Yesterday, Odell Beckham, Jr. broke his leg as the Giants lost to go to 0-5. It doesn’t matter how optimistic a Giants fan you are, the season is over.
The Rangers still have a talented group, but they got off to a 1-2 start. One of the “highlights” of the young season is Alain Vigneault benching promising young player Filip Chytil for no other reason than he’s a young player. There is still reason to believe the Rangers can make a run, but any excitement you would have is tempered by Terry Collins, sorry, AV, leading the way.
The Knicks, well, they are the Knicks.
If things continue this way, it promises to be a long winter until Spring Training begins.
Unless Sandy Alderson gets to work, it’s going to be a full year without hope. He needs to build a bullpen beyond AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia. There needs to be more on the infield than Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario. There needs to be more starting pitching depth due to the injury histories of Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler.
There’s a lot to do here. Hopefully Sandy does it. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long year in the New York sports scene.
You’d be hard pressed to find a Mets fan who’d even contemplate a Yankees-Nationals World Series. After a horrible season, certainly one of the five most disappointing in Mets history, a Yankees-Nationals World Series is about the last thing Mets fans need.
Or is it?
The Mets entered the 2017 season with a $155 million payroll, which was ranked twelfth in the majors. That number was a bit deceptive as it included David Wright‘ insured contract. After the 75% reimbursement for Wright’s contract, the Mets Opening Day payroll was $140 million. That would’ve bumped them down to 15th.
Really, a Mets team who had designs on winning a World Series had a middle tier payroll. A Mets team located in the largest media market in the world was middle of the pack in spending.
That’s fine if the Mets were well constructed, but as we knew at the time, they weren’t.
Now, with the Mets facing even bigger holes this offseason, the Mets are planning to . . . wait for it . . . cut payroll. Instead of the $155 (or $140) million mark, the Mets plan to cut payroll by $135 million. They’re doing this despite having even more holes to address this offseason.
The Mets need a second baseman, third baseman, and a rebuilt bullpen. They should also consider adding a fifth starter, center fielder, backup catcher, and a capable bench. How the Mets can do all of this with less money is anyone’s guess.
Based on how the Mets have been run during the Sandy Alderson era, it seems as if the bullpen and bench will be the two poorest constructed areas. The Mets have been able to address both in the past by making in-season trades. Those trades have helped deplete the farm system.
Overall, if the Mets are going to return to being World Series contenders, they’ll have to spend. That’s hard to do unless Sandy is given more money this offseason.
That brings us back to the original Yankees-Nationals World Series point.
As much as Mets fans do not want to see it, the Wilpons want to see it even less. Remember Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted the Mets were “not eager” to trade Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, or really anyone to the Yankees. They didn’t want to have those players being the Mets. More than that, they don’t want to see the Yankees in the spotlight.
Likely, they don’t want to see Daniel Murphy leading the Nationals to the World Series. With everything Murphy has done since leaving the Mets, he makes the Mets look worse and worse. Seeing Murphy having a third straight terrific postseason may be too much for this franchise to bear. That goes double when you consider the Mets have a gaping hole at second base – one that could have been filled by Murphy if the Mets weren’t so eager to get rid of him.
If the Yankees and Nationals make the World Series, it would just rub salt in the Mets wounds. On the American League side, you have a team the Mets cannot bear to see successful. On the National League side, you have the Mets biggest competition in the division going to the World Series led by a former fan favorite. That’s a lot for an image conscious ownership group to bear.
Who knows? If that happens, maybe it will spurn the Mets to action. We could actually see the Mets open up their pocketbooks to address the needs of this team. Adding some players to a solid foundation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, and Michael Conforto could very well propel this team back to where they were in 2015.
Then again, maybe the Mets don’t spend the money they need to fix this team. If they’re not going to spend the money, then they deserve the indignity of seeing the Nationals and Yankees in the World Series. They deserve to get their own personal worst case scenario. The hope for Mets fans is it will be too much for them to bear that they will finally do something about it.
