The Subway Series is over, and the big moments remaining in the Mets season appear to be over as well:
1. Mets fans who cheered Brodie Van Wagenen and chanted his name for attending a game he committed to attend deserve this season.
2. It’s funny, Mets fans will boo Robinson Cano when he’s 400 feet away, but they won’t when Van Wagenen is there.
4. On Vargas, the nonsense calling him an ace needs to stop. First, the Mets still have Jacob deGrom. Second, he’s failed to go five innings in 42.3% of his starts. Finally, he has just three quality starts in 14 starts (21.4%).
5. This is the time of the year Wheeler gets going. He limited the Yankees to two earned on one walk and five hits over 6.1 innings while striking out eight.
6. Over Wheeler’s last three starts, he has three quality starts and a 1.86 ERA. The team who gets him at the trade deadline is going to be very happy.
7. Wheeler was a bit snake bit by bad defense. J.D. Davis doesn’t have the range or instincts for LF as evidenced by balls dropping in front of him and his throwing to the wrong base. Also, Wilson Ramos has to look the runner back.
8. Honestly, no one could have predicted the Ramos signing going this poorly. Not only is he experiencing a power outage, but we also see deGrom and now Noah Syndergaard wanting to pitch to Tomas Nido.
9. While you couldn’t have imagined things going that poorly, many did say the Mets needed to go the extra mile for Yasmani Grandal, a catcher who just so happens to be the best in the game right now.
11. Just like when they activated Yoenis Cespedes to DH last year, it was just predictable the team would activate all of their relievers before the Subway Series.
12. Wilmer Font getting knocked around a bit putting the game out of reach is a reminder the bullpen is/was an arm or two short even when everyone is healthy.
13. That arm can’t be Steven Matz. As previously noted, the Mets don’t have anywhere near the organizational depth or financial wherewithal to make him a reliever
14. All players have slumps, but some, like Michael Conforto, are treated more harshly by fans than others. Then, when he delivers a go-ahead double, everyone remembers how great he is.
15. There is way too much talent for the Mets to have the second worst record in the NL, but they do thanks to an incompetent GM who was cheered.
16. Say all you want about the Knicks whiffing on Durant and calling off a meeting with Kawhi. Dolan is still not a worse owner than the Wilpons. Not even close.
17. It’s going to be fun to see the Pete Alonso in the Home Run Derby.
20. Have a healthy and safe Fourth of July.
Tim Tebow is a problem because the Mets are making him one. So far, he has played in 60 of Syracuse’s first 79 games. Essentially, this means he is playing fairly regularly despite his hitting just .150/.232/.209. It should come as little surprise he’s not getting better with June being his worst month of the season.
If the Mets problems handling the player assignments and playing time at the Double-A and Triple-A level were limited only to Tebow, you can overlook things a bit. After all, whether you like to admit it or not, the Mets operate a business, and they are going to attempt to use Tebow to generate revenue for their newly acquired Syracuse franchise. Unfortunately, the problems run deeper than Tebow.
Entering the season, the Mets had a glut of infielders with Robinson Cano, J.D. Davis, Todd Frazier, Jed Lowrie, Jeff McNeil, and Amed Rosario. The Mets added to this glut by first signing and then calling up Adeiny Hechavarria. Considering the situation, the last thing the Mets needed were veterans taking up space on the Syracuse infield.
Despite that, the Mets signed Danny Espinosa, who is a career .221/.297/.344 hitter and hit .197/.286/.344 between 2016-2017 and did not play in the majors last year. To make matters worse, he leads the team in games played. Second on the team is Travis Taijeron, who has established himself as not being a Major League caliber player. Fourth in games played is Gregor Blanco, who hit .217/.262/.317 last year.
Those three players right there are not just taking up space on the roster, but it is also taking away at-bats from players who truly needed it.
It’s easy to forget Dilson Herrera is just 25 years old, but he is making him a young player with potential to develop. To be fair, he is third on the team in games played. However, it was not until recently the team has sought to develop him more into a utility player. Prior to June, he had only played two full games in left field and none at any other position but second and third.
To be useful to the organization, Herrera needed to be playing first, second, third, and all three outfield positions. However, he can’t partially because those spots are taken by Espinosa, Taijeron, and Blanco, three players who were never going to be a factor for the Mets in 2019. When you add Tebow, that’s four.
