Game Recap

The Only Thing That Matters is Cespedes is Alright

Sure, the Mets are seeking Homefield advantage in the NLDS, but more importantly, they want to enter the postseason healthy. Tonight, the Mets health was seriously called into question with one pitch:

For an eternity (which is how long this game seemed to last), we waited for the result of Yoenis Cespedes‘ x-ray:

Whew!  In the meantime, the Phillies hit two more batters before the Mets bothered to retaliate. After the retaliation, and the benches were warned, Hansel Robles threw one near Cameron Rupp‘s head. Note, I don’t think it was intentional, and Ruf swing at it. However, Robles was tossed and:

There was no fight, but I’m still happy the Mets held him back. The rest of the game was just bad baseball and bad news:

On top of the injuries, a series of relievers, including Jon Niese and Dario Alvarez, showed why they should not be on the postseason roster. It took them five pitchers, including Robles, to get through the sixth. They entered the inning up 5-3 and left it down 6-5. 

The Mets would lose by the score of 7-5.  At least they came out of the game almost intact. Tomorrow’s game is at 12:05. Hopefully, there will be no carry over from Robles’ last pitch. 

Loss Secondary to Niese Relief Appearance

As the Mets have clinched the NL East winning and losing have taken a back seat to figuring out who will be on the postseason roster. These are almost like Spring Training Games. If you care about the final score, the Mets lost 4-3. 

Personally, I was more concerned with Jon Niese‘s relief appearance. He entered the game after Bartolo Colon left after five with the Mets trailing 3-1. In his first inning of work, Niese faced the minimum with some help from Yoenis Cespedes:

I was surprised Niese came out for the seventh. I was disappointed it didn’t go well. He would get the first two outs, which included a strike out of Travis d’Arnaud‘s brother. The next two Phillies got on, and Niese was lifted. Erik Goeddel, who’s also battling to be on the playoff roster, allowed an inherited run ER to score before getting a strikeout to end the inning. 

Overall, Niese’s appearance was uneven. There was only one hard hit ball, but he was bailed out by Cespedes. Lefties went 2-3 with two singles against him. He seemed to throw a little more sidearm than usual. I would say this is a starting off point, but he did not leave much room for error with only five games left in the season. 

In terms of highlights, Lucas Duda hit his 100th and 101st career homeruns. The aforementioned Cespedes throw in the sixth, and the Michael Conforto diving catch in the eighth.

However, the important part of the night was Niese was in the bullpen, and he showed he might be able to handle it. 

METS CLINCH THE NL EAST!

Im not afraid to admit that when Lucas Duda hit the first inning Grand Slam, it got a little dusty in the Mets Daddy household. My son and I screamed Duda. He’s been the player we bonded over, and I couldn’t think of a better player to send the Mets on their way. 

In the 10-2 clinching win, the other runs can from Mets MVP Curtis Granderson‘s second inning solo homerun. The final two came on a third inning Michael Cuddyer RBI double (scoring two). It was terrific seeing him get a big hit after how he started the year. David Wright‘s nine inning three run homerun was icing on the cake. 

It was also great to see Matt Harvey just go out there and pitch. He went 6.2 innings with nine hits, two earned, and six strikeouts. He promised Terry Collins an NL East title last year, and he went out there and delivered in the clinching game. After he left, the Mets rock solid 7-8-9 trio of Addison ReedTyler ClippardJeurys Familia. This is how it’s going to go in October. 

The answer to the trivia question is Jay Bruce made the last out on a Familia strike out. 

After the final out, I hugged my son an cheered, I texted my brother, and I called my Dad. This was my favorite celebration after a Mets victory ever. I hope it will be topped in October. 

Syndergaard Thortured the Reds

Well so much for the narrative that Noah Syndergaard can’t pitch on the road. He was so great tonight Keith was wondering if Thor was the best Mets pitcher. 

Thor was consistently around 98 MPH. Not topping off at 98, consistently at 98. His final line was 7.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 11 Ks. Thor wasn’t touched until the seventh and after his 100th pitch. 

