Amed Rosario

deGrom Inches Closer To Cy Young

That Cy Young Award is now so close for Jacob deGrom he can almost taste it. While Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola have slipped this month, deGrom continues setting records.

With his win tonight (A WIN!), he broke the record he shared with Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter for consecutive quality starts in a season.

In his seven innings of work, deGrom allowed just one earned on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He would lower his MLB best ERA to 1.77.

After Wilmer Difo hit a second inning sacrifice fly, deGrom would only yield one base hit. That lone base runner wouldn’t get past first.

Unlike other games where deGrom has taken the loss for a terrific start like this, he would get that rare win.

Amed Rosario hit the first pitch of the game for a double. Victor Robles misplayed it, but Rosario didn’t head to third. For a moment, it looked like Rosario would be stranded there, but Jay Bruce blooped a two out single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

After the Nationals tied it in the second, the Mets got the lead again in a big three run third.

That rally was started with Michael Conforto and Bruce hitting consecutive one out doubles off Nationals starter Joe Ross.

Dominic Smith brought home Bruce with a key two out RBI. After an uncharacteristic Anthony Rendon error allowed Todd Frazier to reach, Devin Mesoraco doubled home Rosario.

At that point, it was 4-1 Mets, and deGrom was in the drivers seat. Effectively speaking, both offenses went completely silent. That meant the cushion the Mets have deGrom was more than sufficient.

Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth, and Robert Gsellman had an eventful ninth. He’d get through it allowing just one run with some help as Conforto made a leaping catch to take a hit away from Bryce Harper.

With the 4-2 win, both the Nationals and deGrom now see their records at .500. With how the season has gone,

Game Notes: After not playing in over two weeks, Mesorsco was 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, and

https://twitter.com/mikemayermmo/status/1043316071770537984?s=21

Mets Should Still Keep Wilmer Flores

Mets folk hero and utility player Wilmer Flores has been diagnosed with arthritis in both of his knees, and there are some indications the Mets are will non-tender him this offseason making him a free agent a year earlier than scheduled. In many ways, this seems like an odd decision.

For starters, the Mets have not shied away from giving money to injured and injury prone players.  The Mets gave Yoenis Cespedes $110 million knowing he had calcified heels which would one day require surgical correction.  In a similar circumstance to Flores, the Mets opted to keep Matt Harvey by giving him $5.625 million despite Harvey’s Tommy John, TOS, and stress reaction issues over the past four years.

Perhaps more analogous to the aforementioned situatiosn, the Mets gave Jay Bruce $39 million even though the team had no need for a left-hand hitting corner outfielder and Bruce having a history of knee issues. In fact, back in 2014, Bruce would have surgery to repair partially torn meniscus.  As noted by UW Medicine, a torn meniscus could lead to arthritis.  While we do not know if Bruce has arthritis or not, that is an assumed risk the Mets took despite having Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo on the 40 man roster.

When it comes to Bruce, what the Mets really cared about here was production and Bruce’s ability to stay on the field.  It was a risk that backfired.  What is interesting with Flores is he was able to stay on the field, and he was able to produce.

From June 15th until September 1st, Flores was an everyday player for the Mets.  In that stretch, he hit .281/.325/.446 with 17 doubles, eight homers, and 35 RBI.  Over this stretch, he had a 110 wRC+.  Among players with 250 plate appearances over this stretch, that wRC+ was fourth best among MLB first basemen.  It would have also ranked as fourth best among second baseman and sixth among third baseman.

Overall, Flores’ bat will play at any infield position.  More than that, time and again, we have seen Flores is capable of taking over a position for an extended stretch of time while giving the Mets good production.  That’s an important thing when the Mets actively signs players like Bruce who they will know will miss time.

When further analyzing the roster, you realize the Mets need Flores’ right-handed bat.

Looking at the projected 2019 roster, the Mets are going to heavily rely on left-handed bats.  In addition to Bruce, Conforto, and Nimmo, the Mets also have Jeff McNeil.  Outside of Todd Frazier, the Mets do not have any real right-handed power bats on the roster.  It’s possible Amed Rosario could be that one day, but he’s not there yet.

Point being, when the Mets face a tough left-handed pitcher, they will need a player like Flores who they can put into the lineup.  He could spell McNeil at second, or he could move over to first for Bruce.  With respect to Bruce, it would help keep him fresher and hopefully more productive.

You could argue this spot could be filled by T.J. Rivera, but no one knows if he will be able to play next year.  More than that, the Mets would be a stronger team with a stronger bench if they have both Flores and Rivera.

