Back in 2015, the New York Mets blew the World Series in large part due to Terry Collins. While time has somehow been more kind to Collins, fact is he is the main reason the Mets didn’t win the World Series.
Yes, Jeurys Familia blew three saves. Daniel Murphy made an error. David Wright fielded a ball he shouldn’t have while Lucas Duda threw it away. However, there were a series of just baffling and just flat out dumb decisions from Collins which led to these events. Really, these were all consequences of Collins’ horrific managing.
All of his errors have been explained in full here and other places. Ultimately, this is the worst case scenario for a team. You cannot have a manager and his poor decision making be the reason a team does not win a World Series.
We are starting to see signs Buck Showalter is probably cut from the same cloth as Collins. His recent decisions are an indication of that, and that would be very bad news for the Mets.
The Mets last game against the Milwaukee Brewers should have each and every Mets fan very nervous for the postseason. To set the stage, Starling Marte is on the IL, and Brandon Nimmo had to come out of the game with a quad injury. The Mets were trailing 1-0 heading into the seventh despite having base runners on in each and every inning.
Before we get into the pitching, he would leave a very clearly hobbled Jeff McNeil on the field. For one game, Showalter risked losing McNeil for the rest of the season and postseason. He did that and then managed his bullpen horrifically.
Some questioned letting Taijuan Walker start the inning. That is a decision which can be debated with some of the bullpen arms probably unavailable including Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo. After Walker stumbled, Collins went to David Peterson.
Now, Peterson is a starter who has struggled out of the bullpen. This was a big ask of him. Runners were on first and second with no outs and a run already in.
The thing is Peterson did his job. The Brewers gave up the out with a sacrifice bunt before Peterson struck out Christian Yelich. The Mets were one out away from getting out of the inning. That’s where Showalter made a number of flat out dumb decisions.
While you can understand the impetus not to want to pitch to Willy Adames, intentionally walking him to load the bases is a bad move because it gives Peterson, a pitcher who sometimes inexplicably loses command, no lee-way. However, as we found out, it wasn’t going to be Peterson.
After Craig Counsell pinch hit Mike Brosseau for Rowdy Tellez, Showalter went to Drew Smith. This is the same Smith who has not pitched since July 24. This is the same Smith who has been homer prone this year. Well, he would go up 0-2 in the count before giving up that grand slam.
Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t dumb. He is the guy who prepares and over prepares. He is the type of manager who likes to take control and set innings into motion. He’s not a bystander. Put another way, Showalter put that inning in motion with the intent of having Smith pitch to Brosseau.
He was prepared for that eventuality when he sent Walker out there to start the inning. He had that plan when he ordered the intentional walk of Adames. This is the match-up he wanted. He wanted it, and it blew up in his face.
Unfortunately, this is Showalter in big moments. It is David Cone for too long before Jack McDowell. It is Bobby Chouinard over Matt Mantei. It is literally anyone but Zack Britton. It’s been a problem in Showalter’s managerial career, and it is a big reason why his teams have only won one postseason series, and it’s why Showalter is still chasing that elusive World Series ring.
Right now, we’re seeing that same Showalter. If he really wants to win this time, and he has the roster capable of winning a World Series, he is finally going to have to adapt and change. If not, we may see moments like this again come this postseason with Mets fans dreaming of what might have been.
For the 10th time in New York Mets history, the team is going to the postseason. This is truly a remarkable achievement, and it is a credit to Steve Cohen for his ability to quickly turnaround this franchise after the Wilpon disaster. Mostly, it is a credit to each and every one of the players on the field.
For a franchise who has double the amount of 90+ loss seasons than postseason appearances, this is a historic time in Mets history. It was worthy of celebration, and thankfully, the players were able to appreciate what they accomplished.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 20, 2022
Unfortunately, the work is not done. Not by a long shot. At the moment, the Mets are still a game up in the division and tied in the loss column with the Atlanta Braves. That leaves this Mets team in a position where they have to do what no Mets team has done before – beat the Braves.
Yes, the Mets have actually beat the Braves en route to a World Series. Back in 1969, in the inaugural NLCS, the Amazin’s swept the NL West Champion Braves who featured future Hall of Famers in Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda, and Phil Niekro. However, since the Wild Card format, which put the Braves in the NL East, the Mets have never been able to overcome the Braves as an obstacle.
