The New York Mets are in full throttle World Series campaign mode, with them making a serious splash for Baseball's grand prize.
Owner Steve Cohen famously made the statement to 'hopefully win the World Series in three to five years' and two years into that project, it's going well. The Mets lead the National League East Division, and are on course for a first playoff appearance since 2016.
New York faces the San Diego Padres in the first of three games at Citi Field after the All-Star break. The Padres are in a battle for a Wild Card spot in the NL West Division as they trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 10 games.
San Diego Padres versus New York Mets, Game one of three
Citi Field, Queens. New York City
00:10 BST Saturday 23rd July 2022
|How to watch:|
MLB.TV, BT Sport, bet365's Sports Live Streaming
New York Mets 5/9, San Diego Padres 8/5
Searching for their first World Series Championship has been a real quest for San Diego's President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, A.J Preller. The 45-year-old has been criticised in some quarters over his hiring of two previous managers in Andy Green and Jayce Tingler, both sacked while under contract.
Preller was praised for bringing in Oakland's under-contract skipper, Bob Melvin but the pressure remains on the Padres' front office.
Preller spoke recently to the San Diego Union-Tribune about the pressure and said: "I think it's good that people, the bar's been set so high. That was one of our goals. That's what we wanted to do. The fact that expectations have been raised, that people think we've moved that needle to a winning organisation, and now everybody wants a World Series, that's what we want, too."
The earlier series between the two franchises saw the Padres inflict the first series loss of the season for the Mets, despite New York taking the first game at Petco Park, 11-5. San Diego hit back in the next two games, crushing the Mets for 20 runs, conceding only two.
San Diego's Yu Darvish went scoreless in Game Two as the Padres won 7-0. Jake Cronenworth drove in five runs as the Padres won Game Three 13-2 to take the series.
Darvish is set to take the mound at Citi Field. The 34-year-old has won four out his last five starts against the Mets and was the winning pitcher when he threw in Queen's last time out in 2019.
The Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto could be the star attraction for any side with the budget going into the trade deadline. Soto has two more years of control with the Nationals, but following a fresh offer from Washington, is yet to sign.
This brings the Mets and also the Padres, to a certain extent, into the race. Soto would cost a lot of trade pieces at the moment for any side, and the Mets have built up an excellent farm system. Are they going to risk that to get Soto or maybe even wait two years and get the superstar in free agency?
The Padres on the other hand may be in for Soto and they shouldn't be discredited. However, they would face stiff competition for him, as the Nationals may want to send him out of the National League and that would end the interest of the Mets also.
San Diego may target someone like Garrett Cooper from the Miami Marlins. He is a power hitter and the Padres wouldn't have to give up much. Cooper's salary is $2.5 million and he is a free agent in 2024.
The Mets, though, desperately need some pitching help. With Jacob DeGrom almost back to full fitness but at least two weeks away from making a first start this season. New York could do with some experienced left-handed pitching help. The Mets have David Peterson on their pitching staff but the 26-year-old has taken two losses in his last two games.