Game Recap

Buck Showalter Messed Up Badly

We have been waiting all season for Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor to start hitting. As we saw last season, when they hit, this is a completely different lineup.

Lindor got things going right away with an RBI double. With Alonso switching back to the old axe handle bat, he would have a two homer game. For a Mets team that had not scored in over 20 innings, the six runs felt like 30, and it was a game where the Mets pitching staff had to lock down the win.

The Mets would not win because their pitching staff was quite bad in the game. We probably shouldn’t have expected otherwise because they were very bad all series long.

David Peterson was handed a 1-0 lead before he threw a pitch. He would allow four runs in the second. Alonso hit his first homer of the game tying the game at four in the third. Alonso hit his second homer of the game in the fifth giving the Mets a 6-4 lead, and Peterson couldn’t handle that lead.

Peterson walked Yelich to start the inning, and Buck Showalter brought on Drew Smith. He had a bad inning culminating in Jesse Winker‘s game tying two RBI double. That was two leads the Mets handed their pitching staff, and the pitching staff gave the leads away.

Fortunately, John Curtiss would step up and give the Mets two much needed scoreless innings. Then, Showalter did something only Showalter could do. He used David Robertson for the bottom of the Milwaukee Brewers lineup and saved Adam Ottavino for the top of the lineup in the eighth.

Ottavino would face Garrett Mitchell to start the ninth, and Mitchell would end the game with a walk-off solo homer. To a certain extent, you have to wonder what exactly was Showalter thinking.

With a pinch hitter in Mitchell looming to start the ninth, the Brewers had three left-handed batters set to start the inning. After the pinch hitter, the switch hitting Willy Adames would hit from the left side followed by Yelich.

While you may want to say, well Ottavino was great last year, left-handed batters still hit .301/.358/.480 off of him last year. Left-handed batters hit .168/.293/.257 off of Robertson last year. It would be hard to believe this information has elluded Showalter, and yet, with full knowledge of the situation, he saved Ottavino to face the Brewers best left-handed batters.

Yes, the Mets offense did nothing aside from Alonso and Lindor. Peterson was bad, and Smith faltered. All of that said, the manager failed the team and set them up to fail. With the Mets playing the way they have in this series, they predictably failed.

Too Early To Say Mets In Trouble But –

Well, the New York Mets are being railroaded by the Milwaukee Brewers. They followed a 10-0 loss with a 9-0 loss. To some extent, this should come as no surprise as the Mets always falter in whatever the Brewers are calling that ballpark now.

Carlos Carrasco was annihilated in his first start of the season. While we cannot say that was expected, it may not have fully come as a surprise. At the moment, it is wait and see with him on whether he can handle the pitch clock.

The much bigger issue is Max Scherzer. He cruise in his Opening Day start until the Miami Marlins tagged him for three runs in the sixth. That was capped off by Garrett Cooper. Whatever, it was one bad inning, and he looked good otherwise.

That was the way his second start of the season against the Brewers seemed to be going. He struggled in the first allowing a two RBI double to Brian Anderson. It was 2-0 Brewers, but Scherzer seemed to settle in from there shutting down the Brewers offense over the next four innings.

Then, in the sixth, Scherzer imploded. On three straight pitches, we saw Rowdy Tellez, Anderson, and Garrett Mitchell. Again, on THREE STRAIGHT PITCHES.

It is difficult to understand what is going on with Scherzer. His velocity is down, but it’s not really down. For example, he averaged 94 MPH with his four seamer last year, and he is at 93.3 MPH this season. It’s the same with all of his pitches.

After the game, Scherzer doesn’t think it’s stuff, but rather, location. Buck Showalter seemed to think it was the same thing. Whatever the case, there is something not clicking with Scherzer, and the Mets desperately need him to figure it out.

Remember, the Mets plan on winning the World Series was having Scherzer and Justin Verlander atop their rotation. Well, Scherzer is allowing an unprecedented amount of homers for him, and Verlander is on the IL. The Mets can’t win if they can’t pitch like the future Hall of Famers they are.