It really first began in 1998. We talk about the collapse of 2007, but this one might have been worse. All the Mets had to do was just win one of their final five games to force a one game playoff for the Wild Card. The Braves swept them the final series of the season despite not having anything to play for.
In 1999, the Braves appeared to leave the Mets in the dust taking two out of three putting the Mets behind the Cincinnati Reds heading into the final series of the season. The Braves truly thought they left the Mets in the dust with Chipper Jones boasting that the Mets fans could now go into their closets and get their New York Yankees gear.
The Mets survived, and they fought back from an insurmountable 3-0 series deficit. John Olerud had the RBI single in the eighth inning in Game Four. Robin Ventura had the Grand Slam Single ending Game Five. In Game Six, Mike Piazza hit the game tying homer off John Smoltz in the seventh capping a comeback from 7-0.
After Melvin Mora singled home Benny Agbayani in the eighth, it looked like there was going to be a Game Seven. However, John Franco blew it in the eighth. After Todd Pratt‘s sacrifice fly in the 10th, again, it looked like a Game Seven before Armando Benitez blew the save (this was before we knew Benitez couldn’t handle these spots). Finally, in the 11th, Kenny Rogers just blew it.
In 2000, the Mets could not beat the Braves for the division title. They did win the pennant, but the Braves had already been taken out by the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2001, the Mets seemed poised to do the impossible. They were a team who was playing out the string, but they appeared galvanized fighting for their city after 9/11. The dreams of the Mets returning to the postseason were dashed when again Benitez and Franco couldn’t get the job done. A Mets 5-1 ninth inning lead went by the wayside as Brian Jordan hit a walk-off grand slam.
From there, the Mets and Braves were never good again at the same time. Yes, the Mets would end the Braves tyranny atop the division in 2006, but the Braves were a distant third that season.
It would not be until 2021 until the Mets and Braves would clash for the division again. The Mets had spent 103 days in first place. The Braves charged, and they tied the Mets atop the division on August 6. The following day, they took control of the division and never relinquished it as the Mets went in MLB infamy for being the team with the most days in first place to finish the season with a losing record.
This Mets team has squandered a 10.5 game lead and a 3.0 game lead to start the month. Yes, the Braves have been playing incredible baseball. That certainly explains the lead shrinking by 6.5 games entering September. However, if the Mets had only taken care of business at the beginning of this month, they would be on firmer footing.
Right now, none of that matters. What matters is that there is the division. The Mets have 13 games remaining to prove they are the best team in the division. So long as they don’t get swept in Atlanta, they will own the tiebreakers. Really, all the Mets have to do is win games.
Put another way, this Mets team has to do what no other Mets team has done. They have to beat the Braves. If this happens, they will have accomplished what no Mets team has ever done. They will prove this team is different. They will show this team has what it takes to win the World Series.
For some reason, it just seems players need a year to get acclimated before taking off with the New York Mets. Just ask Carlos Beltran.
We’re again seeing it with Francisco Lindor.
Lindor’s first year with the Mets did not go well at all. He was booed, and there was controversy over the thumbs down bit.
Sure, the numbers weren’t bad. However, they weren’t quite Lindor. Not the future Hall of Famer who commanded the biggest contract ever handed out by the Mets or any shortstop in Major League history.
This season has been different. Even with the injures, Lindor has been as advertised. He’s playing near Gold Glove caliber defense, and he’s had a number of key hits.
That includes the grand slam against Taylor Rogers. Lindor just does so many things to help the Mets win.
The grand slam proved necessary. That’s not just because the Atlanta Braves won again, but it’s also because the Brewers would score again. Ultimately, the Mets won 7-5 and remain in first place.
For Lindor, he’s been exactly as advertised this season. He has a 13 OAA. That’s tied for second best among shortstops and the top seven (out of any position) in the majors.
At the plate, Lindor has a 129 wRC+, the second best of his career. That’s fourth among Major League shortstops.
What’s notable is Xander Bogaerts comes closest to Lindor with a 5 OAA, which is a wide disparity. The other two shortstops ahead of Lindor have a negative OAA.
