Pete Alonso Backing Up His Talk

To the consternation of many, especially New York Mets fans, Pete Alonso has been exceedingly positive in the face of adversity. Then came the “Don’t Just Believe, Know” mantra.

That obviously fell really flat because Mets fans were angry. The Mets blew a lead and dropped to third place. They were playing poorly and so was Alonso.

Since that point, things got worse before they got better. They’d get annihilated by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants falling to five games under .500 and 8.0 games back in the division.

Things have changed recently with the Mets being the hottest team in baseball. They’re back to one game over .500, and they’re in the thick of the division and Wild Card races.

Alonso has been a big reason why.

Since making his speech, he’s hit .346/.403/.682 with eight doubles, two triples, eight homers, and 21 RBI. In that stretch, Alonso would hit his 100th and 101st homers.

Over this stretch, Alonso has a 186 wRC+, which is eighth best in the majors. His 1.5 fWAR over this stretch is also eighth best. He’s really gone off in September with a 265 wRC+, which is second best in the NL.

Whatever the reaction to the speeches and positivity, the most important one was Alonso’s. He’s putting this team on his back offensively, and he’s trying to power the Mets into the postseason.

As of the moment, Fangraphs has the Mets with a 6.3% chance of winning the division and an 8.8% chance of making the postseason. As long as Alonso keeps hitting like this and keeps backing up his words, you should like those chances.

Edwin Diaz Just Isn’t A Great Closer

The New York Mets are fighting for their postseason lives. Due to the lead they blew, they put themselves in a bad position, and they can’t afford to blow any games.

Enter Edwin Diaz.

For the second straight outing he blew the save in a game the Mets needed to have against a dreadful Washington Nationals team. Break it down any way you want, but it’s inexcusable.

This leaves Diaz’s stats to again be not ordinary but subpar. After these last two appearances, Diaz is 5-5 with a 3.93 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, and a 3.6 K/BB.

More importantly, he’s blown six out of his 34 save opportunities. It’s not a dreadful stat by any means, but it’s not great. It’s not indicative of being the “Elite Closer” people want to make him out to be.

Keep in mind, even when he’s elite, he’s still unreliable. Take last year for example. He had a 1.75 ERA while striking out a career high 17.5 batters per nine. He’d blow four of his 10 save opportunities.

With this latest blown save, he’s at an 82.3 save percentage. Over the course of his Mets career, Diaz has converted 77.9% of his save opportunities.

That’s just not good. It’s an indication of how unreliable Diaz is when the game is on the line.

Yes, saves are a contrived stat, and not every blown save is actually on the pitcher. Notably, until this season, the Mets defense has been putrid. Still, converting under 80% of your save chances is unacceptable.

Look at it this way. Mets fans reviled Armando Benitez. He was bad in the big spots late in the season and in the postseason. As a Met, he converted 86.5% of his save opportunities with the Mets.

John Franco, a closer with as many detractors as supporters, converted 81% of his save opportunities. In the seasons he was the full time closer, it was 82%.

Take someone who had no business closing like Braden Looper. He converted 81% of his chances, and again, he wasn’t good.

That’s the puzzling thing with Diaz. He’s really good, or at least, he ought to be. We can cite stats and metrics till we’re blue in the face, and yet, he’s not converting save opportunities at the level of Looper.

Sure, you could say the stat is skewed because of a terrible 2019. However, when he was great in 2020, he still wasn’t a lock down closer.

To be fair, he was that guy in Seattle. However, for whatever the reason, we haven’t seen the Seattle version of Diaz in Flushing.

Maybe part of the reason is this is a reliever with real limitations.

Diaz struggles pitch back to back days with a .708 OPS against on no rest. With RISP, he has a .703 OPS against. With the bases loaded, he has a .842 OPS against.

When he needs to go over 25 pitches, he allows a .932 OPS. This is indicative of his inability to pitch more than one inning.

As an aside, while he has been good against the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins, he has an 8.27 ERA against the Philadelphia Phillies and a 4.58 ERA against the Washington Nationals.

Now, Diaz has made strides with RISP and going back-to-back days. Also, his stuff is as dominant as there is from the reliever side. And yes, he’s at an 82% save percentage.

Looking at Diaz, sure, he can close games. He’s better than most relievers in the league. He goes through periods where you truly wonder how anyone can even attempt to try to hit him.

However, that’s only part of the story. He’s also a closer who is limited in the situations you can use him, he struggles against some of the Mets division rivals, and you never quite feel like you can trust him.

This is his second September with the Mets fighting for the postseason. He was lost in 2019, and he’s off to a poor start this month.

If you’re the Mets, you could have him close the rest of this year because that’s the position they’ve put themselves, and it’s highly unlikely they go to Jeurys Familia or a committee approach. That said, if the Mets really want to take the next step forward, they should be investigating better closing options to move Diaz towards being the elite set-up man he probably should be.

