Adrian Gonzalez

Good Luck Adrian Gonzalez

With the Mets being unsure about Dominic Smith, and the team not expecting Peter Alonso to break out the way he has this past season, the team took a flyer on Adrian Gonzalez to at least compete for the Opening Day first base job.

Really, this was a flyer on a prideful player who has had a terrific Major League career.  While Cooperstown may not being calling him, the former first round draft pick has had a fine career having done great things for the Padres and the Dodgers.

One of the reasons Gonzalez made the Mets Opening Day roster was his professionalism.  He came to Spring Training, and he put in the work.  Considering that work included his having to stretch and prepare two hours before the game just to get ready, it speaks to his desire to play well, and perhaps, to end his career on his own terms.

On Opening Day, he seemed to shut up many detractors hitting a go-ahead double to give the Mets the lead.  From there, Gonzalez would have a number of good moments for the Mets, including his grand slam against the Nationals:

Another one of his biggest moments was his coming off the bench in a tight 1-1 game in Miami.  Against the left-handed Chris O’Grady, Gonzalez hit a go-ahead RBI single that not only gave the Mets the lead, but hit also sparked a four run rally.   At the time, it increased the Mets record to 10-1.

The one thing you could count on from Gonzalez was a professional at-bat.  It may be why he was such an effective pinch hitter on the days he didn’t start.  As a pinch hitter, he was 4-6 with two RBI and a walk.

His professional at-bats are probably why he was one of the Mets better hitters in the clutch.  In what Baseball Reference characterizes as “High Leverage” situations, Gonzalez hit .368/.444/.553 with four doubles, a homer, and 16 RBI with five walks.

The problem for Gonzalez was not every at-bat was a pinch hitting appearance or in a high leverage situation.  Overall, he hit .237/.299/.373 with five doubles, six homers, and 26 RBI.  Like the rest of this Mets team, his numbers were dragged down by his recent slide with him hitting .179/.207/.268 over his past 17 games.

With the way the team has been playing of late, the Mets didn’t have the time to see if he could get back to being the .265/.341/.425 hitter he was towards the end of May.

During his tenure with the Mets, Gonzalez was able to get to 1,202 RBI.  That made him just one of 22 first baseman in the history of the game to have 400 doubles, 300 homers, and 1,200 RBI.

It’s possible this is the end for him.  If it is, it was a great career that saw him hit .287/.358/.485 with 317 homers and 1,202 RBI.  He made five All Star teams while winning four Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers.

He had a very good career, and despite the recent struggles, he actually acquitted himself pretty well with the Mets.  If nothing else, he did show there was something left in the tank.

Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, but wherever he lands, best of luck to him.

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.

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.

Cubs Steal Home And Game From Matz

It’s exceedingly hard to put this game on Steven Matz. Arguably, doing so is completely absurd, and yet in some ways, the win/loss rules do that.

Through six innings, Matz allowed just two hits while striking out seven. With him locked in a pitcher’s duel with Jon Lester, and the Mets recent bullpen performances, you certainly understood why Mickey Callaway sent Matz out the the seventh.

Javier Baez and Willson Contreras led off the inning with back-to-back singles to at up runners with the corners with no outs. That’s when the Cubs put a set play into effect:

https://twitter.com/cubs/status/1003350544209940480?s=21

On that lazy throw to first, Baez immediately broke for home giving Adrian Gonzalez no chance of getting him at the plate.

While the natural inclination may be to jump on Matz, this was just the Cubs being ultra aggressive and smart. Somethings you just get beat.

Then, there are times you beat yourself.

On Gonzalez’s throw home, Contreras took second, and he’d move to third on a Kyle Schwarber single. Ben Zobrist, who just killed the Mets in this series, hit a pop up to shallow right THAT HAD NO BUSINESS SCORING A RUN.

NO BUSINESS!!!!!!!

But of course, the hobbled Jay Bruce allowed second baseman Luis Guillorme call him off. With Guillorme not being in the same strong position to make a throw home as a charging right fielder, Contreras not only took off, but he also scored.

Of course, Bruce would also fail to deliver at the plate as well.

The Mets had threatened immediately with Brandon Nimmo and Jose Bautista each drawing walks to begin the bottom of the first. Neither would score with Bruce being the first of three straight Mets to strikeout as Lester got out of that jam.

The Mets couldn’t get anything going again until the fifth when they loaded the bases with two outs. The rally would end on a Gonzalez ground out.

Ultimately, the Mets had no shot to win this one as they accumulated just three hits while getting shutout in this 2-0 loss. They’ve now scored just one run over their last 23 innings.