Almost five years ago to the day, R.A. Dickey took the mound for the Mets, and he earned his 20th win of the season all but locking up his highly improbable Cy Young Award.
While Dickey hasn’t been anywhere near that good since the 2012 season, he looked like that pitcher once again tonight. He controlled his knuckleball extremely well not walking anyone. He kept the Mets honest by throwing his fastball just enough.
Really, the Mets didn’t seem like they were going to touch Dickey until Kevin Plawecki hit what seemed to be the first mistake Dickey made all night for a two run homer. The homer pulled the Mets to within 3-2 making the game a bit more perilous for Dickey than originally anticipated when the inning began.
It would be a two out Amed Rosario triple that finally chased Dickey from the game. With Dickey having been a beloved Met during his tenure, he received a well earned ovation as he entered the dugout.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 27, 2017
In the second, Montero got himself out trouble by issuing a lead-off walk to Dansby Swanson. He scored on a Jace Peterson double, and Peterson scored on an Ozzie Albies RBI single. It was be enough to ensure Montero would finish the year with an ERA over 5.00.
On the season, Montero finished 5-11 with a 5.26 ERA. Keep in mind, this is what was deemed to be a resurgent year for Montero where the Mets think he could realistically be a contributor next year.
While the three runs were enough to ding Montero, it would not prove enough to give Dickey a win partially because Sam Freeman was snake bit.
The first issue was his issuing a one out walk to Nori Aoki. Johan Camargo would then throw the ball away on a Jose Reyes grounder setting up second and third with one out.
Asdrubal Cabrera then ripped a line drive that should have give the Mets the lead. It would only be a game tying sacrifice fly because Inciarte did it against the Mets again:
After a scoreless ninth from Jeurys Familia, the Mets would have a chance to walk it off. It was going to be difficult against A.J. Minter who has had a terrific rookie season.
The Mets would give the rookie his first loss of his career.
The game winning rally started with a Plawecki single, and Juan Lagares pinch ran for him. Terry Collins then uncharacteristically allowed Dominic Smith to face a left-handed pitcher. The decision was all the more surprising when you consider the Mets had a bench full of right-handed batters.
Smith rewarded Collins’ faith when he drew the first walk Minter has issued in his brief career. Not just a walk to a left-handed batter. First walk.
After Rosario failed to lay down the sacrifice bunt, Taijeron delivered with a single to left giving him the first walk-off hit of his Major League career.
Five years later, Dickey was great, and the Mets won the game. If this was really the end of his career, it was a fitting end for a pitcher that really helped turn the Mets around.
Game Notes: AJ Ramos has been unavailable with a bicep issue, and he may be done for the season.
With the Mets moving on from Terry Collins, the Mets will begin their managerial search, and according to reports, the Mets will consider Robin Ventura. Certainly, there is a reason why Mets fans would be pleased with the decision:
Ventura was a fan favorite, who was part of the greatest defensive infield of all time. There is a certain level of buzz and excitement his hiring would create with fans. However, that is not the sole basis to hire a manager. Thankfully, we know the current front office will not be swayed as such. Otherwise, Wally Backman would have been hired as the manager in 2010.
Therefore, we know the Mets will only hire Ventura only if he’s the right manager for the job. The question is whether hiring him would be a grand slam or a single.
On the one hand, Ventura once finished third in the 2012 American League Manager of the Year voting. That season, Ventura’s White Sox surprised many with an 85-77 record. One of the reasons why that team was so successful was because Ventura effectively managed Chris Sale‘s first season as a starter. Sale wasn’t his only young pitcher. He also managed Jose Quintana and old friend Addison Reed in their rookie seasons.
While those pitchers may not have reached their full potential immediately, they had a solid foundation from Ventura’s years as their manager. Now, much credit there goes to Pitching Coach Don Cooper, Ventura was still the manager, and he deserves a portion of the credit.
One of the reasons why he deserves credit is because Ventura actually rated well in bullpen management using the stat Bullpen Management Above Random (BMAR). Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the stat “assess[es] how closely each manager lined up his best relievers with his team’s highest-leverage relief opportunities.” (Grantland). Among active managers, Ventura would rank fifth in voting.