This is not to suggest Flores isn’t without his flaws.  He is not a good defender at any position even if he is passable on the right side of the infield.  While his knees have not forced him to the disabled list, he has been injury prone, even if they are freak injuries like him fouling a ball off his face.

Still, Flores is a player who is a perfect fit for this roster.  More than that, he is a player who is a fan favorite, and he has shown himself to be clutch as well with him being the Mets all-time leader in walk-off RBI.  Taking all of this into account, the Mets would be foolish to parts ways with Flores over a one-year commitment, especially when we know the Mets will not reinvest that money and sign a player anywhere near as good as Flores.

Mets Outlast Nationals

Like two nights ago, the Mets had the opportunity to take out one of the leading Cy Young candidates to help Jacob deGrom‘s Cy Young case. Like with the game against Aaron Nola, the Mets dealt a small blow but could not deliver the knockout punch.

The Mets did try. In the third, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce went back-to-back to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The one weakness in Max Scherzer‘s game this year was the long ball, and the Mets took full advantage. Conversely, the major strength in Scherzer’s game was the strikeout, and he mowed down the Mets.

After the Bruce homer, the Mets had just one hit and one walk, which did allow Scherzer to go seven. In total, Scherzer increased his lead over deGrom in innings and strikeouts, but his ERA rose .04.

For a while, it seemed as if the Mets were going to hit Scherzer with a loss because somehow someway Jason Vargas was out-pitching Scherzer.

The only damage against Vargas was an Anthony Rendon two run homer in the sixth. Seth Lugo, as part of his 1.1 innings, got the final out of the inning to preserve the 3-2 lead.

After Scherzer was pulled, the Mets immediately went to work against left-handed reliever Matt Grace.

Jeff McNeil hit a leadoff triple, and he’d come home on a Bruce single past the drawn-in infield to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. It wasn’t enough for this Mets bullpen.

Anthony Swarzak allowed the first two to reach in the bottom of the eighth, and Daniel Zamora would come on to face Bryce Harper. In the lengthy at-bat. Zamora would get the best of Harper who just missed out as he flew out to deep right field.

Maybe because it was because he opted to take the bullpen cart, but Robert Gsellman would surrender the lead. He first run came on a Rendon groundout, and the second scored on a Juan Soto RBI double.

With that, Scherzer was off the hook. With us living in a world where deGrom may win the Cy Young with a losing record, the loss was probably inconsequential.

The game would go extras, and the Mets seemed poised to end it early with them loading the bases in the 10th with just one out.

However, even with Greg Holland losing the strike zone having thrown seven straight balls, Jack Reinheimer swung at a 1-0 pitch and hit a soft tapper to Holland, who started the inning ending 1-2-3 double play.

In that 10th inning, McNeil was surprisingly sent up to bunt. In that at-bat, home plate umpire made a few very questionable strike calls, including ruling McNeil bunted at a pitch. This led Mickey Callaway to flip and earn his second career ejection.

In the 11th, Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff double, and he would be stranded there.

What was surprising was how Jacob Rhame returned serve. After allowing a leadoff double to Ryan Zimmerman, who tagged up and moved to third on a Matt Wieters line out, Rhame would strike out Mark Reynolds and Victor Robles to end the inning.

Finally, in the 12th, the Mets retook the lead.

Amed Rosario led off the inning with a single off Jefry Rodriguez, and this time, McNeil would get the bunt down.

The bases were loaded after Conforto was intentionally walked, and Bruce walked after him. Jose Lobaton pinch hit for Rhame, and he delivered with a go-ahead sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Paul Sewald was given the 12th, and he delivered his second career save with a 1-2-3 inning. Just because it was a 1-2-3 inning, it doesn’t mean it was uneventful.

After Heyward was called out on a pitch outside the strike zone, he argued the call, and he was tossed by Home Plate Umpire D.J. Reyburn. Heyward didn’t even bother going to the clubhouse. Instead, he watched the final out from the bench.

Come next week, Harper will join the Mets in watching games from the bench as the Nationals will soon be eliminated from the postseason.

Game Notes: Wilmer Flores was shut down for the rest of the year after being diagnosed with arthritis in his knees.

Lackluster Mets Loss

There’s no other way to put it.  This was an ugly game from top to bottom from the Mets.  Noah Syndergaard allowed three earned and was chased after four innings but what has been a pretty poor Phillies offense.  That’s what happens when you uncharacteristically allow two homers in a game (Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera).

The Mets offense only mustered three hits off of Zach Eflin and two of those were infield singles by Amed Rosario. Overall, the Mets would only muster six hits in the 4-0 shutout with Rosario getting three of those hits.

