If the Mets want a chance at the postseason, they may not be able to lose even one game. For that to happen, they’re going to need some unexpected great pitching performances.
They got that last night out of the rookie David Peterson.
Peterson would join Jerry Koosman, Pete Schourek, and Hisanori Takahashi as the only left-handed Mets rookies to strike out 10 in a game. Overall, he allowed just one run over six on three hits and four walks.
To put into perspective how well he pitched, Freddie Freeman was 0-for-5 with the golden sombrero and a GIDP. This is the same Freeman who routinely kills the Mets and is a front runner for the NL MVP.
He’d pick up the win because the Mets offense scored just enough early and blew it out late.
Offensively speaking, Robinson Cano drove the Mets to victory.
In the first, Braves starter Ian Anderson was wild walking the bases loaded. Cano delivered the rare Mets big hit with RISP with a two RBI single.
It was 3-2 entering the bottom of the eighth after a Travis d’Arnaud homer in the top of the inning. Any flashbacks to the 1998 and 1999 Mets subsided when Dominic Smith and Cano went back-to-back to expand the Mets lead to 5-2.
That rally would continue with Brandon Nimmo, who is getting insanely hot of late, hitting a two RBI single. That pushed the score to 7-2.
In the end, the Mets chances of pulling this off aren’t very good. Not in the least. However, the bright side is on a night like this, we might’ve found out something about Peterson. There’s a lot more to his career, but this big start in a huge spot is the type of game which can springboard a career.
Game Notes: Robinson Chirinos hit an RBI double in the fourth
The Mets made that option despite Guillorme having a 0.7 WAR, 143 wRC+, and having a 2 OAA. He’s been a good hitter and an even better fielder. He’s also been a good pinch hitter on his career with a .364 OBP.
It should be noted J.D. Davis continues to be the worst fielder in baseball. Since August 1, he’s hitting .262/.374/.404. Overall, he’s at a 0.0 WAR.
Put another way, Guillorme was optioned despite there being worse players with options remaining staying on the roster. That means the Mets didn’t put their best roster out there at a time when they’re supposedly trying to make the postseason.
With a rusty and possibly not quite fully healthy yet Steven Matz starting and imploding, the Mets were in a 6-0 hole through three. Seeing the Mets overcame bug deficits against the Phillies, there was some hope the Mets could come back.
Kilome took care of that hope allowing six runs over 1.1 innings putting the Mets in a 12-0 hole. Seeing Kilome pitch, you need to remember the Mets optioned their best bench player quite possibly losing him for the rest of the season for this performance.
Adding insult to injury, Travis d’Arnaud was 3-for-4 with a run, homer, two RBI, and two walks. The player Van Wagenen didn’t think was good enough for his team is batting cleanup for one of the best teams in baseball, and he’s killing the Mets.
All told, this was an embarrassing and demoralizing 15-2 loss. Make no mistake, this was a direct reflection of just how inept Van Wagenen has been as the Mets GM.
Game Notes: Todd Frazier pitched a scoreless inning.
Well, the Mets took two out of three from the Phillies. As a result, the Mets next series actually matters. So there’s that. Here’s some more:
1. This is just the third series the Mets have won all year and the first against a team other than the Miami Marlins.
3. The deGrom start was a tough one because it probably cost him the Cy Young, which will also hinder his Hall of Fame chances.
5. As far as the starting pitching, we haven’t seen much of a tangible impact from new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, but we have seen him help relievers with pitch utilization and locations.
6. That’s not to say the bullpen has been good because it hasn’t. However, they came up big in a series when deGrom and Lugo didn’t pitch five innings combined.
7. There’s a lot to unwrap from Lugo’s start including how the Phillies hit four homers off of him and his decreased velocity as a starter. While this bears mentioning, we need to see more before drawing any conclusions.
8. Lugo even being in the rotation is another indication of just how awful a job Brodie Van Wagenen has done and just how much he has stripped the Mets of quality rotation depth.
10. Articles trying to explain why Steve Cohen’s money may not matter and why he won’t spend right away are trying to be a little too cute and are very disingenuous in their premises.
11. Also, Cohen is getting approved because he’s going to be the wealthiest owner in the game, and he bought the Mets for more than any North American sports team has ever sold. People telling you his approval is because of the respect Fred Wilpon has in the game are embarrassing themselves.
12. Wilson Ramos has seemingly struggled more than anyone being separated from his family. It’s a real shame he has dealt with these issues.
13. Its a good thing J.D. Davis had that big game on Wednesday because he’s been basically terrible since August 1 costing the Mets games with his ground balls and glove.
