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

·2 min read
Pete Alonso Francisco Lindor near home plate celebrating June 2021
Pete Alonso Francisco Lindor near home plate celebrating June 2021

After the Mets and Padres split a four-game set last week in San Diego, they will face off in a three-game series at Citi Field starting on Friday.

Here are five things to watch...

Mets are back home -- and lots of fans will be waiting

The Mets played the first 20 home games of their season in front of sparse crowds that were socially distanced. That will not be the case beginning on Friday night.

Capacity at Citi Field has risen to roughly 34,000, and a majority of the crowd will be made up of sections of vaccinated fans who will no longer be required to be socially distanced.

Friday night will be the first time since 2019 that Citi Field will be anywhere near capacity, and it just so happens that the right guy will be on the mound...

Jacob deGrom vs. the Padres Part II

Jacob deGrom gets the ball against Blake Snell on Friday night on the heels of his dismantling of the Padres on June 5, when he fired seven innings of shutout ball while allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out 11.

DeGrom's 0.62 ERA through his first nine starts of the season is the lowest ERA ever for any pitcher through nine starts in MLB history.

Jun 5, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park.
Jun 5, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park.

It will be deGrom's first start at Citi Field since he faced the Colorado Rockies on May 25.

The return of Luis Guillorme

The Mets are getting healthier, and the return of Luis Guillorme is expected to happen on Friday.

Guillorme, who last played for the Mets on April 24, has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse.

When Guillorme returns to the lineup, the most logical spot for him is either second base (with Jose Peraza going to the bench) or third base (with Jonathan Villar sliding to second and Peraza on the bench).

Red-hot Pete Alonso

Pete Alonso caught fire during the Mets' road trip after being activated from the IL.

New York Mets' Pete Alonso (20) is congratulated by third base coach Gary Disarcina (10) after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Chase Field May 31, 2021. Mets Vs Diamondbacks
New York Mets' Pete Alonso (20) is congratulated by third base coach Gary Disarcina (10) after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Chase Field May 31, 2021. Mets Vs Diamondbacks

On the Mets' nine-game trip through Arizona, San Diego, and Baltimore, Alonso slashed .371/.405/.743 with four homers and 12 RBI while striking out just three times.

Alonso's numbers for the year are now starting to resemble the numbers he had as a rookie in 2019, as he's hitting .265/.349/.500 in 45 games.

Chris Paddack vs. Citi Field

Chris Paddack, who is scheduled to start the series finale on Sunday, will be making just his second Citi Field start.

Back in 2019, Paddack colorfully and bizarrely made Alonso a target of his ire when both players were rookies.

Paddack got the best of Alonso at Petco Park soon after, while Alonso got the best of the Padres in the next game of that series.

It will be fun to see the reception Paddack gets at what should be a packed and excited Citi Field.

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