Lindor is a truly unique player. He’s a power hitting shortstop who plays Gold Glove defense. He’s already the best shortstop the Mets have ever had, and he’s on his way to being among the best ever.
Mostly, when Lindor was acquired and extended, fans were promised things were different. The Mets had a superstar in the vein of a Beltran or Mike Piazza. Only this time, the Mets were not going to stop short of doing what was necessary to build a true World Series contender around their star player.
The Mets have shown the willingness to do all in their power to build a roster befitting their superstar. However, sometimes, it’s up to the superstar to be the difference maker, and once again, Lindor was just that.
In his Major League career, Terrance Gore has 43 stolen bases against only 15 hits. Roughly speaking, Gore is three times more as likely to steal a base than it is for him to get a hit.
With getting on base being a condition precedent to a team being able to steal a base, those numbers are shocking. However, when it comes to Gore, it really isn’t. His whole raison d’être is pinch running and stealing bases. It is why the 31 year old has appeared in parts of eight seasons only playing in 107 games.
We all know Gore exists to join the roster late in the season with expanded rosters. He’s there to pinch run in a key spot and steal a base. Teams want to deploy him to do that in the postseason as well. The thing is they just don’t want him at the plate and really aren’t looking for him to play defense.
For the Mets, we saw him pinch run late in games twice against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On both occasions, he not only stole second, but with the catcher so frantic to unleash the throw, he was able to take third on the errant throw. That is game changing. From a pure entertainment perspective, it was exciting to have Gore on the basepaths.
That Terrance Gore speed pic.twitter.com/7NS2BiFdI3
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 17, 2022
This is actually the type of baseball Major League Baseball is seeking to manufacture. In 2023, base sizes are going to expand, and pitchers are going to be limited to the number of pick-off attempts they can make per batter. The hope for baseball is the expansion of stolen base attempts. Of course, none of that is needed when you have a player of Gore’s capability.
Seeing that is the case, why wouldn’t baseball look to implement a Designated Runner like they have a Designated Hitter?
Does it sound dumb and gimmicky? Sure, but that’s the entirety of the existence of the DH. The excuse is pitchers can’t actually hit, so why make them? Wouldn’t it just be better to have a guy in the lineup who is solely there to hit? Supposedly, that creates a more exciting or entertaining brand of baseball.
Turning that logic on its head, who wants to see a player like Daniel Vogelbach run the bases? According to Baseball Savant, he is the 12th slowest player in the majors. His running the bases adds nothing of excitement to the game. He’s not taking that extra base or forcing a good throw from the outfield. He’s not stealing a base or even attempting one.
But Gore? Well, Gore is a human green light. He spends all of his time studying pitchers and their moves. His entire existence is predicated on stealing bases. He knows it. The other teams know it. However, there is only a small two month widow where his genius is allowed in the game.
It is so bizarre Major League Baseball will institute gimmick rule after gimmick rule after gimmick rule to try to generate offense and excitement. Let’s add a DH. Also, the bases need to be bigger and closer together. Fielders can only stand here, and pitchers can only look the runner back or throw over so many times. However, if you dare insinuate the need for a designated runner, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.
In the end, the question is if you can have Vogelbach at the plate because you don’t want to see pitchers hit, then why can’t you have someone run for him when no one wants to see him run?
It doesn’t have to be today. It doesn’t have to be this week. It’s certainly not a punishment. However, sooner or later the Mets should move Taijuan Walker to the bullpen.
Simply put, after Carlos Carrasco’s latest gem, he needs to be the fourth starter in the postseason. This is far more Carrasco winning a job than it is Walker losing it.
Over his last 11 starts, Carrasco has allowed two runs or fewer. Over this stretch, he’s 7-2 with a 2.12 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, and a 9.4 K/9. He’s pitching great, and the Mets need their best pitchers in the postseason.
Walker has again struggled in the second half, but he was great in his last start. We have seen him rise to the occasion and needs to be part of the equation, so the Mets should start looking to put him in the best place to succeed.
To a lesser degree, the Mets are doing this with David Peterson. He’s being removed from the rotation and being put in the bullpen. It’s no secret that it’s to see if he can be a left-handed reliever in the postseason.
