The Rays have become a story in baseball for using an opener, i.e. a reliever, to start some games. They’ve arguably had to experiment with it due to the state of their starting pitching. The obvious exception to that is today’s starter Blake Snell, who has been phenomenal this year.
Snell is an ace, and when you face him, you have to take advantage of your opportunities and not make mistakes.
Well, Steven Matz did make mistakes, including walking and hitting Snell, but he fought through it with what was a really good start. In fact, in a fair and just world, Matz gets through his 6.1 innings unscathed.
Matz got the grounder with Wilson Ramos grounding it right at Amed Rosario. Rosario charged in, and the ball hit him in the heel of the glove. This cost him a shot at Duffy, and it gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.
With the Mets offense completely sputtering and shooting itself in the foot, that one run was enough.
In seven of the nine innings, the Mets got their leadoff runner on base. In three of those innings, it was a leadoff double.
Still, the Mets had one really good opportunity in the seventh, and it as bad luck that cost them.
Jose Reyes led off the eight with a double past the outstretched arms of Duffy. Then, in what was a tough at-bat against Snell, Brandon Nimmo hit a ball which seemed destined for center field. Instead it tipped off of Snell’s foot leading to a 1-4-3 put out.
So much for the momentum from Bautista’s grand slam.
Game Notes: Wilmer Flores had nearly half of the Mets seven hits going 3-4 with a double.
With the Mets starting Jacob deGrom tonight, the hope was deGrom could go deep enough into the game to minimize the damage the bullpen could do.
Well, deGrom did his part pitching eight brilliant innings striking out eight Rays.
The only mark against him was a Willie Adames fifth inning homer. It hurts when it’s a guy like Adames hits a homer. It hurts all the more when the Mets can’t give deGrom run support.
The only run deGrom got in support was in the third.
After deGrom made the first out of the inning, Brandon Nimmo reached on a throwing error by the aforementioned Adames. After a Jose Bautista walk, Nimmo would come around to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.
The Mets had a chance to take the lead in the sixth, but Glenn Sherlock would have another one of his awful sends.
Todd Frazier hit a one out double to center, and for some reason, Sherlock sent Wilmer Flores, who was trying to score from first. As it usually happens when Sherlock sends Flores, Flores was out at the plate.
This all looked like it was going to haunt the Mets as the Rays loaded the bases against Jeurys Familia with one out.
Mallex Smith grounded to first. On the good side, Flores aggressively charged the ball. On the bad side, he lollipopped the throw home. The leaping Devin Mesoraco didn’t come down on the plate for the first out. Instead, he lunged to tag out Hunter Wood, who had entered the inning earlier as a pinch runner, by a hair.
#Rays challenge call that Hunter Wood is out at home plate in the 9th; call confirmed, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) July 7, 2018
Familia struck out Adames to escape the jam and keep the game at 1-1.
In the ninth, Frazier walked, and after he couldn’t get a bunt down, Mesoraco singled to put runners at first and second with no outs.
Next, the maligned Amed Rosario laid down a great bunt to move up the runners. Of course, the decision to give away an out almost backfired immediately when Dominic Smith grounded out to the pitcher Chaz Roe, which kept Frazier at third.
At that point, the Rays had the option to face either Nimmo or Bautista to get out of the inning. They chose wrong:
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) July 7, 2018
After 336 homers over a 15 year career, this would be the first walk off homer of his career.
About the only thing disappointing on the night is Jake didn’t get the win. That, and we weren’t treated to one of Bautista’s epic bat flips.
Game Notes: Suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia will have a chance to resume his suspension end and renew his baseball career in 2019.
A day after the Mets bullpen blew another big lead, you had to imagine this game was going to be a disaster. The Mets were starting Corey Oswalt, who was not exactly great in his first career start, and if he could not go deep into the game, it meant more of the Mets bullpen.
The good news is Oswalt held his own. Over four innings, he would allow two earned on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. The first run was a big blast from Kendrys Morales in the second. When Morales came back up in the fourth, it looked like he got another one.
It turned out to be a double that hit a leaping Michael Conforto in the glove. It was one of those can’t be an error because it required a leap, but you would think a player as good as he is should catch that. In any event, Morales was on second with a double, and he would come around to score on a Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. RBI single. Realistically speaking, the Mets should have had a play at the plate, but Brandon Nimmo, who is struggling in every aspect of his game since getting plunked on the hand on June 24th, spiked the throw home into the turf.