This has a necessary trickle down effect. Players like David Thompson and Gavin Cecchini, who just came off the IL, have been assigned to Binghamton. At this stage in their professional development, they need to be in Triple-A working on things. For both, that means become more versatile and becoming better hitters. However, they can’t be in Syracuse getting regular playing time because the Mets are wasting playing time on two has beens and two never will bes.
Those players being in Binghamton has a trickle down effect interfering with playing time for players like Luis Carpio. Carpio was someone once regarded as a top prospect, but he would suffer shoulder injuries. On that front, he has gotten healthy and shown some promise. Of course, that promise only goes as far as the team’s willingness and ability to get him playing time.
There are other issues like Braxton Lee, a 25 year old who plays good defense and has good speed, being forced to Double-A instead of getting real development time in Syracuse. There’s also the fact Luis Guillorme is in Triple-A splitting middle infield playing time instead of just playing over Hechavarria at the Major League level.
Really, the list goes on and on, and that is before you consider Rene Rivera catching everyday leaves the Mets having Patrick Mazeika and Ali Sanchez sharing catching duties in Binghamton instead of them being split up to allow them both to get regular playing time and thrive.
While we rightfully focus on what has transpired with the Mets, the organization’s problems run deeper than just the team in Queens. The same shortsightedness and reliance on under-performing players over promising young players is also very present in Triple-A.
If things continue this way, this will prove to be not just a lost season in Queens but Syracuse as well.
This was about as bad a mix as you could get for the Mets. Jason Vargas, a fly ball pitcher, was starting in Wrigley. To make matters worse, the Mets opted to make this the day they broke out the Dominic Smith–Michael Conforto–Jeff McNeil outfield alignment.
On the outfield alignment, while it was a bad decision to play those three players out of position, they played well out there making all the plays. That includes those hit to the ivy:
McNeil makes a leaping grab into the Wrigley Ivy and lets his teammates know that "it's soft" lmao pic.twitter.com/3jimF41S5t
— Phony Van Wagenen (@MetsKevin11) June 21, 2019
It would get better later.
While the outfield got off to a good start the Mets didn’t. For a second day in a row, the Mets scored a run while ending a rally by hitting into a bases loaded double play. Today, that cake courtesy of Smith.
In the bottom of the second, the Mets paid for the transgression by losing the lead right away in the bottom of the second.
The trouble started when Vargas walked the leadoff batter Javier Baez, and it got worse when J.D. Davis completely botched a routine ball at third. After David Bote reached on the error, he stole second putting runners at second and third with one out.
On the stolen base, Tomas Nido made a terrible throw and almost hit a ducking Vargas in the face. It was one of two stolen bases the Phillies had with both throws being poor. It just must be something to do with being a Mets catcher.
The Cubs plated their first run without a hit on an RBI groundout. The second came on a Yu Darvish RBI single giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. It was the seventh hit of Darvish’s career, and he would be 2-for-2 off Vargas.
While the Mets lost the lead, they remain a resilient team as evidenced by McNeil hitting a two run homer to give the Mets a lead in the top of the third:
🐿 does it all! #LGM
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 21, 2019
That lead lasted until the bottom of the fifth when Addison Russell hit a go-ahead two run homer. Things then get dicey when the lineup flipped over. Kris Bryant doubled, and in a weird course of events Anthony Rizzo struck out.
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) June 21, 2019
Initially, Rizzo was seemingly ruled not to swing, but for some reason, he also wasn’t awarded first on a ball that hit him. That’s when Vargas flipped, and he actually got the third base umpire (who upon further review ruled dead ball and not no swing) and home plate umpire to get everything squared away. In the end, Rizzo was ruled to have struck out.
With Vargas departing, he has now had 10 straight starts allowing three earned or less. The problem is he’s only pitched 5+ innings in only half those starts putting pressure on a bad bullpen. Fortunately, the Mets were up to the task shutting out the Cubs for 4.1 innings.
The Mets would even take a late lead in this game and hold onto it. The outfield would again be the driving force.
In the sixth, Conforto hit his 15th homer of the year to tie the score at 4-4. Then in the seventh, McNeil did what he needed to do to get the lead hitting a two out RBI single scoring Adeiny Hechavarria.
On the play, McNeil was thrown out trying to go to second. On the one hand, it seemed like Hechavarria was scoring anyway. On the other, the play killed the chance of the lead growing with Pete Alonso due up.
This put the game in Seth Lugo‘s hands. After an 11 pitch seventh, he came back out for the eighth. Things didn’t go as smooth.
