Friday, June 2, 2023
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (32-12) at New York Mets (21-23)


ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN NEW YORK — The Rays held leads of 5-2 in the ninth inning and 7-5 in the 10th but were unable to stave off the Mets in an 8-7 extra-inning defeat on Wednesday in New York…CF Jose Siri (1-for-5, HR, RBI, R) homered for the second straight game in the seventh frame before 2B Brandon Lowe (2-for-3, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 2R, 2BB) halted a 15-game homerless drought with a go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie…RF Josh Lowe (2-for-5, 2B, RBI, R, BB, SB), who started in the lead-off spot for the fourth time in his career, and 1B Isaac Paredes (2-for-5, 2B, RBI) both recorded RBI-doubles in the loss.

LHP Josh Fleming (5.0IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 2SO) made his second start of the season, working 5.0 scoreless frames…it marked his first start of 5.0+ scoreless innings since 5/16/21 vs. the Mets (5.0IP, H, 0R, 5SO).

Rays relievers were charged with three blown saves in the loss…it matched the bullpen’s most blown saves in a game in club history (3x, also: 5/20/22 at BAL & 9/25/03 vs. TOR).

EASY FOR ISAAC — On the heels of a 2-for-28 (.071) skid from 4/14-23, Isaac Paredes is slashing .379/.453/.636 (25-for-66) with eight doubles, 3 HR and 18 RBI over his last 20 games…he ranks among qualified MLB leaders in that span (since 4/24) in average (1st), OBP (3rd), OPS (3rd, 1.089) and SLG (6th)…it marks his highest batting average and on-base pct. over any 20-game span in his career.

Paredes has a pair of 5+ RBI games this season (4/27 at CWS & 5/16 at NYM), joining BAL Ryan Mountcastle and TEX Adolis García (2G each) as only major leaguers with multiple such games in 2023.

SIGNS OF LIFE — With a pair of extra-base hits yesterday, Brandon Lowe has recorded multiple hits in back-to-back games for the first time since 8/4-5, 2022 at Detroit… following a 2-for-43 (.047) slump from 4/28-5/12, Lowe has hit safely in four straight games, batting .462 (6-for-13) with two doubles, one HR, three walks and 4 RBI in that span…during the streak (since 5/13), Lowe’s 5.00 pitches per plate appearance are tied with KC Michael Massey and KC MJ Melendez for the major league lead (min. 15PA).

TAKE FIVE — The Rays have scored 5+ runs in each of their last six games, their second-longest streak of the season behind an eight-game run from 4/1-9…all other major league clubs have combined for three such streaks streaks of 6+ games in 2023 (ARI, ATL, BOS).

The Rays have 11 players with 5+ home runs this season, most in the majors, ahead of San Francisco (8 players)…per Elias, Tampa Bay is the first team in MLB history to have 10 or more players with 5+ home runs before reaching the 50-game mark in a season.

Isaac Paredes’ 5-RBI game on 5/16 at New York-NL marked the fourth individual instance of a Rays hitter recording 5+ RBI this season, tied with Texas for most in MLB…in 2022, the Rays saw just one such performance (Randy Arozarena, 6RBI on 9/23/22 vs. TOR).

BAG BANDITS — The Rays swiped seven stolen bases in yesterday’s loss, marking just the third time in club history Tampa Bay has recorded 7+ steals in a game (also: 8SB on 5/3/09 vs. BOS; 7SB on 9/16/11 at BOS)…Tampa Bay has been successful on each of its last nine stolen base attempts, its longest streak since swiping 11 straight from 4/29-5/2…the Rays 22 stolen bases in May are most in MLB, ahead of Boston and Milwaukee (16SB each).

Wander Franco (2G) and Taylor Walls (2G) are two of eight AL players to record multiple games with 2+ stolen bases this season.

FIRST FRAME FEATS — The Rays are outscoring opponents 36-11 (+25) in the first inning this season, the best first-inning run differential in the majors, ahead of Atlanta (+18)… Tampa Bay hitters lead MLB in several major categories in the opening frame, including average (.313), OBP (.394), OPS (.966), hits (57) and runs scored (T1st, 36)…meanwhile, Rays pitchers have the lowest opponents’ average (.187) and second-lowest ERA (2.25) behind Miami (1.88) in the first inning.

When the Rays score in the opening frame, they have posted a 15-3 mark, including a 14-game winning streak in those contests to open the season.

INTERLEAGUE RUNDOWN — The Rays 9-2 (.818) mark against NL clubs signals the best Interleague record in MLB, ahead of Detroit (10-3, .769)…Tampa Bay is outscoring NL foes, 72-35 (+37), and has held the opposition to two or fewer runs in seven of its 11 Interleague contests…following a seven-game losing streak from 6/28-8/10, 2022, Tampa Bay has won 11 of its last 13 Interleague matchups dating back to 8/30/22.

Rays pitching has recorded a 2.84 ERA (98.1IP, 31ER) against the NL, the fifth-lowest Interleague ERA in the majors…this includes a 1.65 ERA (49.0IP, 9ER) by Tampa Bay starters.

