On any given day, any of the following would have been the worst thing to happen to the Mets. First, there was the announcement Noah Syndergaard needed to have his start skipped with bicep issues that radiate up to his pitching shoulder. Then Matt Harvey goes out in his place, doesn’t have his typical velocity, and he can’t get out of the fifth inning. Just when you thought things couldn’t go any worse, Yoenis Cespedes had to be helped off the field in the fourth inning after hitting a lead-off double.
Anything else that happened today didn’t matter because the Mets just might’ve seen their season flash before their eyes.
It doesn’t matter that a poor decision not to throw home in the second inning seemed to finally wake up Jose Reyes who would subsequently nail two runners at home and hit a home run. It doesn’t matter Neil Walker seemed to wake up offensively. It doesn’t even matter that Jay Bruce continues to hit well.
What matters is the Mets are faced with the very real prospect of losing Syndergaard and Cespedes for a long time. It also matters that Harvey took a big step back from the pitcher who was gradually getting stronger to start the year. Hopefully, there’s nothing wrong with him. The way things are going with the Mets right now, you shouldn’t have much hope.
Overall, the offense isn’t hitting, and the pitching is getting further compromised.
With all the talk about how the Mets fleeced the Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey must’ve smiled with this win. Not only was he able to pitch on a game Syndergaard wasn’t, but Travis d’Arnaud was also 0-2 with a strikeout against him. By the way, Wuilmer Becerra is coming off offseason shoulder surgery and has yet to play the field this year.
Yes, you do that trade 279,684,800,441,574,796 times out of 100, but at least in this game Dickey felt vindicated. He must have felt further vindicated with the Braves leaping the Mets in the standings leaving the Mets in last place. Unless things start to change, it’s hard to argue the Mets won’t stay there for a while.
Game Notes: Eric O’Flaherty pitched a scoreless inning and has not allowed a hit to the Mets since his first disastrous outing. The Mets have not had a lead in over 56 innings. They have no lost 10 of their last 11.
Someone forgot to tell Gsellman.
In a long first inning, Gsellman did not get a batter out until he faced Dansby Swanson, the eighth batter in the lineup. At that point, the Braves were already up 5-0.
In that brutal first inning, Gsellman allowed walks to Ender Inciarte (lead-off) and Freddie Freeman. Right-handed batters Brandon Phillips, Matt Kemp, and Tyler Flowers (double) took advantage of Gsellman living on the outside corner by going opposite field for their hits.
The defense wasn’t much help either. Gsellman pulled Jay Bruce way off the bag on an Adonis Garcia dribbler. Yoenis Cespedes had a chance to nail Freeman at the plate on a bad send by Ron Washington, but Cespedes’ throw was well up the third base line.
Before any of this, Inciarte and Phillips nearly pulled off a double steal. Travis d’Arnaud‘s throw was late, but he got credited with a caught stealing as Phillips overslid the bag. Had that not happened, the first inning could’ve been much worse.
Not that it mattered much anyway. When Julio Teheran and his 2.21 ERA against the Mets gets to bat before he pitches, the game is over. This one was.
Worse yet, it was a sloppy game from the Mets. The team had three errors before they got their first hit.
The Mets had their chance in the fourth loading the bases with no out. All they got was one run off a Neil Walker sacrifice fly. The rally ended after that with Curtis Granderson and d’Arnaud popping out.
What is even more maddening during that rally was Terry Collins having Fernando Salas warm up in the pen in case Gsellman’s spot in the lineup came up. Why Collins would warm up his seventh inning guy as opposed to Hansel Robles, who has the ability to eat some innings.
With d’Arnaud making the last out, Gsellman went back out for the fifth. Three hits, one run, and no outs later, Collins was forced to go to Josh Edgin, who did a terrific job getting out of the jam.
Don’t worry, after Edgin pitched 1.2 good innings, Collins brought in Salas to help Edgin get out of the two on two out jam. Nothing like taking a relieved on pace for 90+ appearances and having him warm up twice in a game. Even better, Salas stayed on to pitch the seventh.
