Flushing, NY- In a rare two-game series at Citi Field, Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets hosted the surging Houston Astros. With a double-digit lead in the American League West division, Jose Altuve and the Astros remain at the top of MLBs power rankings. Similar in Queens as the Mets stand 47-29, leading the NL East by 3 games. However, with summer just starting up, the Atlanta Braves have been firing on all cylinders with a 21-5 record in the month of June. Coupled with the fact that the Braves and Mets have an additional 15 games to be played, Atlanta is steadily creeping in on the division lead set out by New York.
With the Astros and Mets finishing up their season series in Queens on Wednesday afternoon, let’s dive into the matchup results and in depth statistics on key players from both ball clubs.
4-Game Series between Astros and Mets (2 in Houston, 2 in New York)
Tuesday 6/21 @ Houston: Astros win 8-2
Wednesday 6/22 @ Houston: Astros win 5-3
Tuesday 6/28 @ NY: Astros win 9-1
Wednesday 6/29 @NY: Astros win 2-0
Currently in the midst of a 9-game stretch against the New York baseball teams (2 vs Mets, 4 @ Yankees, 2 @ Mets, 1 vs Yankee), the Astros have proven their dominance. Houston has put together a 6-2 record in that span, with one game to go tomorrow night at Minute Maid Park against the Bronx Bombers. Astros ace Justin Verlander said during Wednesday’s postgame, “I don’t think our guys were looking to measure up against anybody. We know how good we are and I don’t think, by any means, we were looking to see how we stacked up. I think we know how we do.”
In his third season managing the Astros, Dusty Baker has proven that he is one of the top managers across MLB. In 2020, Baker set a record as the only manager in MLB history to lead five different franchises to a postseason appearance. Houston contains a blend of winning baseball in all phases: a deep power hitting lineup, elite-caliber starting pitching, a strong bullpen along with star-studded defensive alignments.
Pitching Line on Justin Verlander on Wednesday against New York
8.0IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, BB, 6 K, 101 pitches, 74 strikes
Verlander delivered yet another pitching clinic on Wednesday afternoon. This marked his sixth game of the season without allowing an earned run. In 15 starts on the year, Verlander is 10-3 with a 2.03 ERA, 90 K in 97.1 innings pitched.
OF/DH: Yordan Alvarez, 24-year-old from Las Tunas, Cuba
2022 season statistics: .316 BA, 23 HR, 56 RBI, 75 Hits, .412 OBP
Alvarez is performing to a standard that has his name in the American League MVP discussions. Among AL hitters, he ranks first among the following categories: OPS (1.070) and SLG (.658). Recently, Alvarez and the Astros agreed to terms on a contract extension worth up to $115 million over the next six years (2023-2028).
In the bottom of the 8th inning, Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña and Alavarez appeared to collide into each other on a flyball to short left-field. With both colliding going up for the flyball, Peña took a dangerous fall and Alvarez was struck in the face with Peñas glove. Both Peña and Alvarez left the game and walked off with trainers and coaches by their sides to get further evaluated.
During the postgame, Astros manager Dusty Baker said in regards to the collision and severity of the injuries, “It looked bad… I’m not a doctor, so I don’t want to start guessing on what it is or what it could be. I don’t want to think the worst. I want to think the best. We have to wait to see what it is.”
LHP: Framber Valdez, 28-year-old from Sabana Grande de Palenque, Dominican Republic
In 15 starts so far on the season, Valdez has a record of 8-3 with a 2.65 ERA and 80 K in 95 IP. Valdez ranks third among AL pitchers in IP (95) and tied for 7th in opponents batting average (.212).
RHP: Cristian Javier, 25-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2022 season statistics: 5-3, 2.73 ERA, 81 K in 62.2 IP
Javier was a part of history this past Saturday in the Bronx as the Astros completed a combined no-hitter against the Yankees. Javier pitched 7.0 no-hit innings and had a career-high in strikeouts with 13.
NEW YORK METS
With the 2-0 loss to Houston, this marks the first 3-game losing streak for the Mets all season. Quite impressive since we’re entering Independence Day weekend, which is nearly the 80 games played marked.
When asked about the 3-game spin, Mets manager Buck Showalter said “winning a major league baseball game is hard, regardless of who you’re playing, when and where. These are the best baseball players and pitchers in the world. On any given night someone can be on top of their game and make it real tough on you.” He added, “I think for that to be a note, not too far from the halfway point is good. I just hope we get ahead in the other direction soon.”
Pitching Line Taijuan Walker on Wednesday against Houston
7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB 3 K, 93 pitches, 57 strikes
Against an elite hitting Astros lineup, Walker looked his best all season. His command on setting the tone early on counts was at a premium on Wednesday. “I thought I had everything working today. They (Astros) were being really aggressive. I got a lot of first pitch outs. They were swinging at the two-seam, so we just stuck with the two-seam into the righties… Got a lot of soft contact today, which is good, and the defense behind me was really good,” said Walker during postgame.
OF: Starling Marte, 33-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2022 season statistics: .279 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI
With 8 stolen bases, 13 walks and 74 total hits on the season, Marte has shown to make a productive fit in this Mets lineup with Lindor and Pete Alonso.
RHP: Carlos Carrasco, 35-year-old from Barquisimeto, Venezuela
2022 season statistics: 8-4, 4.85 ERA, 81 K in 81.2 IP
Carrasco began 2022 on an incredible note with a 3.19 ERA in his first six starts; however, has entered a rough stretch as of late. In his last nine starts, Carrasco has a 6.20 ERA with an opponent batting average .310. Ultimately, with the top end of the Mets pitching rotation out with injuries to Jacob DeGrom, Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill, Carrasco must return back to his April pitching form for the Mets to strengthen their division lead.
Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day
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