As the pundits predicted before the season began, the Mets and Padres started a series against each other to close out the first half of the season as two of the hottest teams in baseball.
The sweep in Arizona gave the Mets five straight wins, tying their all-season record. With the summer finals arriving on Friday, three days before the All-Star break, the Mets’ winning streak matched Cincinnati’s soaring major league record.
The Padres sprinted into the weekend with a three-game win streak over the Los Angeles Angels after Thursday’s break. Friday’s crowd of 42,712 was the Padres’ 37th sell-out of the season when Yu Darvish got off to an interesting start to a baseball weekend in San Diego with a match against Justin Verlander. Both teams swung on their own terms and picked up momentum.
“They’re just one of those teams that get in the way of us,” Pete Alonso, the Mets’ only All-Star this season, said calmly at the start of the series on Friday.
And the Padres proved just that on Night 1 of their three-game winning streak, when the Mets won 7-5 in 10 innings to extend their winning streak to six. That is currently the longest record in the majors, and Cincinnati lost to Milwaukee on Friday, making it the second-longest record in club history behind the 10-0 record in 1991, which began in July.
“We need to continue our winning streak,” Verlander said after Friday’s win. “Some games are like yesterday, some games are like today.
“A lot of things don’t seem to go as planned, so it’s nice to see that.”
The high-stakes strain of not wasting the season was evident in Kim Hae-sun’s reaction when he was thrown trying to extend his double to a triple in the seventh inning with one out in a 3-for-3 game. Angered by his own mistake, he kicked his water cooler in the dugout and injured his right big toe, but the Padres rated his condition as mediocre. His absence would be a blow. Kim is a leading hitter and is one of San Diego’s best players. He is four wins ahead of his replacement, according to the Baseball Reference formula, and ranks second among position players in the National League, behind Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr., and in defensive WAR. Standing at the top of all major leaguers.
In many ways, the series began last October when the deafening noise, kaleidoscope of colors and tense tension characterized the Padres vs. It felt like I had resumed from an interruption. Defeated the Mets at Citi Field.
At the time, the future seemed limitless for both teams.
Well, maybe not so much.
Rather, these star-studded teams with exorbitant salaries and high expectations continue to be mirror images of each other. But the image is distorted like a mirror in a fun house.
Despite their recent good performances, the Mets and Padres have done little with a combined salary of over $500 million for the 2023 season. According to Spotrac, the Mets’ total salary is estimated at over $340 million, and the Padres are asking him over $240 million. Despite the prize money, the teams entered the weekend with a 41-46 record, 6.5 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the third wild card spot in the National League.
The Mets’ desperate desire to fix their season was exemplified by shortstop Francisco Lindor as they swept Arizona. He was so ill that he had to miss Wednesday’s game, but he recovered only after receiving an IV because of dehydration. Then he had five for five, two triples and a home run as the Mets beat the leading Diamondbacks 9-0 on Thursday.
Goodbye virus. Hello, are you an optimist?
“We’re going to make something out of this result,” Lindor promised after the game. “The question here is how deep do we go?”
The Padres’ own desperation was evident the night before. They had just returned from what manager Bob Melvin called a “miserable trip” in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, where they went 1-5. With two wins over the Angels, they had a chance to finish their first series sweep of the season. San Diego All-Star closer Josh Hader worked Monday and Tuesday and hasn’t pitched for three straight days since 2021. He turned down the opportunity in San Francisco last month because he was sensitive to abuse after spending time in Milwaukee.
But Hader came in on Wednesday when the Padres were leading 5-3 in the ninth.
“He understands where we are as a team,” Melvin explained afterwards. “So he wanted the ball tonight in a save situation.”
“It was the right situation and we were able to make it happen,” Hader said on Friday. “At the end of the day, it’s all about being healthy. In the long run, it doesn’t matter if you can’t contribute to the team later because of your injury.”
The Padres rotation led the National League with a 39-game quality start through Thursday, but went into the series against the Mets with a much more modest goal of extending their modest winning streak to a season-best four.
219 with runners in scoring position, the lowest in the majors entering Friday’s game, it was difficult to keep up the winning streak. Teams with sluggers like Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis, Jr. are among Oakland (29th, .229), Kansas City (28th, .233) and Detroit (27). 236 batting average).
194 for the Padres in a “close game/close” situation. The Baseball Reference definition defines it as “any at-bat after the seventh inning in which the batting team is either tied, leading by one, or may be tied.” “Run on Deck” – Ranked 29th in the majors until Thursday.
Unsurprisingly, considering those numbers, the Padres were 1-36 after seven innings. Cardiac Kids, they are not.
San Diego is still looking for a good pairing, and on Tuesday parted ways with struggling designated hitter Nelson Cruz and named him the designated hitter. There was no reason to bench both him and Matt Carpenter as veterans, even if one was right-handed and the other left-handed.
It wasn’t the type of move expected from a team that sprinted to the National League Championship Series last October and then lost to Philadelphia. And it showed how much the Padres would have to change if they wanted to get back into contention.
“We have to come out every day and play like it’s our last game,” Bogaerts said.
The Mets and Padres have been so mysterious this summer that each team’s owner delivered the equivalent of a mini State of the Union address within four days of each other.
On June 28, at Citi Field, manager Steven A. Cohen offered public support to manager Buck Showalter and general manager Billy Eppler. He reiterated that he still plans to hire a president of baseball operations. The biggest secret of the game, of course, is that former Brewers chairman David Stearns will likely take on the role after his contract with Milwaukee expires.
In an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune on July 1, Padres owner Peter Seidler endorsed the team’s director of baseball operations AJ Preller, who is under contract through 2026. . “Stable,” he added. And to me, AJ stands out. “
In Friday’s speech, Machado, like Seidler, opted for an optimistic, long-term view.
“When you struggle, everything becomes more special,” Machado said. “Looking back, I went through all this and see how it turned out to be positive.”
Now, perhaps the two most disappointing teams in this game may have one last chance to blow the darkness away by extending the brief glimpse of sunshine in early July. With a deal deadline looming on August 1, Eppler and Preller will soon have to decide whether to be a buyer or a seller.
After going 7-19 in June, the Mets had 17 hits on Thursday night for a total of 32 bases. The Mets put up a crisp, balanced series against a despicable team. Manager Buck Showalter said Arizona is more athletic than anyone the Mets have faced this year.
During the six-game winning streak, the Mets starter posted a 1.80 ERA. Carlos Carrasco pitched his best game of the season on Thursday, while Verlander and Max Scherzer are together in the rotation after injuries and detours. Scherzer was suspended for 10 games for violating the league’s ban on using foreign objects in baseballs.
Verlander has been somewhat erratic in his San Diego start, throwing two earned runs and three walks in six innings, but this season he’s gone six innings or more in seven of his 12 starts.
“Every day is it’s own and we want to build up a solid performance,” said Alonso, who had an early batting practice on his first day in San Diego in preparation for Monday’s Home Run Derby in Seattle. . “Don’t think too much about the future. I just want to focus on winning today.”