Mets Lose To Yankees Again

If you looked at the Mets lineup today, it looked like the lineup you put together when you’re: (1) grasping at straws; (2) overthinking things; or (3) trying to do something different for its own sake:

As bizarre as the lineup looked, it worked . . . at least in the first.

Against Yankee starter Domingo German, second place hitter Todd Frazier opened the scoring with his first homer since returning from the DL:

After third place hitter Brandon Nimmo tripled, Asdrubal Cabrera homered to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

From there, the Mets offense reverted back to itself throwing away golden opportunities. That gave Steven Matz a decent lead, but not a big one against a dangerous Yankee lineup.

For a while, Matz kept the Yankees at bay. He did what he needed to do to stymie rallies including picking off Aaron Hicks in the first.

Despite Matz pitching well, it didn’t stop Gleyber Torres from hitting a third inning homer to pull the Yankees to within 3-1.

In the sixth, Matz got himself into trouble by walking Gary Sanchez on five pitches, and then he hung a curve to Miguel Andujar. Suddenly, it’s a tie game, and you’re once again wondering just how the Mets are going to score.

Really, from the Cabrera homer through the sixth, the Mets offense did little. Then, against David Robertson, Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with an opposite field double down the third base line.

He wouldn’t move from that base. One of the reasons why was Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Luis Guillorme instead of Jose Bautista after a Kevin Plawecki strikeout.

Guillorme struck out against a reliever who had reverse splits.

In the ensuing inning, Anthony Swarzak hung his first pitch to Aaron Judge, who hit what would be the game winning homer.

In quite fitting fashion, this game ended with Jose Reyes flying out to end the game. Really, on a night where the Mets had no real bench to rely upon, it made sense there was no better option than Reyes, who we all knew would fail.

Game Notes: Cabrera was ejected an inning after he struck out looking for barking from the dugout. Yoenis Cespedes was pulled from his rehab start.

Reasons Why Peter Alonso Isn’t Here

Well , once again Adrian Gonzalezis playing poorly. Including last night’s 0-for–3 with two strikeouts, he’s hitting .239/.304/.374 on the season.

Those numbers are unacceptable from a defensive catcher let alone a team’s everyday first baseman.

It’s not like he’s mired in a slump, or those numbers are the result of a poor start. Basically speaking, this is who Gonzalez has been all year. It’s time to make a switch.

That switch should start with Dominic Smith getting called-up to play in Gonzalez’s place, but with him hitting .267/.350/.379 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, he hasn’t earned the Mets first base job.

This is the point where most Mets fans cry out for Peter Alonso, who has been tearing up Double-A hitting .313/.448/.582 with nine doubles, 15 homers, and 49 RBI.

Despite the enthusiasm those stats garner, there are some concerns about making such a move.

For starters, Alonso pulls the ball 44.1% of the time making it easy for MLB teams to shift against him. This will likely lead to his .343 BABIP cratering.

Another consideration is his 23.4 percent HR/FB ration. It’s just a terrific number. The question is just how sustainable that is. As a point of reference, Alonso had a 16.8 percent home run to fly ball ratio last year. That’s a big jump, which puts him into Giancarlo Stanton territory.

Alonso has real power, but being at Stanton’s level is perhaps a higher stratosphere many believed he would be.

There’s also the fact he’s in a slump going just seven for his last 38 (.184) with only one homer. The one positive there is he continues to draw walks.

His continuing to draw walks speaks to a much better approach at the plate, which has helped fuel his power numbers.

There’s also his defensive issues. While Alonso is much improved with his more slender physique, he’s made six errors this year, which is a .985 fielding percentage.

There may be other things the Mets could cite for their decision to not being him up, including but not limited to how big a jump it is to go from Double-A to the majors.

Whatever the case. whoever is playing first base now is likely just a stopgap for when Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list.

At that point, with Brandon Nimmo playing like an All Star, and with the Mets likely not wanting to sit Jay Bruceor Michael Conforto, that likely means Bruce shifts to first base.

And if Bruce is at first, there’s no room for Gonzalez or Alonso on this roster any longer. With no real playing time available, mostly due to the presence of Bruce on this roster, the Mets likely don’t want to call up Alonso. Rather, the better decision is to let him continue to improve in Double or Triple-A.

Ultimately, it is the Mets decision to give Bruce a three year $39 million deal, even with the Mets already being set at the corner outfield position, that is going to be the major impediment to the Mets properly addressing their first base situation.

