5 things to watch as Mets face Cardinals, including bad blood from last series

·3 min read
Mets Cardinals brawl April 2022 in St. Louis
Mets Cardinals brawl April 2022 in St. Louis

Here are five things to watch as the Mets and St. Louis Cardinals play a four-game series at Citi Field starting Tuesday...

Will bad blood carry over?

This week's series between the Mets and Cardinals is the first time they're facing each other since tempers flared in St. Louis after the Cards hit a bunch of Mets players with pitches (including one that hit Pete Alonso in the head). In the final game of that series, New York reliever Yoan Lopez threw a pitch that was high and inside but nowhere close to hitting Nolan Arenado.

Of course, Arenado took umbrage and incited a benches-clearing incident that included Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp tackling Alonso from behind -- something Alonso was not pleased with. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol also gave some pretty tone deaf answers following the skirmish, excusing Clapp for his actions and admonishing Lopez while not taking any accountability for what his own pitchers did.

Speaking after the incident, the Mets suggested that things would not carry over to this week's series at Citi Field. Will that hold true? We'll find out starting Tuesday.

Brandon Nimmo is on fire

Along with Jeff McNeil, Nimmo is the only Met who has not had any kind of slump at the plate this season. And Nimmo has been especially hot lately.

Nimmo, who is on an 11-game hitting streak, has nine hits in his last 19 at-bats and has raised his triple slash from .253/.364/.440 on May 3 to .304/.414/.473 entering play on Monday.

Brandon Nimmo and Joey Cora
Brandon Nimmo and Joey Cora

In addition to his hitting streak, Nimmo has a 27-game on-base streak dating back to April 11.

Who starts the series opener for the Mets?

With Tylor Megill (who was supposed to start Monday) on the IL with biceps inflammation, the Mets need a spot starter for one of Tuesday's games.

David Peterson would've been a perfect fit, but he started Friday for Triple-A Syracuse. Thomas Szapucki would've been another option, but he started for Syracuse on Sunday. So the Mets will have to look somewhere else.

The Mets' plan before Monday's rainout was to use Trevor Williams, who would've likely been asked to handle the first few innings and perhaps more, depending on the flow of the game and how he looked.

Miles Mikolas has been lights out

Mikolas locked down the Mets on April 25 in St. Louis, blanking them for seven innings while allowing four hits, walking one, and striking out five.

In his three starts since, he's allowed four runs total in 20 innings. Overall this season, Mikolas has a 1.49 ERA (2.96 FIP) and 0.96 WHIP with 31 strikeouts in 42.1 innings over seven starts.

Mikolas gets the ball on Tuesday. The other matchups are expected to be Taijuan Walker against Steven Matz, Max Scherzer against Jordan Hicks on Wednesday, and Chris Bassitt opposite Dakota Hudson on Thursday.

Mets' bullpen is starting to wilt a bit

The Mets' bullpen, even after the loss of Trevor May, had been a plus following a hiccup to start the season. But with the exception of Edwin Diaz, most of New York's relievers have struggled a bit lately.

May 13, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) reacts after allowing a run to the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at Citi Field.
May 13, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) reacts after allowing a run to the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at Citi Field.

Drew Smith has been scored upon in his last two appearances after not allowing a run in his first 12 outings.

Seth Lugo allowed two runs his last time out.

Chasen Shreve has surrendered home runs in each of his last two appearances.

Joely Rodriguez gave up a run on two hits in his last appearance.

With Megill out and the bullpen possibly being relied upon to eat a lot of innings on Tuesday (which could obviously carry over and impact the rest of the series), the 'pen will have to start to step it up.