Braves Destroy Horrid Mets Defense And Bullpen

Brodie Van Wagenen built a poor defensive club with a bullpen that was an arm or two short. When you do that, you’re not beating average teams like the Cardinals, and you’re not beating good teams like the Braves.

When you get injuries and poor performances from the bullpen, you’re not beating anyone on the road, which is why the Mets have the most road losses in the National League.

Zack Wheeler was decent for four allowing two runs only for the National League worst defense to destroy his and the Mets chances of winning the game.

The Mets got misplays from Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, and Wilson Ramos, the latter of which who appeared to not even bother on the tough balls in the dirt. The embarrassingly poor defense and defensive effort took a 2-2 game and made it 5-2.

If you had a glimmer of hope after the Robinson Cano sixth inning homer, the Mets bullpen made sure to destroy those delusions of grandeur.

Jeurys Familia loaded the bases while recording just one out in the seventh causing Mickey Callaway to go to Drew Gagnon to put out the fire. Sadly, Gagnon decided to use a mixture of gasoline and kerosene to try to put out that fire.

By the time he was done, the 5-3 deficit grew to 12-3. Three of the runs were charged to Familia and four were charged to Gagnon. At the end, who cares? Every reliever not named Seth Lugo is pitching extremely poorly. The defense is worse than that.

You can tell yourself the Mets competed with the Braves for most of this game, and that they tied the score off Mike Soroka and his 1.92 ERA. It doesn’t matter because this bullpen is non-competitive.

Game Notes: Wheeler has a .323 batting average with a .828 OPS.

20/20 Hindsight: It’s Always The Cardinals

The Mets had an opportunity to not just get back to .500 this weekend. They had the chance to make a statement against the Cardinals while going over .500 and making a real push towards the Wild Card and division ahead of a big road trip. As we know, it didn’t happen:

1. Perhaps everything is different if Edwin Diaz could pitch through the rain. He couldn’t. Instead, he blew the save, and the Mets would have to wait another day to lose that game, and then because this is the Mets, blow another game.

2. The criticism directed towards Mickey Callaway in sticking with Diaz for the 10th inning of that suspended game was plain dumb. It’s not like he was running him right back out there. No, he used him after a night of rest, and remember, Diaz was their best available reliever. Sticking with him was the right call.

3. The criticism of Callaway has gone way over the top. Take for example Wally Matthews hit on him when Callaway said Dominic Smith was one of their better hitters against Cardinals starter Daniel Hudson. Matthews mocked Callaway saying they never faced one another instead of pointing out how left-handed batters are hitting .311/.411/.508 off Hudson. Of course, that fact stands in the way of the narrative that Callaway is an idiot.

4. If you want to get on Callaway, get on his ever allowing Mets pitching to pitch to Paul DeJong. For some reason, he turns into a hybrid monster of Chipper Jones and Barry Bonds whenever he plays the Mets. It’s infuriating, especially when it was DeJong who mostly cost the Mets a chance to at least split the series or possibly more.

5. With respect to DeJong, one of his homers came off of Chris Flexen. That’s a tough spot for Flexen, who was JUST converted to a reliever with one relief outing in Syracuse before getting called up. He pitched well otherwise, and the Mets need to give him more of a look. That said, it’s an indictment on Brodie Van Wagenen that Flexen needed to be rushed like this.

6. Speaking of Van Wagenen indictments, who is the fifth starter now that Noah Syndergaard is injured? Corey Oswalt is hurt. Flexen is a reliever. Ervin Santana hasn’t been good in years, and Walker Lockett has never been good. Maybe he’ll just trade another asset for a pitcher another organization clearly no longer wants.

7. Like when he traded cash considerations for Brooks Pounders and his career 8.69 ERA. If history is any guide, this will go the way of Tobi Stoner in terms of relievers with fun names who have a big arm and poor results.

8. The Mets entered this season with zero depth in their rotation and their outfield. It’s already caused a huge problem in the outfield, and it is potentially doing so again with the rotation.

9. The outfield really highlights the Mets stupidity. Right now, the Mets are considering playing Jeff McNeil, who is just a second baseman, or Michael Conforto, who will only play right field this year, to play center so they can get Smith, who is only going to play first base, into the lineup as the team’s left fielder.

