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View from the other side: Mets questions for Chris McShane of Amazin’ Avenue

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays start a three-game series against the New York Mets tonight at Citi Field (yes, I long for the old days when the ballpark names weren’t sold to the highest bidder).

The Mets are first in the NL East, four games up on the Braves and the Phillies.

The Mets are third from the bottom of the NL in runs scored per game at 3.95. But they are third from the top in runs allowed per game at 3.78.

I sent off some questions to Chris McShane of Amazin’ Avenue, SB Nation’s Mets’ blog and he was kind enough to answer.

I usually start by asking about former Jays, but it seems like half of your roster is former maybe I’ll ask about a few of them. Pitchers first. Marcus Stroman was always a favorite of mine, what do Mets’ fans think of him? Aaron Loup seems to be having a good season (and hasn’t hit many batters), I really didn’t think he would be effective in the post LOOGY world. How is he being used? And if you want to gloat about signing Taijuan Walker (when the Jays really should have), go ahead.

Marcus Stroman is a joy to watch. Some Mets fans have been unhappy with him for opting out of the season last year, but that’s nonsense. The fact that he’s been pitching as well as he has this year is pretty great. Aaron Loup is being used in all sorts of situations, and he’s found success in all of them. Throw in his love of downing some beers after his outings, and he’s a bit of a folk legend around here already. And man, Taijuan Walker is good. He’s not going to blow you away like Jacob deGrom would, but he’s been super effective.

And on the batter’s side: How is Kevin Pillar doing since the very scary hit by pitch?

Kevin Pillar has been great for the Mets, and he bounced back faster than anyone could have imagined after he was hit in the face by that pitch.

What are you hoping the Mets will do at the trade deadline?

The Mets’ biggest need is pitching, both in the rotation and the bullpen. They’ve been rolling out a rotation that features three major league starting pitchers recently—and that includes Tylor Megill, who’s been a very good piece for them in an emergency situation—and have had a pretty bad team ERA thus far in the second half.

Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers the Jays are likely to see?

As I’m writing this, the Mets have two probable starters listed. Megill is set to open the series, and he was an interesting arm who didn’t quite make our list of the Mets’ top 25 prospects this, but he’s a large dude who sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and has flashed 97 with it. And he’s been pretty good at getting whiffs on his secondary pitches. Walker has some great stuff, but he won’t strike out opposing hitters as often as you’d think. And the Mets don’t have a starting pitcher listed for the series finale yet because, again, the Mets don’t have five major league pitchers in their rotation right now.

I’m ok with us missing Jacob deGrom, how much longer is he expected to be out?

deGrom has been spotted throwing a little bit recently, which is a good sign, and Mets fans are obviously hoping that the front office’s update that his injury isn’t too serious is true. But it’s hard to predict what his timeline looks like.

What’s happened to Francisco Lindor’s bat? What are Mets’ fans thinking about the trade and contract?

Francisco Lindor got off to a cold start at the plate this year, but his bat has been totally fine for a while now. Since June 1, he’s hit .264/.361/.465 with a 129 wRC+, and even when he was struggling with the bat, he was playing great defense and being a real leader. He’s going to be worth the contract, but even if that doesn’t happen, the Mets are owned by an ultra-billionaire and will be fine. Lindor’s presence is missed, and here’s hoping he returns as quickly as possible from his oblique injury.

The Mets are at the top of the NL East, how do you think the rest of the season will go?

The division is the Mets’ to lose, and they will win it. They’re a good team, and their division rivals aren’t.

Anything else we should know about the Mets?

Pete Alonso isn’t just a Home Run Derby king—as much as we have enjoyed his back-to-back wins in that event. He’s been pretty hot at the plate, and Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and Dom Smith have been hitting much more like themselves recently than they did in the first half. Also, Jonathan Villar rules.

Thanks Chris