Mets, Reds open series eyeing improved fortunes

MLB

Two teams coming off a rough weekend on and off the field will try to get back on track this week as the New York Mets visit the Cincinnati Reds Monday night to open a three-game series.

The Reds had won three straight over the Brewers heading into the All-Star break to creep within four games of first place in the National League Central. They lost 8-0 to Corbin Burnes on Sunday, capping a three-game sweep by Milwaukee to fall seven back in the division.

“I have great confidence in this team. I have great confidence in them,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It was a tough weekend, obviously. This is what makes good teams. I have no doubt that’s going to happen. Just stay positive, just stay the course. As disappointing as it is to lose these three games, I look forward to our bouncing back. I can’t wait for (Monday).”

The Mets went into the All-Star break in first place in the National League East and had a three-game series with the cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates coming out of the break. After Friday’s 4-1 loss, they blew a 6-0 lead on Saturday, losing on a walk-off grand slam. Then on Sunday, they needed Michael Conforto’s two-run homer in the ninth to escape with a 7-6 win to salvage a game.

With a 34-20 mark and a .630 winning percentage, the Mets have the highest winning percentage at Great American Ball Park of any NL team, including the Reds (742-706-1, .512), since the stadium opened in 2003.

Injuries have become a major storyline for both clubs.

On Sunday, the Mets officially placed ace Jacob deGrom on the 10-day injured list with right forearm tightness. The Mets right-hander was originally slated to start New York’s series finale in Pittsburgh before being moved to Monday against Cincinnati. But when his arm didn’t improve Saturday, the decision was made Sunday to place him on the IL.

“I’m frustrated,” deGrom said. “I don’t know what else to say. I mean, I guess it probably is good news whenever structurally everything looks good, but you go out there and try to throw a baseball and the forearm just doesn’t feel good. The level of frustration right now is very high.”

Saturday’s MRI revealed no structural damage and Mets manager Luis Rojas said deGrom experienced similar tightness in a bullpen session before the All-Star break.

“He still has the tightness in his forearm, so until the tightness is resolved, he’s not going to be able to throw,” Rojas said.

The move to place deGrom on the IL comes a day after the Mets put star shortstop Francisco Lindor on the 10-day injured list with an oblique strain.

For the Reds, Bell said he’s encouraged by the progress Nick Castellanos made from Saturday night into Sunday morning in his recovery from a deep bone bruise on his right wrist. Castellanos was hit by an Adrian Houser fastball on Friday night and missed the games Saturday and Sunday.

“I think that’s a good sign for (Monday),” Bell said after Sunday’s 8-0 loss.

As for Michael Lorenzen, the pitcher/outfielder was diagnosed with a right hamstring strain after scoring the game-tying run in the 10th inning of Saturday’s loss. Bell said Lorenzen will be put back on the 10-day injured list on Monday after making his 2021 debut on Saturday.

The Reds send rookie right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (4-3, 4.29) to the mound in the series opener. It will be his 10th start of his rookie season and his first career appearance against the Mets.

The Mets did not immediately announce their rotation for Cincinnati due to the injury move involving deGrom.

–Field Level Media

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