10. McNeil made a game and season ending play when he nailed Jack Flaherty at the plate. If the Mets lost that game, there may not have been any coming back from it. It’s bizarre to think this was one of just two season altering types of a plays in the same four game series, the other being Amed Rosario‘s inability to get the relay throw in Diaz’s blown save.

11. Say what you want about this team, but they are resilient. They came back from Diaz’s blown save and loss, and they were in position to win the next game until Jeurys Familia blew it. They then came back the next night and won it. They then battled all day Sunday trying to pull out the series split.

12. This team can hit at home. Their 117 wRC+ at home is the fourth best in the majors and second best in the National League. The trick for the team is to find a way to bring that offense on the road.

13. Speaking of offense at home, the team should just leave J.D. Davis at Citi Field because it’s apparently the only ballpark in the majors he can hit. In his career, he hits .209/.274/.341 on the road, .150/.200/.300 at Minute Maid, and yet, somehow, .347/.424/.587 at Citi Field. Maybe there’s just something to the Mets infield dirt that makes those ground balls find a way through.

14. If you are looking for the reasons for the Mets struggles, it’s not Callaway. It’s the bullpen, which is terrible, and it is the defense, which may actually be worse than the bullpen. That’s a combination which is not going to play well on the road, and as we saw in this series, it is not going to play well against good teams.

15. As bizarre and tiresome as this sounds, the Mets still could be in this race. They’re just five games out of a Wild Card and 7.5 back of the Braves, and the Mets have the games against the opponents to make it a race. They just have to go out and to their job.

16. For what it’s worth, Flexen being in the pen along with a returning Justin Wilson may address the bullpen enough that they could be good there. Move McNeil to center with Smith in left, and maybe, this is a team ready to go. After all, we see the fight this team has in it. It’s really just a matter of putting it all together at once.

17. That said, if it was that easy, the Mets wouldn’t be in this position.

18. If you want to know if there is a real chance for the division, look no further than this series against the Braves. If they take two, it’s a whole new ball game. If they get swept, they’ve already lost the division, and they’ll be lucky if there’s still a Wild Card to put their focus.

19. Pete Alonso almost pulling a Tommie Agee is what makes him such a fun player to watch. You just never know when he is going to hit the next towering homer.

20. You could buy the criticism directed at Syndergaard for not speaking reporters after his injury if the media held the General Manager and ownership to the same standards. Instead, they fight over themselves to throw jabs at the team’s designated punching bag Callaway, especially when you see how the Mets have handled Brandon Nimmo‘s STILL injured neck.

Media Kills Mets Players While Giving The Wilpons A Pass

Noah Syndergaard left last night’s game with an apparent leg injury. Whatever the reason, he was still in the clubhouse after the game instead of getting treatment or an examination in the trainer’s room or somewhere else.

Syndergaard finally left the clubhouse when the media entered, and the media pounced:

As is typically the case, reporters pounce on when a player ducks them. We saw it happen earlier this year with Clint Frazier, and we’ve seen it with the Mets with Matt Harvey and others.

It’s a player’s responsibility to face the media, and when they failed to meet up to their responsibilities, they should be held accountable. Even if the media attacks tend to go over the top, they’re within their right to do it.

The question is why this only applies to players.

Sandy Anderson used to meet with the press before every homestand. He was there to answer for everything good or bad (mostly bad). It’s a tradition Brodie Van Wagenen has not followed. Instead, his media availability during homestands typically only goes as far as the notes he leaves telling the media he hopes they enjoy the doughnuts he bought them.

There’s also Jeff Wilpon, who never makes himself available to the media. That is, unless, he’s in studio with his friend Mike Francesa whose toughest question to Jeff is whether Jeff McNeil or Yoenis Cespedes could come within 25 strokes of him on the golf course.

Basically, the media will kill players for their self-imposed unavailability, but they’re unwilling to do the same with the General Manager or ownership. That goes at least double for ownership.

Sure, we will hear about how Syndergaard left his team high and dry to answer questions for him. However, we won’t hear the same about how Van Wagenen and the Wilpons do the same exact thing to Mickey Callaway and the Mets players.

