5 things to watch as Mets face Royals in three-game series at Citi Field

Here are five things to watch when the Mets return home to face the upstart Kansas City Royals in a three-game series at Citi Field...

The offense is clicking on all cylinders

After a six-game season-opening homestand where the Mets were a combination of lost and passive at the plate, the offense erupted on their just-completed road trip, culminating with a 16-4 thrashing of the Braves in Atlanta.

During Thursday's win, six different Mets had two hits.

And in New York's three game series in Atlanta, they scored 29 runs.

Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil, who were mired in early-season slumps, have both broken out. Meanwhile, Pete Alonso, who had a solid start to the season but a rough start to the road trip, heated up in Atlanta, with four hits and a homer in the final two games of the series.

Even DJ Stewart, who was hitless until Tuesday night, got in on the fun, with two homers against the Braves.

The only Met who has yet to truly break out is Francisco Lindor, who showed some signs during the road trip but remains stuck in an offensive rut.

The reception for Francisco Lindor

Lindor is a notoriously slow starter, but his first 12 games of the season have been extra difficult.

Entering play on Friday, Lindor is slashing a meager .098/.203/.176 in 59 plate appearances.

Speaking this past weekend, Lindor -- after current and former teammates, and coaches reached out to show support -- said "It's good to know there's people on my side besides my wife and my family. Just put my head down, keep grinding, and keep climbing."

Lindor, who has been a phenomenal Met on and off the field, deserves to receive support from the fans as well.

And on Friday night, they can show him how much he's appreciated -- and perhaps ease his mind a bit -- by giving him a standing ovation when he steps to the plate for the first time.

A fresh bullpen

Because of the rain out on Wednesday and blowout win on Thursday, the Mets will enter this series with a very well-rested bullpen.

Aside from Drew Smith, who pitched 1.2 innings on Thursday, no other high-leverage reliever has pitched since Monday.

Apr 7, 2024; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park.

Edwin Diaz, Brooks Raley, and Adam Ottavino have been off since Sunday.

Jorge Lopez and Jake Diekman last pitched on Monday.

What can Luis Severino do for an encore?

After a rough first start where he allowed 11 hits and six runs (three earned) but showed some positive signs by striking out six and walking none, Severino located much better in his second start and the results followed.

In 5.0 innings against the Reds in Cincinnati, Severino allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits while walking two and striking out seven.

With Kodai Senga out until at least May 27, it's Severino who is the Mets' starter with the most upside.

Sean Manaea has performed very well early on, but his stuff isn't on the level of Severino when the big right-hander is at his best.

Severino gets the ball on Friday night in the series opener.

The young, exciting, red-hot Royals

The Royals enter this series winners of seven straight, coming off a 13-3 thrashing of the Houston Astros, and a half game back in the wide open AL Central.

Kansas City's offense is led by 23-year-old star shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., who is hitting .358/.414/.755 with four homers in 13 games this season.

Their lineup also features Vinnie Pasquantino, Salvador Perez, Hunter Renfroe, and Nelson Velazquez.

Their rotation is fronted by Cole Ragans, who gets the start on Sunday.

The Mets won't face old friend Seth Lugo during this series, but they will go up against Michael Wacha, who toes the rubber on Friday.