Willson Contreras hit a two out single to left. McNeil, who had replaced Smith in left when Juan Lagares came into the game for defense, appeared to deke Rizzo. Deke or no deke, Rizzo cannot be heading to third in that spot. He got into a rundown thereby ending the rally and the Cubs last chance to tie the game.
The reason is Edwin Diaz looked like Diaz again. Maybe it was his working with Phil Regan, or maybe it was some rest or just some luck. Whatever the case, it was great seeing the Mets bullpen do it’s job again and put the Mets back in the win column.
Game Notes: As noted by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, Lugo has a 0.38 ERA over his last 23.2 innings pitched. The Mets have no finalists in the All Star voting.
The Mets went to Atlanta with an opportunity to make a statement, and they did. It was just the wrong one:
1. The Mets needed to address their bullpen, defense, and depth. Brodie Van Wagenen completely failed in his efforts.
2. The bullpen has been the biggest culprit this year. What makes it all the more depressing is Anthony Swarzak has been better this year than Edwin Diaz. It gets better when you realize Swarzak is now a Brave pitching well against his former team.
3. The Mets followed a season with the second worst defense in the National League with the worst this year. There’s being a horrible shifting team, and there is also having players like J.D. Davis way out of position in left field.
4. On the topic of Davis, Gary Disarcina‘s send of him was inexplicably bad. It was the latest in bad decisions he’s made there. When you combine that with how horribly the infield has been shifted and his inability to help Amed Rosario improve defensively, you realize he’s been a bad coach for two years now. Really bad.
5. The defense killed Zack Wheeler‘s and Steven Matz‘s starts, but that was not the only reason. Both pitchers needed to be better in their starts. They needed to pick up their defense. They didn’t, and they unraveled and lost. Their failures are as much on them as the defense.
6. For Wheeler, this follows his career splits. His Junes are always terrible. He then rebounds to have a great second half. The problem for the Mets is his following this pattern is taking them out of contention, and it’s also not letting him build up trade value for when they have to sell him a month from now.
8. You get a sense of how bad things are when Mickey Callaway felt compelled to use Robert Gsellman to handle the ninth after deGrom’s start. Essentially, Callaway said he didn’t want one of his other relievers tacking on runs to his starter and ruining the good feeling that start would’ve had on his ace and the club.
9. It’s funny. That seemed like the perfect opportunity to use Stephen Nogosek to break him in easily. That said, as fans we’re never privy to the internal dynamics of a clubhouse and wanting to build up your players.
10. Nogosek and Daniel Zamora showed they are not answers to what has been ailing the bullpen. Instead, this was the team shifting deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s something to keep in mind when they previously passed on Craig Kimbrel and still have yet to sign Cody Allen.
11. That said, Chris Flexen showed us something. When he entered that game, the Braves had a real chance to put it out of reach. He stepped up and pitched two scoreless innings. In what was a lost series, he emerged as a potential bright spot.
12. Michael Conforto has been great lately with a 10 game hitting streak and a hit in 15 of the 17 games this month. In addition to his good defense in right field, he is easily the most underappreciated player on this roster.
13. After a bad May, Pete Alonso has picked it back up in June. He’s been a monster at the plate. It will be very interesting to see how this continues to play out this season.
14. Why isn’t Jeff McNeil playing in center? Juan Lagares hasn’t been good. Neither has Carlos Gomez. Really, McNeil can’t be worse and making him the everyday center fielder would allow the team to get Dominic Smith into the lineup everyday. Sure, Smith in left won’t help the defense, but he’s a better option than Davis out there.
15. For all the talk about Adeiny Hechavarria needing to play over Rosario, if you look, he’s hitting like Hechavarria again with him hitting .176/.222/.176 over the last two weeks and a .241/.276/.434 batting line overall. If you’re going to go down like this as a team, shouldn’t you be looking at Luis Guillorme in this role?
16. Both Brandon Nimmo and Justin Wilson have been shut down after the team’s repeated efforts to try to get them to play through their injuries. You really have to question how the Mets continue making this mistake with their players. It takes an extra level of a complete lack of self awareness and examination to repeatedly make the same mistake.
17. While this is a very down time for the Mets and being a Mets fan, just remember this team still has a young core, and they have been better than anyone could’ve hoped. While the hope for 2019 is fading fast (if not completely gone), there is real hope for 2020.
