Mets Platoon Obsession Dodged A Win

With the left-handed Julio Urias starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets panicked and sat most of their left-handed hitters. That meant the Mets sat their best hitters.

What’s annoying about it was Urias has reverse splits. It’s all the more annoying because players like Dominic Smith are better against left-handed pitchers than their right-handed hitters.

Well, the Mets shot themselves in the foot. Brandon Drury, Kevin Pillar, and Albert Almora combined to go 0-for-6 with one walk and two strikeouts. In defense of Almora, that walk was a great at-bat, and it began the way towards Luis Rojas substituting players into the game to undo the inane front office lineup.

The irony of the game would be the Mets didn’t do anything until the left-handed bats could themselves in the game.

Down 4-0 after a strong effort from Tylor Megill and some gaffes by James McCann, the Mets rallied starting with a Michael Conforto two out double.

The left-handed batters did their job. Smith followed with an RBI single getting the Mets on the board.

Brandon Nimmo walked (of course), and Alonso was walked to load the bases. Jeff McNeil, another LHP not in the starting lineup, hit a two run single pulling the Mets within one. That run scored on a Will Smith passed ball.

The bats who couldn’t be trusted to be in the starting lineup, the Mets best bats, tied the score with a big two out rally.

Edwin Diaz got into trouble in the ninth starting with his walking former Met Billy McKinney to start the inning. Diaz got out of the inning leading to more platoon based nonsense.

Now, Aaron Loup has been the Mets best reliever all year, and he was fresh pitching just once over the last week. Meanwhile, Jeurys Familia has been heavily worked lately, and he has been starting to show the strain.

Well, despite Loup’s success against right-handed batters over the past two years, and the reverse splits of Smith, the Mets opted for Familia. The end result was a tired Familia giving up a go-ahead two run homer.

The Mets did get one back in the 10th, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 6-5 in a game they severely hampered themselves by being overly beholden to 1960 platoon theory.

It’s annoying the Mets handcuffed themselves like this unnecessarily and really purposefully ran converse to the analytics. They need to be better and do better than this.

Dominic Smith Not A Platoon Player

There are certain left-handed pitchers where no matter how good your left-handed batters are, you’re sitting them. Names which come up mind include Clayton Kershaw and maybe Madison Bumgarner.

Whatever your list, it’s not going to include Matt Moore. As such, when the New York Mets sit Dominic Smith against him, they’re announcing they see Smith as a platoon bat.

If that’s the case, it’s extraordinarily bad decision making, and really, it’s a poor assessment of the talent on this Mets roster.

Honestly, that is an assessment which should’ve been discounted last year. In 2021, Smith hit .283/.391/.509 against left-handed pitchers.

That wasn’t a one year anomaly either. In 2019, Smith hit .303/.361/.515 against them. Overall, since 2019, Smith has hit .291/.380/.512.

That equates to a 141 wRC+. In that time, only Brandon Nimmo, another left-handed hitter, has a better wRC+. Yes, he’s even better than Pete Alonso (126).

That means not only is Smith one of the Mets best hitters, but he’s one of their best against left-handed pitching too.

For sake of comparison, Kevin Pillar, who started over Smith, has a 119 wRC+. Albert Almora‘s is a woeful 40. All told, while Pillar is good, he’s not better than Smith.

Now, you can argue this is too much of a reaction to just one game. After all, Pillar is going to have to get into games. There are also other factors like his defense why you’d play him.

That said, this was the Mets first game. There was literally no other competing objective than put your best team on the field. That makes their first game a clear indication they believe Pillar is a better player against left-handed pitching than Smith.

That puts Smith in a platoon role where he sits against left-handed pitching. With Smith being one of the best hitters against left-handed pitching, they’re flat out wrong and making a mistake.

Smith is an everyday player. In fact, he’s clearly one of their best, and there’s no reason why he isn’t playing everyday.

Figuring Out The d’Arnaud/Plawecki Platoon

Since cracking the Opening Day roster in 2014, Travis d’Arnaud has averaged 90 games per season behind the plate with last year being his high at 112 games.  This is because d’Arnaud has not withstood to the day-to-day rigors of catching.  Each and every year, he deals with a different injury to another part of his body, and as a result, the Mets have been left scrambling to figure out their Major League catching depth.

