Mets vs. Padres: 5 things to watch during four-game series in San Diego

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Jacob deGrom pitches vs. Diamondbacks
Jacob deGrom pitches vs. Diamondbacks

The Mets and Padres play four games in San Diego starting on Thursday.

Here are five things to watch...

Are we finally seeing Francisco Lindor's breakout?

As Francisco Lindor has struggled to get going offensively over the first two months of his Mets career, he has shown some glimpses. But how he's looked over the last week seems like the real deal.

Lindor has nine hits in his last 23 at-bats entering Thursday night's game, including hits in each of his last five games.

This hot streak from Lindor has included a home run, double, and triple (which he rocketed off the center field wall in Arizona), as well as a single he smoked back up the middle to start the Mets' eventual game-winning rally on Wednesday.

Jun 2, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Mets Francisco Lindor (12) scores the winning run on a Pete Alonso RBI-single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning at Chase Field.
Jun 2, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Mets Francisco Lindor (12) scores the winning run on a Pete Alonso RBI-single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the ninth inning at Chase Field.

If Lindor has finally broken out, it will be a huge turn of events for a Mets team that is still without half of its regular starting lineup due to injuries.

Jacob deGrom vs. Fernando Tatis Jr.*

The battle for the MVP in the National League right now could be between Jacob deGrom and Fernando Tatis Jr., who should face off on Saturday night.

Tatis is playing out of his mind so far this season, slashing .293/.376/.693 with 16 homers in 39 games.

*The asterisk here is that Tatis left Tuesday's game early due to oblique tightness and did not play on Wednesday. He is considered day-to-day.

Who gets the ball for Mets on Friday?

The Mets' starting pitcher for Friday night is still TBA, but it will likely be either Joey Lucchesi or an opener.

With Sean Reid-Foley in Triple-A Syracuse, Tommy Hunter on the IL, and Robert Gsellman having thrown 3.2 innings in relief on Wednesday, the Mets' most logical choice for an opener could be Drew Smith.

May 12, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field.
May 12, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field.

Smith has pitched very well since returning from a shoulder issue, with a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 6.1 innings over six appearances.

The ReplaceMets against San Diego's elite pitching

While Lindor, James McCann, Pete Alonso, and Dominic Smith all raked during the Mets' series win in Arizona, New York is still cobbling things together when it comes to their starting lineup.

And they're going to face a tall task in San Diego against the team with the best staff ERA (2.85) in all of baseball. The Mets' staff ERA (3.17) ranks third.

The Mets will go up against Yu Darvish on Thursday, followed by Blake Snell on Friday, Joe Musgrove on Saturday, and Chris Paddack on Sunday.

Jonathan Villar and other Mets injuries

Hopefully we'll be able to eliminate this section from these preview pieces at some point soon, but we're not there yet.

Jonathan Villar left Wednesday's game with hamstring tightness and his status for the series in San Diego is up in the air.

The Mets also won't be getting J.D. Davis back for it.

It is possible, though, that Luis Guillorme returns soon. And Albert Almora Jr. is also making progress.