That goes double when you consider the Mets offense. With them not scoring runs and the pitching staff acting like a windwill, this is literally the worst the Mets have ever looked in their history.

They haven’t scored a run in their past 20 innings. Keep in mind, both Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil had three hit games. Really, when you look at it, it is the same issue. There is no power in the lineup. In fact, the Mets have the lowest slugging in the majors to start the season. Only the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays have hit fewer homers.

Pete Alonso looks lost at the plate with the new rules. Francisco Lindor is fighting it like he did his first year with the Mets. Eduardo Escobar looks done. After that outburst in the last two games against the Marlins, Mark Canha‘s bat looks slow again. The problems are across the board.

You could say call up Brett Baty, but he just re-injured his thumb. Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos are hitting, but they have defensive question marks along with no real spot for them to play on this team.

Look, it is just two bad games. They could happen at any point in the season. In fact, if this happened in July during the Mets 101 win season last year, no one would’ve batted an eye. Chances are, this is a blip.

However, to some extent, this does at least look like the Mets could be in some trouble. The pitch clock seems to be impacting this team more than most. Again, this is probably a complete overreaction, and yet, in some ways, it feels like this isn’t

Cookie Crumbled

The New York Mets needed to rebuild their rotation for the 2023 season. Part of that was picking up Carlos Carrasco‘s $14 million option. The move made sense as the Mets needed arms, and Carrasco was coming off a season where he posted a 97 ERA+ and 3.53 FIP.

By all accounts, Carrasco looked to be a serviceable fifth starter. If he didn’t pan out, this Mets team has shown they are able to recognize a sunk cost. However, things do not appear that way to start the season.

On the latter point, the Mets pitching depth is already being tested. Justin Verlander and José Quintana began the season on the IL. That means their starting pitching depth of Tylor Megill and David Peterson began the season in the rotation. Down in Triple-A, Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi got hit around in their first starts of the season.

That means, at least for right now, the Mets need Carrasco to be good. He was anything but that to start the season.

Carrasco was alright the first two innings not allowing a run. From there, it would slowly unravel starting with a Jesse Winker RBI single in the third. Brian Anderson piled on with a two run homer in the fourth.

The wheels came completely off in the fifth. He started the inning by walking Christian Yelich and Winker leading Buck Showalter to come get him. Both of the inherited runners would score as Tommy Hunter struggled out of the bullpen. After all was said and done, the Brewers led 10-0 after the fifth inning with Carrasco being tagged with five earned runs.

There were many things wrong with Carrasco. He lost 2-3 MPH on his fastball as the game progressed. Before this season, he was a slow methodical pitcher. IN his first start of the season, he appeared rushed by the pitch clock. In fact, he would receive a pitch clock violation before his first pitch of the season.

The home plate umpire would talk with Carrasco on a few occasions about the pitch clock. For his part, Carrasco was clearly impacted by the pitch clock. As he would say after the game, “It is crazy. I only have 15 seconds. it is what it is right now.” (Tim Britton, The Athletic).

As noted by Britton, fatigue might’ve played a role. Carrasco would throw 27 pitches over a 10 minute period in the third. He then threw 29 pitches over 11 minutes in the fourth. Over a stretch of 42 minutes, Carrasco threw 67 pitches.

Carrasco admitted to fatigue. We saw that both in his velocity and the Brewers bats squaring him up. The question for him and the Mets going forward is whether Carrasco can adjust. In his first start, the answer was a clear and resounding no for the 36 year old hurler. Given the state of the Mets rotation, he is going to have to figure it out right now because the Mets cannot afford him being non-competitive and unable to adjust to the pitch clock right now.

 

 

Ghost Fork Was Spooky

Entering the 2023 season, the biggest question mark in the rotation was Kodai Senga. We knew he was good based upon what he did in Japan, but how good he was going to be is ultimately what will determine how good of a rotation and by extension a team the New York Mets will be.