With the re-emergence of Kevin Plawecki as the Mets catcher of the future and the minor league signing of Jose Lobaton, the Mets are in a much better position from a catching standpoint than they have been in years past.  While the Mets have better depth, the end game should be to keep d’Arnaud healthy for a full season.

And for that matter, with Plawecki finally showing the type of bat the Mets believed he had, the team needs to find a spot for him in the lineup.

To that end, a platoon between the catchers makes sense.  Fortunately, both catchers seem inclined to go forward with the plan, and they both thrived under the situation last September with d’Arnaud hitting .297/.343/.656 in 20 games and Plawecki hitting .278/.400/.426 in 19 games.

So based upon their production in an admittedly small sample size, we know it could potentially work.  What we don’t know is how it should work next season, especially when you consider both are right-handed hitters.

Perhaps, the Mets should approach this from a different perspective.  Instead of focusing on what pitcher is on the mound for the opposing team, the Mets should focus on what pitcher is on the mound for their own team.   That is, much like what we saw in 2016 with Noah Syndergaard and Rene Rivera, assign a catcher to a Mets starter based upon whom the pitcher works best.

When you look at the numbers, what is quite startling is just how much better the Mets starters numbers are with Plawecki behind the plate.  There is a very important caveat to that.  Plawecki did the bulk of the catching of these pitchers back in 2015 when they were all healthy and dealing.  It was d’Arnaud who had to deal with each one of them having real injury issues which corresponded with diminished stuff and stats.

Basically, this will come down to comfort, and for starters, we know that likely means Plawecki will be catching Syndergaard because as we saw in 2016, he and d’Arnaud have had difficulty getting on the same page.  As an aside, it was somewhat telling Syndergaard was caught by Plawecki and Tomas Nido in his two “starts” at the end of the season.

Coincidence or not, there may be something to Plawecki not catching Jacob deGrom at all last season.  Given their track record together, which includes deGrom winning the 2014 Rookie of the Year Award and his amazing 2015 postseason, or their both having lower case ds in their last name, there is a rapport between deGrom and d’Arnaud which should continue.

Likely, you want to get each of the catchers 2-3 days in a row when they do play in order to afford them to maximizing rest and getting in rhythm.  To that end, d’Arnaud should catch deGrom with the fourth and fifth starter, whoever they may be.  This would set up this type of rotation:

  1. Jacob deGrom (d’Arnaud)
  2. Noah Syndergaard (Plawecki)
  3. Jason Vargas (Plawecki)
  4. Matt Harvey (d’Arnaud)
  5. Steven Matz (d’Arnaud)

Really, after deGrom and Syndergaard, you can order the pitchers anyway you want, and you can certainly resort them depending on which catcher and pitcher feel most comfortable as a tandem.  In the end, what really matters is Mickey Callaway, Dave Eiland, and Glenn Sherlock communicate with the starters and catching tandem to find the best fit for each pitcher.  If done properly, we may see the catchers last a full season, and more importantly, we could see the pitching staff as a whole revert to their 2015 level.

Platoon?

As I wrote in my last post, the Mets have a lot of versatility. After thinking about it, I noticed something:

2B: Kelly Johnson (L) & Wilmer Flores (R)

3B: Daniel Murphy (L) & Juan Uribe (R)

CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) & Juan Lagares (R)

This is the making of the perfect platoon situation.  Last night the lefties played against the right handed Zach Lee. The aforementioned lefties were in the lineup. Once the game was out of control, the better defensive players were the Juans who came out onto the field (can’t wait to use that pun again). 

I believe Collins will look to ride the hot hand more than he’ll look to platoon players. However, when the Mets have faced lefties this year, he has loaded the lineup with right handed batters. I think the platoon system is the prudent way to go that unless/until the Mets get reinforcements (trades, players returning from injury). 

Remember, the only two times the Mets won the Workd Series, they effectively used a platoon system. 

Explaining Chris Bassitt’s Struggles

On May 18, Max Scherzer removed himself from his start, and he would be placed on the IL. Combined with injuries to Jacob deGrom and Tylor Megill, this made Chris Bassitt the de facto ace of this New York Mets pitching staff. He has been anything but that.

