Fresh off watching the New York Mets produce a declarative series victory against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, manager Buck Showalter was focused solely on the Cincinnati Reds -- and was firm in his belief that the only statement win is authored by the team that wins the lastgame of the season.
The Mets will look to maintain momentum Monday when they continue an eight-game homestand by hosting the Reds in the opener of a three-game series.
Chris Bassitt (8-7, 3.61 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mets against fellow right-hander Justin Dunn (0-0, 0.00), who will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to make his Reds debut as well as his first major league appearance since June 2021.
Bassitt earned the win last Wednesday, when he allowed six hits over seven scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals.
Dunn, who opened the season on the injured list due to a right shoulder strain before being optioned to Louisville July 24, is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in eight minor league starts this year.
Bassitt lost his lone start against the Reds on May 9, 2019, when he gave up three runs over 7 2/3 innings. Dunn, who was drafted by the Mets in 2016 and traded to the Seattle Mariners in the blockbuster deal that brought Edwin Diaz to New York following the 2018 season, will be facing his former organization for the first time.
Both teams closed out series wins Sunday. Jacob deGrom retired the first 17 batters he faced and combined with a pair of relievers on a two-hitter as the Mets beat Atlanta 5-2, while the Reds scored twice in the 10th inning to edge Milwaukee, 4-2.
The National League East-leading Mets took four of five from the second-place Braves to increase their advantage over Atlanta to 6 1/2 games, the biggest gap between the teams since June 18.
But Showalter -- with the wariness of someone who knows the long road between early August and late October -- dismissed the idea the Mets made a statement during the five-game series.
"Statement's trying to be the last team standing when it's all over -- that's the only statement there is," Showalter said. "Nothing's going to be promised to you tomorrow. You've got to earn everything here."
By winning the series from the Brewers and knocking them out of first place in the NL Central, the Reds continued to prove they're closer to the team that's gone .500 over the past 80 games than the one that got off to a nightmarish 4-23 start.
Since July 8 -- a span in which they've traded veteran outfielders Tyler Naquin and Tommy Pham, resurgent utilityman Brandon Drury and their top two starting pitchers in Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle -- the Reds have gone 5-1-1 in their last seven series.
"The guys in the clubhouse, no matter what, they go out and do everything in their power to find ways to win games," Reds manager David Bell said. "It's really nice to have some success and see our team enjoy what's happening, It's good motivation to keep it going and finish out strong."
--Field Level Media