Overall, this just looked like two teams whose seasons were soon coming to an end playing like it was a getaway day.  Fortunately, with how well the Mets have played in the second half games like these have been few and far between.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo has drawn at least one walk in seven consecutive games.

deGrom Improved Cy Young Case

Heading into the Month of September, Jacob deGrom was probably the favorite to win the Cy Young, but it was still anyone’s game with Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer having great seasons of their own.  So far this month, deGrom has separated himself ever further from the pack.

In Nola’s three September starts, he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA.  Scherzer had a decent start to the month until his loss to the Braves on Friday.  In that start, Scherzer allowed six earned in four innings.  Now, he’s 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the month.

Like Nola and Scherzer, deGrom has seen his ERA rise this month.  Still, deGrom’s 2.70 ERA this month is half of Scherzer’s.  That is also because deGrom had a “bad start” in Boston.

For deGrom, it was the bottom of the third in Boston which derailed what had looked to be a truly special start.

After striking out six of the first seven Red Sox batters he faced, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out.  Mookie Betts brought home Devers with a sacrifice fly.  This is normally where deGrom would get out of the inning, but he would leave one up to Brock Holt, who hit a two run homer to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

Right then and there, deGrom’s streak of 26 starts not allowing more than three earned and his 21 consecutive quality starts streak was on the line.  From there, there were points where you thought deGrom wasn’t going to reatch the sixth.  In fact, Mickey Callaway had Jerry Blevins warming at one point.  There may have also been points where you thought he would allow another run.

He didn’t.

Instead, deGrom would go seven innings allowing the three earned on five hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts.  The 12 strikeouts were really impressive.  Entering the game, the Red Sox were the second hardest team to strike out (19.7%).  In the game, deGrom would strike out 12 of the 27 batters (44.4%) he faced.

Importantly, the Mets would rally to tie the score and get deGrom off the hook.  In the sixth, Amed Rosario would follow an Austin Jackson single to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Jeff McNeil would not hit a liner deep enough to score a run, but Wilmer Flores would  . . . barely:

 

Unfortunately, Betts would get hurt on the play.  It should shift Jackie Bradley, Jr. to right with Tzu-Wei Lin in center.  Michael Conforto would then hit a double to deep center to tie the game.  It’s debatable if Bradley would’ve gotten to it.  Regardless, the Mets were down a run.

They would tie it in the seventh on a two out RBI single by Rosario.  Brandon Nimmo was 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run and giving deGrom the lead, but McNeil couldn’t bring him home.

WIth that, deGrom notced another no decision, and he still remains a game under .500, and yet, he he having an all-time great season.  In fact, with this start, deGrom tied Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter single season mark for consecutive quality starts.  In the seasons Gibson and Carpenter set their marks, they won the Cy Young.

So should deGrom.

Game Notes: Seth Lugo took the loss after allowing a run in the eighth.

Red Sox No Match For Mets

One of the two teams tonight was the best team in baseball. The other was the Boston Red Sox.

It’s an absurd statement for sure, and yet with the bats going and Noah Syndergaard dealing, the Mets looked like world beaters.

Over seven innings, Syndergaard allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out six. He really kept the Red Sox at bay at the plate but not the basepaths.

There were three stolen bases with the most egregious being an Ian Kinsler stolen base. On the play, Kindler basically walked to second (not an exaggeration). Syndergaard would get his revenge by picking off Kinsler in the sixth.

The stolen bases wouldn’t matter as the Red Sox couldn’t touch Syndergaard. Simultaneously, the Red Sox could not get the Mets out.

Left-handed pitcher William Cuevas would make his first career start, and he wouldn’t last long partially because he couldn’t get left-handed hitters out.

Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce hit back-to-back first inning doubles giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. That grew to 4-0 in the second when Bruce hit a second inning three run homer.

Brian Johnson would come on for the Red Sox and calm things down. Still Jeff McNeil would get to him hitting his third homer of the season. McNeil had yet another multi-hit game, and he had an incredible defensive play to end the seventh:

The Mets offense wasn’t done either. In the eighth inning against Tyler Thornburg, Austin Jackson and Amed Rosario would homer giving the Mets an 8-0 lead. The Rosario homer was a classic majestic shot over the Green Monster. Like McNeil, Rosario had yet another multi-hit game himself.

That left Jerry Blevins and Tyler Bashlor to close up shop. With their two scoreless innings, the Mets shut out the best offensive team in the majors. In fact, the Red Sox have the most runs and RBI with the best team batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS. They have the second highest wRC+.

For their part, the Mets had Thor. That’s why they won.

Game Notes: It was the sixth time all season the Red Sox were shut out. There was a rat running in the Mets dugout during the game. It was not a Wilpon or Jose Reyes.