Once again, Lugo showed us why he is such a great bullpen weapon. Lugo would pitch three innings allowing just one earned on three hits. If it was a different batter in the sixth, it might’ve been no runs. After Todd Frazier made a nice play, he got it to Asdrubal Cabrera who made the quick turn to first. As it was the speedy Gurriel, Cabrera’s throw had little chance to get him.
One bright spot there was, that only cut the Mets lead to 6-3, and that was because the Mets had a huge fifth inning.
The scoring began when a Frazier two run homer gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. The homer did not kill this rally as Kevin Plawecki hit a one out ground rule double. After the obligatory Jose Reyes failure to get a base hit, Nimmo walked setting up consecutive RBI singles from Cabrera and Jose Bautista.
Believe it or not, Lugo would get the win as the Mets bullpen did it’s job. First, Jerry Blevins gtting two of the three batters he faced out, and Robert Gsellman got the final out of the eighth. Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 16th save of the season.
With that, the Mets earned a somewhat surprising split, and they are coming home for a long homestand where we may get the last chance to see some of the veterans on this team.
Game Notes: The Mets are about to play 11 games in 10 days as they head into the All Star break.
If you feel like you’ve seen this game before, you probably have.
The first crack against him was in the fifth as old pal Curtis Granderson double home a run. After that, Wheeler settled down and put up a couple of more zeros.
In the seventh, the Mets added an insurance run on a Michael Conforto double. At that point, the Mets had a 6-1 lead, and there was no indication the Mets would Mets this up.
Jose Bautista in his first game back in Toronto misplayed the Grichuk single into a two base error leaving him on third.
Oddly enough, pulling Wheeler was designed to prevent things from falling apart. The only issue is the Mets bullpen is bad.
Gsellman took care of that by allowing a game tying three run homer to the first batter he saw – Yangervis Solarte.
For those understandably clamoring for Tim Peterson in that spot, well, today wasn’t your day.
In the eighth with the score now tied 6-6, Peterson came on, but after two outs, he walked Grichuk before allowing a go-ahead two run homer to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr.
That’s the ballgame with the finishing touch being former Met Tyler Clippard git Conforto to ground out to end the game.
Basically speaking, there is no lead the Mets bullpen can protect.
Game Notes: Dominic Smith got the start, and he played first. He was 2-4 with two doubles. Mesoraco was lifted in the seventh after getting hit by a foul ball and a swing in successive innings. So far, he has passed concussion protocols
On the one hand, you knew it wasn’t June anymore because the Mets beat the Marlins 5-2. On the other hand, things aren’t that different because they played a really sloppy game.
The thing is the Marlins played an arguably sloppier one. To that end, we shouldn’t be surprised these two teams set the game of baseball back a few years.
Even with the comedy of errors, three Mets errors to be precise, Steven Matz kept the Marlins at bay.
Oddly enough, the one time the Marlins scored off of him, it featured a Matz error.
Like Matz, who lowered his road ERA to 2.25 after allowing no earned in 5.1 innings, Cabrera and Frazier would contribute to the win.
Cabrera hit a third inning solo homer off Straily. In the eighth, Frazier hit an RBI double which gave the Mets a then 4-1 lead.
That would become a 5-1 lead when JT Realmuto got cute and tried to pick Frazier off third. Instead, he threw it away allowing Frazier to score.
The Mets other runs came from a Kevin Plawecki second inning RBI double and a Matz fourth inning RBI single.
One note on Lugo entering. He came in with one out in the fifth after Matz threw 109 pitches.
That cannot happen.
Just yesterday, Reyes blatantly refused to run a ball out because he claimed to have felt something. As a result, he needed to be benched today.
He needs to be benched because: (1) he dogged it; (2) he’s hurt; or (3) both.
In any event, the Mets finally won and are out of the basement of the NL East.
Game Notes: It was revealed Dominic Smith has been dealing with a wrist injury which required an injection. Purportedly, that’s why he hasn’t been playing.
This team doesn’t deserve to have any Mets fan watch them right now. No, not even on a Jacob deGrom start.
Did that mean the Mets won the game? Of course not.
All told, the Mets lost 5-2. Although a lot of them may not have realized it because some of them seemed to have quit before the game even ended.
When they bother to pay attention, they’ll come to realize they are tied for last in the NL East and have the worst winning percentage in the NL.
Game Notes: Reyes claimed he didn’t run out the grounder because he felt something. That something was probably apathy.