That’s borderline noncompetitive. Borderline.

Game Notes: Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak will be activated before Tuesday’s game.

Mets Finally Under Sewald Level

Well, it took 58 games, but the Mets are finally under .500. Again, it was a combination of the same issues which cost the Mets this game.

Through six innings, the Mets had a 2-0 lead compliments of a Brandon Nimmo homer and six very strong shutout innings from Zach Wheeler.

For some reasons after Wheeler threw 97 pitches, Mickey Callaway stuck with him for the seventh.

After Addison Russell and Tommy La Stella led off the inning with back-to-back singles, Callaway made a double-switch bringing in Jose Reyes (because why not?) and Paul Sewald.

The game quickly unraveled from there.

Kyle Schwarber hit a sac fly, and with Michael Conforto missing the cut-off man, La Stella went to second, which made it easy for him to score on the ensuing Ben Zobrist double.

The Cubs took the lead later that inning on a Kris Bryant RBI single.

Now, the justification for no Robert Gsellman was he needed another day off. Honestly, you can never question managers over giving fatigued pitchers a day off. However, you can question why Sewald for a second inning after a seventh where he had nothing.

Well with one on and two out, Willson Contreras hit a ball, Reyes should have fielded. With him failing to make the play, two runners were on base for a Schwarber three run homer instead of the Mets getting out of the inning.

The Mets did rally in the eighth with a Jose Bautista double putting runners at second and third with two out. Joe Maddon brought in Brian Duensing to face Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez delivered with a two RBI single to pull the Mets within 6-4. That rally would stall as Maddon brought in Steve Cishek, who got out of the jam by striking out Kevin Plawecki on a 3-2 pitch.

From there, Jeurys Familia allowed the Cubs to tack on an insurance run to give the Cubs a 7-4 lead. With the Mets failing to do much of anything in the ninth, that would be the final score.

And with that, the Mets are now under .500.

Game Notes: Jay Bruce left the game in the fifth with back issues. Jose Lobaton was called up, and to make room for him on the 25 and 40 man roster Scott Copeland was designated for assignment.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Level Of Confidence In Mickey Callaway

Over the past week, the Mets have had a number of bullpen meltdowns, and it just seems like no matter what Mickey Callaway does he is making the wrong decision.  After the 12-2 start, the Mets have dipped down a few times to .500, but they have not fallen below that .500 mark quite yet.  Criticism is starting to come from all directions including from Mike Francesca, who from his shiny new Twitter account, jabbed, “Imagine the problems the Mets would be having if the team wasn’t in the hands of a pitching guru?”

Considering it’s after Memorial Day, which has long been an unofficial litmus test for teams, now is as good a time as any for the Mets Bloggers to proffer what their level of confidence is in Callaway:

Michael Baron (MLB)

It’s hard to conclude anything – positively or negatively – in 2 months. It’s just not fair. We can definitely argue he has made mistakes, hope he has learned lessons, and dealing with the balance between stats, plans and gut feelings. But it’s 50 games – I’m hoping the next 50 games show growth in these areas. But it would help if his players could execute and he had more tools in his bag.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

He’s still in my circle of trust. I don’t understand why he told every reliever to suddenly perform as awfully as possible, but maybe he read about an Argentinian tech company who used a similar unorthodox team building exercise to eventually acquire record fourth quarter sales numbers? You just don’t know with that guy. But seriously folks, it doesn’t matter what order he puts in the veteran, high-priced relievers and Jason Vargas if they are all bad, so I don’t see how you can yell at Mickey for AJ Ramos turning into the world’s most charismatic pumpkin. And because he doesn’t want a phone call from Frederick and/or Jeffrey, Jose Reyes gets a start or two a week.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

It takes more than two months to undo eight years of foolishness. The Mets FIP last year was 4.49; this year it’s at 3.92 despite brutal starts by key pitchers. Sure, his lineup choices are odd, his in-game decisions even odder, but they resemble some of Terry Collins‘ head-scratchers. What’s the common denominator? A meddlesome COO (Reyes) and a front office that seems to be scripting the daily lineup and BP usage. That’s my take, anyway. I have confidence in Mickey. Let’s see if he can start wresting more of the in-game stuff away from the suits.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

My feeling is the manager can win or cost a team around 5 games per season. I think he’s doing fine but baseball managers have always been later on my list of team priorities, right below training and medical staff.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

Sometimes, it’s incumbent on the players to make plays. Not everything can be traced back to a bad managerial move. Now should be the time to look at Sandy and what kind of depth he has set the team up with to endure something like this.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

