Where’s Dario Alvarez?

The Mets have announced what I presume is their first group of September call-ups. These players include Eric CampbellKevin PlaweckiKirk Nieuwenhuis, and Eric Young, Jr.  It’s fitting these four are the ones being called up first because they have a legitimate shot at being on the postseason roster, especially Plawecki. 

When I looked at this list, I was surprised that Dario Alvarez‘s name wasn’t on the list. With Eric O’Flaherty struggling and the Mets refusal to put Steven Matz in the bullpen, there are no lefty options. As the August 31st waiver trade deadline has passed, another one cannot be acquired. The Mets need to figure this out. 

The Las Vegas 51s season ends on the 7th. They’re in last place, so there won’t be any playoffs for them. The Mets apparently don’t care about the 51s season, and nor should they. That’s why they gutted their roster. Why they left Alvarez behind is beyond me. He’s been terrific in AAA. He is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.871 WHIP.  

Alvarez belongs in the majors, especially with the LOOGY problem unresolved. I don’t know that Alvarez is ready to be a LOOGY. I don’t know if O’Flaherty can fix his issues in September to become the LOOGY the Mets need in the playoffs. What I do know is the Mets need to figure something out soon. They could be facing Adrian GonzalezJason HeywardMatt CarpenterPedro Alvarez, and/or Anthony Rizzo. It would be nice to have a lefty to get those guys out. 

It’s funny with all the Mets moves, this is the one area they haven’t been able to properly address. I’d hate to see them LEFT out of October glory for that reason. 

UPDATE: it was pointed out to me by Jack Ramsey that Alvarez is not available to be called up until tomorrow. This post will be more pertinent tomorrow. 

Kidcaster

After having a son, one thing I’ve noticed is how much the Mets have become kid friendly.  One way that is especially true is the Kidcaster contest. 

It’s incredibly cool that a kid gets to do play-by-play for a half inning. It’s something I wish was available when I was a kid. I hope it will continue to be available when my son is old enough. 

The kid they chose this year, Dante Sasso, was terrific. He showed a knowledge of the game. He even dropped a Tommie Agee reference. That’s impressive. It was also impressive that Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez kept up their color duties and really helped this kid along. 

The Mets should be proud of themselves today. They continue to make this team kid friendly, and apparently, they’re developing a smart fan base. 

Wilmer Flores

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

Duda is Not Coming BACK

It was announced today that Lucas Duda will not be coming off the DL on Saturday. This should come as a surprise to anyone

The Mets botched this from the start. They shortened their bench hoping he would be ready in under 15 days. They didn’t even bother to get him a full, proper examination. They rushed him back. He got worse. If the Mets bothered to get him examined and sought proper treatment, Duda could’ve been back already. If he went on the DL by August 13th, he would’ve been eligible to come off the DL by August 28th.  

He’s now eligible to come off the DL on Saturday, September 5th. This would’ve allowed him to get some games in before a big series on the road against the Nationals. Who knows?  He still may be on the DL, but he would’ve been receiving treatment longer. One other small note: minor league seasons are coming to an end preventing Duda from getting some rehab games in the minors. 

It doesn’t matter. The Mets botched the treatment of one of their best players, their biggest power threat. I’m still holding out hope that he can come back in time to get enough reps for the playoffs. Actually, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Let’s hope he comes back in time to help the Mets win the division. 

All I know is how the Mets react to injuries has got to change. Sooner or later, it’s going to really harm their chances to win. 

Colon Was Large and in Charge

If the Mets actually pull this off and win the division, they need to send some playoff shares to the Phillies as they are now 13-1 against them. If not for the Phillies, the Mets would only be three games over .500 right now and in a tie for the division lead with the Nationals. 

Today’s win was fueled by Bartolo Colon. He was once again terrific against them. Last time out, he went 7 innings with eight strikeouts and none earned. Tonight, he was even better going 8 innings with nine strikeouts and no runs allowed.  Between this start and Saturday’s relief appearance, he is single-handedly saving the bullpen. Honestly, he could’ve and should’ve gone nine. 

Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth, and he got into trouble. He loaded the bases. He was able to induce a 6-4-3 double play. He dodged a bullet when a would be Andres Blanco extra base hit went foul. Familia would strike him out to end the game. However, tonight belonged to Colon. 

