Preview: Brewers at Mets
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets don't want to get used to losing. The Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, could get accustomed to what happened during their win over the Mets on Saturday night.
The Mets and Brewers will each be vying for a series win Sunday afternoon, when the teams meet in the rubber match of a three-game set at Citi Field.
Milwaukee snapped New York's nine-game winning streak Saturday by never trailing in a 5-1 victory.
The Mets' Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 3.94 ERA) is scheduled to oppose the Brewers' Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 6.59 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
The Brewers (8-7) would be thrilled if Chacin followed in the footsteps of staff ace Chase Anderson, who became the first Milwaukee starter to pitch into the seventh Saturday. Anderson opened with 4 2/3 no-hit innings and allowed the one run on two hits and one walk while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings.
The lengthy outing by Anderson meant Brewers manager Craig Counsell only had to use two relievers Saturday. Jeremy Jeffress recorded the final two outs of the seventh and Josh Hader earned his first career save by striking out five in two perfect innings.
Such a respite was much-needed for the Brewers' bullpen, which entered Saturday having thrown the third-most innings (60) in the National League. The burden was increased April 5, when All-Star closer Corey Knebel suffered a hamstring injury that will likely sideline him through May.
"I think getting us into the seventh inning, it's important," Counsell said. "It sets us up really well with fresh guys down there. You're using less guys. Those guys down there have done a heckuva job, but you want to be able to think about the next day and the next day."
Before Saturday night, the Mets (11-2) had thought about nothing but wins for almost two weeks. New York absorbed its previous loss April 1, also by a 5-1 margin.
Going 148-14 was never a realistic option for the Mets, though manager Mickey Callaway said the demeanor and the approach New York utilized during its winning streak is sustainable over the long haul.
"It never feels good to lose, but I think we're playing the game the right way," Callaway said Saturday night.
Both teams are likely to unveil different lineups Sunday.
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun exited in the fifth inning Saturday because of a sore lower back. Braun and Counsell said they didn't know if Braun would play Sunday, but with rain in the forecast and temperatures expected to be in the 40s, it won't be a surprise if Braun sits out the finale.
Braun went 1-for-3 before exiting Saturday and is hitting .184 with three homers and eight RBIs.
Mets rookie catcher Tomas Nido is expected to draw his first start of the season. Nido was recalled from Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday and will likely split time behind the plate with veteran Jose Lobaton after New York's top two catchers, Travis d'Arnaud (Tommy John surgery) and Kevin Plawecki (broken left hand), were injured this week.
Syndergaard earned the win in his most recent start Monday when he allowed two runs (one earned) over six innings as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins 4-2. Chacin didn't factor into the decision Monday, when he gave up three runs over 4 2/3 innings in the Brewers' 5-4, 10-inning win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Syndergaard is 2-0 with a 0,69 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers. Chacin is 2-5 with a 6.10 ERA in nine career games (eight starts) against the Mets.