It may not seem this way, but the Mets have had more Japanese players in their history than any other team. Of course, as we saw with Kazuo Matsui, the Mets haven’t always had the best luck with Japanese imports. Of course, part of that was the Mets creating unrealistic expectations and flat out ignoring advice on how to help those players adapt to Major League Baseball.

Jeff Wilpon is gone, and the Mets are run completely differently under Steve Cohen. Perhaps, that is part of the reason why we did not hear any of the old anxiety related to the Mets previous failures with Japanese players. Seeing Senga on the mound for his first game, we may never hear it again.

Things did not start well for him. He allowed a hit to Luis Arraez, threw a wild pitch, and allowed an RBI double to Jorge Soler. That’s as disastrous a start to your career as you can get. One run was in without an out. Fortunately, the Mets did score two for him in the top of the first, so the lead had not evaporated.

That seemed like a technicality as he then walked Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Avisail Garcia to load the bases. That brought up Yuli Gurriel. Bases loaded and no outs. It was then we first saw Senga release that ghost split as a true weapon.

Senga then came back and struck out Jesus Sanchez. Again, it was that ghost fork. That Miami Marlins rally was fading as quickly as that ghost fork. Senga would need some help from his defense as Starling Marte made a great catch in right to end the inning.

The Marlins missed their only chance as they would only collect one more hit and walk against Senga in his 5 1/3 innings of work. If he had not needed to throw 36 pitches in the first innings, he might’ve gone deeper. The fact he was able to go deeper into the game is a testament to how he just flat out embarrassed the Marlins hitters who literally had no chance against that ghost fork.

Overall, Senga struck out eight, and the Mets went on to win 5-1. More than that, Senga showed us how great he could be. While it is far too early to talk about these things, perhaps he could be the ace of this staff. Yes, he and that ghost fork were that good on Sunday. We will see just how good it is the rest of the year.

Mets Homegrown Talent Had A Great Day

Down in Miami, Tylor Megill got the start. Like last season, he was thrust into the rotation due to an injury to a future Hall of Famer. This time, it was Justin Verlander on the IL.

While Megill had control issues during spring, he was fairly locked in against the Miami Marlins. Over five innings, the only mistake was he left a pitch out over the plate for Nick Fortes, who hit a two run homer.

He’d pick up the win after allowing just those two earned. He’d also strike out seven.

Part of the reason he got the win was Pete Alonso having a big day at the plate. He’d hit the go-ahead RBI double in the fifth, and he’d score on a Mark Canha RBI single (Canha had a great day at the plate including a homer).

The go-ahead run was scored by Jeff McNeil. In McNeil fashion, he played right and second in the game.

Brandon Nimmo reached base three times and stole a base. Alonso reached base four times and would’ve had a three hit game if not for a completely botched call and replay.

Speaking of botching things, Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos all had big days at the plate. In fact, Álvarez and Vientos would homer off consecutive pitches.

Of the group, Baty had the best day of all. He was 4-for-5 with four runs, two homers, a walk, and five RBI. One of the two homers was an opposite field grand slam.

The one thing the Mets have done better than almost anyone is draft. We see it with the players contributing at the Major League level, and we see it with the players on their way.

Across the board, the homegrown Mets had a very good day. Perhaps, one day soon, we will see all of these players on the same roster leading the New York Mets to a World Series.

Mets Bullpen Starts Off Season Just Fine

Brandon Nimmo was the player of the game for the New York Mets. He knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Later in the game, he hit a two RBI double which put the Mets up for good.

Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil both had a two hit game. Things were going so well for the Mets we even saw Daniel Vogelbach acting like a speed demon around the bases.

Max Scherzer was great for five, but he stumbled in the sixth giving up the three run lead. Still, he got the win because of the aforementioned Nimmo RBI double in the seventh.