Colon even added some offense. After Michael Conforto‘s opposite field HR giving the Mets a 1-0 lead in the fifth, Colon added a single. He would score on Curtis Granderson‘s homerun. Colon would make these three fifth inning runs hold up for the Mets 3-0 win. 

There needs to be an important point made about replay here. In the seventh, it appeared Conforto had his first stolen base. However, the tag lingered. There was about .000000000000000000000000000001 seconds where Conforto was not on the bag. After a review lasting about four hours, Conforto was ruled out. It became his first caught stealing instead of his first stolen base. 

I lean towards being old school. I was skeptical of replay. I agree that if you’re going to have it, you need to get the call right. The umpires got the call right. However, I still can’t believe that was actually replayed. Second, while I don’t think it was the case, how could you tell that the rage forced Conforto off the bag for that split second?  

If baseball wants to speed up the game, they have to address all areas. If you want a clock on the pitcher and batter, you need a clock on replay.  It detracted from the viewing experience. 

Luckily, it didn’t detract from the win. 

Wilmer Flores

Now batting for the New York Mets, the second baseman, Wilmer Flores!

Citi Field is Great for Kids

I didn’t like Citi Field when it first opened. There were too many obstructed views. There were less seats. It was more expensive. I missed the ramps on the way out of a game. There was more Dodger than Met focus. Most importantly, the baseball was terrible. 

Most of this holds true except for the bad baseball. However, as a parent, I’ve come to appreciate and really like Citi Field. It’s the first place my son ever went to a game, and the ballpark is kid friendly. 

For starters, there’s the presence of Mr. Met. My son loves him. He had a Mr. Met mobile as an infant. There’s a Mr. Met fathead above his toddler bed. When my son saw him walking through the concourse, it was as if he saw Santa Claus. Mr. Met made a quick stop and gave my son a high five. My son was thrilled. As Mr. Met moved along, my son called for him to come back. 

Mr. Met couldn’t. He had pregame things. We were heading in the opposite direction. We were going to the Fan Fest area behind centerfield which is like a mini-amusement park. There’s an area to get photos with Mr. Met. There’s a dunk tank/speed pitch. There’s a place for video games where you get to play Homerun Derby with you favorite Met.  There are batting cages.  There is also a mini-ballfield. 

I’ll speak to each of these more in future posts. I will say the ballfield is my son’s favorite. It is a mini-Citi Field. Each kid gets to play each of the OF positions, gets a turn at bat, and weather permitting, run the bases. This is my son’s Disney Land. He hates the line. He loves the entertainment. He cries when it’s time to leave. 

We went to the Fan Fest area twice on Saturday. The first time was when we first got to the game. The second time was at the start of the second inning so we could see Mr. Met. The staff was helpful and friendly. They all seemed eager to give my son a Mr. Met sticker, which he loved. 

So, I want to thank the Mets for building Citi Field. While I miss Shea, I couldn’t have brought my son to four games before he turned two. There was nothing to do there. There’s so much at Citi Field. It was so great my wife even considered going to Sunday’s game.  Trust me when I tell you that’s no small feat. 

Overall, in part due to the ability to stop at the Fan Fest area, we had a great time at the game. We got to see six of the nine innings in our seats. My son danced with his mommy during the seventh inning stretch. As Section 132 will tell you, when the Mets rallied and the crowd came alive, my son was jumping up and down and cheering:

  
The Mets lost 3-1. It’s the only time I’ve ever been to a Mets game that I’ve enjoyed the loss. I enjoyed it because my son had a great time. He woke up the next morning and said, “Baseball, yay!” as soon as he woke up. 

He then helped pick out his clothes for the day:

  
He said to me, “Go Mets please daddy!”  I told him we couldn’t go, but we would go to another game. He replied with a half-hearted “okay.”  We then played baseball (the ball is in the bottom right of the photo). 

I haven’t been this excited to go to another Mets game since 2006, and it has nothing to do with the fun and success on the field. It’s because I see my son becoming a Mets and baseball fan. The Fan Fest area has played a part in this. I can finally see they got it right with Citi Field. 

Thank you Mets. You have helped create a new diehard fan.  

The Tale of Two Announcers

Yesterday, the immortal Vin Scully announced he will most likely retire after next season. Tonight, ESPN had Jessica Mendoza fill-in for the suspended Curt Schilling. It’s fitting they were both working the same game. It was Vin Scully’s 20th no-hitter and Hesdica Mendoza’s first. 

