New York Mets right-hander Chris Bassitt will take the mound Friday for the first time in 13 days, perhaps carrying a little bit of extra anger and motivation that he went so long between starts.
Bassitt comes off the COVID-19 injured list to face the visiting Miami Marlins in the second of a four-game set between the National League East rivals.
The Mets rolled to a 10-0 win on Thursday, when Trevor Williams allowed just two hits over seven innings and J.D. Davis hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs.
Bassitt (6-5, 4.01 ERA) is slated to face Marlins right-hander Pablo Lopez (5-4, 2.97).
The Mets will have to make a roster move prior to first pitch to create room for Bassitt, who was placed on the COVID-19 list hours before his scheduled start against the Texas Rangers on July 1.
Bassitt said Thursday he was never symptomatic outside of feeling sluggish on June 29, when the Mets completed a two-game series against the visiting Houston Astros. The 33-year-old said he tested to be safe because he has a young daughter at home and he wanted to be proactive for his teammates. But he also expressed frustration at the positive result that forced him to miss the start against the Rangers.
“It’s ridiculous we’re still doing it,” Bassitt said, referring to the COVID protocols in Major League Baseball. “Stop testing it. Stop acting like COVID is far worse than a lot of other things. I’m not trying to get too much into it, but I was never sick, never had a symptom. So sitting out for two weeks or a week for zero symptoms, I don’t know.”
This will mark the third straight start in which Bassitt has opposed the Marlins. He took a loss on June 19 when he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings, then earned a win on June 25 after yielding three runs over seven innings. Those were the only two times he has faced Miami in his career.
Lopez is aiming to snap a mini-slump for both himself and Miami, which has dropped two straight following a six-game winning streak. A 5-2 defeat against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday cost the Marlins a chance to climb back to .500 for the first time since they were 12-12 following the games of May 4.
The Marlins had just two baserunners and sent only 28 batters to the plate on Thursday. Miguel Rojas doubled in the third inning. Jesus Aguilar singled off the glove of second baseman Jeff McNeil in the seventh before right fielder Starling Marte easily threw him out trying to turn the hit into a double, ending the inning.
“That’s probably not the wisest decision,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the lumbering Aguilar — listed at 6-feet-3, 277 pounds. “It’s one of those games you get frustrated. You do things you don’t want to do, but it’s one game.”
Lopez had a 4-2 record and 1.83 ERA through the end of May, but he is 1-2 with a 4.89 ERA in his six subsequent starts. He allowed two runs or fewer three times in the latter span — including Sunday, when he didn’t factor into the decision after giving up two runs over 6 1/3 innings in the Marlins’ 7-4, 10-inning win over the Washington Nationals.
He surrendered at least four runs in his other three outings since the start of June.
Lopez is 2-3 with a 4.99 ERA in seven starts against the Mets, including a loss on June 17 when he yielded seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media