July 25th, 2011
by Andrew Rizzi

David Wright returned from his lengthy DL stint and provided a great spark in the middle of the Mets lineup this past weekend in Miami. Unfortunately it did not translate into winning baseball, as the Marlins took 2 of 3 from the Mets and knocked them back below .500. Now the Amazins continue their road trip with a 4 game series in Cincinnati. The Reds are the defending NL Central champions, and are very much alive in 2011, just 3 games out of first. However, they are not nearly the same team as last year, and share the same record as the Amazins. Boy, if only the Phillies and Braves WEREN’T in our division, right?

Anyway, it’s becoming more and more evident by the day that the Mets have no shot at making the playoffs, but then again I never really thought that to begin with. At least they got us close to July before fading out of contention. And hey, the team is still fun to watch. They play hard and never give up. So despite being 8.5 games out of the wild card race there is still reason to tune in. Hopefully they continue to fight these last 60 games and finish the season out with a good vibe heading into 2012.

This is the 1st series between the Mets and Reds this season. They also finish the year out with a 3-game series at Citi Field. Last year the Mets went 2-4 against the Reds.

The balls should be flying out of the Great American Band Box this week. I just hope they aren't all hit by the Reds.

Pitching Matchups:

7/25/11- R.A. Dickey (4-8, 3.80 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (8-5, 4.11 ERA)

7/26/11- Jon Niese (9-8, 3.76 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (6-3, 1.98 ERA)

7/27/11- Mike Pelfrey (5-9, 4.73 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (7-8, 5.56 ERA)

7/28/11- Chris Capuano (8-10, 4.26 ERA) vs. Homer Bailey (5-4, 3.67 ERA)

Reds Player to Watch: Joey Votto

The 2010 NL MVP may not be having quite the year he had a season ago, but Votto is still the top dog in the Reds lineup. He leads the team in RBI (59) and average (.315), and has done very well against the Mets in his career. In just 73 at-bats against New York, Votto has 7 homeruns and 17 RBI, with a .342 average and a .415 on base percentage. And as we all know, the ball flies out of Great American Band Box in Cincinnati like it’s 9 innings of batting practice. Keeping Joey Votto in the stadium could be a difficult test this week.

Mets Player to Watch: Carlos Beltran

Every at-bat could be the final one for Carlos Beltran as a Met, so we have to sit back and enjoy it while it lasts. The Beltran rumor mill is red hot, and supposedly the Mets scouts are finishing up their analysis of all the possible prospects they could get back. Carlos will almost certainly be dealt in the next week, and I wish him nothing but the best. All I ask is that he goes out with a bang and leaves a final, memorable mark on his legacy as a Met.

Rizzi’s Rant:

Like I said all hopes of a playoff push are pretty much dead, with the team back under .500 and getting ready to deal their best hitter.  But nevertheless, this series should be a fun one to watch. The Mets lineup actually looks a lot better now that Wright is back, and in Cincinnati the team might actually hit a bunch of homeruns.

It’s very difficult to win a 4 game series, and most seem to end in 2-2 splits (unless it’s the Colorado Rockies coming to town). The pitching matchups favor the Reds for the most part, but this is a different Cinci team than last year. I think the Mets will play tough, like they have all season, and win 2 of the 4 games. Of course, if Beltran gets traded tomorrow the Mets become a much worse team, and all bets are off.

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Posted in Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball, NATIONAL LEAGUE, New York Mets | Comments (3)

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