I don’t not trust him. How’s that? Unfair to withdraw one’s faith one-third into a manager’s first season, though the impression I get is 1) he’s groping for answers, patterns and/or a change of luck; 2) actually managing is more difficult than doing it in theory. I’m sure we’d all discover the same had we really impressed in our interview for the job.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

There was always some level of doubt, but the moment it became absolutely clear beyond much debate that we needed a new manager was when Terry forgot to pinch-run for Wilmer representing the tying run, and he got thrown out at the plate. On that level, I trust Mickey far more than I ever trusted Terry: he’s got a basic level of competence where you know he’s not just going to lose his mind and do something ridiculous. I think we all internally hoped for more, though – we were hoping he would turn out to be some kind of visionary who would single-handedly turn us into a World Series winner. Mickey isn’t that – I’m not sure if anybody has ever actually been that. Maybe Gil Hodges. Which means Mickey isn’t Gil Hodges – which is fine. He still knows his way around a baseball game, and I’m always relatively confident that he won’t screw things up all by himself.

Mets Daddy

While we have been rightly focusing on the bullpen meltdowns and Callaway’s missteps in causing some of those meltdowns, we are missing some of the real good he is doing.  Amed Rosario is blossoming, and Brandon Nimmo has made himself into a real good Major League leadoff hitter under his watch.  We’ve also seen Callaway coax a second (or third) act out of the careers of Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista, and Devin Mesoraco.

While we expected Callaway to pull a Rumplestiltskin and weave a gold out of a collection of broken arms, his job is much more than that.  He’s in charge of a full 25 man roster, and there is enough there with his work with the full roster to believe he was the right man, and that he will continue learning and growing on the job.

While there may be some question about the job Callaway is doing and his future as a manager, one thing is for certain – this is a terrific group of writers, and I encourage everyone to take the time out to read their excellent writing on Callaway and all things Mets.

Rosario’s Signature Game Leads To Mets Win

More than any game this season, you expected the Mets to lose yesterday.  Jason Vargas and his 10.62 ERA were pitching on three days rest.  The team made a flurry of moves to add Tim Peterson, Buddy Baumann, and Scott Copeland, a trio many joked were really names spit out by the Madden name generator, to the roster.   Once again, they had an extremely short bench.

And to make matters worse, the Braves were pitching Julio Teheran, who has owned the Mets in his career.

But something very interesting happened.  Vargas was actually good.  The veteran lefty would pitch five shutout innings against the Braves.  Better yet because of a pair of fourth inning doubles from Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez, the Mets actually had a 1-0 lead through five.

Interestingly enough, many were actually second guessing Mickey Callaway‘s decision to pull Vargas after five.  The main arguments were he was pitching well, and he had only thrown 65 pitches.

Those arguments neglect the obvious counterpoint that Vargas was on short rest, and he’s been bad all year.  Those five innings were a gift, and rather than look in the horse’s mouth to see if anything was left, he thanked the baseball gods and gave the ball to Peterson.

Peterson is an interesting story because as the Mets 2012 20th round draft pick, he was going to have to do more than the average prospect to prove himself.  He has done just that coming off a 1.14ERA in Binghamton last year, a terrific stretch in the Arizona Fall League, and a 3.45 ERA and 12.6 K/9 for Las Vegas this year.  With the rash of injuries, at 27 years old, Peterson was finally going to get his shot.

He would immediately prove he belonged pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning, an inning where he faced Ozzie AlbiesFreddie FreemanNick Markakis.  That is no small feat indeed.  In fact, in his two innings of work, he would allow just one hit.  Unfortunately, that one hit was a Johan Camargo homer to the same exact spot he hit his walk-off against Gerson Bautista the previous night.

Fortunately, that homer would cut the lead to 2-1 because the Mets came up with two huge two out hits against Teheran.  First, Amed Rosario hit a rope to center past Ender Inciarte that turned into a two out triple.  Then, Brandon Nimmo would jump on a 3-2 pitch and rip a single to right to give the Mets a then 2-0 led.  That triple set up an important insurance run, but it would not be the last impact Rosario would have on this game.

In the top of the eighth, Shane Carle relieved Teheran, and the Mets immediately went on the attack.  After a Jose Bautista double, Bruce was intentionally walked, and Kevin Plawecki worked out a six pitch walk.  Gonzalez, who the Braves are paying $21.8 million not to play for them, hit an RBI single giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.  The rally would end there as Luis Guillorme hit into an inning ending double play.

Callaway then made a decision he promised to make heading into the season, but he has not followed through.  He brought Jeurys Familia into the eighth inning because the Braves had the top of the lineup coming up.  No, this was not going to be a six out save chance.  Rather, Callaway was using his best reliever to get out the best hitters in the Braves lineup.

