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Jun 27, 2024 4:45 pm

Sizzling Mets, Astros square off with winning record within reach

ronel blanco

The New York Mets and Houston Astros will take the field on Friday knowing one thing: By the end of the night, one of them will have a winning record, something that was unimaginable at the start of the month.

The two hottest teams in baseball will end June opposing one another beginning Friday night, when the Mets host the Astros in the opener of a three-game interleague series.

Left-hander Jose Quintana (3-5, 4.58 ERA) is slated to start for the Mets against right-hander Ronel Blanco (8-2, 2.34).

Both teams were off Thursday after climbing to .500 by completing the sweep of a two-game interleague series at home Wednesday night. The Mets rolled to a 12-2 win over the New York Yankees while the Astros earned their seventh straight victory by beating the Colorado Rockies 7-1.

With the wins, the Mets (15-6 since June 1) and Astros (15-7 since June 1) maintained the best records in baseball this month while continuing to climb into the playoff race. New York is 1 1/2 games out of the third National League wild-card spot while Houston is three games out of the final AL playoff berth.

“I’m not going to lie: Where we were a few weeks ago, to be in this position now is important,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said.

New York reached .500 on Wednesday for the first time since it was 18-18 on May 7, while Houston got to the break-even mark for the first time all season.

“Our goal was to play .500 baseball in May,” manager Joe Espada said of the Astros, who were 15-14 in May following a 10-19 start. “And our goal in June was to be a .500 club. And we’ve made those goals, those targets.”

Both teams have been fueled by an offensive resurgence. The Mets lead the NL with 135 runs this month, during which they’ve scored at least 10 runs in a game five times. New York scored just 240 runs through May 31, a span of 57 games.

“The mentality is we’re not giving anything away,” Mendoza said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down big or we’re up big. Every pitch matters. Every at-bat.”

The Astros have scored 115 runs this month, the fifth-most in the AL. They outscored the Rockies and Baltimore Orioles 39-16 during a perfect five-game homestand.

“We’ve got to keep going,” Espada said. “But the guys have worked really hard to get to this point.”

Quintana earned the win in his most recent start on June 21, when he allowed an unearned run over 6 1/3 innings as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 11-1. He is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 10 career games (eight starts) against the Astros.

Blanco earned the win last Saturday after giving up one run over seven innings in the Astros’ 5-1 victory over the Orioles. He has never faced the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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