Of course, Peterson is in a significantly different spot than Walker. First and foremost, Peterson was filling in for Max Scherzer, and Scherzer is set to come off the IL on Monday.
However, it is illustrative. When the time is right, start putting players in the roles they will be come postseason. Peterson will be a reliever, and so will Walker.
Obviously, winning the division comes first, and clearly Walker is one of the Mets five best starters. He will likely prove that again in his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. From there, he’s on turn to face:
- 9/21 at Milwaukee Brewers
- 9/28 vs. Miami Marlins
- 10/4 vs. Washington Nationals
Certainly, the Mets want him making that Brewers start. After that, it may be best to remove him from the rotation.
By having Trevor Williams take his spot in the rotation, that would free up Walker to pitch out of the bullpen in that pivotal series in Atlanta.
In terms of attempting to win the division, having Walker at the ready could prove huge. If a starter is knocked out, he can jump in and eat innings or keep the team afloat. He’s also capable of getting the big strikeout or generating a ground ball for a double play.
Looking at the whole picture, this should be Walker’s penultimate start of the season. After Milwaukee, moving Walker to the bullpen aides in winning the division and preparing for the postseason.
It is long past time we stop sugar coating what is happening with the New York Mets. Moreoever, we absolutely need to stop giving the Atlanta Braves more credit than they are actually due.
Yes, the Braves were nipping on the Mets heels as the result of playing ridiculously well since June 1. That is even the case with them having a losing record against teams with a winning record, and the Mets leading the season series against the Braves. The Braves got themselves in it because they were resilient and won a a lot of games.
However, they are in a first place tie now (in the loss column) because the Mets are collapsing. Yes, it is a collapse, and we need to call it as such.
The Mets have the easiest September schedule in all of baseball. So far, the Mets are 6-7. That record looks worse when you consider they opened the month with a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. This means the Mets are 5-7 against teams with a losing record this month.
They were swept for the first time all season. It was the Chicago Cubs, who are on pace to lose 93 games. By the way, they didn’t even need Marcus Stroman to do it.
The Mets are the only team in the Divisional Era (1969) to get swept at home while 35+ games OVER .500 against a team 20+ games UNDER .500.
Last team to suffer such a sweep: Detroit Tigers in the final 3 games of the 1968 regular season.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 15, 2022
They had a three game stretch where the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates beat them by six plus runs. That was the first time in Major League history where a team with a 30 game differential in the standings lost three consecutive games by six runs. The first ever time. That’s how unacceptable those losses were.
They lost a series to the Nationals. They were swept by the Cubs. They couldn’t sweep the Pirates, who are dreadful. At least, the Mets took two-out-of-three from them. Of course, everything looked good after that series only for them to be swept by the Cubs. Yes, it is getting redundant saying that, but it is just that maddening.
We can and should note Starling Marte and Max Scherzer landed on the IL, but then again, so what? Did the Mets really need both of them to win these games. That is what was supposed to be so good about this schedule. The Mets could rest some players and allow players to heal. Also, with all the trade deadline moves, weren’t the Mets supposed to be in a position to be able to easily withstand injuries like these?
When it was Willie Randolph trotting out pitchers like Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, and David Williams, we all correctly termed it a collapse and were embarrassed by it. There were some who called for Randolph to be fired. The fact we’re not seeing similar anger is shocking.
Yes, the Mets are definitively going to the postseason. However, with the new format, not winning the division actually creates an addition hurdle. It actively works against their chances of winning a World Series. For some reason, everyone seems cool with Buck Showalter leading this collapse.
Keep in mind, he’s had some bizarre decisions. Joely Rodriguez in a close game against right-handed batters. Darin Ruf as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded. Not giving Francisco Lindor or Pete Alonso a day off even after Lindor says he and the team is tired, and Alonso is actively showing his frustration on the field.
Showalter was supposed to be different than everyone who came before him. Instead, he’s doing the same exact thing we saw out of Randolph, Jerry Manuel, and Luis Rojas. Showalter was the one in charge when the Mets lost a 10.5 game lead, something that has only been done eight times in Major League history.