Speaking of overworked pitchers, Jerry Blevins pitched as well. He had to bail out Salas who ran into trouble himself allowing three hits and two runs to make it 8-1. This led to the overworked Robles coming in.
The Mets moved some deck chairs, scoring a run in the seventh, but at 8-2 who cares?
We can get on the Mets offense all we want, and they deserve it. However, Gsellman cannot give up five runs in the first inning. Even if he did, he needs to give the Mets some length. Just a bad loss all around.
Game Notes: At 8-12, the Mets are four games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. The Mets have the fewest at-bats with RISP in baseball. Bruce was 2-2 with two walks.
When Daniel Murphy hit a grand slam in the first inning with no outs against Zack Wheeler, it seemed like the game was over. The Mets have shown nothing of late to suggest they could score four runs, let alone the five it would take to take the lead. With Max Scherzer pitching for the Nationals, the loss appeared to be a near certainty.
At least the Mets made this one interesting.
Michael Conforto, who is cementing his spot as this team’s lead-off hitter, hit Scherzer’s second pitch of the game for an opposite field home run:
4-1 Washington | End-1 pic.twitter.com/kv0Uz8GjlF
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 24, 2017
He also made a nice play in the field:
4-3 Washington | Mid-6 pic.twitter.com/M0QQ7MIYSr
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 24, 2017
The Mets would narrow the gap to 4-3 on a Neil Walker third inning two run home run.
The game remains close because Wheeler was great after the first inning. After the first inning, Wheeler allowed just one hit and issued just two walks. He had a manageable pitch count, and he was able to pitch seven innings throwing just 101 pitches.
Wheeler’s final line was seven innings, four hits, four runs, four earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.
It’s hard to say a guy who gave up a first inning grand slam deserved a better fate, but Wheeler probably did. At a minimum, you could argue that one day the hitters need to bail out a starter. With this offense, that’s wishful thinking.
The first showdown with the Nationals led to a sweep. Regardless of the Mets health, that’s a bad sign for the 2017 season.
Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera is injured, and he stumbles after each play he makes. He looks more injured than he did last year. Travis d’Arnaud couldn’t catch again, but he pinch hit yet again. Kevin Plawecki got his first start of the year.
If we’re being honest, this isn’t the greatest Mets lineup even when the team is healthy. It’s full of guys who certainly can all hit the ball out of the ballpark, but it’s also full of players with poor on base percentages. When you lose Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes to injury the problems become even more exacerbated.
Now, the Mets have the pitching to win games no matter who is in the lineup. We saw that in 2015 as the pitching and Curtis Granderson kept the team afloat playing near .500 ball until reinforcements arrived.
In those games the Mets did win, they needed their pitcher’s to be great. At the state the Mets offense is now, the 2017 Mets are back to that point. Yesterday, Jacob deGrom was good.
He was mowing the Nationals down for the first three innings until his wildness caught up to him in the fourth. A Daniel Murphy single was bracketed by walks to Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon loading the bases.
The Mets got a bit lucky as the Nationals third base coach sent Murphy on the ensuing RBI single by Matt Wieters.
In the fifth, the Nationals got to deGrom again. Adam Eaton and Trea Turner hit back-to-back one out doubles to make it 2-0. After Harper was just told to go to first base (essentially what the new intentional walk rule is), Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI single to make it 3-0.
The Nationals wouldn’t score again in the sixth thanks in large part to Granderson:
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 22, 2017
After getting the first two out, deGrom got in trouble again issuing yet another walk, this time to Eaton, and then allowing a single to Turner. At this point, Terry Collins turned to Josh Edgin to get the Mets out of the jam. Somewhat surprisingly, he did by striking out Harper.
