20/20 Hindsight: Mets Beat Phillies

After a tough road trip, the Mets returned home, and they looked like a much better team. They would win what became a contentious series, but they couldn’t complete the sweep:

  1. It’s beyond absurd the Mets believe Gio Gonzalez was just a marginal upgrade over Jason Vargas. It’s more absurd they not only wouldn’t guarantee a spot in the rotation to a pitcher they thought was better, but they also let $2 million stand in the way.
  2. Once again, the Mets were only “all-in” when it came to Pete Alonso on the Opening Day roster.
  3. So far, Alonso has gone 3-for-17!against the Phillies with two doubles. Let’s hope this is a strange blip instead of the Phillies figuring something out other teams can catch up on.
  4. Zack Wheeler was great becoming one of a few pitchers to throw 100 MPH and have an exit velocity of 100+ MPH in a game.
  5. Oh, and he struck out 11 while walking none. This was case in point why we should not overreact to slow starts.
  6. On the topic of not overreacting to slow starts, Robinson Cano is raking going 8-for-16 with two doubles and a homer in his last four games.
  7. While Mickey Callaway and his intellect and acumen are very unfairly maligned he used Cano perfectly as a decoy to get the matchup he wanted in Tuesday’s game.
  1. Todd Frazier and Luis Guillorme gave the Mets significantly better defense, and they provided some key hits.
  2. Two days off didn’t help Amed Rosario. You have to wonder how much longer the Mets can deal with him not hitting or fielding, especially with Guillorme looking good in this series.
  3. It was always interesting how there were two different sets of rules as to handle Rosario’s and Dominic Smith‘s struggles. Those separate rules may have led to neither being the player they thought they could be for the Mets.
  4. Seeing Rosario’s struggles and the defense in general, you see how much the Mets miss Tim Teufel. You should also question how much of a positive impact Gary Disarcina has had.
  5. The Mets replay process needs to be better. Dom held the bag and saved Rosario from an error . . . if the play was called properly and/or the Mets challenged the play.
  6. There was zero reason to demote Paul Sewald, who was pitching well, for Jacob Rhame, who was not pitching well in Syracuse.
  7. That move may have led to what has becoming a fractured Phillies team, and it galvanized them when Rhame, intentionally or not, threw two high and in to Rhys Hoskins.
  8. Hoskins got the perfect revenge hitting a homer off Rhame, and then he had a home run trot which made Darryl Strawberry‘s look like he was faster than Usain Bolt.
  9. Bryce Harper has very good stats for the Phillies so far, but he’s going to have to be better than what he was in this series if the Phillies are going to have a chance.
  10. Jeff McNeil is in a slump. His GIDP stopped whatever chance the Mets had at a comeback. He’s also three for his last 17
  11. Speaking of McNeil, the Mets getting plunked, especially on the hand, is getting ridiculous. The pitchers retaliating should not be an issue, but they can’t do what Rhame did.
  12. After the game Marc Malusis commented the Mets started things. Of course this completely overlooks the Phillies hitting three Mets and Drew Anderson going up and in on Michael Conforto multiple times.
  13. This is Example 1,693,085 why SNY is unwatchable aside from Mets games.

Ironically Vargas Loses In His Best Start

The spotlight was on Jason Vargas. The Mets really didn’t pursue Gio Gonzalez. They believed Gonzalez wasn’t really an upgrade, and they were not giving Gonzalez a spot in the rotation.

So, there was Vargas taking the mound against a Phillies team still angry about Jacob Rhame busting Rhys Hoskins up and in twice last night.

Right away, it appeared as if things were going to be ugly. J.T. Realmuto hit a one out double, and he scored on a Bryce Harper RBI double giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. After the double, Hoskins walked, but the rally sputtered.

That’s the way it would go for the Phillies against Vargas.

In the second, after Sean Rodriguez reached on an Amed Rosario error (coupled with a puzzling no challenge from the Mets after replays showed Dominic Smith held the bag), the Phillies rally sputtered with them bunting twice in a row. The first was understandable with Vince Velasquez laying down a sac bunt, Roman Quinn ran into his own bunted ball.