Certainly, the Mets could use a manager who works well with pitchers and handles a pitching staff well. That goes double when you consider the Mets will have to handle all the injured pitchers coming back next year and the development of Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.
The rest of Ventura’s stint as White Sox manager was a bit of a mixed bag. While he effectively managed they young pitchers, Adam Eaton, and Jose Abreu when he came to the United States, he never quite developed either Alexei Ramirez or Gordon Beckham.
After that surprising first season as the White Sox manager, Ventura’s teams failed to contend, or for that matter, finish over .500. What was troubling there was the White Sox heavily invested in their 2015 and 2016 teams. Whether it was Ventura or the mix of players brought to the White Sox remains to be seen.
That 2016 season was a difficult one for the White Sox. Kenny Williams had instructed Adam LaRoche he couldn’t bring his son to the clubhouse as frequently leaving the player to retire leaving behind angry players. This was just the first incident. While he didn’t lose the clubhouse then, he might have later in the season.
Later, Sale would infamously cut up all of the throwback jerseys because they were uncomfortable. Upon learning of Sale’s actions, Ventura would scratch him, and the team would suspend him. This led to a Sale tirade with him attacking Ventura saying, “”Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department. If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.” (MLB.com).
Overall, when looking at Ventura’s tenure as the White Sox manager, it’s a mixed bag. He’s been able to develop some players while not getting through to others. He’s largely kept control of his clubhouse, but in the end, he eventually lost his star player. Of course, this happens to even the best managers, and it’s easy to over-analyze the final days of his White Sox tenure.
The one thing we do know is Ventura always handled himself well with the media throughout these issues. It is not too dissimilar for how well he handled himself as a player while with the Mets and the Yankees. Considering he played with the Mets in difficult times (9/11, decline as a player, team under-performing), it is easy to believe he could handle the press well as a Mets manager.
Taking everything into consideration, Ventura merits consideration and an interview for the Mets managerial opening. If the Mets wind up hiring him, they will have a manager whose strengths might just coincide with what the team needs. If he’s better for his experience with the White Sox all together. In the end, Ventura would be a fine choice as manager.
The Mets played two ends of a doubleheader against the Braves with vastly different results.
When you look at the lineup on the first game, you can immediately guess which game they won and which one they lost:
- Nori Aoki
- Jose Reyes
- Brandon Nimmo
- Phillip Evans
- Dominic Smith
- Amed Rosario
- Juan Lagares
- Tomas Nido
- Chris Flexen
For his part, Flexen fought the good fight pitching five good innings allowing just one earned run. Then the sixth inning happened.
Josh Smoker would relieve Flexen, and he would allow all three inherited runners to score. The highlight (lowlight?) was Mets killer Freddie Freeman hitting a two run double.
With the lineup the Mets had, this game was all but over. The base running certainly didn’t help that Tyler Flowers threw out Lagares and Reyes trying to steal a base.
The Braves would score runs in each of the final four innings in the 9-2 blowout. The only Mets runs came off a Nido two run seventh inning double; his first career extra base hit.
Things would go much better in the second game of the double header because Seth Lugo was great.
Lugo pitched six scoreless innings allowing just two hits while walking none. He kept the Braves off balance striking out seven.
He’d get all the run support he needed from Travis d’Arnaud who had another big night in what has been a big month for him.
In the third, after Asdrubal Cabrera had an RBI groundout scoring Nimmo, d’Arnaud doubled home Lagares. The Mets 2-0 lead would become a 3-0 lead with a d’Arnaud eighth inning homer.
The Mets needed all the room they could get because Jeurys Familia had an adventure in his second save opportunity since coming off the disabled list.
After a Kurt Suzuki lead-off single, Familia made an error on a Freeman grounder to set up first and second with no outs.
Familia then bore down, and he got Flowers to ground out to end the game.
Between the two games, the Mets scored five runs. The runs were sufficient in the second half because the Mets had good pitching. That was a reason why the team was good in 2015 and 2016. For at least one night, you were reminded of those days.