The move almost blew up with Albies and Freeman hitting a pair of one out singles followed by Markakis smoking a grounder up the middle.  That’s when Rosario made a truly great defensive play to save the inning and perhaps the game:

That 6-4-3 double play ended the inning, and it might’ve saved the game.

In the top of the ninth, Rosario and Nimmo added an insurance run off Miguel Socolovich with a pair of one out doubles to increase the Mets lead t0 4-1.  That three run margin was more than enough for Robert Gsellman to record his first one inning save.

Ulitmately, in a series of many twists and turns, the Mets battled through injury and fatigue and somehow walked away with a split. Perhaps more importantly, we now have a signature game from Rosario, who suddenly seems like he is figuring it out in each and every aspect of his game.  He’s been exciting, and as he continues to develop, you have more and more reason to get excited about this Mets team.

It speaks to the resiliency this team has, and it will be interesting to see what it means for this team as it begins to get healthy with Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak on the horizon.

Game Notes: To make room for the aforementioned three relievers, Phillip Evans and Jacob Rhame were sent down to Triple-A.  To make room for Copeland and Peterson on the 40 man roster, Juan Lagares was transferred to the 60 day disabled list, and P.J. Conlon was designated for assignment.

As Expected: Mets Split Doubleheader Losing deGrom’s Gem and Winning Conlon’s Mess

If we learned anything from the doubleheader yesterday, it was baseball makes no sense whatsoever.  How could it?  Somehow, someway, the New York Mets are 5-6 in Jacob deGrom starts and 2-0 in P.J. Conlon. starts.  Just to put how bizarre that is in perspective Conlon has pitched fewer innings in his brief MLB career than deGrom did yesterday.

And it was another virtuoso performance from deGrom yesterday.  The only mark against him was a Tyler Flowers seventh inning shot.  That had made the game 2-1 with the Mets scoring on a Devin Mesoraco bases loaded walk.  While Luis Guillorme would end that rally, he made up for it by hitting a double over the head over Preston Tucker, who had not played the field in about a month and looked like it.  On the double, Mesoraco would score from first.

After the Flowers homer, the Braves apparently smelled blood in the water because they went on the attack.  Tucker walked, and Johan Camargo singled on a ball any other second baseman not named Asdrubal Cabrera fields.  With runners at the corners, the Braves seemed poised to tie the game.  It never happened.

First, deGrom struck out Dansby Swanson.  He then got Kurt Suzuki to pop out to swallow left with Amed Rosario getting to it and running it back to the infield to prevent any shenanigans.  Finally, deGrom got Ender Inciarte to ground out to end the inning.

After that, deGrom gave the Mets the seven innings they needed on a day where they were going to have a bullpen game in the second half of the doubleheader.  It was a 115 pitch virtuoso performance.  In total, he allowed the one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight.  He furthered this case to win the Cy Young.

It didn’t matter because instead of going to Jeurys Familia, Mickey Callaway went with Seth Lugo.

Admittedly, going to Familia for six outs may not have seemed like the obvious move, but when you’re looking to use your whole bullpen for the second game, why not use Lugo’s for 2-3 innings instead of either setting up or trying to get the six out save himself. For whatever reason, Callaway tabbed Lugo to go out there and get his first career save against the first place team in the division.

It didn’t happen. In the eighth, Ozzie Albies started the inning off with a bunt single, and he was on third after a Freddie Freeman single.  To his credit, Lugo did limit the Braves to just a Nick Markakis sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.

The Mets would take the lead in the ninth when Mesoraco, who was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI on the day the catching competition really started, hit a go-ahead homer.

Even with Familia warming, Callaway went to Lugo to pick up the win.  Seemingly just as Gary Cohen’s words left his mouth about the last time he homered, Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off two run homer to give the Braves a 4-3 win.

It was a brutal fourth loss in a row featuring a third bullpen meltdown and questionable Callaway decision making.  It was a bad omen for the night portion of the doubleheader.  Fortunately, it didn’t pan out that way.  Maybe, because in the five plus hour rain delay between games, the Mets finally figured something out.

Like most games recently, the game started off quite well with Adrian Gonzalez opening the scoring with an RBI single.  The rally would continue with Kevin Plawecki, fresh off the disabled list, reaching on an awful throw to second by Brandon McCarthy.  Instead, of an inning ending double play, it was 2-0 Mets.  That lead would grow to 3-1 Mets with a Brandon Nimmo homer to lead off the third.