Mets Find New Way To Ruin deGrom’s Greatness

In the bottom of the first, Brandon Nimmohit the second pitch of the game from Masahiro Tanaka. From there, the Mets offense did nothing.

It was as if the Mets said to Jacob deGrom, “Here’s your run. Now go win this game.”

For five innings deGrom was brilliant, and he was keeping his pitch count down. It was as if he was going to make sure he wasn’t going to let the bullpen blow this one.

The bullpen wasn’t going to get that chance because the defense did.

A Tanaka grounder somehow ate up Adrian Gonzalez who booted it leading to Tanaka teaching with one out.

Tanaka went to third after a Gleyber Torres single and Brett Gardner walk. deGrom then got Aaron Judge to fly out to medium depth right field.

Naturally, Jay Bruce labored to get to the ball, and he made an absolutely dreadful season throw home that was already rolling by the first base bag.

The throw, which rolled past Gonzalez, was not in time to catch a hobbled Tanaka, who had to exit the game with a leg injury.

Because he’s Jake, and he’s great, he got out of that jam allowing just the one earned run.

That said, we knew the Mets were going to lose this one. It really was an inevitability from a team who has not scored more than one run in a game since the first of this month. That stretch is made all the worse when you consider it includes a 14 inning game.

Mets had a golden chance in the sixth withJonathan Holder needing to warm up on the fly to get ready to pitch that inning. They went down 1-2-3.

They seemed to be getting to Chad Green in the seventh. Two on, two out, and Devin Mesoraco struck out swinging.

That was a real shame because it set the stage for deGrom to lose his first game of the season.

After a Torres two out single, Gardner got a hold of one which bounced off the top of the right field wall for a two run homer.

After Giancarlo Stanton homered off Paul Sewald, the Yankees lead was 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

If you woke up from a coma, you might’ve gotten excited in the bottom of the ninth.

Nimmo was hit by Aroldis Chapman‘s first pitch. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with an infield single (no, seriously).

After Michael Conforto flew out to center, Todd Frazier hit a ball hard that Miguel Andujar made a nice play on. That said, it was a somewhat slow moving play, and it was a play that only Cabrera would be out at second.

To put a nice capper on everything, Bruce popped out to end the game because he apparently had not done enough to help cost the Mets this game.

Game Notes: Noah Syndergaard suffered a setback and won’t be activated for Sunday. Seth Lugo will start in his place. Jeurys Familia was placed on the DL before the game, and Jacob Rhame was called up to take his place.

Trivia Friday: Sandy Alderson Mets Picks To Make The Majors

This past week, the Mets had their highest first round pick in the Sandy Alderson era, and the organization used it to select OF Jarred Kelenic.  If he is like the Mets other first round draft picks, he has a good shot at making the majors.  In fact, since Alderson has taken over as General Manager, the Mets have seen 28 of their draft picks make the Major Leagues.

Can you name them?  Good luck!

Brandon Nimmo Cory Mazzoni Michael Fulmer Logan Verrett Tyler Pill Jack Leathersich Daniel Muno Robert Gsellman Phillip Evans Travis Taijeron John Gant Seth Lugo Chase Bradford Gavin Cecchini Kevin Plawecki Matt Reynolds Matt Koch Corey Oswalt Tomas Nido Paul Sewald Robert Whalen Matthew Bowman Chris Flexen Tim Peterson Dominic Smith Luis Guillorme Kevin McGowan Michael Conforto

Mets Blogger Roundtable: How Many Wins Will deGrom Have?

As frustrated as Mets fans have been this season, imagine being Jacob deGrom. Short of his pitching a complete game shut out and hitting a homer, he’s not getting the win.

In fact, deGrom has made four straight seven inning starts, and in each start, he has allowed one earned or less. He has gone just 1-0 with three no decisions. That makes eight no decisions on the season.

With the way the Mets offense has been, it begs the question over just how many wins will deGrom have with the Mets this season. The Mets Blogger Roundtable attempts to answer:

Logan Barer (MMO)

4

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

Zero. The Mets are aware of this and have stopped using the word “wins” entirely to keep morale up, so that’s good. Jacob will be traded to, I dunno, the Barves at the deadline for five relief pitching prospects and $10 million, after the Yankees offer Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres knowing full well Fred Wilpon will agree to it before saying “psyche” and hanging up his rotary phone. deGrom will go 8-0 with a 6.00 ERA in Atlanta and then completely dominate in all of his postseason appearances. I will remark “neat” to nobody in particular as he accepts his World Series MVP trophy while my cat continues to clean himself.