No, for some reason only players need to be held accountable by the media. The Wilpons and Van Wagenen can and will continue getting a pass for the same behavior despite their unavailability being all the more egregious than what an injured Syndergaard, a player who’s always there to answer questions, did today.

That is a ridiculous double standard.

Mets Barely Hold On

Lot to digest with this one, so just like in Spaceballs, we’ll go with the short-short version:

Pete Alonso almost pulled off a Tommie Agee in the first off Cardinals starter Michael Wacha:

Home Plate Umpire Brian O’Nora vomited on the field causing a 10 minute delay. Believe it or not, it was not due to having to watch this Mets team play.

Noah Syndergaard pitched well coming off strep throat, and entering the seventh, the Mets were up 8-3. Syndergaard seemed to pull a muscle or something in his leg and had to leave the game.

The Mets bullpen is terrible, and they made an 8-3 game an 8-7 one. Edwin Diaz would need Jeff McNeil to track down a ball which fell between him and Michael Conforto and nail Jack Flaherty at the plate.

That was a really bad send there, but the Mets benefitted. You can call it a bad win all you want, but it’s still a win. Take it and be happy.

Game Notes: Mets have as many wins as they did all last June (5). J.D. Davis had a career day at the plate going 4-for-5 falling a triple short of the cycle.

Mets Could Have Five All Stars

The New York Mets have been making a push for fans to elect their players as All-Stars. At first, it started with Pete Alonso and only recently it was grown to include Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto. These are three Mets who are putting together strong cases to be All Stars, and they are three of five Mets who could be legitimately named All Stars this year:

Pete Alonso

Traditional Stats: .258/.339/.598, 13 2B, 2 3B, 22 HR, 49 RBI
Advanced Stats: 2.4 bWAR, 2.2 fWAR, 150 OPS+, 145 wRC+

Any other year and Alonso would be a no-doubt All-Star. Currently, he’s tied for second in the league in homers, and he is seventh in RBI, sixth in slugging, and tenth in OPS in conjunction with being in the mix on advanced metrics leaderboards. The problem for Alonso is first base in the National League is extremely deep this year with Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Bell having a higher WAR and Bell, Freeman, and Anthony Rizzo having a higher wRC+.

It is a difficult race, but Alonso has a legitimate shot to be an All Star, especially when you take injuries into account. No matter what the case, at a minimum, Alonso should be taking part in the All Star festivities as part of the Home Run Derby.

Michael Conforto

Traditional Stats: .258/.383/.507, 13 2B, 13 HR, 32 RBI, 4 SB
Advanced Stats: 1.9 bWAR, 2.0 fWAR, 142 OPS+, 138 wRC+

While he’s mostly overlooked, Conforto probably represents the Mets best shot as an All Star because he’s one of the best at his position. Currently, Conforto ranks sixth among National League outfielders in WAR and seventh in wRC+. Also, by DRS, Conforto rates as the fourth best defensive right fielder.

While he’s deserving, Conforto has real impediments to his induction. There’s players with name recognition like Charlie Blackmon or Bryce Harper or players who could be a team’s lone All Star like Brian Anderson of the Marlins. Even if they are impediments, they are not more deserving.

Jacob deGrom

Traditional Stats: 3-6, 3.38 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 11.1 K/9
Advanced Stats: 2.3 bWAR, 2.3 fWAR, 118 ERA+, 3.09 FIP

Let’s get the obvious out of the way and point out deGrom hasn’t been the deGrom of last year, but that alone does not mean he’s not a worthy All-Star. While he’s had a “down year,” deGrom is still third in the National League in strikeouts and K/9, and he’s seventh in K/BB (5.1) and FIP. Another note, deGrom is also fifth in the league in fWAR.

When you break it all down, deGrom’s tough stretch fueled by illness and injuries have his stats a little off from what we anticipated. That said, breaking down the numbers more deGrom should absolutely be an All-Star this year as he is still one of the best pitchers in the league.