18. We could talk about the division being unofficially being out of reach and the Mets needing to focus on the Wild Card, but that’s only fooling ourselves. It’s time to sell. That said, if the Mets sweep the Cubs, I’ll probably talk myself into this team being a competitor. With Walker Lockett starting things off for the Mets, the chances of that happening are remote.
19. The worst place in baseball to be is inbetween being a competitor and a bad team. The Mets were in that position in 2002, and they made a horrendous trade with the Rockies trading Jason Bay as part of a package for Steve Reed. A few years later, we’d see it happen with the Scott Kazmir/Victor Zambrano trade. With Brodie Van Wagenen’s hubris, another awful deal like this is a real danger.
20. If Brodie Van Wagenen did nothing this offseason but keep what was here, the Mets would still be a fourth place team, but instead they would’ve been one with payroll flexibility and a farm system on the cusp of being the best in the game.
On Monday, people wanted Mickey Callaway sacrificed to the baseball gods, and by Wednesday, the Mets had won a home series. As you can guess a lot happened in just three games:
1. While the vast majority of people would have let Noah Syndergaard face Evan Longoria, it doesn’t mean pulling him from the game was the wrong decision, especially with Syndergaard’s numbers a fourth time through the lineup.
2. If you’re upset Seth Lugo entered the game and/or pinpoint his entering the game as the reason the Mets lost, you don’t trust or have faith in him. There’s no arguing around it.
3. Callaway’s real mistake was Robert Gsellman in the ninth. While we can all understand the other non-Lugo set-up men are terrible, you can’t pitch Gsellman into the ground this way. It’s indefensible.
4. Under the unjustifiable workload, Gsellman has a 12.96 ERA raising his season ERA from 2.48 to 5.05. Essentially, Callaway made one of his few reliable guys completely unreliable.
5. With everything that’s happened to the Mets bullpen, Jeurys Familia going out there and looking like the Familia of old might’ve been the most important thing that happened in this series.
6. Considering the state of the Mets bullpen and the complete lack of starting pitching depth, they needed one of Craig Kimbrel or Dallas Keuchel. Not only did that not happen, the overwhelming odds are the Mets didn’t even try.
7. Keuchel going to the Braves makes it so much the worse. His replacing one of Kevin Gausman or Mike Foltynewicz making their rotation much improved. That’s huge for a team just one game back in the division.
8. Andrew McCutchen trading his ACL is bad for both the Phillies and baseball. That said, it does open a door permitting the Mets to contend for a division title.
9. One cure for the bullpen ills is the Mete starters going deeper into games. Mets starters are on a streak of nine straight games of pitching at least six innings.
10. If before the season, someone told you Jason Vargas had a complete game shut out in the same game Adeiny Hechavarria hit a homer, you’d probably talk about the terrific job Wally Backman has done with the Long Island Ducks.
12. With Cano leaving a game early, and his season in general, you’d realize this is just year one of what’s an onerous contract.
13. With Brandon Nimmo staring his rehab assignment, and Dominic Smith playing well, you do have to question if the Mets aren’t better off with McNeil at second, Frazier at third, Smith in left, and Cano as a pinch hitter.
15. With his go-ahead homer, you realize Frazier has been the Mets best player over the past few weeks.
17. The Mets and Juan Lagares needed him to have the game he had yesterday. If nothing else, he becomes a more viable fourth outfielder or defensive replacement.
18. Van Wagenen does deserve credit for keeping Tommy Tanous and Marc Tramuta. That duo helped the Mets have another terrific draft.
19. If nothing else, the Mets are great at home. At Citi Field, they’re 17-10 (.630), have a 118 wRC+ at home (third best in the Majors), and a 3.73 FIP (fourth best in the NL). Essentially, they’re the best team in baseball when they’re at home.
20. It’s great to see and hear Ron Darling again. He’s been sorely missed. Here’s hoping he’s healthy and will not have to leave the booth again anytime soon.
The Mets have won just rubber game all year, and it does seem like these mid-week day game typically ends terribly for the Mets. Even with the Mets starting the game with back-to-back homers from Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith off Giants starter Shaun Anderson, you could understand any unease from the fans. Then it seemed to be happening all over again.