Of course, with them getting annihilated in the first half of the doubleheader, you were reminded why the Mets are terrible this year.
Game Notes: Kevin Plawecki started at first base in the second game. With the Mets losing the first game of the doubleheader, they have officially gone the 2017 season without sweeping an opponent at home.
Yesterday, the Mets sold us own Noah Syndergaard making his first start since April followed by a “relief appearance” by Matt Harvey. T0day, the selling point was to see Jacob deGrom try to get t0 200 innings for the first time in his career and to see him get his 16th win of the year.
While the Mets largely disappointed, deGrom didn’t. Despite experiencing flu like symptoms, not too long after Amed Rosario had to be hospitalized, deGrom took the mound and gave his team every chance to win. However, deGrom would not get that win.
Part it was his giving up a two run homer to Trea Turner turning a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 deficit. Another part was his teammates really let him down today. To that end, it was not much different than most deGrom starts this year.
Things were really bad in the fifth. Michael Taylor led off the inning with an infield single to third that Phillip Evans couldn’t quite make a play on. Taylor then attempted a steal of second base, and he found himself on third after Travis d’Arnaud threw the ball into center field. A Jose Lobaton RBI single later, and the Nationals had an insurmountable 3-1 lead.
It was insurmountable because the Nationals had Max Scherzer going. As such deGrom’s final line of six innings, five hits, three runs, two earned, no walks, and 11 strikeouts wouldn’t be good enough for that win.
Really, after a Brandon Nimmo first inning home run, the Mets offense couldn’t get anything going. More than that, this offense was inept. This was apparent in the seventh when Victor Robles caught a Rosario liner in right and picked Evans off first.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) September 24, 2017
The play helped kill what could have been a game tying rally. That play was even more magnified in the eighth.
With three straight singles, the Mets pulled within 3-2 with one out.
After a Nimmo strikeout and a d’Arnaud walk, the bases were loaded for Dominic Smith. It was a big moment for a big Mets prospect. The only problem is the Mets manager is still Terry Collins, a manager who has shown zero interest in developing these young Mets players.
Plawecki got ahead 3-1 in the count, but Solis would get back in the count and strike him out.
That ended the Mets last chance to beat the Nationals. Not just today, but the season.
Game Notes: Nimmo has struck out in 14 straight games.
Since Citi Field opened, I’ve been to a countless number of games. It’s fewer than the games I’ve attended at Shea, but still I’ve attended many games at Citi. Tonight, I made the conscious decision to enjoy the park.
Honestly, I made that decision based for two different reasons. The first was the lineup was Nori Aoki–Jose Reyes–Asdrubal Cabrera. Once again, that lineup signals the Mets have completely lost focus on their primary objective, which is to develop and find out about their young players.
The second was when I entered Citi Field with my son, and he was interviewed by SNY:
After that, I made it to the starts because I wasn’t going to miss Noah Syndergaard‘s first “start” off the Disabled List.
It was a glorious return with him hitting 99 MPH on the gun while facing the minimum. Once Daniel Murphy grounded into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play, Syndergaard’s night was over.
He looked great, and he left the game without issue. It was certainly a highlight.
From there, the Mets went to Matt Harvey. It was Harvey’s first career relief appearance even if he was really the scheduled starter.
In Harvey’s first inning of work, he looked like the Harvey of old. The velocity was there. The slider was moving. It was great to watch, but knowing how he’s pitched this year, I knew it was fleeting, so it was time to re-embark and walk around the ballpark starting with the dunk tank
Of course, that made him want a snack, so we continued our tour around the ballpark.
Before grabbing his snack, we settled on popcorn in a helmet.
After watching a few innings, we ventured back out because he wanted an Amed Rosario shirsey. Even though Yoenis Cespedes is his favorite player, he reminded me he already has a Cespedes shirt. Because I was swept up in the moment, and I had a coupon, I got swept up in the moment
Rosario shirsey in tow, my son not only wanted to play baseball again, but he was feeling a bit cocky:
We were in our seats for the next few innings including the seventh inning stretch. With all the running around and with it being well past my son’s bedtime, he only made it through the ninth.