14. Over the last month, Davis is hitting .253/.360/.411, and Jeff McNeil is hitting .360/.442/.584. Naturally, McNeil bats seventh and Davis third. It’s because it’s not about winning, but rather about Van Wagenen.
15. With Davis and Pete Alonso struggling, at some point the uncomfortable conversation needs to happen about how much the juiced ball impacted their 2019 production.
16. Anyone calling Brandon Nimmo a fourth outfielder doesn’t know anything about baseball.
17. With Dellin Betances likely exercising his $6 million player option, and the Mets having to buy out Ramos for $1.5 million and Robinson Chirinos for $2.5, the Wilpons have left a nice $10 million tab for Cohen.
18. The extra postseason spots made sense in a 60 game season, but it will be a disaster going forward. So naturally, Rob Manfred wants it.
19. Looking through the years, under this new proposed format, you’re going to get under .500 teams in the postseason on a routine basis. That’s bad for the sport.
20. The Mets have to play the best baseball they possibly can to even have a chance. Given the matchups against the Braves and Rays, their chances aren’t good, but we’re Mets fans, so we’re going to watch and hold out hope.
For a second straight game, a Mets starter didn’t see the third inning, and for the second straight game, the Mets made an improbable comeback.
At least for tonight, Harper owned Lugo homering off of him again in the second inning. Gregorius then knocked out Lugo with an RBI single.
It was 6-3 Phillies, and it was in the hands of the Mets bullpen. Starting with Erasmo Ramirez, they were brilliant. He and Chasen Shreve would each pitch 2.1 scoreless before handing the ball to Jeurys Familia who pitched 1.1 scoreless.
Their pitching kept the Mets in the game, and it gave them a chance to comeback against what has been a terrible Phillies bullpen.
While the Mets weren’t able to put up more runs off Aaron Nola from the second through fifth, they made him work. He ran out of gas in the sixth, and that Mets took advantage starting with a Pete Alonso one out homer:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
Jeff McNeil walked leading to the Phillies going to their bullpen. Andres Gimenez walked, and after Luis Guillorme lined out, it was up to Brandon Nimmo. He tied the score on what is arguably the biggest hit of his career . . . up until that point.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
Instead, Wilson walked the bases loaded. Due to the three batter rule, the Mets couldn’t even contemplate lifting him. Fortunately for the Mets, Wilson retired Gregorius to end the inning.
After escalating the jam, it was time for Nimmo to come up huge again. This time, it was a go-ahead homer with a rare pimping of the homer from Nimmo:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
That ninth inning leadoff homer off Brandon Workman sparked the Mets offense like Alonso’s did in the sixth. It was a four run ninth with Smith tripling in Michael Conforto, and Cano hitting a two run homer.
While not a save situation, the Mets went to Edwin Diaz. Diaz would make it interesting by loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. Diaz, who was pitching three days in a row, got McCutheon to ground out to end the game.
With that, the Mets have won a series against a team other than the Marlins this year. They’re alive and ready to fight another day as the schedule gets insanely difficult now.
Game Notes: Wilson earned the win.
As of this morning, the New York Mets are 22-27. That puts them 6.5 behind the Atlanta Braves for the division. That means they’re effectively eliminated from the NL East race.
However, due to the expanded postseason format, they’re only three games out in the loss column for the last Wild Card spot. With 11 games remaining in the season, there’s a chance.
However, when you break it down, it’s a very unrealistic chance.
First and foremost, you’re asking this Mets team to go on a run. We’re nearly 2/3 through the season, and the Mets have only won two series all season. Both series have come against the Miami Marlins, and that season series is over.
After today’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets remaining opponents are the Braves (third best team in the NL) Tampa Bay Rays (second best team in the AL), and the Washington Nationals.
Asking for the 8-2 stretch against that schedule is a big ask. It’s also a big ask to ask the Mets to leapfrog four teams in the process.
Keep in mind, the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, two teams ahead of the Mets, play each other five more times this season.
In the West, the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies, two teams ahead of the Mets, play each other four times.
That means during those games the Mets are not going to make ground on at least half the field. It also means when they lose, they’re losing ground to half the field.
Couple that with Jacob deGrom dealing with a hamstring spasm. Beyond that spasm not making it possible for deGrom to make multiple short rest starts to help push the Mets over the top, the Mets can’t be sure what deGrom can give them in the event he can pitch.
After deGrom, the Mets are really only guaranteed five good innings from Seth Lugo. Past Lugo, the rotation is a complete and utter mess to the point not even the Mets seem to know who is going to start for them the rest of the way.