In the third, after a lead-off walk, Vargas got the next three out. That includes a Harper strikeout. On Harper, after that double, he was really bad tonight striking out three times.

In the fifth, Vargas was lifted after 89 pitches leaving Seth Lugo to get him out of the jam.

Vargas’ final line was 4.2 innings, three hits, run, earned run, two walks, HBP, and four strikeouts. Now, it was a much better start than most accepted, but no, pitching fewer than five innings (again) is unacceptable.

Equally as unacceptable was the Mets offense. That’s usually the case when you’re shut out.

In addition to the poor offense, we unfortunately saw the poor defense return, and it wasn’t all Rosario. That included what would become a Robinson Cano harmless error.

In the eighth, the defense abandoned Robert Gsellman. Hoskins hit a gapper, which he turned into a triple partially because Brandon Nimmo dove and missed, and Michael Conforto had difficulty picking up the ball. That led to an RBI single expanding the Phillies lead to 2-0.

The Phillies continued to rally. Now, with the score 3-0 and runners at the corners Roman Quinn laid down a bunt. Dominic Smith pounced with the intent of getting the out at home. However, he had no shot at the speedy Cesar Hernandez, and his indecision led to Quinn reaching safety.

To add insult to injury, Rhame would pitch the ninth, and Hoskins would get his revenge:

After Rhame allowed three in the ninth, the Phillies won 6-0. This means the Mets didn’t get the statement making sweep they wanted. Of course, that’s what happens when you have a starter who can’t go five.

Game Notes: With a 1-for-4 and a rally killing double play, Jeff McNeil is slumping. He’s now just four for his last 21

Vargas Is Starting Tonight, Gio Still Available

After a tough end of their road trip, which included losing two out of three to the Phillies, the Mets have returned home, and they look like a completely different team. It could be the pitchers being more comfortable in warmer weather. It could be Todd Frazier and Luis Guillorme vastly improving the defense the past few days. Maybe, it is just being home after spending all that time on the road.

At the same time, we are watching a Phillies team go through some turmoil. Bryce Harper was ejected Monday, and he came back yesterday to go 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Jake Arrieta went full blown Jon Niese and pointed fingers at everyone while berating his team. Jean Segura, Scott KingeryDavid Robertson and Odubel Herrera are all on the Injured List.

The Phillies are a literally wounded team, and the Mets took advantage of that fact by winning the first two games of this series in decisive fashion. The Mets can really make an early season statement by sweeping the Phillies. With that potentially toxic clubhouse mix and an overmatched manager like Gabe Kapler, who knows what impact a sweep in this fashion could have on this Phillies team.

As the Mets near in for the kill, they are going to start . . . Jason Vargas tonight.

So far this year, Vargas is 1-0 with a 9.58 ERA, 2.323 WHIP, and a 0.86 BB/K. That’s right, he’s actually walked more batters than he has struck out. Batters are hitting .362/.444/.660 off of him. He’s only pitched 9.1 innings total in his three starts.

Now, it is fair to point out this is a small sample size, and we shouldn’t draw conclusions from small sample sizes. By that token, Vargas has been bad for a while. Since the 2017 All Star break, Vargas has a 6.25 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, and a 2.08 K/BB. Batters are teeing off on him hitting .288/.357/.516. Essentially, Vargas on the mound makes each batter look like Michael Conforto.

Looking at the Phillies team right now, they are angry with the Mets. Juan Lagares was running in the sixth inning of what was then an 8-0 game. In the ninth, Jacob Rhame delivered two pitches in and high to Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies are angry with the Mets, and they are justifiably so.

The absolute worst thing the Mets could do right now is to give the Phillies some life. You cannot throw out a batting practice pitcher like Vargas to allow them to put their issues behind them as they hit hard ball after hard ball after hard ball off of him. You cannot have them picking up their heads a bit and feeling like they delivered an ounce of revenge to the Mets.