Offensively, Lucas Duda was awesome. He went 2-4 with two three run homeruns. The second homerun landed at the same Louisville Slugger facility where his bat was made. 

Curtis Granderson added his own three run homerun in the eighth to make the score 12-0. Granderson finished the night 2-5 with a double, the aforementioned homer, 2 runs, and 4 RBIs. Overall, the Mets offense had a second straight great night. Daniel Murphy went 2-4 with an RBI double and a run scored. 

The only starters without a hit was the red hot Ruben Tejada and the ice cold Travis d’Arnaud. In fact, they were the only starters without a multiple hit game, Thor included. 

Tonight would’ve been a laugher except for Juan Uribe seemingly reinjuring himself. He was pinch hitting for David Wright, which was the right move. However, with these expanded rosters and a 12-0 score, it should’ve been Eric Campbell, who wound up finishing the at bat. Honestly, I don’t know why the Mets did it. 

It was almost a laugher too because Eric O’Flaherty and Bobby Parnell had trouble getting the last out in the eighth.  When Thor left the game, it was 12-1 with a runner on. By the time Parnell finally got the last out it was 12-4. Tim Stauffer gave up a ninth inning homerun and could t get the last out. This trio was so bad that Hansel Robles had to come into the game to end the nonsense and finally secure the 12-5 win. 

With the Mets winning and the Nationals losing, the Mets can clinch tomorrow with Matt Harvey on the mound. It just seems fitting, doesn’t it?  

The Great American Bat Awakening

The most important part of today’s game was Steven Matz‘s start because you want to determine if he should start in the NLDS. 

Tonight, there was some good and some bad. Matz struck out a career high eight batters and looked strong early. However, he couldn’t hold onto a 3-1 lead. He only lasted 5.2 innings. He left the game with the game tied at 3-3. 

Offensively, it seems the Mets bats woke up. It could’ve been just clearing their heads. It could’ve been seeing the Nationals losing as they took the field. It could’ve been the difference between Citi Field and The Great American Ballpark. Whatever it was, the Mets put six runs on the board. 

Most impressively, the team responded to losing the lead by scoring three in the seventh. It started with Curtis Granderson scoring on a Daniel Murphy triple. This was followed by a Yoenis Cespedes RBI single, and a Lucas Duda RBI double, off a lefty to boot.

Itwas an impressive night for Murphy, Cespedes, and Duda. Murphy went 3-5, with a double, a triple, two runs scored, and the game winning RBI. Cespedes was 2-4 with a run and two RBI. Duda was 2-3 with 2 doubles, a walk, and two RBI. 

The bullpen was solid with Erik Goeddel getting the win. Terry Collins smartly used Addison Reed in the seventh with the top of the Reds lineup due up. Hansel Robles allowed a homerun (more on that later). Jeurys Familia rebounded from last night to record his 42nd save preserving the Mets 6-4 win. 

Getting back to Robles, there was an incident prior to the Jay Bruce homerun. During the at bat, Robles of course tried to quick pitch him since the bases were empty. The home plate umpire appeared to yell at him prompting Collins to come out of the dugout. Of course, Angel Hernandez tried to intervene from first base even though the home plate umpire and crew chief was there.

After everything, Robles allows the home run. With Robles’ quick pitch tendencies, this issue will arise again in the playoffs.  If Robles wants to continue to quick pitch, he’s going to need to respond better. 

On the bright side, this is going to be an issue because the Mets are going to go to the playoffs. 

What Was Collins Thinking?

Well this game went haywire fast. One moment Bartolo Colon is cruising to another win against an NL East opponent. He had gone 4.2 perfect and was not threatened through six. The next thing you know, Terry Collins goes into full panic mode. 

The Braves quickly loaded the bases in the sixth. Collins then forgot how to manage. He brought in Addison Reed (fine move) by double switching Michael Conforto out of the game for Kirk Nieuwenhuis (ponderous). Essentially, Collins took out a good defensive OF for decent defensive OF who also hits left handed. If it was a defensive move, Collins left his best defensive OF, Juan Lagares, on the bench. 

