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Apr 25, 2024 6:32 pm

Mets, Cardinals seeing offensive improvement ahead of series

francisco lindor

The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals are still receiving regular reminders of their disappointing performances in 2023.

But wins on Wednesday may be evidence the Mets and Cardinals are getting closer to the form they displayed in 2022.

The two teams will try to keep building momentum Friday night, when the Mets host the Cardinals in the opener of a three-game series.

Jose Butto (0-0, 1.65 ERA) is slated to start for the Mets against fellow right-hander Miles Mikolas (1-3, 6.49 ERA).

Both teams were off Thursday after earning wins Wednesday afternoon. The visiting Mets avoided being swept by the San Francisco Giants, winning 8-2 in the finale of a three-game series. The host Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 in the rubber game of a three-game set.

New York’s Francisco Lindor snapped out of a season-long slump by going 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs against the Giants, while Tyrone Taylor continued his surprising emergence by going 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs. The Mets ended a three-game losing streak in which they’d scored just three runs.

Lindor is the sixth player with at least 10 RBIs this season for the Mets, whose losing streak was preceded by a 15-game stretch in which they went 12-3 while averaging 6.1 runs per game. Taylor, who entered the season with a .239 lifetime average, leads the Mets with a .327 average and ranks second with 13 RBIs, behind only leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo (15).

“Every day, someone else is having a huge impact,” Nimmo told Newsday. “It’s going to need to be that way for the rest of the season.”

New York was 11th in the NL with 717 runs last season, when it finished 75-87. The Mets were tied for third in the NL with 772 runs in 2022, when they went 101-61 and made the playoffs.

The Cardinals’ streak of four straight playoff appearances was snapped when they finished last in the NL Central last season — their first last-place finish since 1990, when St. Louis played in the NL East.

St. Louis, the only sub-.500 team in the NL Central at 11-14, has scored three runs or fewer 16 times in 25 games. But the Cardinals mounted another late rally Wednesday to beat Arizona, finishing with five runs for the third time in the last five games.

Nolan Arenado’s sixth-inning RBI single tied the score before the Cardinals took the lead two pitches later when Willson Contreras raced home on a wild pitch. Nolan Gorman had an RBI single in the seventh before Lars Nootbaar added a two-run double in the eighth.

The Cardinals scored all five of their runs in the sixth inning or later Monday, as well, when Gorman hit a walk-off two-run homer in the ninth to give the hosts a 5-3 win.

“For us to get to where we want to be, we’ve got to score more runs,” Arenado told MLB.com. “I think those times are coming. It’s rare for a whole lineup to not feel good, and we’re in those times right now where nobody really feels good. Hopefully, we start to turn it around.”

Butto didn’t factor into the decision last Saturday, when he gave up two runs over 4 1/3 innings in the Mets’ 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has never opposed the Cardinals.

Mikolas took the loss last Saturday after allowing five runs over 4 2/3 innings as the Cardinals fell to the Milwaukee Brewers, 12-5. He is 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA in six career games (five starts) against the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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