Overall, it was a tough day for deGrom who issued a career high six walks. He was obviously ramped up early getting it up to 98 MPH and recording a lot of strikeouts. The early adrenaline wore off, and deGrom was left throwing 94 MPH and missing his spots. This was an uncharacteristic start for deGrom. His final line was 5.2 innings, eight hits, three runs, three earned, six walks, and 10 strikeouts.
Given the current state of the Mets offense, 3-0 might as well have been 30-0. This game was no different.
For the second time this season, the Mets offense was no-hit through five innings. This time, it was done by Gio Gonzalez. Though the Mets offense looked overmatched and lifeless, they would break through in the sixth.
Michael Conforto didn’t help the narrative he can’t hit left-handed pitching by striking out and going hitless on the day. Where Conforto didn’t come through, a hobbled Asdrubal Cabrera did hitting an RBI single to make it 3-1. That was as close as the Mets would get.
Jay Bruce and Neil Walker had back-to-back strikeouts ending the Mets only rally of the game. The offense then made a struggling Nationals bullpen look like the 1990 Nasty Boys.
Blake Treinen, Enny Romero, and Koda Glover did their best Norm Charlton–Rob Dibble–Randy Myers impersonation to slam the door shut on the 3-1 victory.
With that, the Mets are 8-10 and are in fourth place 4.5 back. They’re having trouble beating the Phillies and can’t even hit a poor Nationals bullpen. It’s still April, so it’s still early, but things do not look good right now.
Game Notes: Cabrera tried to leg out an infield single in the fourth. He was noticeably hobbled, and he came out to take his position right before the first pitch of the fifth inning. For the second day in a row, an injured Yoenis Cespedes informed the team he was too injured to pinch hit. Once again, Travis d’Arnaud was limited to pinch hitting duty. T.J. Rivera got the start at third base over a healthy Reyes. He was 0-3.
As if the Mets weren’t injured enough, the team had a new rash of injuries heading into tonight’s game.
Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda went on the disabled list. Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes didn’t, but they couldn’t start. At least d’Arnaud was available to pinch hit. To make matters worse, Asdrubal Cabrera is now dealing with a hamstring injury keeping him out of the lineup, and Jacob deGrom woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
With deGrom waking up with a stiff neck, he missed tonight’s start, and he probably needs someone to start for him tomorrow.
With so many people out of the lineup, the Mets needed someone to step up. The Mets had people stepping up all over the place tonight.
First was Matt Harvey who was the surprise starter. Harvey gave his team a chance to win pitching seven innings. His final line was seven innings, four hits, three runs, three earned, two walks, and two strikeouts.
Harvey pitched well, but he was tripped up by the long ball. In the first inning, he grooved one to Bryce Harper who launched it for a two run homer. It was a strange site to see when you consider Harper couldn’t get a hit off pre-TOS Harvey. The third run off Harvey came off a Jose Lobaton solo shot in the fifth.
Despite the two homers and the makeshift lineup, Harvey had a no decision.
.@mconforto8 stays 🔥!
2-1 Washington | End-1 pic.twitter.com/RK74WLFI9C
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 21, 2017
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 22, 2017
It was a terrific night for Granderson. Coming into the night, he was hitting .143/.197/.214. Just like he’s done in his entire Mets career, Granderson stepped up when the Mets needed him most going 2-4 with a run, two RBI, one walk, and the home run.
The Mets nearly took the lead in the seventh. Zack Wheeler hit for Harvey and hit a pinch hit double. The Mets would load the bases, and the Nationals would go to Oliver Perez, who got Bruce to line out to end the inning.
Cabrera then pinch hit for Addison Reed and drew a walk. Given his hamstring issues, Collins sent out Kevin Plawecki to pinch run for him. No, it didn’t make sense to do this and force the pitcher’s spot to come up earlier in the lineup, but nothing in this inning made much sense.
In the long run, Blanton worked his way out of the inning. Another side effect of the inning, Collins’ mechanations led to the pitcher’s spot coming up three spots earlier in the lineup. He did that in a game where the Mets had a short bench. Just an inexcusable move.