Meanwhile, Rays hitters are slashing .283/.353/.545 with 26 homers against the NL…they pace the majors in Interleague AVG, SLG and OPS (.897).

THE BAY BOMBERS — The Rays have hit a major league-best 86 home runs, the third-most long balls through a club’s first 44 games in MLB history (since 1901), trailing only the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals (92HR) and 1999 Seattle Mariners (87HR)…the 2000 Cardinals also hold the record for most homers through 44 games (94HR), followed by the 1999 Mariners (91HR) and 2019 Minnesota Twins (87HR).

Tampa Bay has out-homered opponents 86-39 (+47)…its 39 homers allowed are fourth-fewest in the majors…the Rays have gone deep in 39 of 44 games.

The Rays have an MLB-best 25 multi-homer games, ahead of Los Angeles-NL (21G)… this includes 14 games with 3+ homers, most in the majors.

Tampa Bay’s 26 go-ahead home runs lead the AL and trail only Angeles-NL (27) for the MLB lead…60 of the Rays 86 total homers (69.8%) have been solo shots.

LEADING THE PACK — The Rays pace the majors in runs scored (275) while surrendering the fewest runs (153)…Tampa Bay’s +122 run differential is the seventh-best mark through the first 44 games of a season in MLB history (since 1901), including the best since the 1939 New York Yankees (+139).

BATTER UP — Rays hitters lead MLB in batting average (.275), OBP (.350), SLG (.509), OPS (.859), homers (86), extra-base hits (176), total bases (768) and at-bats per HR (17.56). IN THE BIG APPLE—With a win today, the Rays will secure their fourth consecutive series victory at Citi Field…Tampa Bay has won five of six, eight of 10, and 10 of its last 13 matchups with New York-NL…the two clubs last met from 5/14-16, 2021 when the Rays recorded a three-game sweep at Tropicana Field.

The Rays are 9-8 all-time at Citi Field and have won each of their last three series in this venue dating back to 2009, going 7-4 in that span.

TALKIN’ TAJ — Tampa Bay’s No. 1 prospect and the No. 18 prospect in baseball ( will make his fourth career start today vs. New York NL, including his second road outing…went 7-4 with a 2.57 ERA (133.1IP, 38ER) over 28 starts between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham in 2022…was selected by the Rays in the fifth round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

BIG LEAGUE DEBUT — Bradley earned the win in his major league debut after tossing 5.0 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts…fanned Rafael Devers in the first inning for the first strikeout of his career…became the third player to make their big league debut for the Rays this season, joining RHP Kevin Kelly on 4/1 vs. Detroit and RHP Braden Bristo on 4/13 vs. Boston.

SMOOTH SAILING — Bradley improved to 3-0 to begin his major league career after tossing 5.0 innings on 4/24 vs. Houston, allowing three runs on four hits and two home runs with no walks and six strikeouts. Ê Bradley’s 23 strikeouts are the second most by any Rays pitcher through their first three career appearances, trailing only Chris Archer (25, 6/20-9/8, 2012)…the franchise record for most strikeouts through four career appearances is held by Jake Faria (29 SO from 6/7-24, 2017).

METSCELLANEOUS: The Mets defeated the Rays, 8-7, in 10 innings, walk-off fashion last night..The Mets are seeking their sixth series victory and the third series victory at home…With a win today, the Mets would snap a streak of seven series without a victory…The Mets continue a six-game homestand (1-1) against Tampa Bay (1-1) and Cleveland (three games).

RUBBER BAND: The Mets are 2-2 in rubber game this year and 20-6 in rubber games dating to the start of 2022.

EXTRA, EXTRA: The Mets improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games this year…Since the start of last season, the Mets are a major league-best 12-2 in extra-inning games.

THE ICEMEN COMETH: Pete Alonso iced last night’s 8-7, walk-off win with a three-run home run in the 10th inning…It was his fourth career walk-off blast and his fourth career extra-inning home run… Alonso is a lifetime .417 (10-24) hitter with a 1.442 OPS in extra innings…Alonso has 31 extra-base hits, including 17 home runs, in the ninth or later in his career (both marks lead the majors since 2019)…His 42 RBI in the ninth or later are surpassed only by Brandon Crawford (44) since Alonso’s debut…In addition to Alonso, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte have also made the most of their late-inning opportunities over the last five years:

Player OPS in Extras
Jeimer Candelario 1.500
Manny Machado 1.391
Matt Olson 1.348
Player OPS in 9th/Extras
Christian Yelich 1.164
Aaron Judge 1.129
Juan Soto 1.100

WALK IT LIKE I TALK IT: Pete Alonso recorded his fourth career walk-off home run last night…It was the first walk-off victory by the Mets in 2023…Alonso’s four career walk-off home runs tie a franchise record with Chris Jones, Kevin McReynolds, Cleon Jones, Mike Piazza and Wilmer Flores.

FIRST TIME IN FOREVER: The Mets hit three home runs last night in the seventh inning or later when down by two runs to tie the game or take the lead in each instance…They are the only team to do in a single game over the last 50 years…Hat tip to OptaSTATS.