There was also some terrific defense from Francisco Lindor. The hitting and defense was expected. The bullpen stepping up for Scherzer and the Mets was a pleasant surprise.

After Edwin Díaz went down for the season, how the Mets were going to finish games was very much in question. At least for the season opener, it was seamless.

Drew Smith was first up. After allowing a lead-off double to Jorge Soler. Smith didn’t allow another hit and would strike out two.

Brooks Raley made his Mets debut in the eighth. He’d pitch a 1-2-3 inning.

That led to David Robertson for the ninth. Robertson was signed to be the eighth inning set-up reliever, but with Díaz out for the year, he’s now the closer.

The good news is Robertson has been a very good closer in his career. More than that, he’s thrived in New York. In many ways, that makes him the perfect stopgap.

Well, he was perfect in his first save opportunity with the Mets. After striking out the first two, he got Soler to fly out to end the game.

The Mets won on Opening Day. That’s what they do. Sooner or later, we will find out if shutting down the opponent is what this bullpen does. At least for this game, the bullpen looked great, and if that’s the case, the Mets will be great.

GAME NOTES: Justin Verlander was put on the IL before the game. Bryce Montes de Oca underwent Tommy John surgery. Jacob deGrom made his first start with the Texas Rangers. He allowed more extra base hits against the Philadelphia Phillies than he had ever allowed in a game.

Scherzer Reaffirms Mets Best In NL East

The Atlanta Braves were surging and unbeatable. The New York Mets were falling apart. This is 2021 all over again.

Nah.

The Mets have Max Scherzer and just phenomenal starting pitching across the board. When you have pitching like this, you’re the team to beat in the division, and Scherzer reminded everyone of that.

Through the first six, Robinson Cano was the only one able to get a hit off of him. Of course, it was Cano, who the Braves obtained right before this series.

The Braves didn’t score a run until Austin Riley’s seventh inning homer. The Braves threatened from there with Marcell Ozuna following with a double.

This is cause for worry for mere mortals, but this is Scherzer. The future Hall of Famer, and one of the fiercest competitors in all of pro sports, struck out Eddie Rosario to end the jam.

In the end, the Braves had a run. Even with the recently sputtering Mets offense, that was a low hurdle to jump. They jumped it easily.

Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso doubled in the third to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. From there, the Mets loaded the bases with one out.

Luis Guillorme hit what could’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, Guillorme buster it out of the box resulting in an RBI fielder’s choice giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

It’s a good thing Guillorme delivered there because J.D. Davis was batting behind him. Davis had his usual terrible night at the plate marked by strikeouts, infield pop outs, and ground ball outs.

The Mets had Braves starter Max Fried on the ropes all night, but they couldn’t deliver the knockout punch. Ultimately, as a team, the Mets were 2-for-10 with RISP stranding 10.

It didn’t matter. Scherzer was just that good. So was the red hot Guillorme. In the eighth, he homered off Darren O’Day to increase the Mets lead to 3-1.

This marks his career high. Notably, half of Guillorme’s four homers have come against O’Day.

Guillorme was simply great. He was 2-for-3 with a run, double, homer, walk, and two RBI.

The Mets needed it too with Starling Marte hurt, and Jeff McNeil on the paternity list. The Mets already weak offense looked terrible. It wasn’t.

We saw the Mets add insurance runs. That made the job of the Mets bullpen that much easier.

It was a dance for Adam Ottavino, but he escaped the jam keeping the Mets ahead. After that, the Mets added an insurance run in the ninth.

With regards to that run, Nimmo and Francisco Lindor pulled off the rate hit-and-run. It was a good night at the plate for Lindor, who was 3-for-5. After an Alonso fielder’s choice, it was 4-1.

Faced with an interesting and potentially daunting option, Buck Showalter chose Edwin Diaz on a third straight night for the save. Diaz looked fully rested mowing down all three Braves he faces for his 19th save of the season.

