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. 

Magic Number is IV

While not truly part of the series, I couldn’t hesitate to inform you the Mets Maguc Number is . . .  

 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the shortstop, Wilmer Flores!

I’m Lost in This Baseball Season

Since my son was born, my mother, who is a big Giants fan, has made sure her grandson has always had a jersey for game day:

Today?  I honestly forgot the Giants were playing today. It’s a big game too against the Redskins. Instead, today he’s dressed like this:

  
He’s adorable, but he’s not ready for football. That’s fine. He’s going to want to watch baseball and so am I.  Trust me, I’ll utilize the PIP to follow both games, but the Mets will be on the big screen. After the Mets game is over, I’m sure the Giants will still be on, and I’ll change the channel. Unfortunately, by that time my little buddy will be fast asleep:

  
But what do you expect?  I’m trying to raise a Mets fan after all. Lets Go Mets!

 

October May Not Be Offensive

Right now, there are 14 Mets players who look to have a strong claim to a playoff spot with two players on the cusp of cracking into that group. Of these 16 players, only seven players have postseason experience. Here’s how they’ve fared:

  1. Juan Uribe (44 games) .204/.241/.338, 5 HR, 24 RBI
  2. David Wright (10 games) .216/.310/.378, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  3. Kelly Johnson (8 games) .143/.250/.429, 0 HR, 0 RBI
  4. Yoenis Cespedes (10 games) .340/.395/.525, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  5. Michael Cuddyer (22 games) .338/.372/.473, 2 HR, 8 RBI
  6. Curtis Granderson (36 games) .229/.333/.458, 6 HR, 17 RBI
  7. Eric Young, Jr. (2 games) .000/.000/.000

Now, these are short sample sizes, but outside of Cespedes, they’re not promising. Outside of Cespedes, the only player that has had success consistently in the playoffs is Cuddyer, who is a part time player. 

If these stats hold true, and I’m not sure we can expect that, this means one of two things: (1) Cespedes will have to carry the Mets offensively; and/or (2) the Mets will need players, who haven’t been to the playoffs before, to perform. 

The Royals last year showed you didn’t need postseason experience. They took out Jon Lester, who’s a terrific postseason pitcher. They swept an experienced Angels team in the ALDS. They then beat an Orioles team in the ALCS who had recently been in the playoffs. 

The Royals mainly lost the World Series because they were beaten by a great manager in Bruce Bochy and an all-time postseason pitcher in Madison Bumgarner. As always, it comes down to pitching, and right now, the Mets have that in spades. As long as they get enough offense and Terry Collins doesn’t implode, the Mets can have a run just like the Royals did. 

It appears like this October will feature low scoring, tight games. I think the Mets will be ready for it. Lets Go Mets!

Mets Need Lagares in the NLDS

It appears the Mets have soured on Juan Lagares. Last year, he was a Gold Glove winner, who showed some promise with the bat hitting .281/.321/.382. Using WAR, he was a top 25 player in the majors last year (12th in the NL). 

This year has been much different. Lagares hasn’t been the same offensively or defensively. His UZR has slipped from 18.6 (excellent) to 2.1 (average). His arm was terrific last year, but with his injured elbow, he doesn’t seem to have the same zip on the ball. With his defense compromised, you can’t justify his declining offense. This year he has regressed to .259/.289/.362. 

This is probably why the Mets tried to send him to the Brewers in the failed Carlos Gomez trade. This is the reason the Mets are playing Yoenis Cespedes out of position. It may be the reason he was the only Mets outfielder who didn’t get in the game yesterday. 

In any event, he’s been reduced to a platoon player and a late inning defensive replacement. His arrow is trending down while Eric Young, Jr.‘s is trending up. He’s been a terrific pinch runner that can come in handy in the playoffs. We also shouldn’t forget he’s a Collins’ favorite. 

Ultimately, what may save Lagares in the NLDS is the fact that the Dodgers starting rotation features three lefties. Collins refuses to play Michael Conforto leaving Collins to pick between Michael Cuddyer and Lagares. Cuddyer has only played in seven complete games since returning from the DL. This means the Mets need Lagares in the NLDS. 

This means the Mets need Lagares to get back on track offensively and defensively. 

EXCLUSIVE: Terry Collins’ Post Game Locker Room Speech

Both Terry Collins and David Wright have each been involved in multiple September collapses. With that said, I found it interesting that they both disagree with whether or not the Mets are playing tight. With that in mind I thought it would be helpful to look at what’s going on after Collins’ tough game last night:

Maybe the Mets will now keep their composure down the stretch now. 

Mets Magic Number is 5

In 1991, the Mets streak of finishing second or better in the NL East came to an end. The Mets had a 77-84 record, good for second to last in the division. 

Part of the problem was the Mets had a hard time retooling. Davey Johnson gave way to Bud Harrelson. Frank Cashen gave way to Jerry Hunsicker. Darryl Strawberry gave way to Vince ColemanGary Carter initially gave way to Mackey Sasser, who was terrific until he came down with Steve Blass Disease. The Mets knew they needed another catcher, so they traded for Magic Man Number 5 Charlie O’Brien:

 

O’Brien was meant to be that classic backup catcher who was terrific defensively. That was his reputation. However, he couldn’t play everyday because he was terrible offensively. In 1991, his first full year with the Mets (only year he wore 5 with the team), he hit .185/.272/.256. For his Mets career, he would hit .212/.289/.309.  While with the Mets, he would only play in losing teams. 

Really, his only claim to fame was his hockey style catcher’s mask, which he wouldn’t wear in a game until he was long gone from the Mets. Ultimately, he would serve as a mentor to the young Todd Hundley, but that would not be for a few more years. 

Charlie O’Brien reminds me of earlier this year when the Mets couldn’t generate any offense. He reminds me of a time when the Mets were trending downward as opposed to being on the verge of something potentially great. He reminds me that older players can effectively mentor younger players to help them be the best players they can be. 

Charlie O’Brien may have been on a Mets team that was heading in a different direction, but he exhibited some of the virtues that have helped make this Mets team great. So with that, let’s tip our caps to Magic Man Number 5 Charlie O’Brien. 

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. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the shortstop, Wilmer Flores!