After going through the lineup without allowing a hit, Mike Yastrzemski opened the fourth with a leadoff single, and he would come home on a Brandon Belt two run homer tying the game. The Mets would then fall behind when Wheeler allowed a Pablo Sandoval homer in the sixth. To put the bad luck into perspective, Wheeler allowed just three hits to the Giants all afternoon, and all three of those runs scored on two homers. Worse yet, the team was down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The Mets got something brewing that inning with a Juan Lagares lead-off walk. The Giants then went to their bullpen, which has been pretty good all year, and brought in Reyes Moronta. He allowed a single to Tomas Nido. Then Mickey Callaway would make some curious decisions which stymied the rally.
Instead of allowing Wheeler to stay in and lay down the sacrifice bunt, he pinch hit Carlos Gomez to do that. That decision is all the more curious when you consider Robinson Cano was sitting with a leg injury, and the team did not start Jeff McNeil a day after a night game in order to not overtax him after returning from two injuries. But, he would effectively waste Gomez to do what Wheeler could have done just as well.
Callaway would pinch hit McNeil for Rosario, and he would drop a bloop single just beyond the reach of Brandon Crawford to tie the score and get Wheeler off the hook. Bruce Bochy then went to Tony Watson to pitch to Smith. Now, Smith has been decent against left-handed pitching this year, and he was 2-for-3 with a homer on the day. However, this was the Mets shot, and Callaway went to J.D. Davis. Unfortunately, he hit into the inning ending double play.
Sure, the Giants are terrible, but considering how the Mets bullpen has been of late, the last thing this team wants was a battle of the bullpens in a game which could be going extra innings.
Fortunately, the Mets had their full bullpen available, which meant Seth Lugo and a scoreless eighth. The Mets would then make him the pitcher of record.
Pete Alonso led off the inning with a single against Mark Melancon. Fortunately, Belt could not handle Michael Conforto‘s ensuing liner. This meant instead of a double play, Conforto, the much better runner, was on first. He wasn’t there long as he would steal his fourth base of the year. This put a runner in scoring position for Todd Frazier, who would knock in Conforto and himself:
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 6, 2019
The ball was carrying all day. The Giants certainly took advantage, and it was good to see Frazier do it as well. It was even better to see the homer not killing the rally.
After the homer, Adeiny Hechavarria singled, and Lagares doubled. After a Nido ground out, Wilson Ramos would pinch hit and walk to load the bases. This set the stage for McNeil who would deliver with another RBI single. This time two runs scored making it 7-3 Mets. This single allowed the Mets to sit down Edwin Diaz to save him for another day and put in Jeurys Familia. For seemingly the first time since the 2015 NLCS, Familia had a quick 1-2-3 inning to lock down the game.
After Monday’s loss, the Mets were facing some adversity with Callaway once again the media looking to give him the pink slip. Once again, the team responded and won games for both them and their manager. While you would have wanted more, the Mets took the series against the Giants, and they have righted the ship. The key here is what they do next.
Game Notes: Conforto is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. The four stolen bases are already a career high. McNeil has 40 multi-hit games in his 112 games played.
One thing Jason Vargas has done well this year is pitch well against bad offensive teams. When he’s faced those teams, he’s actually lasted five innings. The Giants are a bottom three offensive team.
The Mets got all the runs they needed when Robinson Cano, fresh off the IL and back in the lineup without a rehab assignment, hit an RBI ground out scoring Jeff McNeil, who had led off the game with a double.
The Mets had a chance to expand the lead in the third, but Canó hit into an inning ending double play. On the play, he pulled up lame likely sending him back to the IL tomorrow. Back in his stead was Adeiny Hechavarria, who would homer in the seventh. With that homer, Hechavarria surpassed Cabo’s home run total with far fewer at-bats.
The Mets also got homers from Michael Conforto
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 6, 2019
and Amed Rosario
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 6, 2019
It was an offensive onslaught with the Mets scoring seven runs on eight hits. McNeil had three hits. Conforto had two RBI, and Rosario has three.
More than anything, Vargas pitched a complete game shut out with a season high eight strikeouts, and Hechavarria homered. If you told someone these things would happen in the same game, they would’ve assumed you meant Syracuse, and even then, they’d seem skeptical.
But it did happen. Vargas, Hechavarria, and the Mets dominated a bad team like they should. They deserve credit for doing it. If we see more of this, the Mets will be fine. Speaking of things being fine, it was readily apparent this team has not quit on Mickey Callaway.
Game Notes: Vargas pitched seven innings in consecutive starts for the first time since June 2017.