Seth Lugo

Traditional Stats: 3-0, 2.43 ERA, 0.930 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 11.6 K/9
Advanced Stats: 0.6 bWAR, 0.8 fWAR, 166 ERA+, 2.64 FIP

As baseball heads towards these multi-innings relievers, pitchers like Lugo have become more valuable, and in recent years, we have begun seeing more set-up men be included on the All-Star teams over closers who simply accumulate saves. Ultimately, the question with Lugo is just how far is the modern game willing to go to acknowledge pitchers like him.

When comparing Lugo to other National League relievers, you see he is near at in the top 10 in many categories including important ones like innings, K/9, K/BB, FIP, WHIP, and fWAR. In fact, he ranks eighth among all National League relievers in strikeouts. Now that he’s healthy, we should see him advance higher on each of these lists and continue to strengthen his case.

Jeff McNeil

Traditional Stats: .337/.408/.467, 15 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 4 CS
Advanced Stats: 2.2 bWAR, 1.5 fWAR, 140 OPS+, 139 wRC+

The problem with evaluatin McNeil is you don’t know where to put him. Is he an outfielder? Second Baseman? Third Baseman? Looking at the positive DRS he has at each of those positions, the answer is clearly yes to each. When looking at it that way, you realize what McNeil really is is a baseball player, a very good baseball player.

He’s third in the league in batting average, fourth in OBP, 10th in OPS+, eighth in HBP (8), and 14th in wRC+. When you look at these and other numbers, you realize it doesn’t matter where he plays. What matters is he does play, and in fact, his ability to play three positions well makes him extremely valuable. IF we look at him as a baseball player, he is definitely one of the best players in the National League, and you are going to need a really good argument to keep him off the All-Star team.

Overall, the Mets should have at least two All-Stars, and realistically speaking the maximum they would have is three. It would seem likely deGrom and one of McNeil or Conforto makes the team with Alonso joining them as part of the Home Run Derby. At least that’s what the analysis says. As we know, who is and who is not an All-Star sometimes makes zero sense, so we just have to sit and wait and hope one of the deserving Mets will not be a snub.

 

No Relief In Sight

The Mets picked up last night’s suspended game today. The Mets didn’t score in the ninth, so the game went into extra innings.

Mickey Callaway stuck with Edwin Diaz. Diaz had blown the game in the ninth, but that happened last night. Despite fans consternation, it was the right move because Diaz was the best pitcher available.

Of course, with this being the Mets, it didn’t work out.

Diaz allowed a leadoff single to Yairo Munoz, and he presented no impediment to Munoz stealing second. After a groundout, he was on third outing him in position to score on a Paul DeJong RBI single.

The Cardinals won 5-4, and it would not be the last time DeJong and the Mets bullpen would be heard from tonight.

After a tough three run fifth, Steven Matz appeared to be headed for his fifth loss of the year. His fifth inning homer pulled the Mets to within two. The seventh inning rally got Matz off the hook and gave the Mets the lead.

After loading the bases with no outs, the first run scored when Kolten Wong robbed Pete Alonso of a hit, but he then threw it too low for DeJong. Everyone was safe, and the Mets pulled within one.

After Dominic Smith struck out and Todd Frazier hit a fielder’s choice with Matt Carpenter getting the runner at home, Wilson Ramos delivered a huge two out two RBI hit to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

It didn’t matter.

Jeurys Familia immediately gave up the game tying homer to DeJong. With another blown save for him and the Mets in the books, the Mets have a Major League worst 16 blown saves.

It got worse for Familia as the Cardinals continued to hit him hard, and eventually, they’d take the lead on a three run Dexter Fowler homer. It was the second time in his career Familia allowed two homers in a game. Both times happened this year.

Not to be outdone, Hector Santiago took over in the ninth, and he allowed s homer to Wong. The final score would be 9-5.

Instead of being at .500 or a game over, the Mets are back to three under. This is a team who can’t get out of their own way, and a large part of it is because Brodie Van Wagenen did a bad job and continues to do a bad job.

Game Notes: As pointed out by Zach Braziller of the N.Y. Post, Mets pitchers have five homers, and Mets center fielders have six.

Let Fans Pick Their Own All Star

In an effort to make the All Star voting more enticing and draw interest to the game, Major League Baseball has changed the voting for this year. Essentially up until June 21, the fans get to vote like they always did. After that, there will be a “Starters Election.” The Staters Election has the fans vote for the starters from the now reduced list over a 28 hour window.

