The streaking New York Mets will try to clinch their sixth straight series victory to start the season when they face the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.
The Mets rallied with five runs in the ninth inning Monday for a 5-2 win at St. Louis during the opener of a three-game series.
New York has already registered series wins against the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks (twice) and San Francisco Giants.
“I think our guys are real mature about knowing it’s a great night for our organization, our fans, because of the game, the way it ended, the team we wanted to win won,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said after the comeback victory. “But I think they know there is a lot of baseball and a lots of ups and downs that we have to be ready for.
“But these are games you can reach back for and kind of remember why you do all this.”
The Mets’ Chris Bassitt (2-1, 3.00 ERA) will start Tuesday against the Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks (1-1, 1.29) in a matchup of right-handers.
Bassitt allowed just one run in 12 innings over his first two starts before getting tagged for five runs on eight hits in a 5-2 loss to the Giants on Wednesday.
Bassitt didn’t find consolation in retiring the last seven San Francisco batters he faced.
“This one won’t feel good,” he said. “I’m not going to take any positives from this one.”
Having spent the first seven years of his career in the American League, Bassitt has faced the Cardinals only once. He allowed three runs on four hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings during that appearance in 2019.
Hicks, on the comeback from serious elbow injuries, is continuing his transition from the closer role to the rotation. He threw 27 and 35 pitches in two relief appearances this season, then fired 46 pitches in his first start, a 5-0 loss to the Marlins on Thursday. Hicks gave up a run on two hits in three innings at Miami.
The Cardinals hope Hicks can throw around 60 pitches this time around as he eases into his new role as the team’s No. 5 starter.
It helps that he can pitch with high velocity. Against the Marlins, Hicks, who earned 14 saves in 2019 before needing Tommy John surgery, threw 14 pitches at 100 mph or faster.
“That’s the luxury of being able to sink it at that velocity — a lot of groundballs, a lot of double plays, (that) plays well for what we have behind,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “At that velocity, with as much as that thing is moving downward and in to the right-hander, a lot of groundballs and we do a good job with those.”
Hicks said he hopes that mastering two different sliders will expand his pitch arsenal.
“They’re the same grip,” Hicks told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Just trying to manipulate one to be a little more curveball-like, a slurve. I want more depth, more sweepy.”
The Mets will see Hicks as a starter for the first time. In five career relief appearances against them, Hicks allowed one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings while earning two saves.
–Field Level Media