Wright’s Playing Days Ending As The Mets Play On

In an emotional press conference, David Wright announced he was playing on Saturday, September 29th and never again. While we’ve already entered into a post-Wright Mets era, this was a crushing confirmation of the news.

With news like this, the last thing on most people’s minds was playing a game. Let alone two. And yet, there was a scheduled doubleheader.

In the first game, we were treated to a terrific performance from Steven Matz.

After allowing back-to-back homers to Peter O’Brien and Isaac Galloway in the second, Matz would hit his first career homer to tie the game.

The game would stay tied 2-2 until the seventh when O’Brien would strike again singling off Drew Smith to drive home Brian Anderson, who led off the inning with a double off Matz.

Overall, Matz pitched 6.1 innings allowing three earned on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

It seemed the Marlins were going to win this game 3-2, but that was until Don Mattingly made a mistake. Instead of sticking with Adam Conley, who absolutely owns the Mets, Mattingly went to Kyle Barraclough because Amed Rosario was due up.

Mickey Callaway went to Dominic Smith who grounded out right in front of home plate.

While Smith wouldn’t deliver, Michael Conforto would hitting a game tying homer off Barraclough. It was his fourth homer in five games.

Three pitches later, Todd Frazier would hit a walk-off homer.

With that, the game ended with a homer by Wright’s heir apparent for best homegrown position player followed by a homer by the guy signed to replace Wright. Really, it was quite the fitting ending.

But still, there was more baseball to be played.

Surprisingly, the Mets got a strong start by Jason Vargas with him allowing little more than a two run homer to Miguel Rojas over six innings.

Vargas would get the win for a few reasons. Chief among them was his catcher Tomas Nido, who made a great play in the field

before hitting his first career homer

The Nido solo shot opened the scoring for the Mets in a three run inning capped off by a two out Conforto RBI double.

That 3-2 lead would hold up as Seth Lugo was as dominant as you can be in his two innings. In fact, Lugo would strike out five of the seven batters he faced.

The Mets built a seventh inning rally starting starting with a Jeff McNeil two out single. As the inning progressed, the Mets scored insurance runs on singles by Conforto and Smith.

That 5-2 lead proved to be save for Robert Gsellman to shut the door on a seemingly rare doubleheader sweep.

With the sweep, the Mets are now just 10 games under .500 for the first time since June 21st.

Game Notes:

Wheeler Drowns Marlins

It was supposed to be a doubleheader, but with the rain the best laid plans were washed out. With MLB not looking to schedule a triple-header for the Marlins last series at Citi Field, we waited over five hours for Mets baseball.

Zack Wheeler was worth the wait.

He needed just 35 pitches to get through the first four. With his dominance, he had a chance at The Maddux.

He was in that position partially because he induced Lewis Brinson to hit into an inning ending double play. With that 5-4-3 double play, Wheeler escaped a bases loaded jam.

Astonishingly, with Wheeler only throwing 89 pitches over eight innings, he didn’t get a chance to get the complete game. Paul Sewald would close this one out.

Wheeler’s incredible final line was 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K.

Wheeler got the win because the Mets offense exploded.

Dominic Smith started a second inning rally with a leadoff double off Marlins starter Trevor Richards. He’d score on a double by the worst player in the National League.

Brian Anderson made an error on a Tomas Nido grounder to make it 2-0. Nido scored on a Jeff McNeil triple.

It was another big game for McNeil. For the third time over the past week, he had a three hit game. Overall, he was 3-for-4 with a run, triple, and three RBI.

Speaking of hot hitters, Amed Rosario absolutely launched a three run homer in the fourth:

Up 6-0, things would get completely out of hand on the sixth. The Marlins played terrible defense (no errors charged), and the Mets sent 11 batters to the plate.

The two big blows of the inning was a Jay Bruce grand slam and a Dom two run homer. All said and done, it was a seven run inning turning this into a 13-0 route.

It was just a brilliant performance by the Mets all around. It was the kind of performances we saw in April. We’re seeing them again now, and on nights like this, we can believe it’ll happen in 2019.

Game Notes: Michael Conforto‘s streak of three straight games with a homer was snapped leaving Richard Delgado‘s franchise best five game streak in tact.

Mets Fail deGrom Again

Tonight was one of the few important games remaining on the Mets schedule because Jacob deGrom was starting.

Early on, it looked like deGrom had it all going. After issuing a leadoff walk to Rafael Ortega, deGrom struck out the side. In fact, he’d go the first 3.2 innings without allowing a hit.