The Mets certainly could’ve benefitted from better managing as the pitcher’s spot did come up in the bottom of the 11th with the Mets down 4-3.
The Mets were down 4-3 because Jeurys Familia is still rusty. Keep in mind, he only made two relief appearances in the minors before his suspension was over.
After Josh Smoker allowed a lead-off double to Harper, Murphy was intentionally walked, and Familia entered the game. He threw a wild pitch allowing Harper to go to third. It didn’t matter much as he issued back-to-back walks to Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner to force in a run. Familia settled down after that, but it was too late. The Nationals took the lead.
Shawn Kelley came on in the 11th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save. With that, the Mets fought valiantly, but still lost. They’re now under .500, and who knows who will be healthy enough to play tomorrow.
Game Notes: Daniel Murphy‘s 19 game hitting streak came to an end. He was 0-4, and he was intentionally walked in the 11th. Apparently, Reed wore the wrong hat during his appearance.
There was every chance that the Mets defense was going to suffer tonight. Jose Reyes isn’t a third baseman. Michael Conforto is miscast as a CF. With Lucas Duda (elbow) and Wilmer Flores (infection) out, Jay Bruce was really miscast as a first baseman.
After the Phillies had already plated a run off a Tommy Joseph RBI double, he would move to second on a Noah Syndergaard wild pitch. It was in the dirt, but Rene Rivera did a terrible job on the ball. He tried to backhand a ball between his legs and didn’t get down. Terrible.
Freddy Galvis “singled” to Bruce and advanced to second on a “Bruce throwing error.” Look at what really happened:
— MetsKevin11 (@MetsKevin11) April 20, 2017
Walker ran to the bag and stopped despite the ball apparently being theory to him.
The throw not only allowed a run to score (it was anyway), but it put Galvis in scoring position. He’d then score on an Andrew Knapp ground rule double.
Just like that, it was 3-0 Phillies after two.
The Mets would get one of those runs back led by a Reyes single and stolen base. He’d score on a two out Rivera RBI single.
Syndergaard plunked Daniel Nava to lead off the inning, but he did get the double play ball he needed. However, Cabrera booted the Odubel Herrera grounder. Nava scored on a Maikel Franco RBI double to left.
On the double, Cespedes made a great throw to Walker, who literally fell over himself trying to make the tag. Right there, the Mets had already given away three outs in the inning.
Fortunately, Syndergaard limited the damage allowing just one more run on an Aaron Altherr RBI groundout.
Syndergaard was not at his best, but he deserved a much better fate. Technically, only three of the runs allowed were earned. However, watching the game and the shoddy defense, only the first run was really on him. Syndergaard’s final line was seven innings, seven hits, five runs, three earned, no walks, and 10 strikeouts.
While his team wouldn’t help him, Syndergaard helped his team by pitching that extra inning going to 114 pitches.
Still, the team couldn’t rally to get him off the hook or get a win. It appeared there was a chance after the Walker three run homer to center in the third inning. It was his first extra base hit off a right-handed pitcher all year.
However, at 5-4 that’s as close as the Mets would get. To add insult to injury, Cespedes left the game after the fifth. In that inning, he pulled up lame on what was a Bruce 3-6-1 double play.
Fernando Salas couldn’t keep the Phillies at bay in the eighth. He first allowed a lead off homer to Franco. He then allowed back-to-back singles to Altherr and Joseph leading Terry Collins to pull him for Josh Edgin.
Edgin would be the lone bright spot on the day getting three straight outs punctuated by striking out Andres Blanco.
Even with that, there was no momentum in what was a disappointing 6-4 loss. The Mets are banged up and .500 with the Nationals coming into town. This is exactly where you don’t want to be.
Game Recap: Juan Lagares was the back-up infielder on the night due to all the injuries. It didn’t happen, but he got into the game with the Cespedes injury. Jeurys Familia made his first appearance since coming back from suspension. His rust showed with him needing 30 pitches to get out of the ninth.
