METS (16-18) AT PADRES (19-16)
10:10 p.m. ET; FSSD, SNY, MLB.TV
Monday night’s opener of a three-game series between the New York Mets and Padres in San Diego offers one of the best possible pitching matchups at the moment, although a chance to see two of the best National League rookie infielders won’t be unfolding.
But there could be an unexpected wrinkle to the pairing of New York’s ace right-hander Jacob deGrom (2-3, 3.82 ERA) and Padres rookie right-hander Chris Paddack (2-1, 1.91 ERA).
It might not happen… at least Monday night.
The weather forecast for San Diego calls for rain, particularly around game time (7:10 p.m. PT) — which could have both teams looking at contingency plans. Over 51 seasons, the Mets have been rained out only twice in San Diego, the last rainout coming in 1998. The Padres have had only three rainouts in 15-plus seasons at Petco Park.
It’s unclear what would happen if the Padres suffer their 19th home rainout in franchise history Monday. Would the teams play a day-night doubleheader Tuesday? Wednesday would be difficult, with an afternoon game on a travel day. Would the Mets have to return to San Diego later in the season?
One thing is almost certain. Rain around game time could eliminate the deGrom-Paddack matchup.
“We’re going to be protecting our young pitchers,” Padres manager Andy Green has said repeatedly. The Padres have already used two spot starters to give the young rotation an extra day’s rest and are planning to use a spot starter again Tuesday.
If rain causes delays during Monday’s game, Paddack will likely have a short night. Coming off 2016 Tommy John surgery, Paddack is being handled with kid gloves. The Padres are already counting his innings. Why? He is that good … and already possesses one of the best changeups in the game.
The 23-year-old Paddack is scheduled to make his seventh start of the season Monday night as he faces the Mets for the first time.
In his six previous starts, Paddack has a 0.697 WHIP and a .126 opponent batting average to go with his 1.91 ERA. He has allowed one or zero runs in four starts, with three runs in six innings representing his worst start.
“We’re not changing a thing,” Green said of the 6-foot-5 Texan who pitches with an attitude.
“I want to be the best,” Paddack has said.
Monday, he will face the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner in deGrom, who bounced back from a very rare bump in his career path in his last outing against Cincinnati on May 1. He shut out the Reds on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts over seven innings.
In his three starts before that, deGrom had gone a very un-deGrom-like 0-3 with a 9.69 ERA, giving up 14 earned runs in 13 innings. Before those three starts, deGrom had made a record 26 straight quality starts, including two scoreless outings to open 2019. There were worries that there might be an issue with his elbow, but those have been put to bed.
“It’s definitely a relief,” deGrom said after his outing against the Reds. “Nobody wants to go out there and stink.”
In six career starts versus the Padres, deGrom is 3-2 with a 1.66 ERA.
While fans of both teams await the deGrom-Paddack matchup, there will be no parallel appearances of prized rookies — Mets first baseman Peter Alonzo (who leads all rookie hitters in hits, homers and RBIs) and Padres 20-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
Tatis remains on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain, although he was participating in some field activities over the weekend.
The Padres salvaged a win from a three-game weekend series against the Dodgers thanks to a pinch-hit, walk-off homer by Hunter Renfroe on Sunday.
The Mets are coming off a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, including a 3-2 loss on Sunday.
–Field Level Media