Ten of the 26 players on the New York Mets’ roster Saturday weren’t with the team last season. Nor was manager Buck Showalter and most of his coaching staff.
But is history about to repeat itself anyway for the Mets?
New York will look to stay atop the National League East and avoid being swept in a three-game series for the first time this season Sunday night when it hosts the San Diego Padres in the finale of the set.
The Mets’ Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 4.27 ERA), who is seeking his 100th career win, is scheduled to oppose All-Star Joe Musgrove (8-2, 2.42) in a battle of right-handers.
Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to lift the Padres to a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
The loss was the third straight for the Mets, who have been in first place in the NL East for 103 consecutive days. But New York’s lead over second-place Atlanta is down to a half-game after the Braves rolled to a 7-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Last season, the Mets led the NL East for 103 days but finished 77-85 and in third place in the division, 11 1/2 games behind the eventual World Series champion Braves. The 103 days atop a division were the most in history for a team that finished with a losing record.
Finishing above .500 likely shouldn’t be a problem for the Mets, who are 58-37 and began Saturday with a 99.7 percent chance of making the expanded playoffs, per Baseball Reference.
But a suddenly sputtering offense — New York ranks among the bottom six in Major League Baseball in several categories, including batting average, OPS and runs per game, since June 7 — is a short- and long-term worry for a team that looked like a World Series contender.
“They figured out a way to push two across; usually, that doesn’t stand up,” Showalter said of the Padres. “We’ve hit a spot here where (runs are) hard to come by. And I have a lot of confidence that will change.”
The Padres’ confidence might be improving after their fourth win in five games. San Diego had lost 10 of its previous 14.
The win Saturday symbolized the recent formula for the Padres, who have scored more than four runs once in the last five games but have surrendered three runs or less in each contest.
Blake Snell and a quartet of relievers combined on an eight-hit performance on Saturday.
“That one mistake, we were able to take advantage of it, and that’s what good baseball is,” said Machado, who went deep off of Chris Bassitt. “We’ve got to take advantage of those situations, and we’re definitely doing that the last couple of days.”
Carrasco earned the victory in his most recent start July 14, when he threw six scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs.
Musgrove, who threw a scoreless inning for the National League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, will make his first start since July 13. He received a no-decision in that contest after allowing five runs on nine hits in five innings in the Padres’ 10-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Carrasco faced the Padres for the first time in his career June 6, when he earned the win after allowing two runs over seven innings in the Mets’ 11-5 victory.
Musgrove is 1-4 with a 5.63 ERA in five games (four starts) against New York.
–Field Level Media