For a multitude of reasons, the Mets needed this one. They needed to snap the four game losing streak. They need to capitalize on all game against the Phillies if they have any designs on winning the NL East. Overall, they needed to get back on track.
That starts with Robert Gsellman who was very good tonight. He looked more like the pitcher he was at the end of last year. Coincidentally, that pitcher had a 2.37 ERA against the Phillies last year.
For a moment, it appeared the Mets would give Gsellman a first inning lead. Jay Bruce hit a two out double off Vince Velasquez. Despite Glenn Sherlock giving him the stop sign, Yoenis Cespedes tried to score and was nailed at the plate.
With Cespedes not scoring there, the game remained scoreless through the first three until the Phillies would finally get to Gsellman. It started with Gsellman hitting Aaron Altherr, who went from first to third on an Odubel Herrera single. Altherr then scored on a Maikel Franco groundout. Gsellman bore down and got out of the inning without any further damage.
The Phillies touched up Gsellman again in the fifth with Velasquez hitting an RBI single scoring Cameron Rupp who hit a leadoff single.
Duda was hurt when Gsellman threw a ball into the runner. The ball and Cesar Hernandez arrived at the same time. Gsellman was charged with the error, and Duda suffered a hyperextended elbow.
Later that inning, d’Arnaud was injured while trying to throw out Hernandez. On the pitch, Altherr struck out and moved towards home plate. Altherr’s bat hovered over home and d’Arnaud’s hand collided with the bat. d’Arnaud tried to argue with Home Plate Umpire Chad Whitson it was interference, but d’Arnaud’s pleas fell on deaf ears. d’Arnaud would stay on through the sixth, but he would have to leave the game as well.
Just like that the Mets were down both two runs and two players.
In the sixth, the Mets would stage a two out rally after Curtis Granderson‘s GIDP seemingly killed a potential rally.
Asdrubal Cabrera would get the two out rally started with a two out single. Cespedes followed with a walk. Bruce then:
PHI@NYM: Bruce hammers three-run homer to right https://t.co/cUXsNHns95
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) April 20, 2017
It was a huge home run, and it put Gsellman on the long side. Unfortunately, Gsellman would not get that win.
Gsellman started the eighth inning due to game conditions. With Rene Rivera leading off the inning with a single, the Mets having a short bench, and with the right-handed Altherr due to lead-off in the top of the eighth, Terry Collins stuck with Gsellman. Considering how well Gsellman was pitching and how tired the Mets bullpen has been, it was probably the right move.
Despite it being the right move, Altherr hit a bloop double to lead-off the inning. Collins wasted no time, and he went to Jerry Blevins who couldn’t quite get out of the jam.
Herrera grounded out pushing Altherr to third. Then Blevins got a huge strikeout of Franco. Michael Saunders then lined a single that dropped right in front of a sliding Cespedes tying the score at three.
It was a shame Gsellman wouldn’t get the win. He was the first Mets starter to pitch into the eighth. He only allowed six hits, three runs, three earned, and one walk with seven strikeouts.
Gsellman wouldn’t get the win, but Hansel Robles, who came on for Blevins, would.
Cespedes would lead-off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Luis Garcia. Bruce then followed with his second home run of the game:
In what may be his last save attempt as the Mets designated closer with Jeurys Familia eligible to return from suspension tomorrow, Addison Reed recorded his fourth save. He allowed a run due in part to Franco’s one out triple, but Reed would shut the door on the 4-3 win.
Game Notes: Jose Reyes was 0-2 and is now hitting .096. Granderson is 0-11 in his last 11 ABs. Neil Walker still doesn’t have an extra base hit from the left-hand side. Six of Bruce’s 14 homers with the Mets have come against the Phillies.
The only run scored off Wheeler was a first inning Odubel Herrera solo home run. From there, Wheeler was far from perfect and battled himself and the Phillies. The second inning was his only 1-2-3 inning.