Since May 18, Bassitt is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA and a 6.40 FIP. Opposing batters are hitting .261/.327/.544 against him. He has seen his strikeouts go from 9.8 per nine to 8.7 while his walks went from 2.5 per nine to 3.6.

The loss to the San Diego Padres was a new low from Bassitt. He was knocked out of the game after allowing seven runs (six earned) over 3 1/3 innings. After the game, Bassitt said, “I’m beyond embarrassed. It’s something that literally I’ve never gone through. To say it’s frustrating would be a big-time understatement.

Looking at Bassitt, he doesn’t appear injured. Per Baseball Savant, he has had fairly consistent velocity on his fastball. The spin on his pitches, which was never outstanding, remains the same. Looking at it that way, it is hard to ascertain why he is struggling. Digging deeper, you see some of the issues Bassitt is having.

One big problem for Bassitt right now is left-handed batters. So far, this season, left-handed batters are hitting .246/.333/.483 off of Bassitt with a .363 wOBA. In contrast, right-handed batters only hitting .206/.266/.321 with a .271 wOBA.

Case in point, look at the game against the Padres. Jurickson Profar, Jake Cronenworth, Nomar Mazara, Trent Grisham, and Sergio Alcantara combined to go 4-for-8 with a double, 4 RBI, two walks, and three strikeouts. He was knocked out of the game when Cronenworth hit his RBI double. He was knocked out of the game by the Padres’ left-handed batters.

Now, it should be noted this is a fairly recent phenomenon. He started the season off well against left-handed batters, and Bassitt has been fairly platoon neutral over his career. To wit, before Scherzer hit the IL, left-handed batters only had a .273 wOBA against Bassitt. This begs the question as to what exactly has happened to Bassitt.

Well, the biggest change might’ve been the loss of James McCann. There is the caveat of each of these being small sample sizes, but here is how Bassitt has fared with each catcher behind the plate:

Again, this is a very small sample size, but it is important to note that Bassitt is a very difficult pitcher for a catcher to call. He is a pitcher who throws six different pitches. With his velocity and spin, he mostly gets batters out by changing eye levels, living on the shadow zone, and pitch sequencing. This is where he strived with McCann and to a certain extent Mazeika.

Notably, in Bassitt’s first start with Mazeika, they were very clearly not on the same page. Mazeika took some ownership for that saying, “There might be three or four right pitches for him for that situation. Trying to figure out what he wants to do is always a unique challenge.” Indeed, Bassitt is an extraordinarily difficult pitcher to learn and get on the same page with on the fly.

Notably, Nido has struggled with framing the high strike this season, which puts Bassitt in a difficult spot. Also, he is not framing those inside pitches against left-handed batters well. This has Bassitt throwing more pitches and having to come in the zone more. With Bassitt having to throw his fastball/sinker more in the zone against left-handed batters it has become much more hittable.

Overall, there is nothing wrong with Bassitt per se, at least not health-wise. This is more trying to get back on the drawing board and work with Jeremy Hefner and his catchers on how to better attack left-handed batters. Once they get back on the same page, we should once against see the Bassitt we saw over the first month-and-a-half of the season and the pitcher the Mets were eager to acquire from the Oakland Athletics.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on MMO.

Edwin Diaz Not Quite Elite

The most promising sign we have seen from Edwin Diaz this year was how he reacted to the no-hitter. He knew what was happening, and what he needed to do. That would be the best we’ve ever seen of him.

Really, this year is the best we’ve seen of him. He’s having his first All-Star caliber season with the New York Mets, and there is a real and justified discussion about the need to extend him.

Diaz has been very, very good this year. However, as we saw in San Francisco, he’s just not quite elite. Not yet.

The Mets were down 8-4 entering the top of the eighth when they exploded for seven runs. They took an 11-8 lead.

Drew Smith, who has struggled lately, gave that lead right back. The Giants tied the score at 11-11 before he recorded an out. Fortunately, he was bailed out by Joely Rodriguez.

The Mets offense picked the team off the mat again. After knocking in the first run of that eighth inning rally, Dominic Smith came up huge again leading off the top of the ninth with a triple. Travis Jankowski pinch ran, and he’d score on a Brandon Nimmo sacrifice fly.

The Mets had a 12-11 lead, and they brought Diaz into the game.