Mostly, you cannot have a team feeling so good on getaway day after being completely dominated by Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler.

Really, this is inexcusable for the Mets. There is no way Vargas should be pitching in this game, especially when the Mets could have signed Gio Gonzalez and plugged him right into their rotation. That’s not to say Gonzalez is anything great, but the five innings he is likely to give you is much more credible than the maybe four innings Vargas is going to give you.

The only hope here is if Vargas is predictably shelled by the Phillies, the Mets can have their offense keep them in the game and eventually win it, and then after the game, Brodie Van Wagenen realizes he cannot keep his former client around any longer, even if he is due $10 million this year, and that he needs to stop fielding a roster which punts every fifth game.

Wheeler Strikes ‘Em Out And Hits ‘Em Out

Short of a perfect game, you’re not having a better game than what Zack Wheeler had tonight.

At the plate, he was 2-for-3 with a double, homer, and three RBI:

With his homer, he joined Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard as Mets pitchers who have homered this year. That ties a Mets record last set in 1997, and the Mets became the first team to have three pitchers homer in a team’s first 25 games since 1908.

As good as Wheeler was at the plate, he was even better on the mound. In seven scoreless innings, he walked none while allowing just five hits and striking out 11. The one time he got into trouble Jeff McNeil let everyone know he has a hose:

Seeing the margin Maikel Franco was out, that has to be an all-time bad send.

Speaking of bad Phillies decisions, with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies opted to intentionally walk McNeil to face Todd Frazier, who made Drew Anderson and the Phillies pay:

Overall, the Mets would annihilate the Phillies by 9-0. This was a statement game, and it was all the more so after the turmoil in the Phillies clubhouse stemming from Bryce Harper‘s ejection and Jake Arrieta‘s finger pointing.

What will be interesting to see is if there is any bad blood going forward. J.T. Realmuto and Juan Lagares too turns running in an 8-0 game. Anderson was busting Michael Conforto well in, and Jacob Rhame threw a few by Rhys Hoskins head.

Tomorrow should be interesting.

Game Notes: The three Mets pitchers who homered in 1997 were Mark Clark, Rick Reed, and Armando Reynoso. Brandon Nimmo left the game with an oblique issue.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Which NL East Team Scares You Most?

It has been less than a month, but the Mets have already faced each National League opponent at least once. As anticipated, the Mets beat up on the Marlins. Against the tougher teams in the division, teams the Mets are likely going to battle all year long for the division, the Mets are so far 7-7.

Having seen each of these teams, we have asked the Mets bloggers which National League East team scares them most after having seen them each up close and personal:

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

None are scary in April. Until they prove otherwise I think the Nats.

Pete McCarthy (OABT)

None are scary. Still think Nats are best.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

Philadelphia … because their lineup is deep and you saw what they did to Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in Citizens Bank Shoebox. I think in the end their bullpen will keep them from running away from the pack. But that lineup is going to give everybody some problems.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

They all looked good in their most recent series versus the Mets, none of which the Mets won. They each deserve to be respected. No point fearing any of them.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

I agree w Greg, it’s going to be a four-team scrum all year. Mets are just as good, need to make less mistakes.

Tim Ryder (MMO)

Every NL East contender has flaws, the Mets included. I’m not overly concerned with the other teams. I’m more worried about the Mets reaching their full potential as a group. To answer your question, I think Philadelphia poses the biggest threat in the division.

Mets Daddy

While the records say different, it’s the Nationals. They have the most talent in their rotation and their lineup. When it comes to the Phillies and Braves, there is not enough pitching. Surprisingly, the Phillies may be the team which scares me the least because seeing them, you see a heavily flawed team with big personalities (Bryce Harper, Jake Arrieta, Jean Segura) who could tear that clubhouse apart, especially with an overmatched manager like Gabe Kapler.

That said, unless the Mets do something about Jason Vargas and the complete lack of starting pitching depth, it may not matter. To that extent, it may be the Mets who are scariest of all.

