NEW YORK METS (85-67, first place/NL East) at CINCINNATI REDS (63-88, fifth place/NL Central)
REDS SHORT HOPS
Joey Votto has reached base in 40 consecutive games. That is one shy of matching his career high. Since the All-Star break, Votto leads the majors in on-base percentage (.554) and walks (80). He is hitting .371 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs in 197 second-half at-bats. Votto recently was suspended for a game for a Sept. 9 incident involving umpire Bill Welke. Votto asked for timeout after a second called strike during the at-bat. The request was not granted and things quickly escalated.
Right fielder Jay Bruce has four home runs in his past six games. After the Mets’ deal for Carlos Gomez fell apart with the Milwaukee Brewers on July 29, the Mets pivoted to Bruce and appeared on track to complete a swap for Zack Wheeler. However, Cincinnati pulled the plug late in the process, after medical information had been exchanged.
The Mets will face three starting pitchers who made their major league debuts this season during the four-game series -- Josh Smith, John Lamb and Keyvius Sampson. The other, Anthony DeSclafani, debuted last season with the Miami Marlins but also remains a rookie. The Reds have used a rookie starting pitcher in 53 straight games since Mike Leake pitched on July 28 and then was traded to the San Francisco Giants. That is the longest streak in major league history. The previous record came in 1902, when the Cardinals had 41 straight starts by rookie pitchers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Smith, in his second major league start, matched up against the debuting Steven Matz at Citi Field on June 28. Matz produced a two-run double and single against Smith during what became a four-RBI day. Lamb was acquired on July 26 in the deal that sent Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals. He made his major league debut Aug. 14. Keyvius Sampson is winless in his past seven starts. DeSclafani, who hails from Colts Neck, New Jersey, was acquired in December from Miami for Mat Latos.
Speedster Billy Hamilton is to have arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Friday.
Aroldis Chapman has reached 30 saves and 100 strikeouts in four straight seasons. That is the longest streak in major league history.