The Mets begin a three-game set with the Brewers on Tuesday at Citi Field. The Brewers lead the AL Central by five games over the Cardinals and have the second-best record in the National League. The Mets enter play five and a half games back of Atlanta and Washington, which are tied for the NL East lead.
Here’s what to watch for in this series:
OPPOSING PITCHER SCOUTING REPORT
TIME: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
PITCHER: Marco Estrada, RHP (4.19 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)
THE SKINNY: Estrada has allowed at least three earned runs in eight of his last 10 starts. He throws a fastball that averages 88.6 mph, a curveball and changeup. Pitching at spacious Citi Field could be a nice break for him. Estrada has already allowed 18 home runs in 73 innings. He’s given up a home run in 11 of his 12 starts, including four against the Marlins on May 23.
METS STARTER: Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (3.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
TIME: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
PITCHER: Wily Peralta, RHP (3.03 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
THE SKINNY: Peralta had a 2.12 ERA after his 10th start of the season. But his last two games raised that mark nearly an entire run — Peralta allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs and four runs against the Twins. Peralta struck out 39 and walked 10 during his first eight games, displaying excellent control. But he’s regressed to 19 strikeouts against 11 walks during his last four games. Peralta relies heavily on a fastball that averages 95.4 mph and also uses a slider frequently. He throws a few changeups.
METS STARTER: Jacob deGrom, RHP (3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)
TIME: Thursday, 7:10 p.m.
PITCHER: Kyle Lohse, RHP (3.27 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
THE SKINNY: Lohse is coming off his worst start of the season — eight earned runs in five innings against the Pirates. He mixes a fastball that averages 89.6 mph with a slider, curve and changeup. Lohse won’t overpower hitters, but he displays excellent control, walking only 14 in 88 innings.
WILL FACE: Jon Niese, LHP (2.68 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
WELCOME BACK, FRANKY
Francisco Rodriguez saved 83 games for the Mets from 2009-11 before being traded to the Brewers. Rodriguez set the single-season saves record with 62 in 2008 and led the American League in saves three times during his career. But he had been relegated to set-up work for the most part with the Brewers and Orioles in 2012 and 2013, amassing just 13 saves. He’s back at closer now for the Brewers and already has 19 saves. His 2.08 ERA is his lowest since 2006.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Carlos Gomez showed some speed and potential with the Mets before he was traded to Minnesota in the Johan Santana deal, and was much the same player when the Twins shipped him to Milwaukee before the 2010 season. It took him some time to mature, but in the past two seasons Gomez has been one of the best centerfielders in baseball. He comes into this series batting .307 with a .376 on-base percentage, 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases.
Since he’s been moved to the pen, Jenrry Mejia has six saves in 13 games and a 3.55 ERA. But his last four games have been troubling. In 2.1 innings, Mejia has allowed seven hits, three walks and five earned runs. He’s only struck out two.
Lucas Duda sunk to a .228 average and .305 OBP following a game against Arizona on May 25. He’s picked up his performance since, going 12-for-42 (.286) in 14 games (12 starts). Perhaps more impressive, eight of those 12 hits have gone for extra bases, including three home runs. He’s also walked 11 times and struck out only nine during that span.
A GRAND RECOVERY
Curtis Granderson’s rough start to the season was so bad that even Jason Bay could probably sympathize. Granderson was hitting .116 with a .225 OBP and one home run after a loss to the Cardinals on April 22. He’s looked far more like the player the Mets thought they were getting in his 42 games since, posting a .270 average, .379 OBP and .459 slugging percentage (seven home runs).
The Mets are 12-9 when catcher Anthony Recker starts behind the plate and they’re 8-3 when he starts a game at Citi Field.
Eric Campbell has at least one hit in seven of the eight games he’s started. He’s hitting .323 with a .353 OBP and .452 slugging percentage as a starter. He’s only a .250 hitter as a sub, but two of his three hits are doubles and he’s posted a .375 OBP off the bench.