Mets Need To Give Something Extra In Big Win

Well, it was bound to happen. After all the times the New York Mets were going to ignore his track record, they were bound to get Rich Hill through six. Tonight was that night.

This was Hill’s best start as a Met, and he was helped along by his defense and some Nationals snafus.

In the first, Lane Thomas failed to retouch second on a flyout leading to him getting doubled off. In the third, after Luis Garcia doubled, Hill would pick Garcia off second.

Garcia hit his second double in the fifth. If not for a terrific play off the wall by Michael Conforto and a strong relay throw, Riley Adams scores. Instead, Hill got Keibert Ruiz popped out to end the inning

As evidenced by the above and Francisco Lindor, really the play behind Hill was phenomenal. Hill dropping down some and getting Juan Soto out in big spots, like the sixth, is exactly how you pitch six shutout innings.

Hill got the win because the Mets offense did just enough. It also helped they were able to absolutely abuse Soto’s poor defense in right.

In the second. Javier Báez had a hustle double on a ball hit to Soto. He’d score on a frightening moment where Conforto lined one off of Washington Nationals starter Sean Nolin.

Fortunately, Nolin was able to move enough it didn’t hit him in the head. More than that, he was able to stay in the game.

Kevin Pillar followed with a double putting runners on second and third. The runs would not score with Chance Sisco and Hill being unable to deliver a hit.

In the third, Brandon Nimmo drew a one out walk, and Pete Alonso hit a ball the other 29 right fielders in baseball catch. Soto was the one who couldn’t turning it into an RBI triple giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

At this point, the hope was the Mets offense would take off and put the game away. Instead, the Mets offense went away leaving very little margin for error.

The Mets had chances. In the fifth, there were runners on second and third with one out. In the seventh, they had first and third with one out. They failed to score in either situation.

These are the situations which come to haunt you. We saw Aaron Loup and Seth Lugo handle it. Unfortunately, Edwin Diaz couldn’t.

First, Soto got a measure of revenge with a lead-off homer. After a strikeout, Diaz walked Ryan Zimmerman, who was replaced by the pinch runner Andrew Stevenson.

This is where Nimmo almost cost the Mets the game.

On an 0-2 pitch, Stevenson took off, and Adams lined it to center. Nimmo had no chance to catch it, but he dove anyway. If not for Conforto backing up the play, the Mets lose on an inside the park homer.

Instead, they lost their catcher. Conforto made a strong relay, and Báez made a strong but albeit offline throw. Sisco just got blown up on the play, Stevenson scored. and the game was tied with the tying run at third.

Patrick Mazeika came in, and Diaz settled down to get the next two outs to send it to extras. The Mets would score more in the tenth than the previous nine.

With Lindor as the ghost runner, Alonso golfed one to center giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. When Baez fouled out to deep left, Alonso had heads up base running to tag up and go to second.

This led the Nationals to intentionally walk Conforto to set up the double play. Instead, Kevin Pillar ripped a two RBI double to left extending the lead to 5-2.

That lead would be extended to 6-2 later in the inning when Jonathan Villar hit an RBI single. Remarkably, Villar started the game 0-for-2, and he would still have a four hit game.

Jeurys Familia entered the game in the 10th, and there would be no blowing it. He shut the door on a game the Mets had to have.

Well, the Mets need them all. In any event, the Mets turned what could’ve been a bad loss to a terrific 6-2 win.

Game Notes: Brad Hand was activated. Dominic Smith was placed on the bereavement list. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling went on the road to broadcast a game for the first time in nearly two years.

Mets Still Alive After Sloppy Win

This is the way it works with Carlos Carrasco. He struggles in the first, and he shuts the opponent down after that. That’s what happened again in his start against the Miami Marlins.

It was 2-0 before Carrasco recorded an out, but he kept the Marlins there. What was unusual was the Mets responded immediately with a Jonathan Villar lead-off homer off Sandy Alcantara.

In the fourth, we’d see Francisco Lindor put his stamp on the game.

Brandon Nimmo led off the fourth with an infield single. He went to second when Isan Diaz threw it away. Lindor drove home Nimmo with an RBI double and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. That put him in position to score when he induced Alcantara to balk.

This speaks to how bizarre the game was from a defensive standpoint. There were just a number a terrific defensive plays. However, there were also a number of errors and miscues. By some miracle, there were no unearned runs in the game.

Case-in-point, in the fifth, Jorge Alfaro reached on a Villar error. He took off on a pitch which Bryan De La Cruz lined to right. Javier Báez brilliant deked Alfaro allowing Michael Conforto to easily throw him out at first.

We saw that in the sixth. Mets killer Miguel Rojas, who opened the game with a homer, hit a lead-off single, and he moved to second on an error from Carrasco. After a one walk, Luis Rojas brought in Aaron Loup.

