Mets at Rays: 5 things to watch during three-game series in Tampa

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Dominic Smith Mets single at Citi Field during day May 2021
Dominic Smith Mets single at Citi Field during day May 2021

The Mets and Rays play a three-game series this weekend in Tampa.

Here are five things to watch...

How is Jeff McNeil?

Jeff McNeil left Tuesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field due to cramping and did not play in the series finale against the O's on Wednesday.

However, McNeil -- who did agility drills on the field before Wednesday's game -- was available off the bench but did not enter as the Mets wound up blowing Baltimore out, 7-1.

Luis Rojas expects McNeil to be back in the lineup on Friday.

David Peterson vs. Tyler Glasnow

The Mets will have a tall task on Friday night when they face strikeout machine Tyler Glasnow, who has a 2.37 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with a ridiculous 75 strikeouts in 49.1 innings this season.

Opposing Glasnow will be David Peterson, whose command betrayed him during his start last Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks as he lasted just 1.2 innings.

May 7, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (23) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Citi Field.
May 7, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher David Peterson (23) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Citi Field.

Before his last start, Peterson had allowed just three runs over his prior two starts, spanning 11.0 innings.

Who starts on Saturday?

The Mets haven't announced a starting pitcher for Saturday, but the expectation is that it will be either an opener or Joey Lucchesi.

Going to an opener would make sense, especially considering the entire Mets bullpen is rested after an off-day Thursday.

If the Mets use an opener, the options could include Tommy Hunter, Miguel Castro, Jacob Barnes, and Sean Reid-Foley.

Lucchesi came on in relief of Hunter last Saturday and pitched well, allowing one run on two hits while walking one and striking out three in 3.1 innings.

How close is Brandon Nimmo?

Brandon Nimmo began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday and is eligible to be activated from the IL on Friday.

Apr 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) acknowledges some fans before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.
Apr 14, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) acknowledges some fans before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

It is possible that Nimmo could be activated at some point during the weekend series in Tampa.

Red hot Dominic Smith

The Mets have averaged 4.8 runs per game in May as a bunch of their hitters have started to snap out of an early-season malaise.

One of those hitters is Dominic Smith, who has five hits in his last eight at-bats, including a double and four RBI.