In the third, Cesar Hernandez singled to lead-off the inning, and he stole second on a horrendous throw by Travis d’Arnaud. The throw was to Neil Walker who wasn’t even the middle infielder covering on the play. Wheeler then issued a walk to Herrera to put runners on first and second with one out.
Wheeler would depart after five innings and 99 pitches. His final line was five innings, four hits, one run, one earned, two walks, and seven strikeouts.
He’d leave on the long side due to a Mets first inning rally.
Michael Conforto, leadoff man extraordinaire, would earn a leadoff walk off Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Yoenis Cespedes then earned a one out walk of his own. Conforto would then score on a Jay Bruce RBI single.
Cespedes went to third on the play, and he would score on a wild pitch during the Walker at-bat. It’s a good thing Cespedes scored there because the Mets offense would do nothing from there on out.
For the rest of the game, the Mets only amassed three more hits and no one would reach third. This is troubling considering Eflin’s career ERA is 5.54 and the Phillies have a mediocre bullpen.
In the sixth, Hansel Robles struggled issuing a one out walk to Tommy Joseph and hitting Cameron Rupp. At this point, I’m sure Rupp has had enough of Robles. Terry Collins did as well lifting him for Josh Smoker with two outs in the inning.
DFA Reyes PHI@NYM: Galvis reaches on Reyes' dropped ball https://t.co/VdSB1ghzWp
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) April 19, 2017
A hustling Rupp went to third and the slow jogging Galvis would only go to first. It would cost both teams.
Jerry Blevins came on for Salas, and his steak of stranding 11 batters would end. Andres Blanco ripped a double into left field. It would have scored two, but upon replay, it was determined to have hopped the wall for a ground rule double. With that, it was a 2-2 instead of a 3-2 game.
The Reyes error cost the Mets a run, and Galvis’ lack of hustle cost the Phillies. Had Galvis ran, he might’ve been in second. If he was on second, he scores on a ground rule double.
Blevins got out of the jam, and Addison Reed mowed down the Phillies in the ninth.
In the ninth, Reyes drew a two out walk and took off initially on a pitch in the dirt. He stopped half way and was only safe because Hernandez pegged him in the back with a throw. It wound up not mattering as d’Arnaud grounded out to end the inning.
With Reyes’ horrible game and Collins double switched Rafael Montero into the game with Wilmer Flores taking over at third and batting fifth (pitchers spot when Juan Lagares was double switched into the game in the seventh).
For some reason, Collins has been loathed to use Sean Gilmartin no matter how much the bullpen could use some length or how much Montero struggles. It costs the Mets.
Saunders led off the 10th with a single off Montero. Even with him having to freeze on a rope hit in his direction, he went to third on the Joseph single. Then, for some reason, Collins didn’t bring the infield in.
It didn’t really matter. Rupp hit a deep sacrifice fly which would be the only out Montero would record. Galvis would follow with a single putting runners on first and second.
Aaron Altherr then hit a pinch hit RBI single to center. On the play, Lagares made a good throw home, but d’Arnaud couldn’t corral it.
On a night where many Mets struggled, perhaps no one struggled more than d’Arnaud. He was 0-4 with the two miscues. What am I saying? Reyes and Montero were worse.
In any event, Collins was finally forced to go to Gilmartin. Gilmartin pitched reasonably well, but the two inherited runners scored when Asdrubal Cabrera didn’t have enough range to get a ball hit up the middle. While Cabrera is as sure handed as it gets, he really lacks range.
With that, the Mets had a frustrating and downright embarrassing 6-2 loss dropping them to .500. It’s their fourth consecutive loss.
Game Notes: Walker still doesn’t have an extra base hit as a left-handed batter this year. Conforto was 0-4 with the one walk, one run, and two strikeouts. Collins had his excuse not to play him tomorrow.
It was a Matt Harvey start, so you knew the Mets offense was not going to produce any runs. In Sunday’s game, the Mets took it to the next level getting no-hit by Dan Straily and a bunch of exhausted Marlins releivers for 7.2 innings before Neil Walker finally broke up the no-hitter.