It has to be the only reason. After Reed allowed a bases clearing double to put the Mets behind 3-2, he wouldn’t come back out for the seventh.  Don’t kill Reed. He was beat by Mets killer Freddie Freeman

When the Braves figured out they can use a left handed reliever, Nieuwenhuis was out of the game in favor of Michael Cuddyer, who didn’t get the job done. 

Collins did get one thing right. After Ruben Tejada singled to lead off the inning, Collins eventually realized Eric Young, Jr. was available to pinch run. He came on, stole a base, and he scored on a David Wright RBI two out single tying the game at 3-3. By the way, Young set a Mets record with nine runs scored before getting a hit. 

Unfortunately, Collins inane managing came back to haunt the Mets. In the eighth inning, Conforto’s spot came up with two outs and one on. Instead of Conforto, it was the pinch hitter Kelly Johnson, who struck out. In the next half inning, Freeman hit a three run homerun off Jeurys Familia giving the Braves the 6-3 lead. 

Collins was horrendous tonight. He claims the Mets are tight. He looked like he was the one that was tight . . . at least I hope that was the reason. 

Cool September Air Keeps Mets Bats Cold

Today was the first day that it truly felt like September. Everything was a little cooler, including the Mets bats

Coming into tonight, Braves starter, Matt Wisler, had a 5.63 ERA and a 1.633 WHIP in 16 starts (and one relief appearance). Loosely translated, he’s been terrible. Naturally, the Mets could only muster five hits and a walk off of him while striking out eight times. Thankfully, one of those hits was a David Wright opposite field homerun. It wasn’t enough. 

Logan Verrett cruised through his first four innings before hitting trouble in the fifth. He allowed a solo homerun to Jace Peterson and a three run shot to Hector Olivera (after Terry Collins ordered an IBB). Quickly, a 1-0 lead became a 4-0 deficit. Sean Gilmartin (two innings) and Hansel Robles pitched well to keep the Mets in the game into the eighth. 
The Mets would rally in the eighth with bases loaded and one out. Michael Cuddyer, pinch hitting for Lucas Duda (because, egad, a lefty was on the mound), hit a sac fly scoring Curtis Granderson, who started the rally with a leadoff walk. Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] grounded out to shortstop to end the rally.  Tyler Clippard would get roughed up in the ninth for two runs. Ultimately, the Mets would lose 6-2. 

If you’re looking for a highlight, other than the Wright opposite field homerun, it was Michael Conforto‘s defense. He threw out A.J. Pierzynski trying to stretch a single into a double after a Flores’ misplay on a ball in the Bermuda Triangle. He also had a nice diving stop in the seventh. 

Mets have now lost three of four, and I’m still not worried. Their division lead remains 6.5 games. They’ll snap out of this cold spell soon. If they time it right, they’ll be hot heading I to October. 

This Win Was Brought to You by Chapstick

If nothing else, Daniel Murphy keeps things interesting. He’s just as likely to make an amazing play as he is to make a routine play look like an adventure.  He will hit a double and then get lost on the way to third. 

Today was no exception. In the first inning, he singled setting up first and second with no out. After a Yoenis Cespedes single and a Lucas Duda popout, Travis d’Arnaud hit into the routine 5-4-6 double play. It wasn’t really routine, it was a classic Murphy TOOBLAN.  Murphy assumed the play was over and he got caught between second and third. He got burned so bad, he had to apply Chapstick. No, that’s not a joke. He literally applied Chapstick after the play.

Since it wasn’t a continuation play, the run counted giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. In the second, the lead would expand to 2-0 on a Michael Conforto opposite field homerun. Actually, it wasn’t a Conforto homerun, it was a:

Murphy would redeem himself for killing the first inning rally by hitting a two RBI double in the seventh scoring the pinch running Eric Young, Jr. (8 runs scored, no hits for the Mets) and Curtis Granderson (1-3, two walks, and two runs scored). Once again Granderson was a catalyst. Once again Murphy giveth and Murphy taketh. 