That’s not seven in 17 bad, but that’s really bad.
Right now, there are zero excuses for the Mets not winning the division. Failing to win the NL East would be completely and wholly unacceptable. This team is too good to be doing what they are doing right now. Supposedly, Showalter is such a good manager that this never could have even been contemplated.
However, the moment is here. Do the Mets collect themselves and right the ship? Or, are they going to collapse against terrible teams and cede the division to the Braves? With this pathetic schedule, the Mets are in the driver’s seat. It’s time they push the pedal to the floor and take off instead of going to go off path only to crash and burn.
We live in a world where many, many things can be simultaneously true. With his play on the field in 2022, the New York Mets were justified sending Dominic Smith down to Triple-A.
By keeping him in Triple-A, Mets have made it abundantly clear Smith is not part of the future of the franchise. That includes the makings of the postseason roster.
We can all dicker over whether that’s the prudent move for this team. That’s besides the point. What is clear now is the Mets actually need Smith in the majors right now, and they need him at first.
The reason why is Pete Alonso.
All season long, Alonso has given absolutely everything he has to the Mets. He’s very clearly one of the reasons why this team is still in first place. Saying he’s the reason Smith needs to be recalled is no slight to him.
The truth is Alonso is just exhausted. As a result, he’s slumping, and he’s showing his frustrations out on the field.
Historically, Alonso finishes the season strong. So far this September, he’s batting .249/.314/.457. This will mark the third straight month he’s had a SLG under .500 and and OPS of .800 or lower.
Alonso’s last day off was the All-Star Break. Keep in mind, he participated in the Home Run Derby and game. He also had to fly back-and-forth from Los Angeles.
His last day off was June 8. He’s played in both ends of the doubleheader in all eight of the Mets doubleheaders this season. He last DH’d on September 3. He’s only done it four times in the second half.
At this point, the Mets are getting diminishing returns from Alonso. Yes, it’s better than the alternatives, but it’s still not Alonso being Alons, and this Mets team needs that to win games.
When you break it down, as this roster is currently constructed. Alonso is the only option to play first base. That’s all well and good up until the point we started to see Alonso slump and increasingly start showing his frustrations.
Alonso needs a mini-break. The Mets need to get him out of the field a bit to rest and clear his head. Looking at the organization, Smith seems to be the only player capable of playing a game or two there defensively.
Let Smith spell Alonso for a game or two. In the event of blow outs, let Smith come in late in games. Just get someone out there who can give Alonso a breather and get some rest.
The Mets have been failing Alonso. They need him to be great, and they’re running him into the ground. It’s time to get Smith up here to find an inning or two or game here and there to get Alonso the rest he needs.
It’s time to recall Dominic Smith.
When teams make roster moves, whether intended or not, there are clear messages delivered. The New York Mets delivered one to Darin Ruf.
That also means the Mets opted to keep Mark Vientos in the majors.
Vientos is a direct threat to Ruf’s playing time, and he could be a threat to Ruf’s spot on the postseason roster. Essentially, the Mets are going to give Vientos plate appearances to show he’s ready right now to be the right-handed DH option.
That’s what Ruf was supposed to be. However, he’s been failing in that role. So far with the Mets, he has a 9 OPS+.
That’s unplayable. That goes double for a DH. The job is literally only hitting, and Ruf hasn’t been able to do that.
Fortunately for Ruf, he’s still going to get an opportunity to prove himself. With Starling Marte on the IL, he can play right field against left-handed pitching.
On Sunday, both Ruf and Vientos were in the starting lineup against Miami Marlins left-handed starter Jesus Luzardo. While the Mets offense exploded that day, neither Vientos nor Ruf impressed.
Ruf was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He was eventually lifted for Tyler Naquin. Vientos was the DH for the whole game. He was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
For both players, this was a missed chance; all the more so for Vientos.
There are not going to be many chances to impress as the short side platoon option. For Vientos, he has to clearly do it. He has to leave zero doubt he is the better option at the moment.
Ruf is the veteran, and the Mets gave up a ton to get him. Vientos is battling against track record and front office politics.
However, the opportunity remains. It remains because Vientos remains on the roster. The Mets made sure of that.
