5 things to watch as Mets and Blue Jays play three-game series at Citi Field

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Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo in Cincinnati July 2021
Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo in Cincinnati July 2021

The Mets open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday at Citi Field.

Here are five things to watch...

Can the Mets' offense stay hot?

The Mets' offense erupted during their road trip through Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, scoring 40 runs in six games, with New York's lineup at mostly full strength for the first time since April.

Can they keep it going at Citi Field?

The offense has performed much better on the road this season, but most of their home games have come with lineups that were filled with minor leaguers and backups.

Now that the offense is healthy and rolling, they need to keep it going at home.

The return of Steven Matz

Matz, whom the Mets traded to the Blue Jays during the offseason, is slated to get the start on Friday against Tylor Megill.

Matz started the season with a bang, but has since struggled a bit, and will come into the game against his former team with a 4.43 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 81.1 innings over 16 starts.

He was sharp during his last outing, tossing 5.0 scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers on July 18.

The potential debut of Carlos Carrasco

The Mets have been waiting all season for Carrasco to make his debut, and there's a solid chance it happens on Sunday in the series finale, though Carrasco would likely only be able to go four or five innings max since he's still stretching out.

Carrasco had his second rehab outing on Tuesday, and while he was hit hard, he came out of it healthy and is under consideration to be activated from the IL to make his next start.

Jul 7, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets injured starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) works out in the outfield before a double header against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field.
Jul 7, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets injured starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59) works out in the outfield before a double header against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field.

If Carrasco's next start is again a rehab outing, the Mets will likely have to scramble for a starter for Sunday.

Jacob deGrom is eligible to return from the IL on Sunday, but it's likely that he'll need some more time.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. vs. the Mets

Guerrero has put it all together this season and has tormented the league to the tune of an outrageous .328/.427/.669 triple slash with 31 home runs.

He has also been among the best in baseball when it comes to hitting high velocity, so the Mets should beware of him attacking their fastballs and taking aim at the left field seats.

The Mets will also have to contend with the rest of the Blue Jays' lineup, which includes the dangerous Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez, and George Springer.

A fully rested Mets bullpen

After the first inning on Tuesday against the Reds, the Mets' bullpen situation was dire.

They had just lost starting pitcher Robert Stock after just 1.0 inning after Jerad Eickhoff didn't make it out of the third inning on Monday, which followed Taijuan Walker recording just one out on Sunday.

But the Mets got great work from Stephen Nogosek and others on Tuesday to give most of the bullpen a night off, while Marcus Stroman tossed eight brilliant innings on Wednesday (with Jeurys Familia finishing things) to save nearly the entire bullpen heading into Thursday's off-day.