Ed Leyro (Studious Metsimus)

Fear not, Mets fans, for deGrom will actually do something to knock Oliver Perez out of the Mets’ record books.

In 2008, Perez went 10-7 in 34 starts to set a franchise record with 17 no-decisions. DeGrom will shatter that mark by going 9-3 with 20 no-decisions. Jacob already has eight NDs in his first 12 starts. Ollie didn’t pick up his eighth no decision in his record-setting campaign until his 19th start on July 11.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

deGrom will probably get his next win at the end of July, in another uniform. Getting traded in itself will be a win for him.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

DeGrom will win 9 games, matching Craig Swan‘s total from 40 years ago when he won the NL ERA title. Who says the Mets don’t honor their history?

Mets Daddy

Right now, Felix Hernandez and Fernando Valenzuela share the MLB record for fewest wins by a starter in the season they won the Cy Young Award. Valenzuela’s came in the strike shortened 1981 season whereas King Felix accomplished his feat over the course of a full 162 game schedule.

Through King Felix’s first 12 starts, he had three wins, which is one fewer than where deGrom is now, so being optimistic, let’s say deGrom gets to that 13 number with far fewer losses.

When deGrom finally gets to win number five, please make sure to see what each one of these writers say about it. It’s sure to be better than watching the Mets offense.

Cabrera’s Bunt Epitomizes The Drag That Is This Terrible Team

There isn’t much to say about this team right now.

Zach Wheeler was great shutting out the Orioles over seven innings allowing just three hits and a walk striking out five.

At the same time, the Mets were dominated by Dylan Bundy, which is at least more palatable than getting dominated by Alex Cobb.

The Mets couldn’t get two on until the seventh, and it was due to a Kevin Plawecki two out double.

Buck Showalter took advantage of an opportunity to force Mickey Callaway‘s hand by intentionally walking Adrian Gonzalez to bring up Wheeler.

Despite Wheeler’s .286 batting average, with how horrid the Mets offense has been Callaway had little choice but to try to get that runner home by pinch hitting Jose Bautista.

In a tough at-bat, where Bautista took some borderline pitches, he walked to load the bases.

Then Amed Rosario had a terrible at-bat striking out on three straight pitches ending the inning.

Worse yet, he took it into the field misplaying a Pedro Alvarez hit into an infield single.

An Adam Jones single and Manny Machado sacrifice fly later, and the Mets faced an insurmountable 1-0 deficit with Jeurys Familia facing the loss.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, you got to see the epitome of the Mets offensive ineptitude.

After Brandon Nimmo singled to lead-off the bottom of the eighth, Asdrubal Cabrera went to bunt his way on. Typically, this is a smart baseball play, especially for a player in a slump because the only real downside is you move a runner into scoring position.

That is unless you did what Cabrera did, which was pop the bunt up to the pitcher who could throw it quickly to first to complete the easy double play.

So, there you have it. The Mets limited the worst team in baseball to just three runs in two games, and they got swept because they could only muster one run. Just one.

This has to be rock bottom, right?

Game Notes: Mets are contemplating releasing Jose Reyes but want to do so in a way that honors him because anytime you get a chance to honor a player who threw his wife through a glass door, you just have to do it.

Where Do The Mets Get Off Giving Away deGrom Gnomes?

Back in 2015, the New York Mets had a promotion to give away Jacob deGrom Garden Gnomes. As noted in an MMO article on the topic, this was a hot ticket item as nearly 40,000 fans showed up for the giveaway.

The problem was the Mets only gave away 15,000 garden gnomes meaning that even if you showed up to the gates an hour early, well before most fans arrive for a normal game, you were out of luck:

For some reason, the Mets won’t give away 40,000 of hot ticket items like this even with them knowing they are filling the park. As an aside, they make sure to have enough for every media member.

That aside, the Mets are more than willing to ruin a child’s experience at a game because they won’t spend the extra few bucks (absent a sponsor – $3/fan) to make sure everyone gets one, and maybe like the Brewers, order extras to bring to schools and other charitable events.

If you’re not infuriated enough, consider this: THE METS STILL HAVE LEFTOVER DEGROM GNOMES!!!!!

That’s right, despite “only having 15,000” leaving roughly 25,000 fans without a gnome, the Mets have one, and they’re giving it away:

https://mobile.twitter.com/mets/status/1003745747232313344

Really, just when you think this franchise can’t sink any lower and can’t be any more insulting, they find a way.

If you spent the money, you weren’t guaranteed a gnome not just because the Mets didn’t order enough, but because they also held one back to give away on Twitter.

Ridiculous.

