The Mets Don’t Lose at Home

Last night, I was reflecting on past Mets playoff performances. The first ever Mets playoff game I attended was Pratts’ All Folks. I can still remember Steve Finley‘s whole body sag when he realized he didn’t rob the homerun. I remember once that happened, Shea Stadium erupted immediately.

The following year, I again went to Game Four of the NLDS. This time it was Bobby Jones‘ moment in the sun. Actually, it was a pretty miserable day like it is today, but I digress. Jones would pitch a one-hitter sending the Mets to the NLCS. 

After recalling those moments, something occurred to me that caused me to spend some time on Baseball Almanac. Here’s what I saw: 

October 8, 1999

Diamondbacks 2 – Mets 9

October 9, 1999
Diamondbacks 3 – Mets 4 (10 innings)

October 7, 2000
Giants 2 – Mets 3 (13 innings)

October 8, 2000
Giants 0 – Mets 4

October 4, 2006
Mets 6 – Dodgers 5

October 5, 2006
Mets 4 – Dodgers 1

That’s right. Since the inception of the Wild Card, the Mets have never lost an NLDS home game. They’re 6-0. Looking over the Mets history, they’ve never lost a five game series, and they’ve only lost one home game (1973) in a five game series. 

Some other interesting five game series facts:

  • The Mets have only played in one fifth and deciding game, which was a 7-2 victory in Cincinnati. 
  • The Mets have had homefield advantage only once in a best of five series (2006). 
  • In each division series, the Mets have faced a former Mets player: Kelly Stinnett (1999), Jeff Kent (2000 & 2006), Justin Turner (2015). 
  • The Mets have a 3-2 record in road NLDS games and 7-3 overall road record in best of five road games. 
  • Edgardo Alfonzo has hit four homeruns in the NLDS, making him the Mets All-Time NLDS leader. 

What does this all mean for the 2015 NLDS? To quote Dark Helmet, “Absolutely nothing!”  With that said, I’m hoping history will repeat itself. 

Lets Go Mets!

No Excuse

No, I’m not panicking after getting swept in both ends of a doubleheader. I don’t think this five game losing streak is that big of a deal. I actually like starting the NLDS on the road

However, I’m angry. The Mets weren’t even competitive against Max Scherzer. They had no hits. They struck out 17 times. They didn’t even make a loud out. If it wasn’t for a Yunel Escobar sixth inning error, it would’ve been a perfect game. I don’t care that Scherzer is an incredible pitcher. It’s garbage. What bothered me most was quotes like this:

I’m not asking Kevin Plawecki to disrespect his opponent. However, what is wrong with saying, “Scherzer embarrassed us out there tonight. We’re heading to the playoffs, and we need to be better than that.”  It’s this attitude that bothers me the most.

The Mets are going to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in the NLDS. They have the ability to be as good or better than Scherzer was tonight. They could face the Mets four out of the possible five games in the NLDS. I don’t need to hear how the Mets are ripping their caps. I need to hear how angry they are with their own performance. If you want to point to the Mets biggest flaw, it’s that. They’re too accepting of the poor performances.  

By the way, Matt Harvey was amazing himself tonight. He only let up an unearned run. Because the rest of his team didn’t show up, he got the loss. I hope it’s not an omen. 

Good Things Happened in the Mets Loss

The Mets have lost. Homefield advantage is not important. In fact, the Mets may be better off without it. These last three games are about getting ready for the playoffs. 

When you look at today’s game through that prism. Today was a good day. Noah Syndergaard was dominant going seven innings allowing two hits, one earned, one walk, and 10 strikeouts. He looked ready to start Game Two of the NLDS no matter where it will be played. 

Also important was no one got hurt or tweaked a bat. Yoenis Cespedes played. It’s too early to judge if there will be lingering effects from the bruises, but he did look alright out there. 

Jon Niese came out of the bullpen and pitched himself in and out of trouble. In many ways that’s very encouraging because part of pitching out of the bullpen is getting out of trouble. Even better, Niese did not have a meltdown when he got in trouble. 

So yes, I’m downplaying Daniel Murphy not turning a double play. I’m not giving much attention to Addison Reed giving up a go-ahead two run homerun to Bryce Harper. It was the first runs he’s allowed as a Met.  It was a meaningless 3-1 loss.  I’m focusing on the positive because the first time in nine years there’s something positive. 

I’m more excited because Thor was dominant, and that’s what the Mets will need in the playoffs. I hope you are too. 

Wilmer Flores

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

How to Handle the Double Header

After last night’s rainout, the Mets are scheduled for double header today. This could be tricky for a team that has a number of banged up players but still wants to fight for homefield advantage

At the same time, the Mets also need to figure out their postseason roster. There are easy decisions to make like Travis d’Arnaud catches one game and Kevin Plawecki catches the other. There are more difficult decisions to be made especially if the field is sloppy. Ultimately, while making these decisions, the Mets to keep in mind the priority is not homefield but winning the World Series. Here’s how I would handle it:

  1. David Wright does not step in the field unless they pull Pete Flynn out of retirement and get his go-ahead;
  2. Jon Niese pitches today [and tomorrow];
  3. If Dilson Herrera has a chance to make the playoff roster, he needs to play in both games, and preferably, he plays a position other than 2B;
  4. Anyone who is on the playoff roster bubble must start one game and at least pinch hit in the other game; and
  5. At bats shouldn’t be wasted on players who can’t make the roster. 

The Mets must keep in mind the goal is to win a World Series. The best way to help that is to make sure the team is healthy and primed to win. I don’t care if the Mets lose both games so long as they do what is needed to get ready for the NLDS. 

