The New York Metropolitans come into town with the Pirates on a skid having lost their last five of six games and last three series. The series opener is set for tonight at 7:05PM from PNC Park.
If you can think of a more recent mismatched three pitching probables between two teams above .500, I’d love to hear it because this series is a doozy. The 30-26 Pirates will face the Mets three best starters—Steven Matz (tonight), Jacob deGrom and then Noah Syndergaard, while the Pirates counter with arguably their three worst starters so far this season in Niese, Nicasio and Liriano. Will we see Jameson Taillon get called up sometime this series? Stay tuned.
Tonight, the 31-24 Mets bring Matz to the hill and his 2.60 ERA and 2.85 FIP, 8.6 K/9 in 55 innings of work. He doesn’t very many and doesn’t give up a ton of hits or home runs. Pirates will hopefully make him at least work hard, get the pitch count up and get into the Mets bullpen.
Meanwhile Jon Niese will make his first start against his former team after being dealt to Pittsburgh for Neil Walker in the offseason. Walker will return to his hometown for the first time since being dealt and after making some questionable comments about his time with the Pirates organization. I don’t read too much into the comments made by Neil and it’ll be interesting to see if any dummies boo him tonight in his return to the North Shore.
Hopefully Niese will be even more motivated to shut down his former team and he’s been better as of late with a 2.64 ERA in his last five starts (30 innings), but has still been susceptible to the long ball, which is something the Mets can do frequently.
Could this be a preview of the wildcard game come October with the Pirates vs Mets? It certainty could be with the Mets chasing the Nationals and the Cubs flying away with the NL Central.