Obviously, you need your closer to lock down every game he pitches. That said, these are the games you REALLY need. The Mets fought to get back into the game, and then, they fought back again.

After a double play, all Diaz needed was one more out. He didn’t get it, and the trouble started with a walk to Mike Yastrzemski.

From there, three straight singles from Darin Ruf, Joc Pederson, and Brandon Crawford turned an exhilarating 12-11 victory to a devastating 13-12 defeat.

You’ll note this damage mostly cane from left-handed batters. There’s something there with Diaz.

Yes, by and large, he’s platoon neutral. That said, he’s always walked left-handed batters at a higher clip than right-handed batters. Those walks lead to trouble, and they did here.

This marked the third blown save in 13 chances for Diaz. Those three saves are the second most in all of baseball this season. We can pretend otherwise, but even when Diaz is at his best, blown saves have been an issue for him.

It’s not just the blown saves but the moments. While there were a number of mitigating factors, you can certainly recall how he wilted in his one and only pennant race in 2019.

Overall, you’re better with Diaz than not. We’ve seen him able to rise to the occasion. You can win games and potentially World Series with him.

However, he’s just not elite. He’s not there quite yet. Elite closers lock down that game. He didn’t. We don’t need to over dwell on it because he will be fine in the long run. That still doesn’t mean we have to pretend he’s something he isn’t.

Joely Rodriguez Trade Another Example Of Needless LOOGY Obsession

The New York Mets obtained Joely Rodriguez from the New York Yankees in exchange for Miguel Castro. Looking at the trade, it is difficult to ascertain just how this makes the Mets better. What is clear is this was a trade generated because the Mets felt they just needed two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. It is something GM Billy Eppler said so himself:

The obvious retort is going to be the Mets needed more left-handed relievers with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Juan Soto in the division. Of course, that wasn’t an impetus for the Mets to go out and beat that two year $17 million contract Aaron Loup received from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

With Rodriguez, the swap of him for Castro really doesn’t make any sense. That goes double when you consider Castro is three years younger, and both pitchers will be free agents after the season. To further the point, here are their splits from last season:

vs. LHH

  • Castro: .198/.313/.270
  • Rodriguez .203/.288/.271

vs. RHH

  • Castro: .180/.327/.328
  • Rodriguez 339/.380/.446

Remember, this is the era of the two batter rule for relievers. As such, the Mets are going to bring in Rodriguez to face Harper, and then, he is going to have to face Nick Castellanos. On that point, Castellanos had a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers this year. It’s the same throughout the division.

After getting through Soto, Rodriguez would have to face Nelson Cruz who had a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. After he faces Matt Olson, Rodriguez will face Austin Riley who isn’t as good against left-handed pitching but still has a career 108 wRC+ against them.

Simply put, Rodriguez will come in to get that one batter, and then, he will face a batter who can absolutely obliterate him. This is a recipe for disaster, and it was one made for no other reason than the Mets compulsion to carry multiple left-handed relievers.

It’s an unforced error premeditated by an obsession over century old platoon thinking and not according to the numbers. In fact, Castro fares similarly well against left-handed batters as Rodriguez, but he is far, far superior against right-handed batters. Put another way, the Mets intentionally made themselves worse.

This just puts more onus on Jeremy Hefner to make good on this trade. Unfortunately, he is not going to get the full benefit of Spring Training to work with Rodriguez. Hopefully, the adjustments and tweaks won’t take that long. Otherwise, it is going to make Buck Showalter‘s life more difficult trying to find a way to get Rodriguez into games to be effective and not hurt the Mets.

Overall, this is a trade where the Mets better know something more than everyone. If not, this is nothing more than just getting a left-handed reliever for its own sake, which is something we shouldn’t be seeing teams do in 2022.

Kevin Pillar Made Mistake Declining His Option

In a surprise, Kevin Pillar is a free agent. While it was reasonable to presume the New York Mets would decline his option, it was a complete shock Pillar declined his.

Pillar will be 33 on Opening Day next season. He’s coming off a year where he had a career worst 0.5 WAR (for a full season). That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Pillar has been at an 88 OPS+ in the last two full seasons. This is a slight dip from his career best in 2015 when he was still below league average. In fact, Pillar has never been above league average in any full season.

