Originally written May 21, 2012 on BigAppleMetsTalk:
After getting a taste of inter-league play against the Toronto Blue Jays the New York Mets come back to the comfort zone of the National League style of play to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Game 1: Monday 7:05 PM on SNY Pitching Matchup: Johan Santana 1-2, 2.89 ERA vs. Erik Bedard 2-5, 3.07 ERA Like the last series against the Toronto Blue Jays this series starts off with a lefty-lefty matchup. The Mets are 6-10 verses left-handers and the Pirates are 7-5 verses left-handers. The key hitters for the Mets are David Wright hitting .371 verses lefties, but in two at-bats is 1 for 2 with a walk against Erik Bedard; the other key hitters are Ronny Cedeno and Scott Hairston who are both hitting .333 against lefties. Johan Santana is the ace of the New York Mets and has been having a shockingly good beginning to the season regardless of the record. The keys for Santana are being “Santana” which means: staying with the aggressive approach, having devastating pitches and not leaving anything over the middle of the plate. The key hitters for the Pirates are Pedro Alvarez who is 2 for 3 against Johan Santana, Nate McLouth who is 2 for 15 against Santana, but he has a double and a home run to go along with two walks and two RBI’s and Jose Tabata who is 1 for 3 with a home run off Santana.       Game 2: Tuesday 7:05 PM on SNY Pitching Matchup: R.A. Dickey 5-1, 3.75 ERA vs. James McDonald 3-2, 2.68 ERA The Mets record against right-handed pitchers is 16-9 and the Pirates are 12-17 verses right-handed pitching. The key hitters for the Mets are David Wright who is 2 for 6 with a home run and 4 RBI’s and a walk verses James McDonald, Daniel Murphy is another key hitter who is 3 for 6 against McDonald with an RBI and Ike Davis also hits McDonald well as he is 3 for 6 with the three hits being doubles. The Mets also have one key hitter they can go to late in the game off the bench named Mike Baxter who hits .444 off right-handers with eight RBI’s. R.A. Dickey is the last active pitcher to have a knuckle ball as their primary pitch. He has had a fantastic start to the season. R.A. Dickey has become a true battler and a true pitcher even though he doesn’t have is primary pitch and he knows how to get out of tough situations and keep the damage to a minimum. R.A. Dickey knows how to throw his knuckle ball two different speeds. He also has a low to mid 80’s fastball and a slider which he uses sneak by hitters. The keys for R.A. Dickey is not to miss in the middle of plate, get mostly ground ball outs and keep the aggressive approach. The key hitters for the Pirates are Josh Harrison who is 4 for 7 with an RBI and a walk verses Dickey,  Garret Jones who is 4 for 10 with a double and an RBI and Jose Tabata who is 3 for 9 with a double and a wa     Game 3: Wednesday 12:35 PM on SNY Pitching Matchup: Jon Niese 2-2, 4.85 ERA vs. Charlie Morton 2-4, 4.35 ERA The first two games were lefty-lefty and righty-righty, now it is finally a lefty-righty matchup. The Pirates have the hitting advantage against left-handed pitchers and the Mets have the advantage against right-handed pitchers so basically it is an even matchup. The key hitters for the Mets are Lucas Duda who is 2 for 4 with a double and  three RBI’s against Morton, Justin Turner who can come off the bench is 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s against Morton and the Mets best hitter against Morton is Rubin Tejeda who is 4 for 5 with an RBI and two walks who is currently on the disabled list and this could be a blow to the Mets offense. The keys for Jon Niese are: to trust the curve ball more, he needs to work on getting more ground balls, not worry about the runners on base and not worry about the hitter that is up at the plate. He needs to be more aggressive and less conservative. The key hitters for the Pirates are Rod Barajas who is 2 for 3 with a home run and an RBI verses Jon Niese, Andrew McCutchen is 2 for 3 with two doubles and Nate McLouth is 2 for 3 with a double and a RBI.   