You can understand blowing games against the Dodgers. They are both a really good and a relentless team. It really becomes an issue when you do it against mediocre teams like the Diamondbacks:
1. The most bizarre criticism of Mickey Callaway was his lifting Pete Alonso for a pinch runner in the eighth inning of a game where the Mets had a four run lead. By lifting him for Juan Lagares, you’re getting more speed on the basepaths, and you are helping bolster both the infield and the outfield defense. It was 100% the right decision.
2. The criticism over his use of Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman was understandable, but let’s not pretend there was another real option. Drew Gagnon was bad in his last two pressure situations. Tyler Bashlor had three consecutive blown saves, and he wound up being the losing pitcher in the game. Really, other than those two and with it being too early to utilize a fatigued Edwin Diaz, there really wasn’t a better choice.
3. On Familia, there appears to be two problems. The first is he’s walking too many. The second is the defense behind him. He has a career worst .344 BABIP (.312 career) and a 66.2% LOB (75.4%) career. Essentially, the Mets are combining a ground ball pitcher with a bad infield defense. Not a good mix.
4. We should again note that as of today Craig Kimbrel no longer has draft pick compensation attached to him. We should also note he is now only going to get a prorated portion of the salary he wanted. If you’re all-in, there’s absolutely no excuse for the Mets to not sign him today.
6. Davis had a hot start, but he’s regressed to the mean, and he’s now one of the problems with the team. His defense is unplayable across the diamond, and he has been hitting .248/.313/.385. Since May 1st, Davis is hitting .208/.238/.351. As a point of reference, Eric Campbell hit .221/.312/.311 in his career with the Mets.
7. Seeing Arizona is a reminder how much the Mets miss Wilmer Flores. Aside from the things he did well as a player, he would have been great for this clubhouse. Flores went through this in 2015 and 2016. He also knows what it’s like to go from struggling to fan favorite. His attitude, rapport with his teammates, and his ability to play is needed on this team.
8. Looking at the team Brodie Van Wagenen assembled, the players he brought in have combined for a -0.7 WAR. The best position player he has brought aboard was Adeiny Hechavarria. Not to unfairly dump on Hechavarria, who is playing the best baseball of his career, but no General Manager in the history of baseball should ever be in a position to say the most productive position player he added to the roster was Adeiny Hechavarria.
9. The Mets are winning behind the talented players left behind by Sandy Alderson. One of those players has been Dominic Smith, who the team didn’t even want to give a chance to win the first base position in Spring Training.
10. Smith has really proven himself. He’s in the best shape of his life, and he’s a better player having had better treatment of his sleep apnea. He’s been great in the clubhouse, and he finally got his chance. It’s an extremely small sample size, but he’s hitting .359/.519/.609 with a 1 DRS when he’s a left fielder.
11. The Mets are playing Smith and Davis in left field because the team went into the season with just two starting everyday outfielders. This has also led them to flipping coins over whether Carlos Gomez (79 wRC+, 0 DRS), Aaron Altherr (-40 wRC+, 0 DRS), and Lagares (40 wRC+, -1 DRS).
12. It should also be noted the Mets had a chance to give Keon Broxton more playing time to see if they could salvage him. Instead, they cut him so they could call up Gomez. Since being traded to the Orioles, Broxton is hitting .250/.300/.500 (0.2 WAR). That’s a clear upgrade over the mess they have now.
13. Between Broxton and Davis, that’s just five prospects and Bobby Wahl thrown away from nothing.
14. That is a good reminder when Adam Jones hit that game tying three run homer off of Gsellman. It’s important to remember here Jones signed for just $3 million. THREE MILLION!
15. Steven Matz needed to be better than what he was on Sunday. The team needed a lift, and he gave up two runs before he even recorded an out. He gave up five runs total. Yes, the offense and defense didn’t show up either, but the Mets needed more from him. To be fair, he at least gave them length to help the pen, and unlike most of the lineup, he actually had a hit.
16. This team sure looks a lot different when Seth Lugo is available. His ability to pitch well and give the team length certainly masks a lot of problems with the bullpen.
17. It is great to see the Jacob deGrom of last year return. Maybe it’s Tomas Nido, and maybe it’s just getting back into a groove, but he’s looked like the guy he was last year. Since May 1st, he’s allowed two earned or fewer in six of his seven starts. Even with the inexplicable clunker in Miami, he has a 2.68 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, and a 4.6 K/BB over this stretch.