Well, in a season where the Mets are desperately looking to find rock bottom, they made a step closer to it getting their doors blown off by the Marlins in an 8-2 loss.
Considering deGrom missed time two years ago with his son Jaxon having a medical emergency, we can all only hope his family is alright.
Still, this put Oswalt in a very tough spot as he had approximately three hours to prepare for his first MLB start.
Things went well for Oswalt through two innings. Then Lewis Brinson hit the first pitch of the third out of the park to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
The wheels quickly came off from there with the Marlins scoring six runs on five hits off Oswalt. Oswalt would then get lifted with one out left in the inning.
This put the Marlins well on their way to an 8-2 victory. With the win, the Marlins, who actively made moves to win as few games as possible, now have one more win than the Mets this season.
Of course, there’s a question why a Double-A closer was throwing 36 pitches in almost three innings.
But that’s the Mets for you. Even when things are bad, you can always find how things are worse.
Through the mess that has been the Mets of late, the one thing that has been consistently going well has been the starting pitching. Ok, Brandon Nimmo too, but the starting pitching has been quite good.
That is what has made this run so frustrating. The starting pitching has kept them in games and games close only for the team to invent ways to lose games.
Tonight was another outstanding start from the Mets rotation. This time it came from Zack Wheeler, who has recently been good except for that one inning or batter.
Tonight, there was no except. Wheeler was just dominant.
Through seven scoreless innings, Wheeler allowed just five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. It was about as good a performance as you have seen from him.
Better yet for him, he actually got some run support.
After being sacrificed to second by Wheeler, it seemed like he’d be stranded there. However, Jose Bautista would deliver a two out opposite field RBI double, and then he’d score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.
The Mets 2-0 lead would expand to 3-0 on a Wilmer Flores solo homer in the sixth.
Bring up the 🍎! pic.twitter.com/CJdFWT9jWN
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 28, 2018
The question with this bullpen was whether a 3-0 lead would be enough. Initially, the answer seemed to be no.
Robert Gsellman came in and he was hit hard with the only out he recorded was a sacrifice fly from Austin Meadows. When Josh Bell followed the sacrifice fly with a hard hit single, Mickey Callaway didn’t mess around.
Callaway pulled a struggling reliever for a hot one in Tim Peterson. Callaway’s faith in him was vindicated as Peterson got the next two outs to get the Mets out of the inning preserving the 3-1 lead.
Despite pitching 1.2 innings last night, Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth for the save.
Before he got an out, the Pirates had the bases loaded with no outs and a run scored.
For some reason, through most of this, the Mets had no one up in the bullpen after an inning where Gsellman got the quick hook.
After Familia gave up a four pitch walk, Callaway went well to Anthony Swarzak, who either doesn’t need much time to warm up or came in way too soon.
Well, it was the later as on Swarzak’s first pitch, David Freese hit a two RBI single to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Again, there were no outs in the inning.
All said and done, it was Pirates 5 – Mets 3. Another game and series lost by a Mets who is funding ways to lose games.
Game Notes: Cabrera is hitting again going 3-4 with a double, RBI, and a run. Corey Oswalt was held back from his Triple-A starts so he can make a start this weekend for the injured Jason Vargas. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto swapped defensive positions with Nimmo manning center and Conforto on left.
Coming off the news their general manager, the man who brought all of them to the Mets, was once again fighting cancer, and he was going to take a leave of absence, which was phrased more like a termination, the Mets seemed game to win one for Sandy Alderson.
In the first, surprise leadoff hitter Jose Bautista led off with a single off Pirates starter Chad Kuhl. After two quick outs, he found himself on third after an Asdrubal Cabrera walk and a Kuhl wild pitch. Both runners would score on a Wilmer Flores seeing eye single through the left side of the infield.
From there, the Pirates would make three errors, Pirates pitching would throw three more wild pitches, and Kuhl would leave early due to injury. They would not be able to take advantage of any of it, which put Steven Matz in a precarious situation.
To start the game, Matz was terrific, and he would not yield a hit until David Freese hit a leadoff single against him to start the inning. That leadoff single would create some trouble for Matz.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets would have an opportunity to reclaim the lead for Matz. After Kevin Plawecki was hit by a pitch, the Mets would have runners at first and second with two outs. Jose Reyes would fly out to left to end the inning. On the play, Pirates outfielder Austin Meadows almost overran the ball, but he recovered in time to make the inning ending catch.
