This Website use Cookies OK

Read more Mets News

Mets prepare for tough nine-game homestand during critical playoff push


Somewhere along the Mets’ incredible 21-6 run from July 12 to August 10, they started dreaming.

The expectations for their dogged team progressed without hesitation. The goal grew bigger, from closing in on the Wild Card to winning the pennant to… the sky’s the limit. Months ago, the Mets considered themselves a playoff team. This week, they finally have the chance to prove it on their home turf.

The Mets (64-60) open a critical nine-game homestand against the Indians (74-51), Braves (74-52) and Cubs (66-58) on Tuesday at Citi Field. It’s a tough schedule that carries no breathers and no breaks. The Mets’ biggest asset, one they will depend on to keep their spirits alive, is the roaring crowd.

"It's going to be tough,” Michael Conforto said. “Hopefully we can continue to get that energy from the fans, from the atmosphere. We really fed off the fans in our past homestand and it allowed us to be energized. It's a huge advantage for us. We gotta keep playing good baseball. We should come out on the winning side.”

The Indians are coming off a four-game series split against the American League-leading Yankees, which was no small task given the Bombers’ league-best 743 runs scored this season. Cleveland finished a tough weekend by keeping pace with the first-place Twins (76-48) in the AL Central.

The interleague pitching matchups at Citi Field will begin with right-hander Shane Bieber (12-5, 3.27 ERA, 200 K) against southpaw Steven Matz (7-7, 4.33 ERA, 109 K) on Tuesday. Next is Adam Plutko versus Marcus Stroman on Wednesday and rookie Aaron Civale against Noah Syndergaard in the finale.

Steven Matz will start things off for the Mets in their upcoming homestand. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

The Mets entered Monday tied with the Brewers and Phillies and two games behind a Wild Card spot. Their backs are against the wall with less than a quarter of the season remaining.

“We know what time of the season it is. It's time to go,” said Pete Alonso, who set a new standard for most NL rookie home runs with his 40th dinger on Sunday. “We just need to keep playing quality baseball and win games. Every game matters a lot. We all recognize that and we just want to play the best that we can every single day.”

Despite Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano and Robert Gsellman sidelined with injuries, the Mets represent one of the hottest teams since the All-Star break. They’ve won nine of their last 11 series, including seven of their last eight. The Mets are batting .294 this month, the third-highest average in MLB.

To top it all off, the Mets’ 34-21 record and .618 winning percentage at home is one of the best in the big leagues. New York has won 10 of its last 11 games at Citi Field.

“Kind of having gone through this before, this is where you want to be,” said newest Met Joe Panik, who helped lead the Giants to a World Championship in 2014. “You're in the hunt, you're in the race, you got two good teams coming in. We're at home, so we have to take care of business. We got the horses on the mound that you need to win. It's just a matter of us going out and playing good ball.”

Following an off day, the Amazin’s enter their 10-day homestand soaring high from an 11-5 rout over the lowly Royals in Kansas City. The win helped split a road trip (3-3) that included one victory and two taxing losses in Atlanta.

“We can’t fall behind against these teams,” Met manager Mickey Callaway said. “We have to grind out every at-bat. Don’t let their starters settle in. It’s going to be a challenge but I feel like we’re up for it, especially against our home crowd who have been unbelievable. We play well at home so we’re ready for this.”