Another Steven Matz start and another seven innings. Since coming off the Disabled List, Matz has pitched seven innings in three of his four starts. Tonight might’ve been the best start of the lot.
Matz pitched seven shut out innings befuddling the Marlins. No Marlins player would even make it to third base. He pitched mainly to contact, weak contact, which permitted him to once again go deep in the game. Over the seven innings, he needed just 110 pitches.
His final line was seven innings, six hits, no runs, one walk, and four strikeouts.
And Matz would get the win in this game with some help of some veterans looking to boost their trade value.
Curtis Granderson was great just like he’s been all June. In fact, he’s been among the top three hitters in the majors during the Month of June.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 28, 2017
He’s been much better since moving to second base.
Overall, Reyes was 3-4 with a double and an RBI. With his seventh inning single, he passed Ed Kranepool for second on the Mets all-time hit list.
The Mets offense would go silent from there until the Marlins brought Dustin McGowan into the game. d’Arnaud got it started with an RBI single, and he’d go to third on the aforementioned Reyes single. If that ball does not hit McGowan, Reyes has an RBI.
After a Matz sacrifice bunt, the Marlins brought in the left-handed Justin Nicolino to face Granderson. Granderson responded by hitting a bomb:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 29, 2017
This was the third straight game Granderson hit a home run.
The Mets would build on this 6-0 lead in the eighth. Brandon Nimmo continued his terrific work as a pinch hitter delivering a two out RBI single giving the Mets an 8-0 lead. That’s a lead not even this Mets bullpen could blow.
Mets are back on track for at least one day, and they look to take the series tomorrow.
After a sweep of the Giants in San Francisco, fans could allow themselves hope for the 2017 season again. Yes, the Giants are a dreadful team, but there was a lot to like about the Mets in that series. If you dig deeper, there is still things to like about this Mets team.
Jacob deGrom is in a stretch where he has gone at least eight innings in three consecutive starts. This could be the best stretch of his career, which is certainly saying something.
Rafael Montero has now had three consecutive strong outings allowing just two earned runs over his last 14.1 inning pitched. In this stretch, he not only finally looks like a major league pitcher, he looks like a good major league pitcher.
Curtis Granderson has been the best hitting National League outfielder in the month of June (204 wRC+), and he’s been hitting .297/.408/.595 with 13 doubles, two triples, nine homers, and 23 RBI since May 1st.
Jay Bruce has been resurgent hitting .315/.358/.629 with four doubles, eight homers, and 17 RBI. He’s on pace for his first 40 home run season and just his second 100 RBI season.
While acting unprofessional about the switch to second base in the clubhouse, Asdrubal Cabrera has been nothing but professional on the field going 7-14 in the series and playing a very good second base.
Lucas Duda is flat out raking hitting .375/.474/.813 over the past week, and as we know when Duda gets hot like this, he can carry the team for a long stretch. Just ask the 2015 Nationals.
Lost in all of that is Yoenis Cespedes being Cespedes, Addison Reed being a dominant closer, and Seth Lugo stabilizing the rotation. There is even the specter of David Wright returning to the lineup. When you combine that with the Mets schedule, this team is primed to reel off nine straight wins.
If the Mets were to win nine straight, they would be just one game under .500. At that point, the Mets will be red hot heading to another big series in Washington. Last time the teams played there, the Mets took two of three. After that is a bad Cardinals team before the All Star Break.
Combine this hypothetical Mets run with a Rockies team losing six straight, and the Mets are right back in the mix with a bunch of teams hovering around .500 for a shot at the postseason. Last year, the Mets were under .500 as late as August 19th, and they still made the postseason. Throw in a potential Amed Rosario call up, and you really have things cooking. Why not this year’s team?
Well, that’s easy. The bullpen is a mess. You have no idea when Noah Syndergaard and Neil Walker can return if they can return at all. Jose Reyes is playing everyday. The route to the postseason partially relies upon Montero being a good major league pitcher, and the Mets calling up Rosario. At this point, those are two things no one should rely.