That was acceptable when defense was his calling card. It’s really not that case anymore. Aside from 2016, when he was an astounding 11 OAA, he’s been between a 1 to -2 OAA in the outfield.

That’s not to suggest he’s bad. He’s not. Rather, he’s an average fielder who is a below average bat. That makes him a rotation, platoon, or bench player. He’s not a starter.

Judging from Baseball Savant, Pillar has issues. He’s not driving the ball, and his contact rate is in decline. Same goes for his eye. His speed remains good, but that’s also been slipping.

That’s the biggest issue with Pillar. He appears to be a player in decline. He had a safety net with the Mets with a fair $2.9 million option. With that one year, he had an opportunity to re-establish value.

Pillar passed.

While betting on himself is admirable, it might be misguided. It’s highly unlikely he finds a starting job. After all, he was offered a part-time role with the Mets after a decent 2020.

This leaves him again seeking out a bench role. Maybe he finds it without needing to resort to a non-roster invite. Maybe he even finds a team who can provide a decent role, albeit likely not one with as much playing time as the Mets could’ve offered.

Overall, Pillar either bet on himself or got out of a place he no longer wanted to play. He gambled he’d get a better role, salary, and/or chance to win. At this moment, it’s difficult to see that happening, which is why Pillar should’ve stayed with the Mets.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Overcome Diamondbacks And Bob Brenly Ignorance

The New York Mets went to the desert, and it was the Arizona Diamondbacks who came up dry. While the Diamondbacks did push the Mets, the Mets took this series:

1. The fact Bob Brenly is still employed after what he said about Marcus Stroman is an embarrassment to the Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball. Seriously, why hasn’t Rob Manfred stepped in here?

2. Brenly should forever keep Tom Seaver‘s name out of his mouth. He should not be sullying the name of a great man and best right handed pitcher in the post World War II era.

3. Luis Rojas going to the well with Trevor May was really bizarre. May has been struggling, and he was very fatigued.

4. Holding back Seth Lugo from a save opportunity when you’ve already used Edwin Diaz and Miguel Castro because you want to ease him back from his injury is all well and good. However, you just can’t follow that up by trying to throw him two innings in his first appearance back. That’s a contradictory and dumb position.

5. Diaz is just a different pitcher than he has ever been. He’s able to go back-to-back days now with no issue. He’s shaking off blown saves. He’s having consecutive good years. There is not enough superlatives you can throw his way right now. He really deserves credit for how much he’s improved.

6. On that note, Jeurys Familia resurrecting his career has been perhaps the biggest key to this bullpen being this good.

7. It looks like that stint at first base was great for James McCann. He’s continued hitting well, and as we’re seeing, he seems to thrive on the platoon role. Fortunately for the Mets, Tomas Nido has taken his game to a new level to make this a tenable plan.

8. Between McCann hitting again and Francisco Lindor having figured things out, perhaps we can stop passing judgments on two months. Clearly, these two needed to settle into a new city with a new coaching staff. And yes, it helps them and everyone that the team replaced Chili Davis.

9. For those who haven’t noticed, Lindor is a truly great player. Look at what he’s doing. He’s top five in the majors in OAA, and over the past month, he has a .758 OPS. Remember, that includes a period when he was in a deep slump. By September, we’re all going to laugh at the panic some people showed over his start.

10. This team is clicking with the return of Pete Alonso. His presence in the lineup seems to have taken pressure off of everyone, and frankly, it helps that he returned to the lineup in peak Alonso form.

11. There is no one tougher than Kevin Pillar. Not only did he return from that fastball to the face and surgery to replace multiple facial fractures, but he’s picked right up where he left off.

12. The Mets have had a number of injuries, but if the hamstring lingers, none might be more impactful than Jonathan Villar. Villar has been able to hold down third base with all the injuries, and while his numbers and propensity to get picked off leave something to be desired, he does find a way to have an impact on games. The Mets are going to miss him.

13. The J.D. Davis injury is getting increasingly worrisome. It seems like he just has set back after set back. You really just have to wonder if the Mets are really missing a significant injury here.

14. The fact the Mets have a 4.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves, the largest in baseball, is impressive. The fact the Mets have that lead allows them to hold their cards and wait for Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo to return at their own pace. Of course, the pitching being so dominant allows that as well.