This is a change for its own sake, and it gets it partially right (more on that in a moment). Really, if Major League Baseball wants to get fans interested in the game, let the fans pick their own All Star. In this instance, their own All Star means the player they want to represent their favorite team.

Take the Marlins for example. Are any of their players really All Star worthy? Maybe Brian Anderson who has a 1.8 WAR this season. The problem there is Anderson is 10th among NL third baseman in WAR meaning if he’s selected a worthy player is going to be left off in his stead.

Now, that’s the way it is and will always be so long as every team is represented. If this is going to continue to be a fan spectacle, you do want to see every team represented. After all, even a team like the Marlins, who draw worse than some Triple-A teams, has fans, and you want them to tune in to watch. You want to see Anderson, or whoever their representative is play in the game.

But if you’re going to want to entice the Marlins fans to watch, why not let them pick who they want to watch. For them, it could be Anderson, Miguel Rojas, Caleb Smith, or whomever else it might be. If you boil it down, if you are keeping a representative for every team to keep fans engaged, let them pick their representative.

By doing so, you not only keep them engaged, but you also prevent them from seeing a player they don’t want to see in the game. For example, Mets fans saw Bobby Bonilla as their lone All-Star in 1993 and 1995 despite the fans likely wanting to see players like Dwight Gooden, Rico Brogna, or John Franco in the game. Remember, if you are trying to entice fans, you should entice them with players they want to see play.

That includes being able to vote for pitchers. There are logistical issues with pitchers being available to pitch in the game. However, that should not prevent fans from having their favorite players on the roster even if they cannot participate in the game.

Remember that this would create a pool of just 15 players on a 34 man roster. That’s just seven additional players. Certainly, you could accommodate this by adding six more roster spots if deemed necessary. After all, September rosters are 40. If a manager can handle 40 players in September, there’s no reason he cannot handle that in an exhibition game where managers try go get everyone into the game.

Really, when looking at it that way, there’s no real reason why fans couldn’t or even shouldn’t pick their own team’s representative. Let the Marlins pick their one guy. Mets fans seem to want to push for Pete Alonso. Let them see him in the game. Let Yankees fans send CC Sabathia for one last All Star appearance before his possible Hall of Fame career ends. Again, let fans see who they want to see who they want.

You can do a results show on MLB Network announcing those players. You can then do another show announcing the pool of elected players. Then, you can do the Staters Election Major League Baseball has implemented. Only this time, fans are picking from the actual All-Stars. Then, you can hold the results until the game.

You get fans tuning in a little earlier to find out exactly who the starters are because they won’t know until player introductions. If all done properly, you get more interest because fans are seeing who they actually want to see, and you get more people tuning in earlier in order to see the results. Ultimately, this is the best way to handle every team represented and creating the highest possible level of fan interest in the game.

 

Trivia Friday: Mets Elected All Star Starters

While Ron Hunt might’ve been the first Mets player to start an All Star Game, he was not the first Mets player to be elected an All Star by the fan vote. That would not happen until 1971, one year after the fan vote was reinstated. In total, the Mets have had 12 players elected as All Star starters with none of them coming since 2013.

Can you name the Mets who have been elected All Star starters?  Good luck!


Bud Harrelson Willie Mays Dave Kingman Darryl Strawberry Keith Hernandez Gary Carter Howard Johnson Mike Piazza Carlos Beltran David Wright Paul Lo Duca Jose Reyes

Mets March To .500 Suspended

Aside from the stretch where he was dealing with illness and some slight injury issues, Jacob deGrom hasn’t been too far off from his Cy Young season. When he’s going this good, the Mets just need to get him a lead to get the win. Tonight, the Mets needed to do it twice.

The Mets and deGrom fell behind in the third as Matt Carpenter beat the shift for a two out RBI single. We saw deGrom frustrated in the dugout, and we are all reminded how the Mets are among the worst in shifting their infield.

The Cardinals lead was very short lived as Michael Conforto hit a two run homer off Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty. Not only did that homer give the Mets the lead, but it’s a reminder Conforto should be an All Star.