Again, thank you to all who have contributed, and once again I encourage all who read this to visit the sites of those who have contributed because they write very good and interesting things about this Mets team.

 

Rhame Over Sewald A Bigger Deal Than Believed

With Todd Frazier set to come off the Injured List, Amed Rosario feeling ill, and Justin Wilson needing to head to the Injured List with elbow soreness, the Mets set for a series of transactions to address the bench and the bullpen. In the end, Luis Guillorme was back with the team, and for some reason Jacob Rhame stayed in the bullpen while Paul Sewald was sent back to Syracuse.

Having seen both pitchers since 2017, you see two very flawed relievers. There is a reason why both have not been able to quite stick at the Major League level. To some, choosing one over the other is not that big of a deal because most fans don’t trust either reliever. That mindset is a bit short-sighted.

For starters, take a look at their career stats. In his career, Sewald has pitched 126.2 innings in 106 appearances. He has a 0-13 record with two saves, a 5.19 ERA, 1.342 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, and a 9.1 K/9. From an advanced statistic perspective, Sewald has a 76 ERA+ and a 4.09 FIP.

For his part, Rhame has pitched 42.2 innings over 40 apperances. He is 2-3 with one save, a 1.594 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, and a 7.4 WHIP. From an advanced statistic perspective, Rhame has a 59 ERA+ and a 5.83 FIP.

Certainly, when you look at the stats, Sewald has definitively had more success than Rhame. However to be fair, Sewald has had more chances despite Rhame arguably having much better stuff. Of course, while Rhame’s stuff may be better, it has not yet translated to Major League success.

Ideally, you want to carry the best pitchers on your staff as you possibly can, and so far in their respective careers, Sewald is the better pitcher. However, it is much more than that. There is also an element on how the pieces in the bullpen fit together.

An interesting note with Sewald is he has been fairly consistently used for multiple innings in his career. For example, in two of his three appearances this year, he pitched over one inning. Last year, 18 of his first 32 appearances were more than one inning. Overall, Sewald has pitched more than one inning 32 times in his career, which is 30 percent of his appearances.

With respect to Rhame, this is something he has done as well. In fact, he has done it in 12 of his 40 appearances, which is the same 30 percent rate. However, there is a difference in the amount of innings Rhame and Sewald have gone. For example, Sewald has been able to pitch more than two innings when needed. That’s a feat Rhame has not yet been asked to do.

Looking at the construct of the Mets bullpen, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman can both go multiple innings. This creates an issue for the Mets when their starters can’t go deep into games because they’re now using these two relievers in low leverage situations making them unavailable or not as effective when they’re needed for the higher leverage spots.

Right there is the reason why the Mets should have kept Sewald on the roster. He is the guy Mickey Callaway needs to bring into the game when his starters falter and the Mets fall behind by a good margin. Sewald can come in and give multiple innings thereby saving the bullpen and letting them fight another day. At this stage in his career, Rhame doesn’t have that same capability.

In the end, that’s why seemingly small decisions like this have larger ramifications. In the end, you really have to wonder how much this was factored into the Mets decision making when they opted to carry the pitcher who not only gives them much less length, but also has not had nearly the same level of success of the Major League level.

Good Matz And Competent Defense Return

Recently, the Mets pitchers have been struggling mightily. While the pitchers have their own share of the blame, part of their struggles have emanated from just horrific defense behind them.

The Mets defense has been the worst in the NL with a -22 DRS. It should come as no surprise the Mets have the worst BABIP and LOB%.

Well, now with Todd Frazier coming off the IL, the defense was improved dramatically. Other improvements today was Luis Guillorme at short over the sick Amed Rosario. In addition to that, the Mets best defender, Juan Lagares, was patrolling center.

Between a much better defense and some VERY questionable ball/strike calls, Steven Matz was very good tonight. In six innings, he allowed just one earned on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

This start was another good start for Matz making that four good starts and one putrid one. Essentially, if Matz gets at least one out, he’s going to have a good start this year.

