5 things to watch for as Mets welcome Cardinals for four-game series at Citi Field

·4 min read

The Mets will be looking to bounce back after their first series loss of the season over the weekend against the Seattle Mariners.

But that task will not be easy as the Mets (23-13) take on the Cardinals (19-15) in a four-game series beginning Tuesday with a single-admission doubleheader at Citi Field beginning at 3:10 p.m. The series was supposed to begin Monday night, but that game was postponed due to the weather forecast.

It is the second time the two teams have squared off this season, with the Mets taking two of three in late April at Busch Stadium.

The four-game home set is part of a tough stretch for the Mets, who then hit the road for three-game series against the Rockies (17-17) and Giants (20-14).

Here is what to watch for during an intriguing series between the Mets and Cardinals:

Bad blood?

Tempers flared the last time these two teams faced off on April 27.

The Mets were tired of being hit, and the Cardinals did not back down after being hit a few times either. Across the three-game series, eight batters were hit, including Pete Alonso, who was hit near the face for the second time on the season.

April 27: Benches clear during the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets.
April 27: Benches clear during the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets.

When a pitch from Yoan Lopez wandered up and in to the Cardinals' Nolan Arenado, he took offense, voiced his displeasure and both benches spilled out onto the field. Alonso was pulled by the collar by Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera and taken to the ground by Cardinals coach Stubby Clapp.

Arenado and Cabrera were both suspended one game, while Buck Showalter was taken aback that Clapp avoided any punishment.

Will any of the drama spill into the four-game set at Citi FIeld?

Hitting the mark

In the early going of the 2022 season, Brandon Nimmo appears to be leaving it all out on the field in his contract season.

New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo (9) reacts after hitting an RBI-triple against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 15, 2022, in New York.
New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo (9) reacts after hitting an RBI-triple against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 15, 2022, in New York.

The Mets leadoff man and center fielder added to his hot start on Sunday with a double, triple and three RBI. His hit in the third inning of the defeat extended his hit streak to 11 games.

Nimmo has also reached base safely in 26 straight games.

In 31 games, Nimmo leads with Mets with a .414 on-base percentage. He is also batting .304 with 20 runs, 20 walks, three home runs and 12 RBI.

Next man up

The Mets starting rotation took another hit on Sunday when it was announced that Tylor Megill was placed on the 15-day injured list with right biceps tendinitis.

The news came down at an unfortunate time with Megill's turn in the rotation due up on Monday.

New York Mets relief pitcher Trevor Williams throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Washington.
New York Mets relief pitcher Trevor Williams throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Washington.

The most logical direction that Showalter could go would be calling on Trevor Williams. The 30-year-old right-hander came on in long relief of Megill during his rough outing against the Nationals last week.

Williams gave the Mets a chance to get back into the game, going 3⅔ shutout innings with two strikeouts and two hits and one walk. He is 0-2 on the season with a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings.

David Peterson would be another option, but the lefty, who has made three starts for the Mets this season and posted a strong 1.89 ERA in 19 innings, threw six innings for Triple-A Syracuse on Friday.

Magnificent Miles

In 2018, Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas finished sixth in National League Cy Young voting.

A little more than a month into the season, Mikolas appears to have regained that form. In seven starts, the 33-year-old righty has posted a 3-1 record with 31 strikeouts in 41⅔ innings and a 1.49 ERA.

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas throws to a San Francisco Giants batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 5, 2022, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas throws to a San Francisco Giants batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 5, 2022, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

The Cardinals starter, who was due to take the mound on Monday night, has allowed more than four hits in only two of his seven starts this season.

Mikolas went toe-to-toe against Max Scherzer during the teams' matchup on April 25. He pitched seven scoreless innings with five strikeouts and four hits and one walk allowed.

In that one, the Mets went on to post a dramatic 5-2 comeback win behind an error by Nolan Arenado and two-run infield single from Dominic Smith.

Speed racers

In the wake of the injury to James McCann, the Cardinals figure to put Mets catchers Tomas Nido and Patrick Mazeika up to the task.

The Cardinals will enter the series tied for first in MLB with 29 stolen bases and have only been caught three times. They put the pressure on striking out the third-fewest times and getting on base at the seventh-best rate in MLB.

Tommy Edman, who is off to a terrific start with four home runs, 17 RBI and a team-high 24 runs, is tied for first on the team with eight stolen bases. Harrison Bader has also swiped eight bases for the Cardinals.

By comparison, the Mets are tied for 20th in MLB with 15 stolen bases.

Andrew Tredinnick is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.

Email: atredinnick@gannett.com Twitter: @andrew_tred

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Five things to watch for NY Mets vs. Cardinals