NEW YORK METS (31-38)
at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (37-32)
First pitch: Monday, 8:10 p.m. ET
Line: St. Louis -150, New York +140, Total: 7.5
After a series sweep of the Nationals, the Cardinals attempt to keep winning in the midst of a 10-game stretch against NL East teams when they host the Mets on Monday night.
New York is coming off a two-games-to-one series win over the Padres, but is only 3-9 in its past 12 contests. Over that stretch, the Mets have been swept by both the Cubs and Giants on the road. Sunday’s series-clinching win was impressive though, as starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was able to go just one inning due to illness while the bullpen picked him up with eight innings of four-hit, one-run pitching en route to a 3-1 victory. Forty-year old OF Bobby Abreu (.308 BA) has been a nice addition for this team, and had a big RBI double in that game as part of going 7-for-16 with 4 RBI in his past five contests. St. Louis has been hot of late with wins in six of its past seven games, but still sits 3.5 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central division. The Cards dominated Nationals this weekend, getting the sweep in three games while outscoring them 10-3. St. Louis finished off the sweep with a 5-2 victory on Sunday afternoon as a solid pitching performance by starter Jaime Garcia (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6 K’s), who was backed by homers from 1B Matt Adams and OF Matt Holliday. Adams (.327 BA) has been back just three games since coming off the DL, but has homered in each one while going 4-for-11 with 4 RBI. Taking the mound for the Mets in this one will be 25-year-old RHP Jacob deGrom (0-3, 3.44 ERA) who is still looking for his first MLB victory in his seventh career start. On the other side of the diamond, the Cardinals will give 22-year-old RHP Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.67 ERA) a spot start, as ace Adam Wainwright was scratched with elbow tendinitis. The Mets have had similar records both home and away while going 15-18 in away games this year while St. Louis is a solid 19-14 in front of the hometown faithful this season. This matchup has been as even as can be over the past three seasons with the clubs splitting 18 games (9-9), but the Cardinals hold a 5-2 advantage at Busch Stadium in that time. These teams have already played four times this year, with the Mets taking 3-of-4 at home. While New York has not been the best team since the start of last year, it is actually nearly .500 (56-58) in road games over that time. Meanwhile, St. Louis is a tremendous 20-3 (.870) against NL East opponents at home over the past two seasons. In injury news, the Mets will continue to be without OFs Juan Lagares (ribs) and Eric Young (hamstring), while the Cardinals’ offense is now healthy.
Jacob deGrom has been a great surprise for the Mets this season, as he was coming off a season in Triple-A last year where he went 4-2 with a 4.52 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 14 starts. He pitched his way onto the big league club with a 2.58 ERA over seven minor league starts this year and has had a quality start in 4-of-6 MLB outings so far. His control has not been there (3.9 BB/9), but he has been able to counter this by leaving 82.1% of batters on base. He took on the Brewers his last outing, pitching only 5.2 frames while allowing three runs and 10 base-runners (9 hits, 1 walk) with four strikeouts. It was his third loss of the season and dropped New York to 1-5 in his half-dozen starts. deGrom has yet to face the Cardinals in his young career, but he will need to be careful when facing OF Jon Jay (.300 BA) who is 11-for-29 (.379) with six runs over his last 10 games played. On the other hand, 3B Matt Carpenter is just 2-for-18 over his past five games while C Yadier Molina is a mere 6-for-39 (.154) with six strikeouts over his past 10 contests, and has seen his average drop from .305 to .283 in that time. New York’s bullpen has gone 12-17 with a strong 3.41 ERA and 1.39 WHIP this season, but has earned a save in only 16-of-27 (59%) opportunities. Jenrry Mejia (4.36 ERA, 7 saves) is 7-for-8 in his save chances since being converted to the closer role, and he has a 16:6 K/BB ratio in 14.1 relief innings.
Carlos Martinez was a top prospect in the Cardinals system as a starter for three years before making his way to the major league team as a reliever. In 13 starts at Triple-A last season, Martinez went 5-3 with an impressive 2.51 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, while striking out 8.3 batters per nine innings; but struggled with his control (3.6 BB/9). This will be his second major league start as he gave up four runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings last year in his first career start. As a reliever this season, he has continued to have control issues (3.6 BB/9), but has given up just two home runs in 34.2 innings on the mound. He has not gone against the Mets as a starter before and has faced only five batters in a relief role, striking out three of them without allowing a run or a hit. Infielder Daniel Murphy (.299 BA) has been hot and could give Martinez some trouble, going 11-for-34 (.324) with two doubles, two homers, 5 RBI and eight runs over his past nine games. On the other side of things, superstar 3B David Wright (.262 BA) is a horrendous 5-for-44 (.114) with eight strikeouts in the month of July (14 games). The Cardinals’ relievers have combined to go 6-11 with a 3.62 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while converting 21-of-31 (68%) saves this year. Closer Trevor Rosenthal (3.55 ERA, 20 saves) has gone 20-for-23 in save chances while striking out 43 batters in 33 IP, but has also walked 19 batters in that time.