It’s funny for a blog, but there is really nothing new or interesting I can add here about Vin Scully, except for maybe this: He started his career when the sport of baseball was all white males; he was there for the integration of baseball with Jackie Robinson, and now he’s seen a woman of Hispanic descent serve as a color commentator. 

That’s remarkable. It’s like how my Nana was born into a world with no televisions and the beginning of the dawn of automobiles. In her lifetime, she’d watch a man land in the moon. That’s revolutionary. What happened tonight is nothing short of that. 

Think about it. Before tonight no major sport has had a female in the booth. Also, I believe the top teams for all pro sports are white males.  I’m still not sure if it’s good or bad that no one has focused on Jessica Mendoza’s heritage. 

Personally, I’ve loved her smart, insightful work on Baseball Tonight. I don’t think choosing her to join the booth tonight was a PR move. I think ESPN just chose an amazing analyst, much like Greg Poppvich chose a good assistant coach. The question is how did she do?

I think k she started tentatively. It’s only natural. It’s a three man booth with Buster Olney chiming in whenever he has a thought. It’s a hard place for anyone to find their footing. However, she did find her footing. She was insightful and funny. She didn’t over talk, nor did you forget that she was there. She took on a real challenge and succeeded. 

Much like most of my life, I didn’t hear Vin Scully. I’m sure he was amazing. He always is. When I was growing up you rarely, if ever had an opportunity to hear him call games. When I was growing up, it was Jack Buck and Bob Costas who did play-by-play. Not too shabby. However, the real voice of baseball has always been Vin Scully, and to a certain extent I missed out. 

That was until I was at Shea Stadium during a long rain delay. I remember DiamondVision turning on the Dodgers game with Vin Scully welcoming the Mets fans who were watching from Shea. He was terrific. I could’ve sat and listened to him call the Dodger game. Alas, the game was officially rained out, the Dodger game was off, and it was time to head home. 

When XM Radio came out, I got the chance to hear Vin Scully again.  During this late nights I couldn’t sleep or I was working, I’d turn on the Dodger games just to hear him. It was a pleasure. 

Unfortunately, it’s a pleasure my son won’t know. He’s heard Vin Scully; I’ve made sure of that. However, he can’t try appreciate it, and he’ll probably never remember it. It’s sad in s way. My grandfather, father, and I, all of the same name, have heard and enjoyed Vin Scully. The Fourth won’t. 

However, there’s no Jessica Mendoza. We do t know where her broadcasting career will take her, but we do know it’s off to a promising start. I did make sure he watched tonight. He won’t remember it, but he will learn why it was significant. Who knows, maybe by the time he’s old enough, it will no longer be noteworthy. Maybe next time we’re talking about a questionable error made by an official scorer and the subsequent no-hitter. 

Overall, I just want him to have good announcers to help him learn about and enjoy baseball. Jessica Mendoza qualifies as that. 

Sometimes You Make a Mistake

While I think there’s room for innings limits, I don’t think it should be a doctrine. If you watch a game, you can tell the difference between easy pitches and tough pitches. Also, there’s an inherent flaw in counting innings with pitchers because the real issue is pitches thrown. 

Perhaps this is the reason the fabled “Verducci Effect” has been disproven. What has also been disproven recently is my belief that Noah Syndergaard does not have an innings limit problem. As Steve Gelbs pointed out to me, I only included his major league innings this year.  I could give you reasons for the mistake, but the fact is I was just wrong. When you’re wrong you acknowledge it, and you correct the error. 

The underlying math on what the innings limits are is correct. However, his innings pitched is incorrect. I missed 29.2 innings. That’s fairly significant. In the majors, Syndergaard is averaging just about six innings per start. Therefore, these minor league innings eat up about five Major League starts. 

The bigger issue is these innings put Syndergaard at 152.0 innings pitched for the year. As I’ve stated earlier, his innings limits are between 159.0 – 163.0 innings. If there’s a five man rotation, he has six starts remaining. At six innings per start, Syndergaard will finish with 188.0 innings. That’s well past his limits. If it’s a six man rotation, that will only shave off one start, which means he will finish with 182.0 innings. 

This is a really bad situation. He has been seven to 11 innings before he hits his limits. If the Mets were out of it, he would get one more start, and then he would be shut down. Instead, the Mets need to find a way to keep him going and effective into October and beyond. 