15. At some point, Jacob deGrom gets a no-hitter, right? Sure, Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux didn’t, but you have to believe deGrom eventually gets one.

16. Because baseball is stupid, you have to guess Joey Lucchesi or David Peterson gets one before deGrom even though neither pitcher really belongs in the starting rotation right now. Injuries have really helped keep them here.

17. The Mets really need to decide if they want Peterson to be Mike Pelfrey, or if they want to try to give someone else a shot while he goes to Syracuse to develop like he needs.

18. For those saying the Mets need Pelfrey, the team can certainly figure it out. After all, they have Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and Sean Reid-Foley who can give you multiple innings consistently out of the bullpen. They also have Jerad Eickhoff, Corey Oswalt, and Thomas Szapucki to plug into the rotation. Really, there are options, and they need to do something.

19. Speaking of Gsellman, those 3.2 innings were phenomenal, and it speaks to his being back to being the pitcher the Mets thought he was when he was first called up in 2016.

20. May was right. That game winning hit by Josh Reddick was foul. Really, this just highlights the absurdity of the replay system where there aren’t cameras down the lines to ensure we get calls like that absolutely correct. Then again, this is baseball under Manfred, so why should we expect any different?

 

GAME RECAPS

Jacob deGrom Nearly Perfect

Mets Blow It Against Diamondbacks

David Peterson Should Be Demoted to Syracuse

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Sweep Braves?

With the weather, the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves only played one game of the weekend series. With the Mets winning, they swept all the games they did play:

1. You just can’t beat the Mets at Citi Field. So far, they’re 15-5, and that’s even with a Triple-A roster.

2. The Braves are an incredibly flawed team, and there’s only so much Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña can do.

3. The Mets are starting to get healthy with Taijuan Walker back. They also have Seth Lugo and Pete Alonso ready to be activated any day now.

4. Lugo presents an interesting dilemma for the Mets as they robbed Peter to pay Paul by opening up roster spots. Lugo coming off the 60 day IL means someone has to come off the 40 man roster.

5. In past years, the Mets really didn’t have enough players for an everyday lineup, and now, we’re worrying about the backups to the backups. Things really are different.

6. Walker picked right up where he left off, which is to say, he was very good.

7. Mets were cautious with both Walker and Jacob deGrom in their returns from the IL. Again, it’s nice to see things are different around here.

8. One of the biggest changes we see are rain outs. Steve Cohen is making the calls sooner preventing fans from having to unnecessarily make the trek.

9. A side point here is we’ve seen Mets players get injured and seasons get turned sideways with players playing in poor conditions as the Wilpons push to get another gate.

10. James McCann needs to be commended. He got pushed to first due to his own play, Tomas Nido‘s play, and injuries. He responded to the challenge by playing great.

11. Seeing McCann at first, and seeing his bat come alive again, you do wonder if he can play third. After all, it is a shift Todd Zeile (permanently) and Gary Carter (as a sub) have successfully made.

12. Seeing how McCann has played of late, there’s nothing wrong with the McCann/Nido platoon. In fact, it’s a good plan to get the most out of them and the starters.

13. Its a very small sample size, but Billy McKinney looks really good. He could well be someone who more than adequately fills in that 4th/5th OF role.

14. It’ll be something people overlook when they talk about how disappointing Dominic Smith has been, and he has, but he’s been playing hurt at a time when the Mets needed him.

15. Maybe it’s due to overwork, regression to the mean, or something else, but Miguel Castro is starting to look like the enigma he was with the Baltimore Orioles again.

16. Jason Bay got a much longer leash than Francisco Lindor has when it’s come to the booing.

17. On Lindor, this team is winning with pitching and defense, and he’s on the forefront of that. It’s something to remember when the Mets are healthy and debating putting in the full can’t field lineup.

18. By every objective measure, Jonathan Villar has been a below average player, but man, he finds a way to make an impact on a game.

19. The fact Kevin Pillar is going to be one of the first players back is a minor miracle given the injury he suffered and a testament to how tough he is.

20. The May games are over, and the Mets are in first place. They have the largest division lead while they’re getting healthy. Let’s hope this is enough to stave off the usual June swoon.