The history of the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves is typically a one-sided affair. Worse yet, it’s one which features Mets collapses and heart ache.
Most of the horrors were fueled by Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. Glavine came to the Mets, and the balance of power in the NL East seemed to eventually shift to the Mets. Of course, Glavine melted down in Game 162, and nothing would be the same for that Mets team.
Things re-kindled last year. The Mets were in first place for 103 days. Not only did they eventually cede first place to the eventual World Series champion Braves, but they would also have the indignity of finishing under .500.
Things looked dire again this year. The Mets built a 10.5 game lead. It was 6.5 games after the Mets took four of five in an early August series. The Braves should’ve been left for dead, but they fought back.
It was one thing for the Braves to tie the division. It was another for them to take a half-game lead. The Mets responded by trouncing the Miami Marlins.
They have also gotten some help from the Seattle Mariners. Remember, for all the Braves exploits, they’re only 28-33 against teams with a winning record.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Braves faced a 6-1 deficit in the eighth before Michael Harris II homered. He’d do it again in an improbable five run ninth giving the Braves a 7-6 lead. The second homer was off former Mets reliever Paul Sewald.
The Mets had already retaken the NL East lead, but this Mariners series could’ve given the Mets some breathing room. The Mets needed a re-payment for the favor of the Robinson Canó trade.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Not from the Mets perspective.
Put the 1969 NLCS aside. That was another time in another era of baseball.
The Wild Card and Inter-league play came and so did the Braves tormenting the Mets. Yes, the Mets won two pennants and two division titles. The made the postseason five times.
However, when it came down to just these two teams, the Braves were always on top. The Mets never won a division where the Braves finished second. When they met in the postseason, the Braves came out on top.
That’s what makes the Suarez homer a game changer. In the history of Mets-Braves, the Braves win that game, stay a half game back (tied in the loss column), and they eventually overtake the Mets.
Suarez homered. That is changing the narrative. It moved the Mets up 1.5 games. It’s a little breathing room.
If the Mets do indeed win the division this was one of a series of pivotal moments. It may be THE moment. If so, the Mets owe the Mariners and Suarez a debt of gratitude.
The defining moment of Buck Showalter’s managerial career was leaving Zack Britton in the bullpen during the winner-take-all 2017 American League Wild Card Game. That’s who Showalter always had been, and apparently, always will be.
Edwin Díaz had last pitched on September 1. Why? Because that’s the last time there was a save opportunity.
Technically, Diaz earned the hold as he was used in the eighth to pitch against the heart of the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup. After that, Showalter found no need to use Díaz.
Keep in mind, the Mets have played some close games. Well, they were close until the bullpen imploded. The end result is the Mets current 2-4 stretch seeing their NL East lead completely evaporate.
Joely Rodriguez managed to pitch three times since we last saw Diaz. He let up a big homer against the Marlins. We even saw Bryce Montes de Oca, who Showalter thought wise to try to push to two innings.
Since we last saw Díaz pitch, Showalter’s bullpen usage has been baffling. He found no time to use Diaz and instead did this:
- Tommy Hunter – 3 G, 4.2 IP, 2 ER
- Joely Rodriguez – 3 G, 2.1 IP, 2 ER
- Bryce Montes de Oca, 2 G, 2.1 IP, 3 ER
- Adam Ottavino, 2 G, 2,0 IP, ER
- Seth Lugo, 2 G, 3.0 IP, 0 ER
- Mychal Givens, 2 G, 2.2 IP, 0 ER
- Adonis Medina, G, 0.1 IP, 4 ER
- Alex Claudio, G, 1.0 IP, 0 ER
Finally, in the loss to the Miami Marlins, Showalter finally used Diaz. At that point, it was too little too late.
The bullpen ERA was 5.89 between Diaz appearances. The Mets record was 2-4 over this stretch. The Mets lead has evaporated.
This is partially because that’s how Showalter led this team. Certainly, his bullpen management is a factor. Whatever you want to point to, and there’s plenty, it’s come with Showalter in charge.
This should serve as a reminder Showalter has been very poor in the postseason and has never won anything. Unless he finally learns a lesson about bullpen management and adapts, he may still hold this Mets team back from winning this year.