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Series Preview: The Mets haven’t lost a series in San Francisco since 2014

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New York Mets v Minnesota Twins
In true Mets fashion, it’s hard to determine if this is a joyful celebration or if they’re joyfully destroying themselves.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

I know, I’m shocked, too. The Giants swept them in San Francisco in 2014, but since then, the Mets have gone 9-4 in San Francisco. Stretch it back to 2009, and the Mets are 20-14 in whatever the Giants call their home stadium.

Not sure what to make of that. Bad luck? A general weirdness stemming from the Giants and Mets being the baseball franchise equivalent of cousins? Figure, though, that the trend will continue this weekend for the four-game series and throw a wrench in the Giants’ well-oiled (and unstoppable) winning machine.

I don’t base that on anything other than general pessimism. Losing is baseball’s main course. Winning is a dessert. The Mets have a 21-32 road record. It probably won’t matter. The Giants have a 20-26 home record. Why does that probably matter more than the Mets’ road record? Because baseball’s about the losing.

Which makes the Mets the baseballiest team out there. It starts at the top, of course. The Wilpons are some of the biggest “losers” in the world, with a mentality that makes them antithetical to community in general. There’s no esprit de corps in that organization.

Yeah, the Mets are that team. But they’ve also got Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, a four-game winning streak — the second-best in the NL, right after the Giants’ five-gamer — and, seemingly, the Giants’ number in San Francisco.

The four-game winning streak raised their record to 44-51 and five games out of the NL Wild Card. They’re now 2.5 games behind the Giants, who we’d like to hope are unstoppable at this point, especially against an up and down team like the Mets, but be wary. No baseball story ever quite works out like that, and New York’s whirling dervish of dysfunction is just as likely to knock the Giants down this weekend than continue to make a mess of their clubhouse.

Things fell apart for them in June (10-18), but they still managed to take two out of three from the Giants in New York, including a 7-0 shutout and a 7-3 series finale. Their winning streak and generally good month of July came about as the result of facing the Marlins and winning a two-game series in Minnesota against the Twins.

This weekend will be a fun sorting instrument: which end of that Marlins-Twins spectrum are the Giants actually on, and are the Mets the best team to decide that?

Hitter to watch

Pete Alonso won the Home Run Derby last week and hit this home run in Minnesota yesterday:

He’s broken MLB rookie home run records, Mets rookie home run records, and is setup to break the single-season franchise home run record (41). He has 31 home runs right now.

He will hit at least a couple of home runs over these next four games, unless the Giants’ pitching really has become as good as it has been over the last 13 or so games.

Pitcher to watch

Syndergaard and deGrom are always the headliners, but Edwin Diaz is 1-6 with a 5.20 ERA, and he’s the closer. He’s blown just four saves, but three of those became losses. Still, if you follow any Mets fans on Twitter, you’d think that Edwin Diaz had become Hunter Strickland or that every save opportunity melted down a la Wayne Franklin facing Steve Finley with the bases loaded.

Instead, he plays for the Mets, the absolute worst defense in baseball — by far. That 5.20 ERA obscures a 3.60 FIP, which still isn’t elite for a closer, but it points to there still being plenty of talent there. Has New York totally destroyed his confidence? Since July 1st, he’s allowed 13 runs in 14 innings (8.36 ERA), but just two home runs against 23 strikeouts and just five walks. But also, a slash line of .339/.391/.492 — 20 hits in those 14 innings.

Probably because of the defense. What are the chance that the Mets have cleaned up their defensive miscues just in time to face the Giants in San Francisco?


Someone who’s not Madison Bumgarner and not Will Smith will be traded this weekend.