The Tampa Bay Rays offense broke out in game three against the New York Yankees to avoid the sweep. The Rays sit at 20-19 and fourth in the American League East but only three games out of first.
The Rays will host the other team from New York City this weekend. The New York Mets lead the National League East with a 18-13 record.
Friday 7:10 PM: David Peterson vs Tyler Glasnow
Saturday 1:10 PM: Joey Lucchesi vs Shane McClanahan
Sunday 1:10 PM: Marcus Stroman vs Ryan Yarbrough
The Mets have been carried by their pitching. As a staff they have a 2.89 ERA/2.88 FIP/3.34 xFIP. Unfortunately Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in MLB, was placed on the Injured List earlier this week and won’t pitch this weekend. Neither will Taijuan Walker who has been one of the best free agent signings.
David Peterson was the Mets first round draftpick, 20th overall, in the 2017 draft out of the University of Oregon. He’s been fine over his first 75.2 MLB innings with a 4.16 ERA/4.56 FIP/4.43 xFIP. This year he has an elevated ERA and FIP thanks to a ridiculous 33.3% HR/FB rate. The good news is he doesn’t allow many fly balls (22.7% flyball rate), so that has only translated to five homers. His strikeout rate has surged to 28.6% but he’s had trouble finding the zone consistently with a 9.8% walk rate. The left hander throws a 92.3 mph sinker as his primary pitch just over 40% of the time. He’ll add a 92.3 mph four-seam fastball to approach 60% fastball usage. He throws a 82.2 mph slider roughly 25% of the time to batters of either hands. He will throw a 83.7 mph changeup to right handed batters.
The Mets acquired Joey Lucchesi as a third party in the Joe Musgrove trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates to San Diego Padres. Lucchesi has moved to the rotation due to Mets injuries. In 14.0 innings he has a 7.71 ERA/4.10 FIP/4.45 xFIP. He’s posted a strong 23.4% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate. Lucchesi’s primary pitch is a 90.7 mph sinker that he throws over 60% of the time. He’ll add in a 77.7 mph curveball around 35% of the time. He will sprinkle in a 90.6 mph cutter that he’s thrown just over 3% of the time in 2021.
Marcus Stroman has come back strong after missing the 2020 season due to a combination of injury and opting out. Over 40.2 innings he’s posted a 1.99 ERA/3.13 FIP/3.22 xFIP. He’s striking out 20.7% of batters while walking 5.5% of batters. Both of those numbers are slightly better than his career rates. Stroman’s primary pitch is a 92.6 mph sinker that he throws around 45% of the time. He will very rarely throw a 93.5 mph four-seam fastball, 87.8 mph split finger changeup, or 80.8 mph curveball that have combined to account for just over 10% of his pitches. His secondary pitch of choice is a 86.2 mph slider that he will throw mostly to right handed batters but will throw them against left handed batters at a far lower frequency. A 90.8 mph cutter is his second pitch against left handed batters.
The Mets have the lowest scoring offense in the league.
The Mets offense was one of the strongest in baseball in 2020, but this year hasn’t gotten off to a good start. The Mets are hitting .238/.330/.350. The .330 OBP is strong but the .111 ISO is the lowest in baseball. The 111 runs scored is the lowest in baseball at 3.58 runs per game compared to the Rays 163 runs and 4.17 runs per game. It has been enough to put wins on board due to very strong pitching.
University of Florida star and Tampa native who went to Plant High School Pete Alonso has been the most effective hitter with a .259/.372/.462 line and 137 wRC+. He leads the team with five homers and is the only player with more than three.
Elsewhere, Brandon Nimmo has a 151 wRC+ and JD Davis has a 201 wRC+, but both are currently on the Injured List. Michael Conforto (112 wRC+) and Jeff McNeil (103 wRC+) have provided help but haven’t lived up to expectations.
The Francisco Lindor era has gotten off to a rough start. He’s hitting .202/.321/.275 and putting up a 78 wRC+. Although he has started to heat up with a six game hitting streak that he’s hit .400/.500/.600 over his last 27 plate appearances.
The offensive addition they made in free agency with a four year commitment to catcher James Mccann hasn’t gotten off to a good start. He’s hitting .200/.261/.235 and putting up a 45 wRC+.
This offense should start hitting, but right now they have under performed as a group.
Key to Success: Keep the Mets off the board.
The Rays pitching staff have been great after a slow start to the year. If they can keep the Mets off the board like they did to the Yankees offense the Rays will be in position to win the series.