Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michael Conforto and Jose Reyes
- The Mets, who ended a 1-12 stretch with Saturday night’s win, will look to win two straight on the road for the first time since April 11.
- New York will hand the ball to Zack Wheeler, who has pitched very well on the road in his career.
- The Diamondbacks will counter with Clay Buchholz, who has been a much-needed bright spot in their rotation.
Believe it or not, the Mets won a game Saturday night in Arizona AND scored five runs in the process. It marked only their second win in the month of June, ending an overall 1-12 stretch.
How poorly have the Mets played of late? Well, the Orioles have an abysmal 2-16 record over their past 18 games — and those lone wins came during a two-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field earlier this month. After starting the season 11-1, New York is essentially dead in the NL East race in mid-June. They don’t call them the Amazin’s for nothin’.
The Diamondbacks also had a spectacular start to the season (10-3) before crashing back down to earth in mid-May with a horrid 1-13 streak — which included a sweep at the hands of the Mets. However, they’ve recovered to win 13 of 18 since. And unlike the Mets, the Snakes still find themselves in first place in their division.
Let’s take a closer look at today’s late afternoon matchup to see if the Mets can win two straight on the road for the first time since April 11.
New York Mets (+123) at Arizona Diamondbacks (-133) | O/U:9
Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.98 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (1-1, 3.21 ERA)
4:10 p.m. ET
Surprise Snake: What a find by the Diamondbacks brass to help a rotation that lost Taijuan Walker for the year and Robbie Ray (who just made a rehab start) for an extended period. Through five starts, the ex-Red Sox Buchholz has a very impressive 3.21 ERA, which includes five innings of two-hit, one-run ball against the Mets. While he hasn’t compiled promising strikeout numbers, there are two positive signs in particular:
- He has demonstrated fantastic control thus far, as illustrated by his 1.61 BB/9 — about half his career average. Only four qualified starters have a lower BB/9 rate this season.
- His cutter has looked fantastic, which is important since he doesn’t feature a huge arsenal of strikeout stuff.
With that said, he has benefited from some good fortune — namely a .247 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) and 77.9% strand rate. (For comparison, Buchholz has a career .288 BABIP and 71.2% LOB%.) Given this luck and his lack of plus pitches outside of the cutter, don’t expect Buchholz to continue this level much longer — if he can even stay in the rotation as the D-backs get healthier. — Stuckey
Road Wheeler: Bettors, fantasy players and just Mets fans in general have cringed at Wheeler’s 36 career home starts. However, his road starts have been a much better story.
That trend has continued this season, as Wheeler has an 0-4 record in six starts at Citi Field, while going 2-1 in six road starts. Wins and losses don’t always tell the whole story for a pitcher, but he has a significantly better road WHIP (1.37 vs. 1.51) and BAA (.244 vs. .285) in 2018.
Not surprisingly, Wheeler has had success in three career starts at Chase Field, where he owns a 2-0 record and 1.93 ERA over 18.1 innings.
The man simply doesn’t enjoy pitching in New York, where he is by far the Mets’ least profitable starter since coming into the league. Jeremy Hefner (-6.8 units) is the second-worst home starter over that period. — Evan Abrams
Digging for Gold: Paul Goldschmidt has TURNED IT ON recently, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the fantasy markets. I used FantasyLabs’ trends tool to look at his performance split differential for May and June on DraftKings.
- May: -2.7 Plus/Minus, 24% consistency, 8% upside, 4.6% ownership
- June: +6.8 Plus/Minus, 64% consistency, 42% upside, 15.7% ownership
Arizona’s stud first baseman has simply dominated this month — and it hasn’t been a fluke. Over the past 15 days, he’s posted an average exit velocity of 100 mph, batted-ball distance of 277 feet and hard-hit percentage of 70%. Each of those three metrics grades out within the top one percentile in our database. He won’t be cheap for good reason, but it’ll still be hard to fade Goldy in DFS. — Mark Gallant
Road Hazard: After pulling out a win in Arizona on Saturday night, New York will now close its four-game set against the Diamondbacks. The Mets opened the season with a 6-0 road record following a win, but have gone 0-9 since. In those last nine losses, they’ve been outscored by an average of 4.7 runs per game. New York is the only team without a win in this spot since the streak started April 19. — Evan Abrams
Unprecedented Fall: Remember when the Mets started the season 12-2? Me neither. After Friday night’s loss, New York dropped to 10 games under .500 — becoming the fastest team in MLB history to go from 10 games over .500 to 10 games under .500. The offense deserves a lot of the blame, as the Mets scored three or fewer runs in 11 straight games before Saturday night. — John Ewing
Stats via FantasyLabs, FanGraphs, MLB.com and Baseball Reference