As a fan? We should all enjoy the ride for as long as it will carry us. As Mets fans, we have seen miracles. We saw this team win in 1969. We saw a team dead in the water in 1973 go all the way to game seven of the World Series. We watched a Mookie Wilson grounder pass through Bill Buckner‘s legs. We saw Mike Piazza homer in the first game in New York after 9/11.
As fans, we can hold out hope for the impossible. We can dream. Sandy doesn’t have that luxury. He needs to look at the reality of the Mets situation and make the best moves he possibly can. That includes trading Bruce, Duda, Granderson, and any other veteran who can get him a good return on the trade market.
For starters, lets concede that Jose Reyes has been playing so poorly he should unseat no one for a starting position unless he was going to play for the Long Island Ducks. In turn, it also needs to be conceded Asdrubal Cabrera is no longer a major league caliber shortstop. In his interview on the topic, Cabrera admitted as much saying, “I think next year, I have to go – I have to move to another position . . . I’m fine with that.”
Cabrera needs to be fine with that as he’s not a shortstop now. His -10 DRS is the worst among shortstops with at least 100 innings played at the position. His -5.5 UZR is the second worst in the majors among players with 100 innings played at short. But it’s more than the advanced metrics. Visually, you can see he no longer has the range. His sure hands aren’t so sure anymore. His 11 errors are the third most in the majors and are four more than he had all of last year. The final indignity for him came when he had his Luis Castillo impersonation.
It was time to move Cabrera to second base. With the team having an eye towards the 2018 season, it was time to see if the team should pick up his 2018 option in the offseason to play him alongside Amed Rosario. With the team looking to sell, it was also a chance to improve his trade value.
Now, this isn’t the first time the Mets have asked Cabrera to change positions. Earlier in the year, they asked him to move to third base. He wasn’t amendable going so far as to demand the team pick up his 2018 option if they planned such a move. Rather than promote discord throughout the clubhouse, Terry Collins dropped it. The team had to know moving him to second base was going to create issues.
And it did. Cabrera demanded a trade from the team. Sure, part of it could be the Mets didn’t give him the courtesy of speaking with him first, or the team not giving him the opportunity to play some games at second base during his rehab stint in the minor leagues. Still, even with the Mets mishandling the situation, given how Cabrera responded to moving to third base, this incident was going to happen anyway.
It is better for that incident to have occurred with Reyes supplanting him than Rosario. It is hard enough for a rookie to get acclimated to playing in the major leagues. It is even more difficult with a disenchanted veteran angry you took his job. This is the same veteran you would want to mentor a young Rosario to help ease his transition. Seeing Cabrera’s actions, this was not going to happen if Rosario was the one who replaced him.
That is why having Reyes take over at shortstop made sense. Reyes is a veteran better capable of handling the situation, especially when he previously faced the same situation when the Mets signed Kaz Matsui. Let Reyes deal with the fallout now so all issues are resolved by the time Rosario is called up to the majors.
Overall, while we can quibble with how the Mets handled moving Cabrera to second base, we can all agree they made the right decision. They got to find out more about Cabrera both in terms of his ability as a second baseman and how he handles a change in his roles. More importantly, they made Rosario’s transition to the major leagues that much easier.
The Mets have given Rafael Montero enough chances that he was bound to finally figure it out. Still, it seemed like he never was. Each and every year, Montero was getting worse . . . not better. He stuck around while useful and promising pitchers like Gabriel Ynoa were sent away for a mere pittance. Finally, in his ninth major league call-up, Montero seems to have figured it out.
Montero only got this last chance due to injuries. Unlike the other eight times Montero got a chance, Montero finally took advantage.
With the Mets needing some innings out of the bullpen, Terry Collins twice turned to Montero. In those two appearances, Montero pitched 6.2 innings allowing just one earned on three hits. He only walked two while striking out eight. If nothing else, he helped save the bullpen in those games. More than that, he finally earned a start, which he got on Sunday.
On Sunday, Montero looked like the guy the Mets have been waiting for all these years. He was throwing strikes and attacking the zone. He was mixing up his pitches and using his change-up as a weapon and not as a panic pitch because he didn’t trust his other stuff to get outs.