18. The hysteria about the personal catcher for deGrom is muchado about nothing. If deGrom pitches well to Nido, let him pitch to Nido. We should also note his pitching to Nido also affords Wilson Ramos a little extra rest. That seems to be working for him with him hitting .293/.376/.500 since May 1.
19. Zack Wheeler could’ve been better on Friday, but he did give the Mets a chance to win that game, and he gave them length to help save that bullpen.
20. After playing 20 consecutive games and going 9-11 over the stretch, the Mets are in need of today’s day off. Seeing Mets fans completely overreact to Callaway’s every look and smile, the fans can use the day off as well.
With the way Zack Wheeler was pitching, you figured the Mets had this game in the bag, and it was time to start looking ahead to see if the team could put together a winning streak.
Entering bottom of the sixth, the Mets had a 3-1 lead on the strength of a second inning rally. In that inning, Michael Conforto had a leadoff single, and he would move to second on a Wilson Ramos single. Conforto scored on a Todd Frazier RBI single, and everyone scored on an Adeiny Hechavarria double which landed just below the yellow line in center.
Wheeler had allowed one earned, but he had allowed just four singles. He had also struck out six. With his having thrown just 73 pitchers, his going deep or completing the game wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. It was after the sixth.
Walker was the guy who really did Wheeler in. He was 3-for-3 off Wheeler with two runs, the homer, and two RBI. The other Diamondbacks combined to go 4-for-24 off Wheeler.
For a while, this looked like it was going to be another brutal Mets loss. After the Hechavarria double, the Mets offense had an 0-for-10 stretch with RISP.
This meant the team blew a fifth inning leadoff double by Wheeler, who is now hitting .321 this year.
In the seventh, Juan Lagares snapped an 0-for-13 streak with a leadoff single. Wheeler bunted him over and later that inning Dominic Smith drew a walk after an eight pitch at-bat. Neither Lagares nor Smith would score as Pete Alonso grounded out to end the jam.
Fortunately, the Mets not only got Wheeler off the hook, but they also got him a lead with a big two out rally started by a Frazier bloop hit off Matt Andriese. Hechavarria singled to put that dreaded runner in scoring position for J.D. Davis, who was pinch hitting for Lagares.
Davis hit a soft tapper deflected by Andriese which could not be fielded cleanly by Nick Ahmed. This allowed Frazier to score.
Carlos Gomez pinch hit for Wheeler, and he hit a ball down the line. With it picked up by the ball boy (or man), it was ruled a ground ball double allowing Hechavarria to score giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.
We then saw just how much the Mets bullpen missed Lugo. Lugo responded by getting Jones to pop out. After an intentional walk to Walker, he got Tim Locastro to pop out to end the jam.
With this being Lugo’s first game back since coming off the IL and Edwin Diaz still unavailable, Mickey Callaway went with Robert Gsellman for the save opportunity. Gsellman pitched a clean ninth to record his 14th career save (first this year).
Now, you feel a lot better about this Mets team. They pulled back to within a game of .500 after a hard fought win. We will see if this is the start of something or just a blip.
Game Notes: Home Plate Umpire Randy Wolf was forced to leave the game after getting hit in the mask by a foul tip. Details are emerging with respect to Nelson Figueroa‘s firing from SNY. Daniel Zamora was sent down to make room for Lugo on the roster.
The Mets seemed to have righted the ship as they headed out to Los Angeles on a tough road trip. In a four game series against the Dodgers, we learned just how good the Mets are against the top teams in the National League:
1. The one thing we saw in this series was just how better the Dodgers are. Sure, it is the talent on the field, but it is also ownership’s dedication to winning. We see that when the Dodgers hire Andrew Friedman away from the Rays and the Mets hire a former agent who has never run an organization. For example, we see the Mets trade three good prospects for J.D. Davis, who continues to regress. The Dodgers use their superior scouting and player development to identify players like Justin Turner and Max Muncy.
2. The Mets did have an opportunity to earn at least a split on two different occasions. The fact they didn’t speaks volumes to how the Dodgers are just a better and more resilient team.
3. It is easy to jump all over Edwin Diaz for blowing a save in a game the Mets absolutely had to have. Then again, he’s been overworked pitching in eight of the past 11 days not including the times he was dry humped. This blow-up was bound to happen. What’s eerie was his 0.1 IP, 4 ER performance was a year to the date since his last one.
