After a disastrous homestand that the Detroit Tigers would like to forget, capped off by a sweep at the hands of the Miami Marlins, the team now heads to Queens to take on the highly-debated New York Mets.
Even though this Detroit Tigers team undoubtedly lacks major league-caliber talent, Tigers fans can withstand painful stretches of losing knowing that help is on the way in one of the best minor league systems in baseball.
The New York Mets, on the other hand, are in a more uncomfortable position sitting at 24-25. That puts them at third place in the National League East after a bold offseason that raised expectations significantly for the team.
This season’s slow start, combined with major front office changes in the offseason, has many fans and reporters calling for second-year manager Mickey Callaway’s job at the quarter mark of 2019.
Further adding fuel to the fire in Queens, former Tiger and highly-paid outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was involved in an accident on his ranch, suffering fractures to his ankle. Now, according to ESPN, the 2016 Silver Slugger is likely to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.
Other injuries include high-profile offseason additions Jed Lowrie and Robinson Cano, along with 2018 NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom and fellow pitcher Jason Vargas, who is expected to return on Saturday against Detroit. After an offseason that saw the additions of Cano, Lowrie, catcher Wilson Ramos, relievers Edwin Diaz and Justin Wilson along with more, it’s easy to say 2019 has been frustrating so far for Mets fans.
It hasn’t been all negative for the club, though, as rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has provided many reasons for optimism. The 24-year-old Alonso made the team out of spring training, going on to hit 16 home runs and drive in 37 runs to emerge as the frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year.
The team is also currently riding a four-game win streak after a four-game sweep of the division rival Washington Nationals. Simply put it, the time is now for the Mets to turn around their season, and the Tigers happen to be coming to town to witness it.
These two teams are trending in opposite directions, and if the Tigers want to compete with the surging Mets they’ll need to score early and attempt to keep New York’s elite starters from getting in a grove by taking extra time to get in the box and staying alive in counts.
For the Tigers on the mound, they’ll need a lengthy start from Gregory Soto on Friday to take the pressure off a taxed and struggling bullpen. Spencer Turnbull will start the finale on Sunday for the Tigers.
Expect a refocused and feisty effort from the Tigers tonight on the road in interleague play, as the team will use this weekend’s series as a fresh start and a new opportunity after a tough homestand.