FOR PETE’S SAKE: Pete Alonso has homered in back-to-back games…He owns the major league lead with 15 home runs…His 36 RBI are tied for fourth in The Show and lead the National League… Alonso ranks 12th in franchise history with 416 career RBI…Next up is Kevin McReynolds (456) and Keith Hernandez (468). CITI BOMBS: Alonso has 69 homers at Citi Field, the second-most in the ballpark’s history…Lucas Duda is first with 71.

STRIKE THAT: The Mets recorded a season-high 17 strikeouts last night…It was also the highest total for the Rays this season…Kodai Senga set a career-high with 12 strikeouts…It was the first double-digit-strikeout game by a Mets pitcher this season and the most strikeouts by a Japanese-born pitcher in Mets history…Senga now has a 1.57 ERA (4 ER/23.0 IP) in his first four career home starts, the best mark by a Mets starter..He has 55 strikeouts through his first eight games of his career, the third-most by a Met…Only Nolan Ryan (64) and Dwight Gooden (59) have more.

INTERLEAGUE PETE: Pete Alonso has hit 33 home runs in Interleague Play since the 2019 season…His 33 home runs against the American
League is a franchise record, and the most among any player since 2019…Mike Piazza was the previous record holder with 28 Interleague home runs.

ATTTABOY ÁLVAREZ: Francisco Álvarez tied the game with a three-run homer in the ninth inning last night…He became the fourth Met to hit a game-tying three-run home run when down to the last out… Carl Everett (September 13, 1997 vs. Montreal – Grand Slam), Victor Diaz (September 25, 2004 vs. Chicago-NL – three-run homer) and Daniel Murphy (September 13, 2015 at Atlanta – three run homer) are the others to accomplish the feat.

ON THE MARK: In his first major league game of the year, Mark Vientos homered…He became the seventh-youngest Met (23 years, 157 days old) to homer in his first game of a season…Darryl Strawberry is the youngest at 22 years, 21 days (1984)…Courtesy of Mathew Brownstein.

THEY’RE OUT OF MY LEAGUE: The new schedule format has New York playing a total of 43 Interleague games in 2023, more than double their previous high for a single season (20)…The Mets are 4-4 against the American League this year…Overall, New York owns a 239-231 record in Interleague play…The team’s .509 winning percentage is the second-best among National League clubs.

FEELING A LITTLE DRAFTY: The Mets have a homegrown player on their roster from the 2019 (Brett Baty), 2018 (Tylor Megill), 2017 (Mark Vientos, Josh Walker), 2016 (Pete Alonso), 2013 (Luis Guillorme, Jeff McNeil), 2012 (Tomás Nido) and 2011 (Brandon Nimmo) drafts.

IN THE CITI: The Mets are 8-9 at Citi Field this year…The team’s 17 home games are the fewest in the major leagues…The team won 54 games at home last year…That was their highest total at Citi Field in franchise history…The last time the team won more than 50 games in New York was in 2000 when they went 55-26…Overall, the Mets went 54-27 at Citi Field…The team’s .667 winning percentage was the fourth-highest in team history…Only the 1988 (56-24, .700), 2000 and 1986 teams (both 55-26, .679) had a better home winning percentage.

AND THEY’RE OFF: Starling Marte is tied for 12th in the majors and tied for sixth in the NL with 11 steals…He ranks third among active players with 325 career steals…Only Elvis Andrus (340) and Billy Hamilton (326) have more…The Mets are fourth in the National League with a 82.4% success rate in steals this season…The Mets are ninth the NL with 28 steals this season.

2023 STATS: 4-2, 4.57 ERA

Pitch Type Usage Rate vs. LHB vs. RHB Avg. Velocity
Four-Seam Fastball 54% 58% 50% 94.3 mph
Slider 21% 8% 34% 83.4 mph
Changeup 16% 20% 11% 88.5 mph
Curveball 9% 14% 5% 77.0 mph

LAST TIME OUT: Earned the win in the Mets’ 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on May 12…Pitched 5.0 innings, allowed one earned run on four hits, four walks and four strikeouts

BIG DRIP VS THE RAYS: Today, Megill will make his first career start against the Rays…In four career Interleague games (three starts), Megill is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA (4 ER/16.2 IP) and 19 strikeouts…Is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA (2 ER/13.0 IP) in two career starts against NL East opponents.

THE GAME OF RISP: This season, Megill is holding opposing batters to a .158 average (6-38) with runners in scoring position, the fourth-best mark in the NL and the seventh-best mark in the majors…Megill also ranks fourth in the NL and seventh in the majors with a .451 opponent’s OPS with runners in scoring position (Min. 40 batters faced w/RISP).

NO PLACE LIKE NEW YORK: This season, Megill is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA (8 ER/21.1 IP) in four home starts this season…In four road starts this season, Megill is 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA (10 ER/19.0 IP)…In 20 career home games (18 starts), Megill is 6-4 with a 4.30 ERA (44 ER/92.0 IP) and in 21 career road games (17 starts), Megill is 6-6 with a 4.85 ERA (46 ER/85.1 IP).

Mikey Balhan Sports

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