Revised NLDS Roster Projection

I’m not calling this 2.0. To me that would indicate that I will make a number of changes, but I wanted to show you my work product. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not my intention when I share my projections

However, there has been another major development with Steven Matz‘s back. As I said yesterday, I was not going to trust he was going to pitch until he actually pitches

Catchers

1. Travis d’Arnaud

2. Kevin Plawecki

Infielders

3. Lucas Duda

4. Daniel Murphy

5. Kelly Johnson

6. David Wright

7. Ruben Tejada

8. Wilmer Flores

Outfielders

9. Michael Conforto

10. Michael Cuddyer

11. Yoenis Cespedes

12. Juan Lagares

13. Curtis Granderson

Pinch Runner

14. Eric Young, Jr.

Starting Pitchers

15. Jacob deGrom

16. Noah Syndergaard

17. Matt Harvey

18. Bartolo Colon

Relief Pitchers

19. Jeurys Familia

20. Addison Reed

21. Tyler Clippard

22. Hansel Robles

23. Jon Niese

24. Sean Gilmartin

25. Erik Goeddel

As you can see, the only change I made between the projections was exchanging Matz for Goeddel. I chose Goeddel because he’s been pretty good lately, and he can generate strikeouts with his splitter. 

I still think there are two other players under consideration: Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Dilson Herrera. Kirk has been good lately, has some power, can run, and can play all three OF positions. However, since he’s a left handed bat going into a series with a lot of LHP, I don’t think the Mets will put him on the roster. 

I think Dilson is getting consideration because he’s a right handed bat and definitively the team’s best defensive second baseman.  With Flores’ back injury, Herrera is a definite possibility. What hurts him most is he only plays 2B. As I said in another post, the presence of Murphy and Johnson could alleviate those concerns. 

However, for right now, I think the Mets give EY the edge, especially because he’s a Terry Collins favorite. If anything else happens, I’ll put out another revised projection. 

One Week from Today

I was there for Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS. It was painful.  However, I was able to finally get some sleep by thinking the Mets would be back.

One of the things I could hang my hat on was that most of the players were in their prime and returning. On top of that, Jose Reyes and David Wright were still young and improving. 

I was wrong about the Mets returning to the playoffs. I would watch in horror in 2007 and 2008 as the Mets would collapse in back-to-back years. Then, the Mets were in for six years of just terrible baseball. Finally, the Mets turned it around this year, and they finally returned to the playoffs. 

A lot is different now. The Mets changed ballparks. The core of the team changed from in their prime sluggers to young power arms. The only thing the two teams have in common is David Wright, but not even he is the same. In 2006, he was a 23 year old on the verge of superstardom. This year he’s a 32 year old veteran dealing with a serious back issue. 

In any event, Wright and the Mets are back in the playoffs. They’re just eight years behind schedule. We don’t know if the Mets will start the NLDS in New York or Los Angeles. We don’t know the start time of the game. All we know right now is the Mets will be playing a playoff game next week

After waiting nine years, I’m more than happy to wait a week. I just hope I won’t have to wait more than 33 days for the Mets to win a World Series. 

Wilmer Flores

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

How to Survive a Rainy Day at Citi Field . . . with a Kid

It’s going to be a rainy weekend at Citi Field. If you’re like me, and you’re bringing the little guy, or gal, it means you have to be prepared. 

First things, first, come prepared. If you have a water coat and the like, dress your child in them. Keep an extra set in a tightly sealed ziplock. Also, keep a set of dry clothes in the trunk of your car. 

Second, stake your ground. Every seat now comes with some sort of club access. If you’re traveling with another adult, you can alternate holding the spot and running around with the kid. If there’s no room in a club, try to sit in a covered spot. 

Third, eat your food early. If your brought it with you, eat it immediately. There’s nothing worse than a soggy sandwich. If you’re planning out eating at the park, eat immediately. There’s going to be water everywhere. You’ll enjoy it more if you eat it on a dry surface. 

Overall, going to a game in the rain can be a lot of fun. I know my son had a blast when it happened to us earlier in the year. He loved running all over the ballpark with the puddles. The lines for Mr.Met, the ball field, and the dunk tank were short.  The food and bathroom lines were as well. 

I hope you find this information helpful. I hope you enjoy saluting the 2015 NL East Champion Mets when they come home. 

Lets Go Mets!

Mets Priorities 

Quick question for everyone: what is the Mets goal for the rest of the season?  Wrong. It’s not getting Homefield advantage. It’s getting the team ready for the playoffs. 

In order for that to happen, here’s what needs to get done:

  1. Steven Matz needs to get five innings on Saturday or Sunday meaning a short start for either Jacob deGrom or Matt Harvey;
  2. You don’t risk David Wright‘s back playing on a sloppy or wet field;
  3. Yoenis Cespedes needs to be in Germany or anywhere that can aggressively treat a bruise;
  4. Jon Niese needs to pitch in two games this weekend;
  5. Play Dilson Herrera at multiple positions to see if he can make the playoff roster;
  6. No wasted at bats to Eric CampbellAnthony ReckerJohnny Monell, or anyone that the Mets are not considering putting on the playoff roster;
  7. Same goes for the relievers even if there is a blowout. They need to stay fresh;
  8. Get Travis d’Arnaud back on track;
  9. Allow Michael Conforto to hit against some lefties because he’s eventually going to have to face one in October; and
  10. Get out of the weekend healthy. 

If the Mets accomplish the above, they will be in a strong position entering the playoffs. Homefield advantage is secondary to this. If the Mets get it, great. If they don’t, it may inure to their benefit. Overall, I’m absolutely convinced the Mets do not need homefield advantage in the NLDS to win.