Bad Pitcher, Worse Team, Mets Loss.

Well, Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak were back today. The MLB worst Orioles were sending Alex Cobb and his AL worst seven losses and a 6.80 ERA to the mound.

This was supposed to be the day everything got better.

It didn’t.

In the first, the Orioles played two against Jason Vargas with a Manny Machado RBI single and a Danny Valencia sac fly. Believe it or not (you should believe it), the Mets could not overcome that deficit.

It wasn’t until the fifth that the Mets would get anything going with a Jay Bruce single and a Kevin Plawecki double.

Ultimately, with runners on second and third with no out, the Mets would only plate one run on a Jose Bautista sacrifice fly. Bautista just missed it, but he missed it all the same.

With Seth Lugo pitching three scoreless and Swarzak returning with a scoreless inning, the Mets would have a chance to tie the game with a big hit, an error, really, anything.

And the Mets has a golden chance in the eighth.

After an Amed Rosario one out walk, Brandon Nimmo laid down a bunt. Valencia got to the ball, but he pulled the first baseman off the bag with his throw. With the heart of the order approaching, Asdrubal Cabrera hit into an inning ending and effectively speaking a game ending double play.

Now, the Mets are four games under .500, and you’re left wondering where the low point is going to be because the Mets certainly haven’t found it yet.

Game Notes: Cabrera is now one for his last 25.

Blame Sandy Alderson, Not Mickey Callaway

In a scathing article from David Lennon of Newsday set to take Mickey Callaway to task for the Mets recent poor play ultimately concluding that under Callaway’s 57 game tenure as a manager, the Mets are, “A lot of talk, accomplishing nothing.”

Really, it was full of quick barbs and cheap shots like this gem:

So after two more losses, one lousy run scored in the last 24 innings and a pair of Little League-quality blunders in Sunday’s sweep-completing 2-0 loss to the Cubs, we’re wondering what Mickey Callaway has planned next for the Mets.

A how-to seminar on the basics of baseball? A weeklong retreat to restore all of this depleted self-esteem? Maybe a clubhouse visit by Tony Robbins?

This is just emblematic of how Callaway, who is in a no-win situation is now fair game for mocking, ridicule, and blame.  What is interesting is these downright insults really overlook what Callaway has accomplished in his brief tenure.

Jacob deGrom has gone to a level we had never seen him pitch.  For a Mets organization who looked at Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as enigmas, Callaway has helped turn them into terrific relievers.  Speaking of enigmas, the Mets have recently seen Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz turn a corner.  It that holds true this rotation will be every bit as formidable as we all hoped it would be.

Offensively, Brandon Nimmo has gone from fourth outfielder to a terrific lead0ff hitter who leads all National League outfielders in OBP and OPS.  Amed Rosario has been making continued strides.  After beginning his career hitting .245/.275/.371 with a 27.6% strikeout rate, since May 1st, Rosario is an improved .274/.291/.415 with a 16.4% strikeout rate.  It may not seem like much, but it’s a stark improvement.

We have also seen the Mets go dumpster diving for players like Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.  Somehow, these players have been much improved with the Mets than their prior stops, and they have salvaged their MLB careers.

The obvious question from here is if all this is true than why are the Mets 27-30 and in fourth place after such a terrific start?

Much of that answer, i.e. the blame, is attributable to the Mets front office.

Despite time and again facing the same injury issues over and over again, the team AGAIN mishandled a Yoenis Cespedes leg injury, and they are having Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera play poorly through their own injuries.  What’s hysterical about this is Sandy Alderson actually utter the words, “Honestly, sometimes I think we’re a little too cautious with how we approach injuries.”

He’s also made a number of blunders with the in-season managing of this roster.

Consider this.  After short start, the Mets designated P.J. Conlon in a series of roster moves to help bring up three fresh arms including Scott Copeland.  After Copeland pitched 1.1 scoreless in his only appearance, the Mets called up Jose Lobaton and his -0.6 WAR for the intended purpose of allowing Kevin Plawecki and his .198/.282/.288 split against left-handed pitchers at first base to face Mike Montgomery

Meanwhile, a Mets organization loses Conlon as the Dodgers claimed him, and a Mets organization who has been wringing their hands to find a second left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, looked on as Buddy Baumann get lit up for four runs on three hits and two walks in the 14th inning of a game the Cubs had not scored a run in over three hours.

The front office’s decision making gets worse and worse the more you look at it.