Thinking long term, once Jacob deGrom comes back, the Mets pitching is unstoppable. It’s about seven innings from the top of this rotation with Diaz striking out the side in the ninth.

Really, that’s giving teams an inning or maybe two to score runs. The Mets offense can splutter all it wants, more often than not, they’re winning these games.

That’s what the Braves discovered. It’s what all of baseball was reminded of again.

Dodgers And CB Bucknor Make Mockery Of Baseball

The story of this New York Mets win should’ve been the homers. They got them from Francisco Lindor, Eduardo Escobar, and Pete Alonso . . . TWICE!

It could’ve been about Walker Buehler getting knocked out in the third. It could be the Mets bullpen stepping up after David Peterson was knocked out in the fourth and after throwing one pitch to Mookie Betts.

Buck Showalter made the bold call to not just lift Peterson after one pitch and in using Colin Holderman. Holderman came up big striking out Betts, and the bullpen as a group came up huge. Of course, there was some help from Luis Guillorme’s glove.

But no, it’s not about any of those things or the other good things that happened for the Mets in this 9-4 victory. Instead, it was about Rob Manfred and his rule changes.

The Mets had that five run lead entering the ninth leading Dave Roberts to waive the white flag by having a position player, Zach McKinstry, pitch. This is what the Dodgers do to keep arms fresh, and, well, the Mets bullpen isn’t the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen

Only problem: you can’t do that.

Per Rob Manfred’s rules, you can’t have a position player pitch unless there is a sux run lead. Yes, it’s a dumb and unnecessary rule, but it exists.

Roberts clearly didn’t know the rule because he sent McKinstry to the mound. Honest mistake, unsure if the rule change was actually implemented (some pitching rules have had their implementation delayed), or trying to pull something. Doesn’t matter. It’s not allowed.

It’s one thing with Roberts. It’s a whole other thing with CB Bucknor and the umpiring crew. They actually had to go to replay to resolve it.

The umpires had to go to replay because they didn’t know a rule. They didn’t tell Roberts no because they didn’t know the rule. Worse yet, they let the Dodgers get away with it.

Instead of ordering a pitcher to the mound, they waited. Worse yet, when they ordered a pitcher to the mound, they allowed the Dodgers to stall. Then, they let Evan Phillips warm up on the mound like it was an injury situation.

The only injury was to the umpires who were brain dead. They botched the entire situation and permitted the Dodgers to get away with it with no repercussions.

Overall, this was a sick joke all the way around. Umpires and managers weren’t quite sure about a needless gimmick rule, and there was no penalty for it. Just another embarrassing day for Rob Manfred’s MLB.

Mets Loss To Dodgers Glass Half Full

The already depleted New York Mets roster faced an even tougher challenge as Francisco Lindor slammed the door shut on his finger knocking him out of the opener of the series between the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. To a certain extent, their being shut out for the first time all season wasn’t a shock.

Tony Gonsolin has been great all year, and he was again in this game pitching six shutout innings. Of course, his job was made easier with Lindor out of the lineup and with Brandon Nimmo dealing with a wrist injury. Digging deeper, Eduardo Escobar is ice cold, and the Mets were stuck putting J.D. Davis at DH, who is ill suited to play a team like the Dodgers.

So yes, the Mets were shut out. Luis Guillorme and Jeff McNeil collected two of the Mets three hits with Davis lucking into a mistake from Gonsolin around two strikeouts. Pete Alonso had a golden sombrero which was part of Mets batters striking out nine times.

Looking at that, you would think this was a lost game. That could not be further from the truth. In fact, the Mets showed something as they were in this game throughout despite being dominated by Dodgers pitching.

Taijuan Walker was fantastic limiting the Dodgers to two runs on seven hits and one walk over 5.2 innings. Remember, Walker is a pitcher who would move to the Mets bullpen in a potential postseason match-up between these teams. As of right now, the Mets fifth starter shut down the Dodgers vaunted offense.