Normally, right here is where I would offer up solutions or discuss why I disagree with the solutions proposed. This isn’t the post for that. I made a mistake, and I need to rectify it by correcting the information I put out there. I apologize to the Mets for questioning them. I apologize to whoever read this and relied upon the information. I thank Steve Gelbs for pointing out my error. 

Overall, I want to be an example to my son. I could’ve let the error go by without anyone really caring or noticing. However, I noticed it. Frankly, I’m embarrassed by the error. I aim to be better than that. 

So in that vein, I’m not offering up excuses, I’ve hopefully corrected the error, and I’ve offered my apologies. I’ll try to be better in the future. That’s all I can do. That’s all anyone can do. 

Cuddyer is a Pro

Baseball is a funny game. Noah Syndergaard has been in the big leagues for 20 starts, but he showed the guile of a 20 year veteran. Michael Cuddyer is a 15 year veteran, who played like it was his fifteenth game. 

For starters, Thor needed to get some innings to help a stressed bullpen. He did that. Terry Collins let him go 111 pitches over 6.2 innings. Collins could’ve pinch hit for him in the sixth, but he didn’t. In fact, Collins pulled the oldest trick in the book by having a PH in the on deck circle to force the Red Sox to pitch to Anthony Recker. Most Mets fans questioned if that was a good move.  Regardless, Recker hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 4-2. 
Taking a 4-2 lead into the seventh, Thor had one on and two out with a chance to come out of the inning unscathed and hand the ball off to the bullpen. Jackie Bradley, Jr. Hit a pinch hit double (which looked like it might go out) to narrow the gap to 4-3. Thor was done. Collins brought in Hansel Robles

Much like today’s lineup, this wouldn’t have been my choice, especially with Robles pitching a lot lately. Then again, who in the bullpen hasn’t?  Now, the box score will say Mookie Betts hit a game tying triple. Your eyes tell you Cuddyer botched the play. Your eyes tell you the play should’ve been made easily had Cuddyer made a break of any kind on the ball within 2-3 seconds. 

It was a rookie mistake from a player who should know better. With the game on the line, Collins made the move he had to make, but clearly didn’t want to yet, and brought in Tyler Clippard. He would get the last out of the seventh and pitch a clean eighth. 

Cuddyer would get his redemption in the bottom of the inning.  With two outs in the inning, Daniel Murphy stole second (remember when that used to be a thing)  he was brought home on Cuddyer’s RBI single. It was redemption for him. its funny because other than the OF gaffe, he had a good game. He went 3-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and a huge RBI. He also broke up a double play:

In the ninth, there was a Red Sox rally started by some typical poor play from Ruben Tejada. He loafed it with a fast runner thereby sparking a rally. Seriously, I’m sick of him . . . again. It would be first and second with two outs. Jeurys Familia found a way with two big strikeouts. He’s showing himself to be an elite closer. It wasn’t easy for him, but he got the save securing the 5-4 win. Clippard got the win. 

Now, there are two moves Collins subjected himself to criticism, but I won’t do so myself. The first is the Robles move. I understood it. You’ve been pitching Clippard constantly. You don’t want to burn him out. While I question Robles there, I can’t kill him for it. 

The other move was the defensive substitution of Yoenis Cespedes in the eighth moving Cuddyer to 1B and Murphy to 2B. Second guessers may say Cespedes makes the play that Cuddyer didn’t. That’s not on Collins. First, you have to expect Cuddyer to make that play. Second, it’s not like we haven’t seen some Cespedes loafing. Finally, I respect wanting to give a veteran a full day off. 

If you want to question Collins, question him leading off Juan Lagares with Curtis Granderson batting second against a LHP. This poor OBP duo went 1-9 with five strikeouts. Also, question him starting Juan Uribe at 2B because he just had to get his .195/.278/.425 in the lineup. At least Uribe got the big two run double in the sixth to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. 
In other notes, David Ortiz juiced another HR. Also, Joe West had a strike zone that would make the late Eric Gregg shake his head. As a result, both teams were irritated. Kevin Long was really irritated. He got tossed defending an upset Granderson, who got rung up on a ball. 

The Mets avoided the sweep. It was a good win especially since the Nationals won. The Mets continue this 13 game stretch of last place teams in facing the Phillies next. Let’s hope this six game lead grows.