For some reason, they insist on keeping Jose Reyes on the roster.  This, coupled with the aforementioned Gonzalez and Bautista signings, is emblematic of an organization more willing to trust in done veterans reclaiming their past glory than giving a young player like Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Peter Alonso, or even Gavin Cecchini (before his injury) a chance.

This was one of the reasons why the Mets signed Bruce to a three year deal this offseason.  No, this was not insurance against Michael Conforto‘s shoulder.  Three year $39 million deals are not that.  Rather, this signing showed: (1) the Mets wanted a Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce outfield for the next three years; and (2) the team did not have any faith Nimmo could handle playing everyday at the MLB level on even a limited basis.

Now, the Mets what looks to be an injured $39 million albatross in right, who doesn’t even know to call off a back peddling second baseman with a runner on third.

That’s bad defense, which is something the Mets actively welcome with all of their personnel decisions.  Really, the team has spent the past few seasons looking to plug non-center fielders in center while playing players out of position all across the infield.

Despite what the Lennon’s of the world will tell us, the poor defense and lack of basic fundamentals isn’t Callaway’s doing.  No, it is the result of an organizational philosophy.

The Bruce signing has such short and long term implications.  With his salary, will the Mets bench him instead of Nimmo or Gonzalez when Cespedes comes back healthy.  Will the organization let his salaries in future years block Alonso or Dominic Smith at first base?  Mostly, will his escalating salaries be another excuse why the team rolls the dice and gives a player like Jason Vargas $8 million instead of just going out and signing the player who really fills a need?

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to attack Callaway.  His bullpen management has been suspect at times.  Lately, he’s been managing more out of fear than attacking the game to try to get the win.  Really, this is part of a learning curve for a first time manager in a new league.

It’s a learning curve that could have been helped by a long time veteran National League manager.  Instead, Sandy Alderson thought it best to hire a Gary Disarcina to be the bench coach because who better to help a young first time manager in a new league than a player who has spent his entire playing, front office, and minor league managerial career in the American League?

Really, that’s just one of several examples of how Alderson has set up both Callaway and this entire Mets team to fail in 2018.

Cabrera Fell Back to Earth

After his epic run at the end of the 2015 season, it is understandable how many view Yoenis Cespedes as the driving force of this Mets team.  However, if you look at the past few seasons, the person who has really been at the forefront of the Mets peaks and valleys has been Asdrubal Cabrera.

Looking over the past few seasons, Cabrera never really did get the credit Cespedes received for his propelling the Mets to the postseason in 2016.  Consider from August 19th until the end of the 2016 season, he hit .345/.406/.635 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 homers, and 29 RBI.  Really, looking at that decimated team who was looking for an everyday second baseman at they entered September, it was Cabrera who carried that team to the postseason.

As the 2018 season began, it was once again Cabrera who was the driving force of this Mets team.

In April, Cabrera hit .340/.393/.580 with nine doubles, five homers, and 17 RBI.  For a Mets team who was in first place, Cabrera was in the all too early conversation for National League MVP.

That’s not a stretch either as Cabrera’s hot bat masked much of what was wrong with the Mets.  The Mets were winning despite Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard being the only Mets starters who would give the team credible starts.  Amed Rosario was struggling along with Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and countless other Mets.  The teams two catchers, Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki went down with injuries, and they were replaced by an underwhelming duo of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido.

Through all of it, Cabrera got big hit after big hit after big hit, and the Mets were 17-9, and they led the Braves by 1.5 games in the National League East, and they lead the Nationals by 4.5 games.

Since that time, we have seen Cabrera get nicked up on more than one occasion, have seen his play fall off of a cliff, and we have seen the Mets go 10-21 while plummeting to fourth in the standings.

Since May 1st, Cabrera is hitting .252/.282/.445 with six doubles, a triple, five homers, and 17 RBI.  These are more befitting a hitter towards the end of the lineup than the second place hitter Cabrera has been for this team.

Cabrera isn’t just struggling at the plate.  He’s struggling mightily in the field as well.  In fact, with a -11 DRS, Cabrera is the worst defensive second baseman in all of baseball.  Expanding the worldview a bit more, Cabrera’s -11 DRS ranks worst among all Major League infielders.

Simply put, Cabrera is not hitting or fielding right now.  In a season where the was the driving force who bailed the Mets out of a number of situations, he has become one of the many liabilities on this team.

No, the current state of the Mets cannot be pinned on Cabrera. There are far more issues than his recent play.  However, when he struggles like this, with Cespedes on the disabled list, and Michael Conforto still trying to get back to form, you no longer have a bat in the lineup who can carry this Mets team and help mask some of those other issues.