The New York Mets begin the second half of the season with a six game homestand that starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.
A disappointing season up to this point, the Mets ended the first on a high note as they won six of their last eight games leading up to the All-Star Break. New York won series against the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks before dropping two out of three against the San Diego Padres.
Los Angeles also finished strong as it won four straight and scored 21 runs in its final two games before the All-Star Break.
Will the Mets make a second half push or can the Dodgers overtake the Diamondbacks for the division lead in the NL West? Here are my picks and predictions for this three game set in Queens this weekend.
Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Justin Verlander (3-4, 3.60) vs. Julio Urias (6-5, 4.76)
It was an off outing for Verlander in his last start of the first half. While he allowed two earned runs in six innings, the 40-year-old had more walks (3) than strikeouts (2). It’s only the second time this season that’s happened and the two punch outs are tied for a season-low in 2023. While he’s won just one start since May 27, Verlander has surrendered two or fewer runs in five of seven appearances since June. The good news is the 2011 MVP has been much better at home than on the road this season. Verlander is 2-2 with a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings at Citi Field compared to a 1-2 record with a 6.18 ERA in 33 innings when not pitching in Queens.
It’s been a down season for Urias. After going 17-7 in 31 starts with a 3.71 ERA and finishing third in the NL Cy Young voting last year, he’s on pace for a career-high in ERA and his fewest wins since he became a full-time starter. Urias has made only two starts since May 18 as he missed nearly two months due to a hamstring strain. The 26-year-old has struggled especially on the road. In six starts, Urias has an 8.44 ERA with opponents hitting an absurd .342 against him in 26 2/3 innings.
Between Urias’ poor performances away from Dodger Stadium and the Dodgers just .500 on the road (22-22), I believe the Mets get off on the right foot with a victory on Friday night.
Prediction: Mets 6, Dodgers 4
Saturday, 7:15 p.m.: Kodai Senga (7-5, 3.31) vs. Undecided
After a solid month of June, Senga turned it up a notch in his last start before the All-Star Break. The 30-year-old went a season-high eight innings and tied a career-high with 12 strikeouts as he earned his seventh win of the season in a 7-5 victory over the Diamondbacks. This was easily Senga’s best performance so far as a member of the Mets. He’s now conceded three or fewer runs in eight of his past nine starts and been arguably New York’s most consistent pitcher in 2023.
The Dodgers have yet to name a starter for Saturday evening. Stay tuned as this will be updated as soon as L.A. releases their pitching information for the weekend.
Sunday, 1:40 p.m.: Max Scherzer (8-3, 4.31) vs. Undecided
It’s been a tough start to July for Scherzer. The eight-time All-Star has surrendered nine runs in 11 innings and allowed five home runs after giving up only six in the entire month of May. Scherzer infamously faced his former team on Apr. 19 where he was ejected forvq sticky substance and suspended 10 games. While he’s had back-to-back tough road starts, the three-time Cy Young Award winner was efficient in his previous outing at Citi Field. The 38-year-old went six innings and struck out nine on June 29 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Los Angeles has yet to name a starter for Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned as this will be updated as soon as the Dodgers announce a starter for the series finale.
Source: Yahoo Sports