That all loomed large as it allowed Mickey Callaway to give Matz the seventh. With two outs in the inning, a terrific outing was spoiled as Polanco hit what looked to be the game winning homer.
Fortunately for Matz, the Mets would bail him out as Michael Conforto delivered hit own two out home run in the bottom of the inning to tie the score anew.
With Matz off the hook, Callaway initially went to Anthony Swarzak to keep the score tied in what would become a truly bizarre top of the eighth.
With Josh Harrison following a Meadows one out walk, Callaway took no chances, and he brought in Jeurys Familia. Familia used his fabled sinker to induce what should have been an inning ending double play. That never materialized as Reyes took his sweet time not only getting to the ball, but also flipping it to Cabrera.
With Harrison making a good hard-nosed slide, Cabrera had little choice but to record the out and jump to avoid the slide. That offended Familia who got into words with Harrison leading to the benches clearing. Things died down when Cabrera hugged Harrison, which was something the booth did not take kindly.
Familia still got out of the jam, and he pitched a scoreless ninth. Tim Peterson, who has been very good in limited duty, followed with a scoreless tenth.
In the tenth, Conforto got things started with a leadoff walk against LHP Steven Brault. Things got more interesting when Todd Frazier followed the walk with a single. After Cabrera popped up not one but two bunt attempts, with the second one being caught, Flores would get his third walk-off hit of the season with a single down the third base line.
On a day of tears, it is quite fitting that Flores would be the guy to get the game winning hit.
For quite a while, Mets fans have bemoaned the ridiculous lineup with Eric Campbell and John Mayberry, Jr. hitting in the middle of the lineup. As bad as that lineup was, tonight’s ridiculous lineup might have taken the cake.
Despite Luis Guillorme arguably being the best defensive shortstop in the entire Mets organization, he started the game at third with Jose Reyes, a player who has been a bad everything for a few years now playing the most important position on the infield.
Dominic Smith started the game in left field because for some reason the Mets wanted to get another look at Kevin Plawecki at first base. This meant the far superior pitch framer in Plawecki was at first base while Devin Mesoraco caught.
Really, looking at this lineup, you have to wonder if the person making that lineup wanted to get fired. Considering Mickey Callaway essentially let it be known he didn’t want to play Reyes, he may not be the person filling out the lineup card.
Whatever the situation, it was a sick joke, and it was a joke that had no one laughing, especially not Lugo.
The good news for Lugo was he would allow just one earned run in his five innings pitched. The bad news is when he left the game in the fifth, the Mets trailed 3-0. The reason for that is the defense behind him was terrible.
What was a surprise was both of the errors leading to the unearned runs came from Guillorme.
Guillorme couldn’t field a ball off the bat of Starling Marte. Marte was probably safe anyway, but it was ruled an error. The first batter of the game reached, would promptly steal a base, and he would eventually score on a Josh Harrison sacrifice fly.
It was Harrison who reached on a two out throwing error by Guillorme in the third. He’d score on an Elias Diaz single. It should be noted that was a ball Rosario probably fields.
Really, the only earned run against Lugo was a second inning Gregory Polanco second inning solo shot.
After Lugo labored through five, partially due to his defense abandoning him, it was time for Tyler Bashlor to make his Major League debut. He was rudely welcomed to the big leagues by a Josh Bell excuse me opposite field line drive two run homer.
While none of this was a surprise, okay, the Guillorme defensive struggles was a bit of a surprise, the Mets fighting back in this game was a bit of a surprise.
After Jameson Taillon dominated the Mets for six innings, the team would finally get to him in the seventh.
That prompted Clint Hurdle to bring in Steven Brault. He walked Michael Conforto putting the tying run on base with no outs. The rally would die there as Jose Bautista struck out, and Asdrubal Cabrera hit into an inning ending double play.
In the eighth, the Mets put two on with one out. That rally fizzled as Plawecki struck out, and Guillorme grounded out.
That was pretty much it for the Mets. In his second inning of work, Robert Gsellman couldn’t get through the ninth unscathed. This time a tough play for Guillorme was scored a hit. Gsellman would do well to limit the Pirates to one run when they had the bases loaded with one out, but really, who cares at this point?
The Mets aren’t doing nearly enough to win games, and now, they are putting out embarrassing lineups.
Game Notes: To make room for Bashlor on the roster, Chris Flexen was sent down to Triple-A.