While he’s been the Mets best reliever, Loup just didn’t have it. He’d walk back-to-back batters to force home the tying run. He’s dig down to get out of the inning, but the damage was done.

After Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless seventh, he was in line for the win. They’d get it for him giving him a team high nine wins.

Jeff McNeil and Patrick Mazeika hit consecutive one out singles. McNeil was able to go to third on a Jesus Sanchez error.

Rojas went to his bench to have Dominic Smith pinch hit. Smith sat because he’s been struggling and due to his best 0-for-9 off Alcantara. After he ripped a double off Jesus Aguilar‘s glove, he’s now 1-for-10.

If Aguilar didn’t touch it, the ball probably goes foul. However, he did, and in a fitting fashion, the go-ahead run scored on an almost play.

The Mets made good on that 4-3 lead. First, it was Trevor May in the eighth. May did all he could do that inning including trying to dive to catch a foul ball.

In the ninth, Edwin Diaz continued his recent stretch of dominance. He struck out two in a perfect inning saving the sloppy 4-3 win featuring seven errors and a number of misplays.

Game Notes: Brad Hand was claimed off waivers. As it happened after August 31, he will not be postseason eligible. Khalil Lee was sent down for Yennsy Diaz. Like Lee briefly was, Albert Almora is a September call-up.

Zack Scott Has To Take Ownership Of His Career And His Health

Back on August 10, Zack Scott had a press conference where he pined the problems of the New York Mets on the players. Everything, according to him was on the players.

That included injuries. On that, Scott pinpointed players not following protocols for the injuries saying they needed to be professional. Overall, Scott said, “You’ve got to take ownership of your career and your health.”

Well, three weeks later Scott was arrested for a DUI.

There are conflicting reports on the exact circumstances of DUI. That said, we know he failed a field test after refusing a breathalyzer and blood test. We also know he was intoxicated and in his car.

With all that’s transpired with the Mets this season, it’s fair to say the team should remove the interim GM tag and just get rid of him all together. You could also wonder if he needs help, and if the Mets should help.

Regardless, there’s no excuse for what Scott did. It’s dangerous. It’s also unprofessional showing an inability to take ownership of his career and his health.

In the end, Scott has no one to blame for himself. He’s just lucky he didn’t harm himself or someone else.

Javier Báez: New Mets Fan Favorite

Before the suspended game from April 11 resumed, there was the theatre of the absurd where Javier Báez and Francisco Lindor were forced to apologize for the thumbs down controversy. Their qualifying the apology certainly didn’t help matters.

What really didn’t help was the Mets falling behind 5-1 to the Miami Marlins. It also didn’t help Jesus Aguilar was taunting them during the game.

Worse yet, this was the same old story with the Mets blowing chance after chance after chance. That includes the eighth when Báez was announced as a pinch hitter. He was booed lustily by the sparse crowd. It’ll probably be the last time he’s ever booed.

Chance Sisco of all people got a rally started with a one out walk. Brandon Nimmo followed with a two run homer, which at the time seemed like little more than window dressing.

Don Mattingly brought in Richard Bleier to replace Anthony Bass. Bleier retired Lindor putting the Marlins within one out of victory and a group of Mets seeking redemption.

First was Dominic Smith, who singled. Pete Alonso came up as the tying run, and he lined a double to left. Mattingly went to Dylan Floro, and Báez came up as the go-ahead run.

Báez hit an infield single scoring Smith pulling the Mets to within 5-4. Michael Conforto followed with an opposite field single easily scoring Alonso to tie the game. When Jorge Alfaro, a catcher somehow thrown to left, bobbled the ball, Báez made a mad dash for home.

It was a run arguably only Báez could score. It involved a player with speed who always hustles, and a player with a high baseball IQ willing to take calculated risks. The end result was a win and a great call from Gary Cohen.

This was a win which flipped the script. Not only did it take a bad loss and make it a great win, but it changed the narrative and reaction towards Báez.

It was also a win with legs. The Mets would get off and running in the fourth with a Conforto two run homer.

Later in the inning, Jeff McNeil would double home Báez. It was 3-0, and the Mets would hold on.

Trevor Williams cruises through four, but he’d hit a bump with the 3-0 lead and a Jonathan Villar error. An Aguilar double drove in a run.

With two on and one out, Luis Rojas went to Aaron Loup. While Loup would walk Jazz Chisholm, he’s get Isan Diaz to hit into the inning ending double play.

Things weren’t easy for Seth Lugo in the sixth, but he’d get out of a runners on second and third jam by striking out Sandy Leon and Magneuris Sierra.

Edwin Diaz came in the seventh and retired the side in order for his eighth consecutive save. With that, it was a doubleheader sweep.

This day had all the feel of the Wilmer Flores walk-off. With the Mets 5.5 games out of a postseason spot with a month left in the season, who knows?