Surprisingly, that lead didn’t hold up because Paul DeJong hit a game tying homer in the sixth past a leaping Carlos Gomez. Between DeJong and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals have too many Mets killers. That should come as no surprise as that’s the way it’s always been between these two teams.

Once again, the Mets answered the Bell with a two run rally right after a Cardinals run.

Pete Alonso got the rally started with a ground rule double, and he’d score off a Dominic Smith RBI single. That hit gave the Mets the lead, and the team would continue to rally.

The Mets immediately loaded the bases causing the Cardinals to pull Flaherty and bring in Giovanny Gallegos. Amed Rosario got a hold off of one and drove it to deep center only to be absolutely robbed of an extra base got by Harrison Bader.

The ball was hit more than deep enough to score Smith from third. On the play, Bader made a horrific throw, and there was no one covering third. Todd Frazier, who was halfway and slow to get back took off for third. Carpenter was able to get the errant ball to Kolten Wong who barely beat Frazier to third for the third out.

You understand Frazier going there, but you have to be safe there because it killed what could have been a bigger rally. It would haunt the Mets.

deGrom came out for the seventh and put up another zero. He finished the game with seven innings allowing just two earned on six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. In sum, it was a deGrom start.

Before the ninth started, the umpires called for the tarps. Mickey Callaway with some animated players behind him, like Alonso with his glove under his jersey coaxed the umpires to reverse course. The tarps came off the field, and instead, the grounds crew went back to work.

It was deemed a rain delay as a warmed o Diaz was left wandering around the dugout while the grounds crew tried to clean and dry up a pretty soggy infield. Whatever the case, it was a nine minute rain delay.

Diaz walked the Marcell Ozuna to leadoff the inning, and he just couldn’t get that last out. With two outs, Wong knocked in Ozuna. Presumably due to the field conditions, Wong couldn’t get to second even with the ball in the corner. Bader then ripped a ball to the left field corner.

Carlos Gomez made a poor relay throw to Rosario. With the wet weather, Rosario couldn’t pick it allowing Wong to score. It was frustrating because if Gomez makes even a decent throw Wong would’ve been out ending the game.

Instead, after Bader slipped and fell and was thrown out trying to get back to second, the Cardinals tied the score 4-4, and this time, the umpires called a real delay with the tarps out before the bottom of the ninth.

Between the field conditions and weather reports, the game is suspended until tomorrow. That means the Mets will have to wait another 24 hours (perhaps longer) until the Mets can get back to .500.

Game Notes: Before his at-bat in the fourth, Wilson Ramos‘ wife held a sign in the stands to inform him she’s pregnant with their third child. He struck out looking. deGrom became the eighth Mets pitcher to strike out 1,100 batters. Mets have now homered in 17 straight home games.

The Mets are really pushing Pete Alonso for the All Star Game. You can understand why. He was a sensation in April, he’s threatening Darryl Strawberry‘s Mets and Mark McGwire‘s MLB record for homers by a rookie. On top of that, he’s a fun player who has quickly become a fan favorite.

The problem with pushing Alonso is he shouldn’t be an All Star first baseman. Trailing Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Bell in WAR, and he’s tied with Anthony Rizzo. What may come as a shock is Alonso trails all but Muncy in wRC+.

Now, it’s not a travesty if Alonso makes it. In fact, he’s had a good enough season where his being named an All Star is more than merited. It would be good for him and baseball. Then again, there are more deserving candidates.

There are also more deserving Mets. Front and center is Michael Conforto.

Conforto is currently in the top six in WAR among outfielders meaning he should solidly be an All-Star. He’s also sixth in wRC+. Defensively, he’s just 16th in DRS, but that does qualify as fourth best among right fielders.

Overall, Conforto has been terrific this year, and looking at the numbers, he absolutely should be an All-Star. Considering his production and what he’s been for this team, there should be a push among fans and the team to elect him an All Star starter.

It’s not happening. Instead, the team is pushing Alonso and Jeff McNeil. As an aside, McNeil is very deserving as well. That said, neither McNeil nor Conforto are among the top nine. They should be. Perhaps, if the Mets and their fans cared to notice how good they’ve been they would be.