Series Preview: Mets Looking For Revenge In Pittsburgh

After the Pirates handed the Mets their worst loss of the season in the first half finale last weekend, the Amazins' are looking for revenge in Pittsburgh to open up the second half.
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While the Mets were expected to take advantage of the last-place Pirates in their first half finale, they were only able to come away with a four-game split.

That's because the Pirates handed them their worst loss of the season, behind a five-run comeback in the final game before the break.

Now, the Mets will open up the second half in Pittsburgh, seeking revenge against the Pirates.

The Mets are 47-40 with a 3.5 game lead in the NL East. If they want to increase their lead in the division, they must take care of business on the road at PNC Park.

Inside the Mets is here to preview the key matchups to keep an eye out for in this series.

Pitching Probables

Game 1: Marcus Stroman vs. TBA

Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman will kickoff the second half on Friday. For now, Stroman is the only starter named to pitch in this series on either side.

While Stroman has put together a solid campaign with a 6-7 record and 2.75 ERA, he tapered off a bit in his last three starts. Across 13 innings, Stroman has gone 0-2 and allowed eight runs. 

Stroman will be looking for his first win in over a month (June 12 vs. Padres), as the Mets look to get back on track following their five-run blown loss in their last game before the break.

Game 2: TBA

In the second game, the Mets are considering Taijuan Walker for the start. However, Walker pitched an inning in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, which makes his status for Saturday uncertain.

If Walker can pitch in this outing, it means he will be doing so on four days rest. Tylor Megill is another candidate, who could get the ball in this contest.

The Pirates have yet to name a starter in this matchup.

Game 3: TBA

While the Mets are hoping that Jacob deGrom can start in this game, his status is also unclear.

DeGrom has not pitched since July 7 against the Brewers, which means he will have 11 days of rest in between starts. If deGrom can't go, then  Taijuan Walker could potentially take the mound on regular rest, assuming he does not pitch in Game 2.

And as previously mentioned, the Pirates haven't announced their starters for this series yet.

Final Outlook

The Mets will be getting a big piece of their lineup back this weekend in third baseman J.D. Davis, who missed 2.5 months with a hand sprain. 

The Amazins' offense, which will finally be fully healthy for the first time since May 1, has been wildly inconsistent this season, ranking as the No. 24 unit in baseball. Luckily, Davis finished up his rehab stint on fire at the plate, going 8-for-14 with three home runs and five RBIs.

First baseman Pete Alonso is fresh off his second-straight Home Run Derby title, and the Mets can only hope that this power surge carries over into the second half. Alonso also slugged six homers in his final 15 games prior to the break.

Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor finished up the first half in strong fashion at the plate as well. But Lindor must start playing up to his normal superstar level the rest of the way.

Michael Conforto is an additional key piece to the Mets' success. While Conforto is 5 for his last 40, he did smack a big three-run homer in their last game, which is hopefully a sign that he is starting to find his footing offensively.

The Mets' bullpen looked taxed after the team played 33 games in 31 days leading up to the break. If there was ever a group that needed some rest, it was the 'pen, which should be refreshed to begin the second half.

As for the Pirates, despite their poor record, they proved to be a pesky bunch at Citi Field last weekend.

They also showed that they cannot be taken lightly. The Mets were expected to walk all over them in their previous series, but now are fully aware that they must turn things on at PNC Park.