That lead was not for long as the Braves went to work against Conlon in the third.  After a Freeman two RBI single, Markakis would double setting up runners at second and third with no outs and the game already tied 3-3.  Conlon was done for the day, and Callaway would tab Hansel Robles to come on to stifle the rally.

While it may not have been pretty, in an inning which included Camargo getting hit by a pitch, Robles got through the inning allowing just a Suzuki sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 4-3.  In total, Robles would actually give the Mets three scoreless innings, which not only kept them in the game, but it would allow the Mets to take the lead.

The big hit of the game would come from Rosario.  After Plawecki, Jose Reyes, and Guillorme hit consecutive one out singles to load the bases, Rosario hit a go-ahead two RBI single giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.

To the surprise of no one, the lead didn’t last.  Robert Gsellman came into the sixth, and he was greeted with a Ryan Flaherty single and an Inciarte double to set up runners at second and third with no outs.  Rather than tempt fate by bringing in Jerry Blevins again (who was not warming), after Albies struck out, the Mets intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases before Gsellman allowed an infield single to Markakis to tie the score.

Naturally, Reyes could not make the play.

After a mound visit, Gsellman got a groundball from Suzuki.  Gonzalez made the heads up play of getting the out a home to preserve the tie.  Culberson would not have a second act of heroics today as he flied out to center to end the inning.

In what should be a lot of credit to this Mets team, they responded in the seventh.  The rally started with a Michael Conforto leadoff single. He’d be erased on a Jay Bruce fielder’s choice, but the Mets would load the bases with ensuing singles from Gonzalez and Plawecki.  Reyes, once again, failed by striking out.

Guillorme would give the Mets the lead with a clutch two out two RBI single, and Rosario followed with an RBI single of his own giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

There would be no bullpen meltdown as Jacob Rhame pitched a perfect seventh before Callaway finally allowed Familia go out there and get his six out save.  With that, in a very odd way, the Mets earned a split of the doubleheader, and they ended a frustrating losing streak.  It will be very interesting to see how this team responds later today if they actually play the game.

Game 1 Notes: In the fifth, Braves starter Max Fried picked-off both Conforto and Jose Bautista off first base.  Bruce played first base.  Technically, Bautsita’s goes down as a caught stealing as he broke for second.  There was a long rain delay when there was no rain on the field.

Game 2 Notes: During the broadcast, Keith Hernandez noted his belief Reyes is struggling at third because he is not comfortable there.  It should be noted Reyes has played more than 90 games at the position and was signed to be a utility player, a utility player who refuses to play the outfield.

Wheeler Loses Due To Poor Defense, Worse Offense

Watching the game tonight, it is really difficult to assess how well Zack Wheeler performed.  On the one hand, he was executing his pitches as well as he ever has, and yet he earned the loss against a bad Marlins team.

Actually, there is a debate how much he “earned” that loss.  Really, there was just one hiccup for him, and that was in the second inning when the Marlins scored all three of their runs.

The first run was on Wheeler, who allowed three straight hard hit balls by Brian Anderson (double), Derek Dietrich, and Miguel Rojas.  After that, it’s hard to pin anything else on him.  Caleb Smith popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, which Jose Reyes fielded on hop, looked at every single base, and then threw the ball in the dirt thereby loading the bases.

It was an awful play by Reyes, but it was a ball Asdrubal Cabrera should have been able to field.   J.T. Realmuto hit a two out two RBI single Cabrera deflected into center.

That three run lead was brutal because as Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling kept opining, Smith was dealing for the Marlins.  That is a plausible explanation considering Smith entered the game striking out 12 batters per nine.    However, it needs to be noted the Mets bats are really awful against left-handed batters.  Tonight, was no exception as Smith allowed one run on three hits over 6.2 innings.

The one run he allowed was in the bottom of the second, and it started with a Jose Bautista double.  Speaking of Bautista, he was signed just before the game, and he was put in the starting lineup ahead of Jay Bruce, and he played left field.  After the predictable Reyes out, Bautista moved to third, and he scored on a Tomas Nido sacrifice fly.

The Mets really wouldn’t get another rally started until the eighth.  Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a double, and later than inning Brandon Nimmo earned a one out walk.  The rally would falter there as Cabrera would hit into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.

While disappointing, that rally was too little too late anyway.  In the top of the inning, Derek Dietrich hit a two run homer off AJ Ramos to expand the Marlins lead to 5-1.  That would be the final score on a deeply disappointing day.

Game Notes: Reyes made two errors in the game, and he now has three hits and two errors on the month.  Devin Mesoraco did not start after getting hit on the elbow with an errant swing last night.  He did pinch hit in the seventh and flew out.