For the Milwaukee Brewers (34-50) 2013 has not gone like anyone wanted it to and they’re on pace to lose quite a few more games. The starting pitching has been a huge problem for the Brew Crew and injuries, especially those to Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, have some big bats out of the line-up. In New York, the Mets (35-46) haven’t exactly played their best ball either, but are hoping to turn it around in a rather soft National League East. The Mets will come to Miller Park to take on the Brewers for a weekend series.
In this Series Six Pack, I talked with staff writer Will DeBoer of Rising Apple, FanSided’s number one page for all things Mets. Will answered a few questions regarding his team, giving us a little insight into their season. Here’s what Will had to say:
Benjamin Orr: Okay, first and foremost, Matt Harvey. This kid is so good and I don’t think even he knows how well he’s pitching. Clearly he and Zack Wheeler are pitchers to build around, but how are the Mets going to try and lock them down?
Will DeBoer: When you say “lock down,” you make it seem like the two of them are threats to leave via free agency, Jose Reyes style. Like you said, both Harvey and Wheeler are the future of this rotation, and they are both under contract until 2019. If all goes according to plan, Harvey and Wheeler will be fully developed into perennial All-Stars by that point and will get David Wright-esque contracts to make them Mets for life. The franchise has emerged from recent financial problems and in the New York market should be able to afford both. Unless, of course, Fred Wilpon runs into another Bernie Madoff, at which point I hope he would sell the team.
Orr: The Mets have a clear problem with their offense as they rank nearly in last across the board in every category. What’s been the problem for them?
DeBoer: The problem is simply that we just don’t have enough good hitters. David Wright is his usual great self and Marlon Byrd has been a pleasant surprise, but aside from them the Mets don’t have much. Daniel Murphy and John Buck were great at the beginning of the season but have since cooled off. Lucas Duda hit for decent power but never with anyone on base, so he has home runs in the teens and RBIs in the twenties. The outfield has been a revolving door of Quadruple-A players. Then, of course, you have Ike Davis, who started out even slower than he did last year and was finally demoted a month ago. Plain and simple, if you can’t score, you can’t win games, and that’s been the Mets’ problem for most of the season.
Orr: Much like the Brewers, the Mets have had a lot of problems with injuries this season. If it has, how has it affected the team’s overall play?
DeBoer: Losing Johan Santana before he threw a single pitch was obviously a big blow, and Jonathon Niese‘s injury is only the latest setback in a disappointing season for him. On the offensive side, Lucas Duda is doing a stint on the DL, as is Ruben Tejada, who himself was on the brink of demotion before he went after Memorial Day. The result is a lot of young guys getting their first crack at major playing time. A lot of them just haven’t cut it, hence the revolving outfield door. But recently we’ve had really outstanding play from guys like Juan Lagares, Josh Satin, and recent pickup Eric Young, Jr. And then there’s Jeremy Hefner, who has come into his own in a rotation he’s only part of because of his teammates’ lack of health. The team’s record and injuries have basically turned the rest of 2013 into glorified tryouts for the future, but I think a lot of Met fans realize this and are okay with it.
DeBoer: Let me just say that I think it was a mistake to trade R.A. Dickey. Men like that, true role models, don’t come around very often. I’ve been rooting for him in Toronto and it pains me that he’s had his struggles, but I much rather would have had him struggling as a Met than a Blue Jay.
That being said, Sandy Alderson got the best possible deal out of the trade, commandeering not only d’Arnaud but pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard and John Buck, who calls a great game. It may be awhile before we see d’Arnaud at Citi Field, however. He broke his foot in April and has only just gotten to take off his boot. A healthy d’Arnaud would have supplanted Buck as the Mets’ starter by now, but given the long road to recovery, we’ll be lucky to see him during September callups. If healthy, expect to see him as New York’s Opening Day catcher in 2014.
Orr: Is there any hope that the Mets can snag a Wild Card spot this season or maybe sneak up in the NL East as Philadelphia and Washington have just been flat out disappointing?
DeBoer: We’re actually celebrating the 40th anniversary of a team that was about as bad around this time and ended up winning the NL pennant. So in that “Ya Gotta Believe!” spirit, I’d say that anything is possible. The Phillies will be sellers at the deadline and the Nationals haven’t been nearly as good as last year, while the Mets have won 11 of their last 18 and seem to finally be getting it together. I give it long odds that New York will be contenders late in the season, but add a quality bat at the trade deadline and it could be a whole new conversation.
The projected pitching match-ups for the Mets against the Brewers:
Once again, I would like to thank Will for taking the time out to answer these questions. Be sure to check out Rising Apple as they have great content about the Mets every day and you can follow them on Twitter too. Good luck to the Mets, but as always, go Brewers!