He really wasn’t in trouble all night, and the only run came off a Rhys Hoskins fourth inning homer. That was not enough for the Phillies to overcome their then 2-0 deficit or beat the Mets.

In the third, Brandon Nimmo got it started with a single, and he’d score on an impressive double by Pete Alonso.

Wilson Ramos increased that lead to 2-0 with an RBI single scoring Alonso. Interesting thing with Ramos is he’s only hitting with runners on base.

Jeff McNeil made it 3-1 with an impressive shot off Jake Arrieta in the fifth.

Things did not go well for the Phillies past that point, and that was partially because Bryce Harper was ejected in the fourth for arguing (going ballistic) over balls and strikes.

In the seventh, the wheels came off for the Phillies.

Lagares got the rally started with a single leading off the inning, and Mickey Callaway then sent Robinson Cano to pinch hit for Seth Lugo, who had a scoreless seventh.

What’s interesting here is Cano didn’t start the game after getting hit on the hand yesterday. Really, it was fair to question if this was a deke to get a favorable pitching matchup. If so, Gabe Kapler took the bait and sent in Jose Alvarez to pitch, and Callaway countered with J.D. Davis.

Davis would hit what should have been a sure-fire double play ball, but Cesar Hernandez threw it away. The ever hustling Lagares made it to third. As the inning continued the Phillies bullpen unraveled a bit.

McNeil was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Juan Nicasio came on for Alvarez, and he hit Alonso to force home a run. Michael Conforto then made it 5-1 Mets with a sacrifice fly.

Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz took care of the Phillies in relatively short order to preserve the 5-1 Mets win. It was as easy a win as the Mets have had all year, and it’s a win where the Mets looked like a much better team than they have recently.

Better defense will do that for you.

Game Notes: Justin Wilson went on the IL with a sore elbow. He was replaced on the roster by Guillorme. Paul Sewald, not Jacob Rhame, was sent down to make room for Frazier. With the win, Matz snapped a 14 game winless streak at Citi Field.

Craig Kimbrel Should Be The Mets Closer

In a nine year Major League career, Craig Kimbrel has saved 333 games, which is the 14th most all-time. His career 1.91 ERA and 211 ERA+ is the best all-time for a reliever. He is a seven time All-Star, and he has finished in the Top 10 in Cy Young voting in five of his nine seasons. How Kimbrel performs during this next contract will go a very long way in determining whether or not he goes to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he retires.

With the Hall of Fame on the line and with his being an elite closer for NINE SEASONS, you can understand why Kimbrel would insist on remaining a closer. While there are no public statements confirming this is Kimbrel’s hold-up, there have been a number of outlets who have drawn the inference.

According to recent reports, the Mets are not willing to have Kimbrel pitch the ningth. To put it as simply as it can be put, if the only hold-up with Kimbrel right now is he wants to close, the Mets as an organization are stupid for letting that be a hold-up.

No, this is not an indictment whatsoever on Edwin Diaz. So far this season, Diaz has been everything the Mets could have possibly asked him to be. He is a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities with a 16.4 K/9. His 11th inning save against the Phillies where he mowed down Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto on 11 pitches was awe inspiring.

Understandably, you want to have a pitcher like Diaz closing out games in the ninth. However, you also want a closer like Kimbrel closing out games in the ninth. What you don’t want is the current state of the Mets bullpen.

What is not great is the rest of the Mets bullpen. So far, Jeurys Familia has been a massive disappointment. We have also seen some unexpected struggles from Seth Lugo. In the long run, both pitchers should be fine, and with Justin Wilson and Robert Gsellman, the Mets do have the pieces for a good bullpen.

Still, there are major issues in the bullpen. Luis Avilan has been used as more of a mop up reliever than a LOOGY, and frankly, there is no way he is going to succeed in that role. Worse than that, the Mets have had a revolving door this year of Tim Peterson, Drew Gagnon, Paul Sewald, Jacob Rhame, and Corey Oswalt for the last spot in the bullpen.