Brian Anderson then hit a slow roller up that middle Amed Rosario couldn’t get to and Jeff McNeil could not field cleanly. Derek Dietrich singled cleanly to put two on with two out.

deGrom went 0-2 against Lewis Brinson, and he tried to go up in the zone to get out of the inning. He didn’t get it up enough, and Brinson drove it to deep center. Austin Jackson, who is in there for defense despite a -13 DRS, took a bad route and wasn’t nearly quick enough. Instead of being out of the inning, deGrom was down 2-0.

We knew the Mets weren’t getting him off the hook as they were providing deGrom with his typical run support. Really, Michael Conforto was the only one who showed up with his bats.

After being stranded at fourth with a leadoff double, Conforto would make sure he scored in his next at-bat as he homered off Jose Urena.

Overall, the Mets had four hits in the game. Two were by Conforto. The other two were by Dominic Smith and deGrom.

Even if the bats did get going, the bullpen would’ve made it a moot point.

JT Riddle, he of a career .371 SLG, hit a no doubt homer off Anthony Swarzak in the eighth. Robert Gsellman was tasked with keeping at 3-1 in the ninth. He didn’t.

He wasn’t helped out by Brandon Nimmo making an ill advised dive for an Anderson sinking liner. Instead of two on, it was an RBI triple. A Dietrich RBI double made it 5-1.

Overall, deGrom’s final line in the loss was 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. This was his record 25th start in a row allowing three earned or fewer.

As noted by the eminent Jerry Beach, this was the 10th time deGrom allowing two earned or fewer over seven innings and did not get the win. There are only six pitchers to do this in 2018, and it’s only happened 10 times total.

In the end, deGrom is now 8-9 because the Mets two out rally in the ninth, highlighted by a Kevin Plawecki two run homer, sputtered out with a Rosario broken bat ground out.

Mets lost 5-3 in a game they could’ve helped deGrom.

Game Notes: Todd Frazier was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. McNeil moved to third, and Wilmer Flores played second. The Mets had 9/11 patches on their caps. Again, there were no First Responder caps.

Wheeler Great Again

Here’s how good Zack Wheeler has been pitching in the second half of the season.  Last night, he allowed three runs on three hits while walking two and striking out nine.  For him, that now qualifies as a poor start.

The Dodgers were able to score the three runs off of him because they hit two homers.  It should come as no surprise one of those homers was by Cody Bellinger, who absolutely owns Wheeler.  In fact, Bellinger is 4-for-8 against Wheeler with four homers and nine RBI.

The other homer was in the fourth inning.  After Justin Turner hit a comebacker which hit Wheeler in the ribs, Max Muncy would hit a two run homer off of Wheeler.  Given how Wheeler was still dealing with the shot to the ribs, you could put a bit of a mental asterisk next to that one, especially when you consider Wheeler would retire eight of the next nine batters he faced.

Even with those homers, the Dodgers could not pull ahead of the Mets.

In the fourth, the Mets finally broke through against Hyun-Jin RyuAmed Rosario singled and Jeff McNeil doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs.  From that point forward, the Mets would BABIP the heck out of Ryu.

Wilmer Flores would hit one back which hit Ryu that allowed him to reach safely and would allow Rosario to score.  McNeil would challenge Joc Pederson‘s arm on a Michael Conforto flyball, and he would score because Yasmani Grandal could not hold onto the ball.  In an odd official scorer position, Conforto was not given the RBI as it was ruled an error on Grandal.

Part of the key to that play was Flores going to third, which would allow him to score from third on the two out RBI single from Austin Jackson.  That was important as Jackson was nailed at second trying to challenge Alex Verdugo‘s arm.  Had Flores been at third, it’s very likely he does not score on the play.

Kevin Plawecki led off the fifth with a double, and he moved to third on a Brandon Nimmo bloop hit.  After Wheeler struck out, Rosario singled home Plawecki.  Later that inning, Flores brought home Nimmo on a ball Enrique Hernandez was not quite tall enough to get.  With that, the Mets had a 5-2 lead, and they were in control of the game.

That became a stranglehold with Conforto delivering a seventh inning RBI single, and Ryan Madson throwing a wild pitch to allow McNeil to come home from third.

After 105 pitches, Wheeler was done after seven, and Mickey Callaway brought on Seth Lugo to close out the final two innings.  He did just that allowing no hits and striking out a batter.  With the win, the Mets have now won consecutive West Coast series, and the team is playing much better baseball of late.  They are two games over .500 in the second half.

Game Notes: In his final at-bat ever against the Mets, Chase Utley lined out to Nimmo.  So in the end, the dirtiest player alive lined out to the nicest and most genuine player in the majors.