4. You can certainly get on Mickey Callaway for his usage of Diaz. He has to be better in handling him to try to prevent these types of blow ups. Then again, what other options does he have? With Seth Lugo on the Injured List, he’s down to maybe one other reliable set-up man in Robert Gsellman. Fact is, the bullpen remains an arm or two short, and the front office seems uninterested in getting him the help he needs.
5. We can point to the draft coming on Monday as the point where the Mets could sign Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel without forfeiting a pick, but that would be idiotic. We all know that’s not the type of compensation preventing the Mets from signing either pitcher, especially with Van Wagenen being all too happy to purge all of those prospects.
6. Baseball is funny. Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard struggled against the Dodgers, but it was Jason Vargas who really pitched well against the Dodgers allowing just one earned over seven innings. Give credit to him not just for the big game but also for saving a depleted and exhausted bullpen.
7. With respect to Vargas, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Today is the last day of May, and he finally has a quality start. This was the first time all season he has consecutive games pitching at least five innings. In his previous four starts, he’s averaged 4.2 innings per start. If he can pitch at least five in his next start maybe then we can talk about his FINALLY being a viable fifth starter.
8. Steven Matz has been quite good this year, and he showed it in this series picking up the Mets only win in the series. In some ways, he has emerged as the Mets most reliable starter.
9. It’s a dangerous game to play, but if you eliminate his horrendous start against the Phillies and his short start in his first game off the Injured List, Matz is 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.191 WHIP.
10. Give Noah Syndergaard credit for gutting through six innings when he didn’t have anywhere near his best stuff. While he’s getting killed for it, that looks more like Syndergaard looking like a great pitcher. The great ones can get quality starts when they are throwing junk. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves on that front. He needs more consistency to get to that point.
11. Mets fans frustations at the starters seem to be misplaced. If you look at their FIP, Zack Wheeler has been the team’s best pitcher with a 3.25. While not what you expected, deGrom (3.56) and Syndergaard (3.62) have pitched better than their results are indicating. Unfortunately, this also indicates Matz is due for a regression. Honestly, you take that if those other three get going.
12. We can’t get too worked up about Hyun-Jin Ryu shutting down the Mets. He is currently pitching like deGrom did last year. It’s also noteworthy the Mets offense was humming prior to that scoring 6.7 runs per game in the series and 5.5 runs per game over their prior 11.
13. Todd Frazier has completely turned his season around. Over his last 16 games, he is hitting .327/.403/.491, and he continues to play a very good third base. That was a great tag he got down on Corey Seager after what was a terrific throw from Carlos Gomez (which came after a terrible play – details, details).
14. Amed Rosario also had a very good series. Even with yesterday’s 0-f0r-4, he was 6-for-16 in the series with two doubles, a triple, a homer, and two RBI.
15. It’s been an interesting year for Rosario. Just when you think he’s figured things out, he suddenly struggles. Even with all of that, he is showing marked improvement over the first two years of his career. If he were to find some consistency, he’s going to make the leap into stardom. Hopefully, that happens in the second half.
16. Adeiny Hechavarria has the same amount of homers and just three fewer RBI than Robinson Cano who has had 151 more plate appearances. This is both a statement about how Hechavarria has played well over his head and how bad Cano has been.
17. Diaz currently has mediocre stats (at least for the moment), and Cano has already looked like the $100 million albatross we knew he would eventually be. Jarred Kelenic has already been promoted to High-A, and Justin Dunn has a 2.25 ERA over his last three starts and has struck out 11.2 per nine this year. Mind you, this is just two months into the season. Wonder how this trade will look five years from now.
18. Between Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis, the Mets have two players who have no business playing left field. With Davis, they really have a guy who doesn’t have a position. Taking that into account, the Mets just need to play the better bat, and without any doubt, that is Smith.
19. Juan Lagares needed to be better than this. At a time when the Mets desperately needed him, he has completely faltered. Hes in the middle of an 0-for-13 stretch, and he is just one for his last 26. Worse yet, he’s at a -1 DRS. Yes, his 17.3 UZR/150 shows he is still the same fielder, but the Mets needed him to be more productive than this. Really, they needed him to be actually productive.
20. Give credit to Pete Alonso. Over a 41 game stretch entering this series, he was hitting .214/.305/.497. Put another way, it appeared the league had figured him out after a hot start. In the series against the Dodgers, he was 7-for-16 with two doubles, a triple, two homers, and five RBI. This is an indication he might be adjusting to what pitchers are doing to him. If so, that’s a sign he’s on his way to becoming a great player.