Realistically speaking, the Mets cannot expect any of those pitchers to truly succeed at the Major League level. Exacerbating a very soft spot in the bullpen is the fact the Mets entered the season with just four MLB caliber starting pitchers in their rotation. As a result, at least every fifth day, the Mets are going to need to get some quality innings from their worst relievers. Put another way, the Mets can ill afford to have a weak spot in the bullpen when they have a glaring hole in the rotation.

That hole in the bullpen can be repaired with Kimbrel. Moreover, if you put Kimbrel in the ninth inning, him and Diaz pitching the final two innings makes every game a seven inning game for the Mets. The tandem would combine to make the best 8-9 combination in Major League history.

Really, there is no good explanation to not give Kimbrel the ninth. While you could argue the Mets did not give up Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to have Diaz as a set-up man, the obvious counter-argument is the Mets did not give up those players to have relievers like Rhame derail games and ultimately the season. Additionally, with how great a pitcher he has been, no one should expect Diaz to falter in the eighth.

Overall, when you break it down, if the ninth inning is a breaking point for Kimbrel, just give it to him. He has the resume to justify such a demand, and really, he has the ability to not come to the Mets. Worse yet, he could go to Philadelphia to stick it to the Mets.

Of course, that would be the ultimate irony. The Mets gave up Kelenic to keep Diaz away from the Phillies, but they weren’t willing to have the best bullpen situation in Major League history to keep him away from Philadelphia.

 

20/20 Hindsight: Did Cardinals Expose Mets?

After losing two out of three to the Cardinals, the Mets have lost six of their last eight games, and they are now just one game over .500. In the series and this bad stretch as a whole, we are starting to see some troubling patterns emerge:

  1. This Mets team was supposedly all-in, and Brodie Van Wagenen had a “Come get us!” bravado. Somehow, this led to Jason Vargas and Chris Flexen starting in back-to-back games. The season isn’t even a month old, and the Mets complete lack of pitching depth is already getting exposed.
  2. There is no good explanation why the Mets would have Jacob deGrom skip a precautionary MRI when he landed on the disabled list due to an elbow injury.
  3. Moreover, in a game against a team the Mets may very well be competing for a Wild Card spot this season, the Mets threw Flexen, Luis Avilan, Jacob Rhame, and Paul Sewald.
  4. If Avilan is not going to be used as a LOOGY but instead as a mop up reliever, you have to question why he is even on this roster.
  5. At some point you do have to question if this is really a bad team. Through 21 games, the team has a -19 run differential. The only team with a worse run differential in the National League is the Marlins.
  6. Again, the defense the Mets put behind their pitching is embarrassing. Their -22 DRS is the worst in the National League, and the combination of Amed Rosario and J.D. Davis form the worst left side of the infield in the majors by a pretty healthy margin.
  7. With respect to Rosario, at some point we have to question if this is who he is. He’s not making real progress in any parts of his game, and it’s getting to the point where he is hurting the Mets (again) on both sides of the ball.
  8. It is possible Rosario could use a day off. However, the short sighted Mets decided Luis Guillorme again did not merit a fair opportunity and instead chose to carry a string of Four-A relievers. So in addition to no pitching depth, the Mets have no shortstop depth.
  9. On Davis, there is no way you want him in the outfield. He’s slower than Freddie Freeman, Hanley Ramirez, and Jay Bruce among others.
  10. Davis’ inability to play third and the fact he can’t hit the fastball (.167), you cannot continue to play him once Todd Frazier is up. Sure, he had one or two nice games, but you cannot let small sample size successes blur the picture, especially when his defense is killing the Mets out there.
  11. If you look at Noah Syndergaard‘s advanced numbers, he’s the same pitcher he has always been. The biggest issue for him has been the defense. When the ball is in play, it’s a hit as evidenced by his .346 BABIP against (he’s at .311 for his career) and his 50.6% strand rate (career 73.7%).
  12. Really, Syndergaard has been unlucky because the fielding behind him is putrid. Hence, he has a 2.92 FIP.
  13. On the subject of Syndergaard, narratives are just tiresome. For example, when Syndergaard is bad in Philadelphia, not one word is said about Wilson Ramos‘ catching, but when it’s Travis d’Arnaud, we hear trumped up charges saying he’s not a good catcher or game caller. In the end, it’s confirmation bias.
  14. With respect to d’Arnaud, it’s clear he wasn’t yet ready to return. Certainly, you have to question why they rushed him back when the team was winning, and Tomas Nido was doing a quality job in the games he played.
  15. Robert Gsellman has been terrific of late. Not only did he bail the Mets out of that eighth inning jam, but he also pitched three innings to save the bullpen yesterday. If the Mets aren’t going to do the right thing and sign Gio Gonzalez or Dallas Keuchel, it may be time to start stretching him out to replace Vargas in the rotation.
  16. Good for Pete Alonso to respond to his first slump by mashing the ball against the Cardinals. Also, you have to love him talking his way into the lineup a day after having to leave the game with his getting hit by a pitch on the hand.
  17. The umpires handling of Robinson Cano getting hit on the hand was embarrassing for baseball and the umpires. There was no way he swung, and when you make a call that egregious, you cannot throw out Mickey Callaway.
  18. We are seeing Jeff McNeil in his first real slump as a Major Leaguer. In the series, he was 1-f0r-11. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals discovered something other teams could emulate, or if St. Louis is just a terrible place where good things go to die.
  19. With all the troubles the Mets are having right now, Keon Broxton is getting saved from the spotlight, which is good for him because he has been terrible.
  20. If the only impediment to signing Craig Kimbrel is he wants to close, the Mets are even dumber than you could have imagined for wanting to have Rhame on the roster just so they could have Edwin Diaz close.