Walker was helped by good Mets defense. That included a heads up play by McNeil to run Mookie Betts towards first as he got Freddie Freeman out at first. Alonso threw to Guillorme to get Betts heading to second, and Guillorme had his head on a swivel throwing home to try to catch Gavin Lux.

Guillorme did not make the best throw home, but Patrick Mazeika stopped it. It took longer than needed, but he made a strong throw to Escobar who made a terrific tag. That helped keep that rally to just one run.

The Dodgers scored another in the sixth off a two out double from old friend and now nemesis Justin Turner. Buck Showalter went to Colin Holderman who showed some moxy getting out of the jam. He would then throw another scoreless inning to boot.

For the final inning, the struggling Chasen Shreve threw a scoreless inning. With that, the Mets fifth starter and the Mets “lesser” relievers limited the highest scoring team in the majors to just two runs. Again, without using any of their best pitchers, the Mets limited the high powered Dodgers offense, with all of their best hitters in the lineup, to just two runs.

If you are someone who wants to view this series as a litmus test, the Mets came out of this game looking great. They have the arms to shut down the Dodgers. They’re going to get healthy, and they will hit anyone. Yes, it sucks getting shut out, but in the end, there was far more good than bad in this loss.

Mets Offense Explodes With Giant Win

Another game and another New York Mets starter with a big start. This time it was David Peterson‘s turn.

It didn’t start that way for Peterson. In the second, Brandon Crawford hit a two run homer giving the San Francisco Giants an early 2-0 lead.

The Mets would get him a lead in the top of the third. At the time, you wondered if it was going to be enough.

The Mets would nickel and dime Alex Cobb to death. For example, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte had consecutive infield singles in the third to help load the bases.

Francisco Lindor followed with a bloop down the left field line. Darin Ruf lumbered over, but he couldn’t make the play as he and the ball landed in the stands for a two RBI automatic double.

The two RBIs tied the score at 2-2. It was also Lindor’s 500th RBI. He would then score his 609th career run as Pete Alonso absolutely launched one to give the Mets a 5-2 lead.

Peterson seemed poised to give that lead right back in the bottom of the third. He walked Ruf to start the inning and then plunked Wilmer Flores.

Peterson bore down, and he got Mike Yastrzemski to hit into the 1-6-3 double play. That play changed the game as Peterson got out of the inning, and the Mets would eventually blow out the Giants.

For Peterson, it was a well earned win. He limited the Giants to the two runs over six while striking out six.

Colin Holderman relieved Peterson in the seventh, and he continued to prove he belongs. He pitched a scoreless inning battling through a bleeding thumb on his pitching hand.

While Mets relievers literally bled, the Giants did figuratively as the Mets offense pounded them in the eighth to break the game open.

It started because Jeff McNeil just couldn’t get a bunt down all game. As noted by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, it was partially because his approach has him running towards first at the point of contact.

When McNeil couldn’t get the bunt down to beat the shift, he instead swung away and hit a two run homer off Giants reliever Mauricio Llovera.

And then, Mark Canha went back-to-back increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.

Patrick Mazeika capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI double. That gave the Mets a 10-2 lead. For Mazeika, it was his third straight game with a double as he attempts to get the starting catching job.

After another scoreless inning from Holderman, the Giants sent outfielder Luis Gonzalez to the mound. After the dog and pony show was over the 10-2 lead grew to 13-2.

The Mets ability to clobber the Giants pitching led to Gonzalez pitching. Things were so bad for the Giants J.D. Davis, who entered the game hitting .188 with a -0.4 WAR, had a four hit night. It was just one of those nights for the Mets.

Chasen Shreve, who has struggled mightily of late, took the mound in the ninth. Again, he let up a run, but in a 13-3 game, it’s a footnote.

The Mets are now eight up in the division. That includes being nine up on the Atlanta Braves. Yes, the Mets are this good.

Game Notes: This was Max Scherzer‘s spot in the rotation. This was Buck Showalter‘s 66th Birthday.