The Cleveland Indians and the New York Mets are about to clash for a three-game series at Citi Field starting on Tuesday night. This series is absolutely monstrous for both teams.
Cleveland is currently in the first wild card spot in the American League with a 74-51 record. They only hold a one game lead for that position on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Indians are also 2.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central.
New York is tied for sixth in the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers with a 64-60 record. They are all two games back of the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card spot in the National League.
Mickey Callaway will be managing against Terry Francona for the first time. Callaway was the Cleveland Indians pitching coach from 2013-2017.
It will be interesting to see how he manages against his former workmate.
The projected starting pitchers for this series will be Shane Bieber (12-5, 3.27 ERA) for Cleveland and Steven Matz (7-7, 4.33 ERA) for New York on Tuesday night, Adam Plutko (5-3, 4.67 ERA) for the Indians and Marcus Stroman (7-11, 3.21 ERA) for the Mets on Wednesday night, and Aaron Civale (1-2, 1.50 ERA) for the Cleveland Indians and Noah Syndergaard (8-6, 3.86 ERA) for the New York Mets on Thursday night.
All of these pitching match ups have the potential to either be 2-1 or 1-0 games or 10-9 or 9-8 games. This could be the most unpredictable series for either side in the 2019 season. This series also has the potential to be epic or dull. There will be no in between with this series.
However, I don't see a sweep happening on either side. Cleveland will not be able to use the designated hitter in this series because they are playing in a National League ball park.
The Indians are 6-5 so far this season in inter-league play. The Mets are 10-4 so far this season in inter-league play.
Three players to keep an eye on for Cleveland in this series will be outfielder Yasiel Puig (.351 batting average two home runs and 15 RBI's, along with two stolen bases and a .422 on-base percentage), shortstop Francisco Lindor (.299 batting average 21 home runs and 53 RBI's, along with 18 stolen bases and a .354 on-base percentage), and first baseman Carlos Santana (.292 batting average 29 home runs and 78 RBI's, along with four stolen bases and a .414 on-base percentage).
Puig was acquired near the trade deadline in a three-team trade. Yasiel Puig went from the Cincinnati Reds to the Cleveland Indians. Lindor is one of the best leaders in baseball and he is also very good defensively. Santana will be playing first base in this series most likely because of no designated hitter slot available in the lineup.
Three players to keep an eye on for New York in this series will be shortstop Amed Rosario (.291 batting average 12 home runs and 53 RBI's, along with 15 stolen bases and a .329 on-base percentage), first baseman Pete Alonso (.271 batting average 40 home runs and 95 RBI's, along with one stolen base and a .375 on-base percentage), and outfielder Michael Conforto (.258 batting average 26 home runs and 73 RBI's, along with six stolen bases and a .367 on-base percentage).
Rosario has improved in every way, shape, and form so far this season for the New York Mets. Pete Alonso broke the National League Rookie home run record. Michael Conforto continues to tear the cover off the baseball.
New York needs this series more than Cleveland, but it is critical for both sides. This is also the start of a huge nine-game home stand for the Mets.
After New York finishes this series, they will also host the Atlanta Braves this weekend and the Chicago Cubs next Tuesday-Thursday.
The Indians just concluded a huge four-game set with the New York Yankees on the road and Cleveland split with them. They will head back home for three games against the Kansas City Royals before hitting the road again.
The series between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Mets will be an interesting one to watch.