On the pitching side, Jon Niese pitched well after eight days of rest. He got a number of groundballs. His final line was six innings, three hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. Some questioned pulling him after six innings and 88 pitches, but I agree with Terry Collins. He’s been so bad lately that you get him out of there whe he’s feeling good, and he gave you enough depth. 

The 7-8-9 of Addison ReedTyler ClippardJeurys Familia combined to preserve the 4-0 win. Nothing like a bad Braves team and some Chapstick to smooth over the rough stretch and help get the Mets a win. 

Harvey Wasn’t the Reason the Mets Lost

Tonight, Matt Harvey was brilliant for five innings. He allowed one hit and a walk in conjunction with seven strikeouts. As October is more important than Septrmber 20th, especially with a 6.5 game lead in the division, Harvey was lifted. 

The Mets then blew the lead. Twitter blew up. Everyone acted like it was Harvey and Boras that was the reason the Mets lost. It wasn’t even close to the reason. Here are some of the bigger reasons why the Mets lost:

  1. Mets leave the bases loaded in the first. 
  2. Mets only score one run off CC Sabathia, who came into the game with a 4.93 ERA. 
  3. Mets only mustered five hits and struck out seven times against Sabathia. 
  4. David Wright dropping a throw from Hansel Robles after an awful Brett Gardner bunt, which set up a big inning. 
  5. Robles emulating Jon Niese after the Wright misplay. 
  6. Mets committing four errors. 
  7. Terry Collins pitching Eric O’Flaherty
  8. O’Flaherty being O’Flaherty (allowing all three lefty batters to get on base). 
  9. Erik Goeddel walking in one of the batters he inherited from O’Flaherty. 
  10. The Mets bullpen in total allowed eleven runs. 

The Mets lost this game because their bullpen was terrible. The Mets lost because their offense was terrible.  They didn’t lose the game because Harvey was amazing for five innings. 

So when the blame game starts tonight, let’s start with where it belongs, which is everyone but Harvey. 

Matz Takes the First Game of the Subway Series

Other than a win, if you set forth what you wanted from tonight’s game, it would be a strong start from Steven Matz and for Lucas Duda to get back on track. Well done and done. 

It didn’t start great for Matz. He was amped up in the first inning, and he wasn’t locating. He worked around a leadoff walk and single to Carlos Beltran  (seriously why was he booed), and only allowed one run on a sac fly. He got through six innings with the scored tied at 1-1.  His final line was six innings, seven hits, one walk, four strikeouts, and one earned. 

The score was tied at 1-1 when he left because Duda hit a homerun in the second. He looked back on track tonight going 2-4 with a run, an RBI, a double, and a homerun. Matz would get the win because Daniel Murphy would hit a go-ahead homerun in the bottom of the sixth. Murphy had a great night going 2-4 with a homerun and a triple (slight misplay by Jacoby Elssbury). 
Overall, four of the Mets five runs came via homerun. The last homerun was a two run pinch hit homerun by Juan Uribe in the seventh. You could say his ball went,”Bye, Bye, Bye.”  

The fifth run would save scored in the eighth on a wild pitch. The run was scored by Eric Young, Jr., who pinch ran for Murphy after his triple in the eighth. EY now has no hits and seven runs scored for the Mets. 

The bullpen kept the lead even with Tyler Clippard out with back problems. Hansel Robles pitched a scoreless seventh, which included getting a lefty out. Addison Reed was terrific in the eighth showing he’s ready for the playoffs. Even without the save opportunity in a 5-1 game, Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth. 

It was an adventure. He loaded the bases with one out. That included an infield basehit off of his knee. He got Brett Gardner to fly out to left, and the runner did not try to run on Yoenis Cespedes‘ arm. He was in left because Juan Lagares came in for defense. Familia then struck out Chase Headley to preserve the 5-1 win. 

I think Matz made his case to pitch in the playoffs. Duda got back on track. Murphy remained clutch. The Mets beat a team that needed to win tonight. The Mets aren’t collapsing. 

They’re getting ready for the playoffs.