The Mets keys to the series: They need to shut down the offensive potential of the Pirates. The Mets have to take tension off the bullpen and the bullpen needs to focus on one batter at a time. Frank Francisco needs to take the momentum  from the Blue Jays series and keep it up. Once the Mets get a lead they need to keep it. The Pirates keys to the series: The Pirates pitching staff needs to be consistent. After getting a taste of inter-league play against the Toronto Blue Jays the New York Mets come back to the comfort zone of the National League style of play to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Game 1: Monday 7:05 PM on SNY Pitching Matchup: Johan Santana 1-2, 2.89 ERA vs. Erik Bedard 2-5, 3.07 ERA Like the last series against the Toronto Blue Jays this series starts off with a lefty-lefty matchup. The Mets are 6-10 verses left-handers and the Pirates are 7-5 verses left-handers. The key hitters for the Mets are David Wright hitting .371 verses lefties, but in two at-bats is 1 for 2 with a walk against Erik Bedard; the other key hitters are Ronny Cedeno and Scott Hairston who are both hitting .333 against lefties. Johan Santana is the ace of the New York Mets and has been having a shockingly good beginning to the season regardless of the record. The keys for Santana are being “Santana” which means: staying with the aggressive approach, having devastating pitches and not leaving anything over the middle of the plate. The key hitters for the Pirates are Pedro Alvarez who is 2 for 3 against Johan Santana, Nate McLouth who is 2 for 15 against Santana, but he has a double and a home run to go along with two walks and two RBI’s and Jose Tabata who is 1 for 3 with a home run off Santana.       Game 2: Tuesday 7:05 PM on SNY Pitching Matchup: R.A. Dickey 5-1, 3.75 ERA vs. James McDonald 3-2, 2.68 ERA The Mets record against right-handed pitchers is 16-9 and the Pirates are 12-17 verses right-handed pitching. The key hitters for the Mets are David Wright who is 2 for 6 with a home run and 4 RBI’s and a walk verses James McDonald, Daniel Murphy is another key hitter who is 3 for 6 against McDonald with an RBI and Ike Davis also hits McDonald well as he is 3 for 6 with the three hits being doubles. The Mets also have one key hitter they can go to late in the game off the bench named Mike Baxter who hits .444 off right-handers with eight RBI’s. R.A. Dickey is the last active pitcher to have a knuckle ball as their primary pitch. He has had a fantastic start to the season. R.A. Dickey has become a true battler and a true pitcher even though he doesn’t have is primary pitch and he knows how to get out of tough situations and keep the damage to a minimum. R.A. Dickey knows how to throw his knuckle ball two different speeds. He also has a low to mid 80’s fastball and a slider which he uses sneak by hitters. The keys for R.A. Dickey is not to miss in the middle of plate, get mostly ground ball outs and keep the aggressive approach. The key hitters for the Pirates are Josh Harrison who is 4 for 7 with an RBI and a walk verses Dickey,  Garret Jones who is 4 for 10 with a double and an RBI and Jose Tabata who is 3 for 9 with a double and a walk. Game 3: Wednesday 12:35 PM on SNY Pitching Matchup: Jon Niese 2-2, 4.85 ERA vs. Charlie Morton 2-4, 4.35 ERA The first two games were lefty-lefty and righty-righty, now it is finally a lefty-righty matchup. The Pirates have the hitting advantage against left-handed pitchers and the Mets have the advantage against right-handed pitchers so basically it is an even matchup. The key hitters for the Mets are Lucas Duda who is 2 for 4 with a double and  three RBI’s against Morton, Justin Turner who can come off the bench is 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s against Morton and the Mets best hitter against Morton is Rubin Tejeda who is 4 for 5 with an RBI and two walks who is currently on the disabled list and this could be a blow to the Mets offense. The keys for Jon Niese are: to trust the curve ball more, he needs to work on getting more ground balls, not worry about the runners on base and not worry about the hitter that is up at the plate. He needs to be more aggressive and less conservative. The key hitters for the Pirates are Rod Barajas who is 2 for 3 with a home run and an RBI verses Jon Niese, Andrew McCutchen is 2 for 3 with two doubles and Nate McLouth is 2 for 3 with a double and a RBI.   The Mets keys to the series: They need to shut down the offensive potential of the Pirates. The Mets have to take tension off the bullpen and the bullpen needs to focus on one batter at a time. Frank Francisco needs to take the momentum  from the Blue Jays series and keep it up. Once the Mets get a lead they need to keep it. The Pirates keys to the series: The Pirates pitching staff needs to be consistent against the Mets offensive. Joel Hanrahan needs to come in and slam door in the 9th inning. They have to try to get to the bullpen early in the game.           
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