has not done much to give his team a chance. He has been very prone to the huge inning and its came in almost every inning this season. If the Pirates are going to find success this year, a lot is going to come down to Tyler finding success or replacing him in this rotation. Gsellman faced a bit of the same expectations this year and also has left them unfulfilled. Last year in 44.2 innings he had a 2.42 ERA with a 2.63 FIP. Gsellman was thrown into the rotation to start the year in hopes of throwing quality innings and holding this rotation together with all the injuries. As you can see by the numbers, he has not succeeded. He isn’t missing many bats with a contact rate of 84.7%.

6/4: RHP Trevor Williams (5.20 ERA/4.61 FIP, 113 FIP-) vs.
RHP Tyler Pill (3.00 ERA/4.71 FIP, 112 FIP-)

Trevor is quite the opposite of Glasnow. Since he became s full time starter he has looked rather good in the rotation. He has started five games this year, though the first one was on very short notice and he lasted just three innings. Since then he has strung off four consecutive starts where he has totaled 21.2 innings. During that span he has a 3.32 ERA (3.27 FIP) while striking out 13 batters while walking only three. Tyler Pill is making just his second start of the season with the depleted Mets on Sunday. Pill owns a 4.41 ERA in the high minors and doesn’t possess an elite strikeout rate. He averages around 90 MPH on his fastball but features more of a sinker/slider combination.

TV (All games): ROOT Sports Pittsburgh and Sportsnet New York (SNY)
Radio (All games): KDKA-FM 93.7

Jung Ho Kang (3B): Restricted List (March 11)—Work visa denied.
Starling Marte (OF): Suspended 80 games (April 18)—Use of PED’s.
Antonio Bastardo (P): 10-Day DL (April 25)—Left quad strain.
Jameson Taillon (P): 10-Day DL (May 6)—Recovering from testicular cancer surgery.
Chris Stewart (C): 10-day DL (May 30)—Strained left hamstring.
Josh Linblom (P): 10-day DL (May 20)—Strained Oblique.

Yoenis Cespedes (OF): 10-day DL (May 25)—Hamstring strain.
Jeurys Familia (P): 60-day DL (May 16)—Arterial clot in his right shoulder.
Seth Lugo (P): 10-day DL (May 16)—Partial UCL tear.
Steven Matz (P): 10-day DL (April 1)—Flexor tendon strain.
Tommy Milone (P): 10-day DL (May 24)—Left knee sprain.
Noah Syndergaard (P): 60-day DL (May 7)—Partial tear in right lat muscle.
David Wright (3B): 60-day DL (April 1)—Right shoulder impingement.

After the Arizona series the Pirates made a bit of a shake up to the bench as they sent Gift Ngoepe back to Indianapolis while also putting Alen Hanson on waivers to freely be picked up by any club who choosing to add him to their 40 man roster. This made way for Max Moroff and Phil Gosselin to be added. Moroff (    ). Gosselin had started the season with the big league roster and batted .138. Since his demotion to Indy he has hit a solid .310/.337/.405 in 90 plate appearances.

The Mets pitching was viewed as a clear strength and possibly the best in baseball. After all the injuries to this team and underwhelming performances, the Mets rotation currently rank 28th in team ERA and 17th in FIP. Harvey has been a bottom 10% pitcher all season while they haven’t really found any answers after deGrom. The bullpen is now without Familia and is lost after Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald. The Mets also give up 1.34 HR/9 which ranks 16th in baseball.

Even though the Mets have struggled this year pitching, they are performing rather well with the sticks. Even with Yoenis Cespedes on the DL for a large portion of the season, the team owns a 99 wRC+ and is ranked in the upper half of the league in home runs. Michael Conforto has returned to an everyday role and proving to everybody that his top prospect status was warranted. Lucas Duda has returned from an injury plagued 2016 season and is second on the team with a 145 wRC+. Another surprise this year is the way Jay Bruce has played since he performed so badly after being traded last year. Bruce currently holds a 118 wRC+ and has also lead the team in RBI’s while hitting the second most home runs.

It wasn’t a great start to the season for John Jaso, but he has been doing very well since regardless of how you think he is doing. He collected his first hit of the season on April 19th and since then all he has done has hit .263/.346/.442 with a 112 wRC+ and a .339 wOBA. These numbers are essentially right in line with his career numbers which is the reason the Pirates handed him a 2 year contract to begin with.

Everyone expected this, right? Last year everyone said Andrew McCutchen was done and then the Atlanta series benching happened. This year was probably even worse to start with and then a benching in Atlanta happened again, though this time much earlier in the season. Cutch mentioned that he has found some issues with his swing and was hard at work on it during that time. As you would have expected (not many of us expected) Cutch has looked amazing since he has come back. In the six games he has played during this time he has slashed .381/.500/.762 with a 226 wRC+ and a .513 wOBA. He has also hit two doubles and two home runs while walking four times.

The Pirates stay home to take on the Diamondbacks and then travel to take on the Mets again.

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