All-In Mets Throw Four-A Pitchers

In the offseason, the Mets traded over five prospects. Why? They were all-in.

The Mets opted to forego a year of control over Pete Alonso by having him start the year on the Opening Day roster. Why? The Mets we’re all-in.

The Mets opted to go with just four MLB caliber starting pitchers in their organization because that’s apparently being all-in as well.

Well, after Jacob deGrom lands on the IL, the Mets were left with Chris Flexen a day after Jason Vargas gave the Mets just four innings.

On the bright side Flexen was throwing 96 MPH. On the downside was everything else.

Flexen got through the first unscathed, but the wheels would come off starting with a Wilson Ramos passed ball allowing Jose Martinez to score. During that at-bat, Miles Mikolas would deliver with a two RBI single giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.

That was it. Game over.

Mikolas was cruising, and one pitcher after another couldn’t get out of their own way. Here are their disappointing but not unexpected final lines:

  • Chris Flexen 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K
  • Luis Avilan 1.1 IP, H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 2 K
  • Jacob Rhame 1.1 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 0 K
  • Paul Sewald 1.0 IP, H, R, ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Mets didn’t do anything offensively until the seventh when Amed Rosario tripled home Jeff McNeil. By that time, it was 9-1 in a game the Mets would lose 10-2.

Against a team the Mets are likely going to fight for a Wild Card spot, the Mets threw Flexen, Avilan, Rhame, and Sewald. They did it because they came into the season with no depth, and by mid-April, it’s already become an issue.

We also the Mets play continued shoddy defense. We also saw their offense begin to regress to the mean meaning it wasn’t there this time to bail out the pitching or defense.

Other fun notes include the Mets opting not to have deGrom undergo an MRI despite him having an elbow injury significant enough to put him on the IL. Alonso was hit on the hand with x-rays fortunately being negative.

Mostly, the Mets have been outscored by 17 runs this year, and they’ve allowed over 10 runs five times. It’s still early, but we’re starting to see very real problems with this team, and the way Van Wagenen built it, you legitimately have to ask how fixable they are.

Game Notes: McNeil beat Moises Alou‘s club record by recording his 100th hit in 291 at-bats. Brandon Nimmo returned after missing a couple of games with a neck issue.