So, yes, mathematically, the Mets can still make the postseason. However, when you break it down, even if they put up a completely improbable 10 game winning streak, chances are they’re missing the postseason.
Yes, the Mets won this game 5-4 with a big comeback and go-ahead hit from Andres Gimenez off Hector Neris in the top of the ninth. With the Mets postseason hopes on life support, they could use this win and many others.
However, truth be told, the only thing that mattered anymore was Jacob deGrom winning his third straight Cy Young.
In the second, a clearly affected deGrom allowed three runs, and he’d go talk to Jeremy Hefner and the trainer in the dugout. After that conversation, he was pulled from the game with what was described as a hamstring spasm.
At the moment, deGrom’s ERA ballooned to 2.09. Due to the nature of hamstring injuries, no one can be quite sure when he can realistically pitch again and/or return to form.
So yes, it’s obviously great the Mets won. We all hope they go on the insane hot streak they need to make the postseason. However, this is all a pipe dream.
For a while, we’ve known this season was about deGrom winning the Cy Young, and that’s not happening anymore. That also hurts his future Hall of Fame chances.
In the end, today was a terrible day and not much else of what happened today really matters. Much like most of 2020, something good is accompanied by something far worse which completely overshadowed it.
Looking back at 2019, Pete Alonso was the Mets best player. He was setting franchise and rookie home run records while quickly becoming one of the most popular players in team history.
With Alonso at the forefront, the Mets seemed to have a superstar in the making. He was a foundation for the Mets next big run. Looking at 2020, it hasn’t happened that way.
Through 46 games, he’s hitting .216/.318/.433 with a pedestrian 105 OPS+. Heading into the season, he talked about wanting to win a Gold Glove in his career, but with a -3 DRS and a -3 OAA, he’s showing no improvement from when he was the worst defensive first baseman in baseball last year.
Now, there are many reasons to explain why he’s struggling. First and foremost, this pandemic and shutdown hit everyone hard. There’s no telling the emotional toll it took on Alonso and his ability to prepare for the season.
Other factors include the fact the league might’ve caught up to him, and he hasn’t had time to adjust what they’re now doing to him. As a possible correlation, Alonso’s whiff rate has increased while his exit velocity, launch angles, and barrels have dropped.
Teams seem to be shifting more against him, which explains a drop in BABIP. To that point, his BABIP being at .245 does indicate some bad luck is involved.
The elephant in the room is the ball has changed from last year. Yes, we continue to see Alonso has tremendous power, but part of his success (and everyone else’s) was due to the juiced ball. Without that juiced ball, we are seeing some hitters struggle.
All told, Alonso is at a -0.4 WAR. Right now, that stands as the worst mark amongst Mets regulars. That just shows how much he has struggled all season long.
As we saw last night, he came up in multiple spots where we saw him deliver in all of 2019. Much like most of this year, he didn’t get the job done.
While this has been happening, Dominic Smith, who is younger than Alonso, has emerged as a star. In fact, Smith is the fifth best hitter in all of baseball this year with a 174 wRC+. He’s also been a superior defensive first baseman than Alonso even if his numbers are pedestrian (-1 DRS, 0 OAA).
Smith is also entering arbitration. To a certain extent, that means the Mets are closer to having make a decision on him. By natural extension, making a decision on him means making a decision on Alonso as both play the same position.
While this is occurring, the Mets will be entering an offseason looking to add up to four starters to their rotation, adding a center fielder, and completely rebuilding their bullpen . . . again.
Making Alonso available in a trade puts the Mets in the conversation for the top players on the trade market. That includes Francisco Lindor and any other Indians who may hit the trade block.
By the same token, how can you trade as popular a player as Alonso is? More importantly, how can you trade a player knowing what Alonso did last year? Still, with all that, we have his 2020 performance, which can’t be ignored.
Therein lies the problem. The Mets have a lot of needs, and they have two young first basemen who appear to be stars. Realistically speaking, the Mets can only go forward with one of them, and they have to choose right both in terms of the player and the deal.
Fortunately, the Mets will soon have Steve Cohen in charge and what should be a revamped front office without Brodie Van Wagenen at the helm. That should give us some confidence the Mets can and will make the right decision.
Then again, it was Porcello who allowed the ensuing batter Didi Gregorius to hit a massive two run homer with two outs in the fifth.
In total, Porcello allowed four runs over six, and he pitched well enough to win, especially in that ballpark. The problem was the Mets offense continued to get in its own way. The only run was a Brandon Nimmo homer off Jake Arrieta.
The Mets were 0-for-6 with RISP leaving 12 runners on base. Both Davis and Wilson Ramos hit crippling double plays.
