Kansas City's longest winning streak of the season was snapped last night at 9 games when Eric Young launched a walk-off game winning 2 run HR in the bottom of the 11th last night at CitiiField. The Mets (49-58) beat the Royals (54-52) 4-2 capturing the first game of their 3 game series. The good news is that KC's starter Bruce Chen (4-0 2.09), who started the streak several weeks back has a chance to begin a new one this afternoon.
Chen is making his 4th start of the season and will look to stay unbeaten while simultaneously hoping for some run support. The opposition is hitting a paltry .115 during his starts. However Kansas City finds itself still on the fringes of the AL Central race trailing first place Detroit by 7.5 games with 57 games remaining. The left-hander made a quality start as he allowed only two runs runs on three hits and two walks while striking out five over six frames against the White Sox despite resulting in a no-decision. Chen faces a Mets lineup this afternoon that despite an aura of the dramatic has encountered its own struggles offensively as of late. While averaging around 4 runs per game, they are amongst the light hitting teams in the league at .237 collectively with 95 HR. Unfortunately the news looks fairly grim for the club's leading hitter David Wright (.308 15 52) who suffered a hamstring injury last night and may be headed for the DL. Marlon Byrd (.283 17 60) leads the team in production and continues to come up with key hit after key hit especially when it comes to RISP and rallying the troops from seemingly punchless innings. He has bee the cornerstone of the Mets offense while playing pretty stellar defense in the process. After getting off to a fast start, John Buck (.218 14 55) has considerably slowed down leaving Terry Collins platoon options with Anthony Recker. Juan Lagares (.275 2 20) has been productive and given the privilege of an everyday role, but it's inevitable that the struggles of Ike Davis (.180 6 25) and Lucas Duda (.235 11 23) have limited the success rate collectively showing in the standings.
The Mets counter with Jeremy Hefner (4-8 4.21) who has struggled mightily since the ASB, going 0-2 with a 12.34 ERA over that stretch. Originally Carlos Torres was slated to get the start this afternoon however he pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win in the opener. Hefner will look to avenge is misfortunes against a KC lineup that ironically started out the season fairly clutch but could not stay consistent due to ineffective starting pitching. Also averaging around 4 runs per game and hitting .258 collectively, a lack of power remains a season long achilles heel. Only 2 Royals, Eric Hosmer (.286 11 47) and Alex Gordon (.274 10 53) sport double digits in homers. Billy Butler (.278 9 55) has had some quality at bats producing clutch hits and driving in runs, but could likely fall well short of 20 HR. Given it's an interleague series Butler is likely to sit out most of the weekend with no DH. Mike Moustakas (.229 9 25) has hit .304 over the last month, and the club hopes he can provide some consistent offense over the final third of the season. Salvador Perez (.280 4 42) is 6 for his last 17 calling some solid games behind the plate. Lorenzo Cain (.260 4 38) and David Lough (.300 4 23) have also made solid impacts in limited opportunity.
We get a fair price this afternoon at CitiField, which despite the fences being brought in over the offseason still favor the pitchers with the exception down the line in right field. Chen has been dominant over his starting tenure, and will look to maintain his control as these Mets are capable of having productive innings when they put such strings together. They may have to rely on the supporting cast rallying around an injured Wright. At the same time, Hefner is vulnerable to struggle with his control leaving himself open for the opposition to knock him out in the early innings often. We'll take advantage of the low number and look to record pick #50 on the left side, not of course counting our 6 pushes. Best of luck however you play!
Due to the early start, it's possible we may have a second pick this evening, so keep tabs on this thread for those who are interested. GL!