He was drifting, and I thought it cruel to have him awoken by fireworks. As I entered the car, I did hear the fireworks start. Unfortunately, it was in the form of a Murphy 10 inning game winning off Jacob Rhame.
Overall, I really appreciated going around the park with my son. Citi Field really is a great place to take a kid to a game. It would be even better with a better team or with an organization that cared about developing their young players in times like these.
Here’s the thing. While you enjoy beating the Nationals, this game didn’t mean much. It’s not that the Mets season is over, and the Nationals have gone into preparing for the offseason mode. No, it’s because the Mets with Terry Collins at the helm aren’t focusing towards next year enough.
His second RBI was the game winning RBI scoring Juan Lagares.
Now, it’s beer. great to see Lagares get regular playing time. There are so few reasons to watch this team, but his defense is certainly one of them. He did it again today.
The reason the Mets were down was because Robert Gsellman wasn’t the same pitcher he was in his last start. Gsellman would only last five innings allowing four hits, six runs, five earned, and three walks with four strikeouts.
The big blow against him was an Adam Lind third inning three run homer.
However, when all was said and done, it wasn’t the Lind homer, but the Travis d’Arnaud homers. Yes, plural.
Déjà vu for d'Arnaud! His second homer of the game evens things at 6. End-5 pic.twitter.com/dCFusNjuM2
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 23, 2017
The first homer off Edwin Jackson that gave the Mets a 1-0 second inning lead. Jackson seemed to settle in after that, but the floodgates would open after the aforementioned Lagares bunt single.
His second one off Jackson tied the game setting the stage for the bullpen to keep the Nationals at bay.
At least to start the ninth, it was AJ Ramos. However, Ramos would not finish the inning.
Josh Smoker, who has reverse splits in his career, was brought to face Lind. He rose to the challenge getting him to line out for the second out of the inning.
Next, just like Collins went back to Jeurys Familia to close it out. For the first time since returning from surgery. It was just like old times with Familia striking out Victor Robles to end the rally and the game.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario came back after missing three
Well, the good Rafael Montero we had seen become one of the Mets most reliable starters turned back into the Montero of old. In his four innings of work, Montero had allowed seven hits, two walks, and five earned runs.
The Marlins went to work against him right away with a Dee Gordon lead-off double. For a moment, it seemed like Montero would get out of the inning unscathed, but he would allow a two out RBI single to Marcell Ozuna. After a 1-2-3 second and Montero retiring the first two batters of the third, it seemed as if Montero had settled in and was ready to go deep into the game.
That was until a two out walk to Christian Yelich got the rally started. Yelich stole second and scored on Ozuna’s second RBI two out RBI single of the game. For a moment, it seemed as if Jose Reyes could make a play on the ball, but it went right by him. After a Justin Bour two run homer, the Marlins were up 4-0, and it became an easy game for Jose Urena and the Marlins.
The Mets would make things look better than they were. Travis d’Arnaud would hit a pinch hit RBI single in the fifth scoring Kevin Plawecki. Brandon Nimmo would hit a seventh inning homer to pull the Mets to within a manageable 5-2 score. It seemed like the Mets would have a chance with Chris Flexen pitching two scoreless innings in what might have been his best outing in a Mets uniform.
It was all for naught as the Marlins would play Home Run Derby against Erik Goeddel in the eighth. He allowed homers to A.J. Ellis, Miguel Rojas, and Giancarlo Stanton to turn a 5-2 lead into a 9-2 lead. For Stanton, it was his 56th homer of the year. Too bad for Stanton, he no longer has games against the Mets in his chase of Roger Maris.
To that extent, the Mets had maybe one win in what was a putrid sweep at the hands of the Marlins. The Mets will now get a day off, and they will come home for the last home series of the season. For the first time in two years, that does not involve a loss in a postseason series.
Game Notes: Amed Rosario missed his third straight game with a gastroenteritis.