In the sixth, Ramos came up as the go-ahead run. He was facing JoJo Romero who had to enter the game after Arrieta hurt his groin when he plunked Andres Gimenez. Ramos would hit into an inning ending double play.
In the ensuing inning, Nimmo led off the inning with a single, but it didn’t matter as he was erased on a Davis double play.
It was a bad job of base running by McNeil. It wasn’t a force play, and the play was right in front of him. Even with Smith busting it home, he couldn’t score.
In the end, the Mets lost 4-1. They’re now six games under .500, and they’re further out of the postseason picture.
But don’t worry, Steve Cohen is buying the Mets, and the GM should be gone soon. Things should be much better next year.
Back when Nelson Doubleday was on his way out, he had said of Jeff Wilpon, “Jeff Wilpon said he’s going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year. Run for the hills, boys. I think probably all those baseball people will bail.” (Bergen Record).
It’s impossible to detail just how awful Jeff has been. It’s like a PhD level course in complete incompetence.
He was behind forcing injured players to play including Pedro Martinez leading to the effective end of Pedro’s career.
There were the rage cuts like Travis d’Arnaud and the inexplicable gross overpayment of prospects (Scott Kazmir, Jarred Kelenic) for bad returns in the sake of winning now only for the Mets not to win.
Women knew what the organization thought of them when Jeff fired an unwed pregnant woman and not only brought back Jose Reyes, but also held him out as a role model.
Through all of this and more, everyone had enough, especially his family.
Bruce Wilpon disassociated himself from the Mets after seeing how Jeff and the Mets treated Kazuo Matsui. Saul Katz forced the sale of the team rather than see Jeff mismanage the team to his dying days.
Ironically, Jeff would interfere with the first sale. Steve Cohen walked away. Despite years of mismanagement, the team had some value. However, that value went down when Steve Cohen bought it a second time for hundreds of million less.
There was no end to Jeff Wilpon’s incompetence, and now, his family has taken away his toy so he can’t play GM anymore. We’re all better for it.
Jeff Wilpon will soon be gone. Good riddance to him.
If you ever wanted the perfect encapsulation of what it means to be a Mets fan and the Wilpon Era has been, this was the series for you:
1. Amed Rosario takes first with two outs in the ninth after a wild pitch on strike three. He got picked off first.
2. That’s being a Mets fan. There’s a near miracle which gives you hope, and it’s followed with a massive blunder which leaves you completely befuddled.
3. Speaking of befuddled, how does Wilson Ramos swing at ball three against a reliever who can’t find the strike zone? That double play helped cost the game more than Rosario getting picked off.
5. It seems Rojas hasn’t found that balance of when to push a starter or go to the bullpen. It at least seems his decision comes back to bite the Mets no matter what.
6. Of course, that’s a larger sign of how bad the Mets rotation has been and just how bad the Mets bullpen is without Lugo.
7. Speaking of the state of the Mets pitching, Jeff McNeil apparently left the game to go to the bathroom.
8. At that point in the game, he had scored the Mets only run, and well, it seems the runs went with them.
9. Dominic Smith continues to be great this year. Not bad for a guy the team didn’t realize was one of the best players on the team.
10. Speaking of players the Mets thought were better than Smith, J.D. Davis has a .780 OPS and dropping, and he still can’t play third.
11. On the topic of ill conceived Brodie Van Wagenen trades, one poor appearance for Anthony Kay doesn’t suddenly make Kay bad (he isn’t), the Marcus Stroman trade good (it wasn’t), or Simeon Woods Richardson not a key part of the deal (he was).
12. Brandon Nimmo is a good hitter who can play a good corner outfield. He should not be the 2021 center fielder. In fact, he shouldn’t be that in 2020.
14. Again, Jacob deGrom showed he’s the best pitcher in baseball, and he’s nearing towards locking down his third straight Cy Young.
15. Even with deGrom having another historical great year, the Mets rotation is historically bad and are challenging the 1962 Mets for the worst starting rotation ERA in team history.
16. The Mets have legitimate candidates for Cy Young (deGrom), MVP (Michael Conforto), and Rookie of the Year (Andres Gimenez). Despite that, odds are they won’t finish above .500 or compete for a postseason spot.
17. When does Brodie Van Wagenen collect his Executive of the Year award?
18. Mets will be promoting the team being just three games back despite all that’s gone wrong on the final game of the season.
19. Steve Cohen is almost complete in his purchase of the Mets. This means the Wilpons will not win a World Series as majority owners of the team.
20. MLB finally did the right thing allowing the players to wear the first responder caps again. Everyone involved in making that happen, including Jeff Wilpon, should be commended.