Petco Park, San Diego, CA
The New York Mets have always had the pitching. It’s a matter of health for them. This year, the health has not been an issue.
The Mets are off to a quick start [15-7] to lead the NL East, and although they have had some timely hitting, it is clear this team is led by their pitching staff.
The San Diego Padres are coming off of a 2-4 road trip against two division foes. They will look to right the ship back at home.
Jacob deGrom looks to continue what has been a great start to the 2018 season. The 29-year-old right-hander has been someone who can be consistently counted on by the Mets organization. He will take the ball in game one and will look to build on his 11.25 K/9 against a team prone to strike out.
Clayton Richard will get the nod for the Padres in Game 1. The Padres will need Richard to go longer than five innings, something he has not been able to do since he took the ball on Opening Day.
Jason Vargas will make his first start of 2018. The veteran signed a two-year, $16 million deal to pitch for New York. He was signed in the off-season as depth for the injury-plagued Mets, only to start the season on the DL.
Joey Lucchesi has been arguably the most talked about Padre in the early part of the season. The rookie hurler has been the biggest surprise of the season and he will look to bounce back from a tough luck start against the Diamondbacks.
Zack Wheeler and injury have become synonymous, so the fact that the right-hander has pitched at all, let alone well, must be a sigh of relief for Mets fans. His last start was the first time all year he did not get a quality start.
Bryan Mitchell has not been as advertised so far in the early season. The Padres went out on a limb to grab this pitcher from the New York Yankees in the hope that he would produce at a high level. That has not happened yet. His battle with command, 6.84 BB/9, has become a frustrating thing to watch. He will look to break his early-season trend on Sunday.
Hitters to Watch:
Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM): The Mets veteran infielder has gotten off to a hot start, hitting .349 to lead the league in average. He has been a consistent presence in the Mets’ lineup and will look to continue his early-season streak.
Yoenis Cespedes (NYM): Conversely, Mets star Céspedes has started off slowly to being the season. His .636 OPS is almost 200 points lower than his career total of .821. He will look to right the ship against a couple of the Padres’ lefties.
Adrian Gonzalez (NYM): The Eastlake High School graduate will return to Petco Park for the first time as a New York Met. His season has not gotten off to the best start, but the return to San Diego may possibly change that.
Franchy Cordero (SD): For no other reason than the fact that when Franchy makes contact, he hits the ball harder than most of the league. The big left-hander is averaging 98.92 exit velocity in the early season and has been a little unlucky with a .280 BABIP. Look for Cordero to do something special in this weekend series.
Christian Villanueva (SD): The third baseman has started the year hot and is hitting .480 in his last seven games. If he is able to play (he is dealing with a nagging leg injury), the rookie third baseman should bring a much-needed bat back into the Padres’ lineup.
Wil Myers (SD): Wil Myers is back at home for the first time since he sustained his injury that put him on the 10-day DL. He is coming off of two multi-hit games in the three-game series against Colorado and will look to continue this in front of the home crowd.