With that the Mets once again spoiled a terrific Harvey start. Over six innings, Harvey allowed seven hits, two runs, one earned, and two walks with five strikeouts. Better than that, Harvey’s fastball velocity improved yet again. He was averaging 95 MPH on his fastball, and he was hitting 97 on the gun. He used his slider more, and it is becoming a weapon for him yet again.
The Marlins would get to Harvey immediately with Dee Gordon bunting his way one and then going to third when Harvey threw away a pickoff throw. Gordon then scored on a Christian Yelich groundout. In the sixth, the Marlins would strike again on a Marcell Ozuna RBI double scoring Yelich. Justin Bour tried to score on the double as well, but Yoenis Cespedes relayed to Jose Reyes to nail him at the plate. Between Cespedes’ arm and Travis d’Arnaud‘s ability to get down a tag, it’s amazing that anyone scores on a ball hit to left field.
At that point, the 2-0 lead could have been 10-0 for all that mattered with the Mets bats looking lifeless. Then in the ninth, the Mets bats came to life courtesy of David Phelps. The rally started with a d’Arnaud one out single and continued with a Wilmer Flores‘ two out single. With Giancarlo Stanton making an error trying to field the ground ball, d’Arnaud and Flores were able to move into scoring position.
Asdrubal Cabrera then pinch hit for Hansel Robles, and he tied the game with an RBI single. It was an amazing comeback considering where the Mets were offensively for the first eight innings. It is a pattern we have seen with the Mets not just in this series, but over the course of the season. This has been one of the more positive signs from the early season.
Unfortunately, a seemingly innocuous move to begin the top of the ninth set the stage for another disappointing Mets loss at Marlins Park. The Marlins double-switched J.T. Riddle into the game for Brad Ziegler and had him batting ninth.
Addison Reed came on to pitch in the ninth, and he didn’t have it. He allowed a lead-off single to Ozuna, who was then cut down at the plate when trying to score on a Miguel Rojas RBI double. This time it was the relay of Cespedes to Cabrera to d’Arnaud that got him out. Again, it is amazing that anyone would run on Cespedes in left.
Like the prior two games, the Mets heroics just set them up for heartbreak. Riddle, who was just substituted into the game to start the ninth, hit a walk-off home run to end the game. And with that, the Mets have once again suffered a brutal loss to the Marlins. It’s another walk-off loss at Marlins Park:
Since Marlins Park opened in 2012, the Mets have lost 26 games there. Incredibly, today was the Mets' 11th walk-off loss at Marlins Park.
— Ed Leyro (@Studi_Metsimus) April 16, 2017
Nice to know, the Marlins are once again prepared to be a thorn in the Mets side. The remaining 12 games promise to be not much fun.
Game Notes: Another hitless game for Reyes who is now hitting .087. Over his last five games, Jay Bruce is 6-25 with no extra base hits. Flores got the start with Cabrera getting a day off. Josh Smoker and Robles each pitched a scoreless inning in their first appearances since going to the whip on Thursday’s 16 inning game.
The Marlins had no chance against deGrom who had all his pitches working. His velocity was back as well with him even hitting 99 on the gun. Through seven innings deGrom had only allowed four hits, which includes the two solo home runs, and one walk while striking out 13 batters.
After seven innings, deGrom had thrown 97 pitches, and with a 4-2 lead, he seemed poised to win the game.
You knew Conley wasn’t going to have it when he walked Jose Reyes to lead-off the game. By the way it’s interesting that it only took Reyes to be good in one hand for him to reclaim the lead-off spot on the team. It should be noted after the leadoff walk, he went 0-3. Still, Reyes would score on a Neil Walker double giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
The Mets tied the game in the seventh on a Curtis Granderson RBI triple. The ball tipped off Christian Yelich‘s glove with Yelich trying to emulate a catch Juan Lagares made earlier in the game. Granderson scored on Michael Conforto‘s sacrifice fly giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.
When Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run in the eighth, it seemed as if the Mets’ 4-2 lead would be enough to win the game. It wasn’t.
To much consternation, deGrom didn’t start the eighth. However, it was a very defensible position considering deGrom was already at 97 pitches and his having season ending elbow surgery last season. It was also a very defensible position to use Fernando Salas in the eighth inning. That’s the reason the Mets signed him in the offseason. He was to be the eighth inning guy until Jeurys Familia returned from his suspension. At that point, Salas would become the seventh inning guy.
As happens in baseball, Salas didn’t have it. It’s part of being a reliever. Sometimes you just don’t have it. It also happens when you lead the majors in appearances this season. In fact, dating back to September 1, 2016, his first game with the Mets, Salas is the most heavily used reliever in all of baseball. He was bound to struggle sooner rather than later.
What was strange with Salas was how quickly it just happened. He made quick work of Ichiro Suzuki and Dee Gordon to begin the inning. Then he issued a four pitch walk to Miguel Rojas. Believe it or not, this was Salas’ first non-intentional walk as a member of the New York Mets. This set the stage for a matchup against Yelich. Now, it should be noted Jerry Blevins was warming up just for this situation. If you are going to have Blevins warming up, this is the exact situation you bring him into the game. Plain and simple.
Instead, Collins elected to go with Salas. Note, Salas pitching to Yelich wasn’t a bad move per se. Salas is your guy for this spot, and he did make quick work of the first two batters. However, Blevins was already warming in the pen. If he’s up, bring him in, get out of the jam, and give Addison Reed a two run lead. Instead, Collins left in Salas, who gave up the game tying home run to Yelich. He then gave up a go-ahead home run to Giancarlo Stanton. To add insult to injury, Collins brought in Blevins to get out Bour to get out of the inning.
And with that, the Mets 4-2 lead became a 5-4 loss. Sure, you can’t completely pin the loss on Collins as he made some defensible moves. That was at least until he left a warm Blevins in the pen. You could argue that doesn’t mean Salas should give up a home run. You’d be right, but you’d also ignore the simple fact that Collins didn’t put his team in the best position to win. Because of that, this loss is on him.
Perhaps knowing that, he was angry and downright rude to the beat reporters after the game. In the video, Collins explained every reason for his decisions, omitting some key facts:
Terry on Salas. Pulled deGrom to be cautious as team wants to be with starters. pic.twitter.com/fPSPYQIvrw
— Matt Ehalt (@MattEhalt) April 16, 2017
Look, we all agree the starters should be protected, but that doesn’t mean you ruin the arms and the careers of the relievers. There’s a balance, and the fact that Collins doesn’t see that is downright frightening. It’s probably the reason why we saw him run through damaged relievers like Tim Byrdak and Jim Henderson in his career. Apparently, Collins only protects the arms of those pitchers he deems more valuable.
That’s not right, and it needs to stop. Another thing that needs to stop is the faulty logic. If Collins was that concerned over Blevins, under no means do you have him warming up. You either want him rested, or you want him pitching. If you want him pitching, get him in the game against the big left-handed threat in the lineup. Afraid of Stanton, get Reed up. He’s the most rested reliever in that bullpen. Considering how the long games has wrecked havoc on the bullpen, it actually made sense to go with Reed for a four out save.
Right now, Collins is picking and choosing who to abuse and who not to abuse. It is having a tangible effect on the effectiveness of the relievers. It may soon have an effect on their health. We have seen this before with Collins. Hopefully, we won’t see it again. On that front, no one should be hopeful.
Game Notes: With the left-handed Conley on the mound, Collins went with a Yoenis Cespedes-Lagares-Granderson outfield to start the game. Rene Rivera got the start over Travis d’Arnaud giving d’Arnaud two days off after he caught 16 innings. Mets have now lost four of seven to the Marlins. Last year, the Mets were 12-7 against the Marlins.