Doubleheader Notes: Jeurys Familia picked up the win in the first game. Loup won the second game. Between games, Luis Guillorme was activated off the IL, and Brandon Drury was optioned. Yennsy Diaz was the 27th man.

Sandy Alderson Upset Javier Báez Better At Mocking Mets Fans

Javier Báez admitted the thumbs down gesture was booing the fans. Essentially, if fans will boo poor performances, they’ll boo the fans when they succeed.

This led to Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson saying this is unacceptable. With respect to Alderson, he said, “The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans.”

Talk about hypocrisy.

During Alderson’s first stint with the Mets, he was the GM when the Mets had the loyalty pledge. He also said if fans want the payroll to improve, they needed to attend more games.

In 2015, when the Mets were blowing it and the Mets were largely standing pat at the time, Alderson referred to the media and fans as “Panic City.”

Apparently, dubbing the fans Panic City and blaming them for not spending doesn’t fall under the purview of Alderson’s most recent statements.

Whatever the case, Alderson was always good at directing blame away from himself and directing it away. Chances are he would’ve done it himself if given the chance.

Whatever the case, Báez shot back at the fans. For his part, Alderson poked at them for his failures. This time, Báez is the messenger, and Alderson has a problem because Báez did it better.

Mets Players Hilariously Embarrass Themselves By Booing Fans

Finally, the New York Mets won a game in easy fashion. For that matter, they finally won two games in a row for just the second time this month.

Naturally, the Mets being the Mets, they found a way to ruin it. They ruined it with Javier Báez, Francisco Lindor, and Kevin Pillar doing a thumbs down after hits.

This wasn’t the thumbs down like we once saw with the Mets fan and Todd Frazier when Frazier was with the New York Yankees. No, according to Báez, it was retaliatory booing of fans.

It should be noted Pillar had a different version of events liking it to be nothing more than the Joey Lucchesi churve sign. Still, we know why Báez did it.

We can debate whether Báez was here long enough to react that way. The clear answer is no. Sure, he’s sticking up for his good friend Lindor, who fans stupidly booed, but Báez isn’t the guy here.

He’s also not the guy to adjudge fans not being behind this team. He seriously has zero clue as to what it means to be a Mets fan. It’s an idiotic statement. It’s all the more idiotic given the ovations he received when he first joined the Mets.

Assuredly, those are gone.

Another important note, this is a Mets team who opened the month with a 3.5 game division lead. It hasn’t even been a full month, and they turned that into a 7.5 game deficit.

That shifts to what makes this all too embarrassing and hilarious. Apparently, the Mets players had been trying to do this for a week.

That’s just how bad the Mets have been. They’ve been trying to make this a new thing for a week. The only problem is no one noticed because they have been so bad the past week, and really this month, they couldn’t even pull it off.

It’s just a bad joke.

They’ve been trying to get back at the fans for the better part of a week, and they were so bad, no one knew this was a thing. Pulling off this retaliation might as well have been the Mets hitting with the bases loaded.

And therein lies the problem. The players are now obsessed over trying to teach the fans a lesson. Great. Good for them. It’s not going to help them win games or hit.

So, great, teach Mets fans a lesson. They’re still going to boo a team four games under .500 who completely nosedived against teams they were supposed to compete with in the postseason.

Even better, the booing is going to get worse much like the Mets performance has been in the second half. So, in the end, the players actions are going to be as counter productive as their at-bats with RISP have been.

Really, all you can and should do, is laugh at them because this is just sad.

Succinct Mets Nationals Recap

This New York Mets team is completely lost right now. People can try to sell they lost seven one run games to the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers all they want.

Fact is, against a bad Washington Nationals team who nearly stripped it all down at the deadline, they lost 2-1.

It’s inexcusable, and we’re nearing the point this team isn’t worth your time. That’s if it hasn’t happened already.

Mets With Another 3-2 Loss

Carlos Carrasco was really good, and he gave a glimpse into what a healthy 2022 season could be for him. Over 7.0 innings, he allowed two runs on three hits.

Past that, you really don’t want to know. That said, you can probably guess right.

There was the inability to hit with the bases loaded. A good reliever suffered from bad luck.

The Mets also completely overreacted to the left-handed starting pitcher. As we’ve seen previously, this resulted in having better pinch hitters. But, whatever at this point.

We can hear Jacob deGrom started throwing. Noah Syndergaard is on a rehab assignment where he can’t throw a breaking pitch.

All this does is create the illusion of hope for a team who went 2-11 against the Giants and Dodgers. They can try to sell seven of those 11 games were one run games, but being honest, those one run games were about the Mets throwing away chances to win those games on multiple occasions.

Maybe the Mets go on a run. Maybe they don’t. Whatever the case, something is broken here. Luis Rojas will be blamed, but it’s not his fault. This is on the players and front office.