Things were going smooth for Montero until the third inning. After allowing a pair of one out singles, he walked Hunter Pence to load the bases with Buster Posey heading to the plate. In the past, this is the exact point where Montero would fall apart. He didn’t. Montero bore down, and he got Posey to hit a sacrifice fly. He then battled Brandon Belt when the Giants bailed him out. Pence tried to steal a base, and Rene Rivera gunned him down to get out of the inning.
That wasn’t the only way Rivera helped his pitcher. Rivera went 2-5 with two homers and three RBI. Overall, he helped his pitcher behind the plate and at the plate.
But it was Montero who was great. In 5.2 innings pitched, Montero allowed just one run on five hits while walking just two and striking out seven. You could argue this was just the Giants terrible offense, but it should be remembered his last two appearances were against the Nationals and Dodgers, who are two of the best offenses in baseball.
Montero would get the win because of his terrific pitching and because the Mets offense continued to roll.
Again, it was Curtis Granderson who got things started drawing a lead-off walk against Matt Moore. He’d eventually come around to score on a Jay Bruce RBI groundout. Bruce’s next RBI came in the eighth when he hit a two run homer to put the game away. The homer was Bruce’s 20th home run of the season. At his current pace, Bruce will have his first 40 HR season and just his second 100 RBI season.
Throw in a Lucas Duda fifth inning RBI double and a Granderson ninth inning solo shot, and you have a Mets 8-2 victory. More than that, the Mets have swept just their second sweep of an opponent this season. If only the Mets had played like this earlier in the season. We could have been talking about the Mets being about to go on a push to make the postseason. Instead, it is probably too little too late.
It is interesting to hear the Mets are selling because the news came just one day after the Mets said they were going to move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base to allow Jose Reyes to stay at shortstop when Cabrera comes off the disabled list. Naturally, this move blocks both Gavin Cecchini, who has played fairly well over the past four games earning him a longer look at the the position, and Amed Rosario, who is considered an Über prospect.
If you are team looking to sell, you have really announced you want to clear your veterans out of the way to both get some prospects in return and to give your young players some time at the major league level. However, it could behoove the Mets to play their veterans as much as possible now to increase their trade value.
For example, in the outfield, the Mets have four caliber starting outfielders. There is no way the team is going to bench Yoenis Cespedes under any circumstances, nor should they. This means the team has two spots for three left-handed hitting outfielders. The Mets have control over only one of them after this season.
For the long term, the Mets need to get Michael Conforto as many at-bats as possible. With that said, would it harm his development to be a part-time player for the next month? He has suffered a back injury to some unspecified severity. He has slumped in June albeit while keeping a more than respectable OBP. If sitting him potentially leads to a better return for Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, shouldn’t the Mets at least try to get the most value from those players?
Same goes for the infield. The Mets are going to have to clear some room for their presumed infield of the future including Dominic Smith, Rosario, and possibly Cecchini to take form. If playing Reyes for the next month gets some major league team interested in him as a late inning pinch runner or utility player, shouldn’t the Met do that? Maybe that seemingly low rated prospect becomes something. Remember, Wuilmer Becerra was seen as a throw-in to the R.A. Dickey trade, and he has become a real prospect over the past few years.
The same thing goes for Cabrera. The Mets need to get him going to get teams interested in him. Presumably, moving him to second has more to do with showing teams he can be the answer at second as well than making a spot for Reyes.
Overall, the Mets need to maximize the returns for everyone to build up the team not just for 2018, but for the oncoming seasons. Up until the trade deadline, getting the most in return for the veterans has to be the Mets singular focus. Conforto can sit for a while or go to Triple-A. Rosario and Smith can wait an extra month. However, the veterans cannot wait. The Mets need to get them going to try to maximize the return on them. To do that, they need to be in the lineup everyday.
However, once August 1st rolls around, those veterans not shipped out needs to be put on the bench. At that point, it is l about playing Conforto, Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo, Rosario, and Smith.
After having the tar beaten out of them by the Nationals and Dodgers, the Mets finally found a team worse than them.
The team jumped all over Giants starter Ty Blach.
Curtis Granderson led off his third straight game with a hit. This time it wasn’t a homer. He’d move to third on an Asdrubal Cabrera single. Cabrera’s hit was only a single because Brandon Belt tracked down the bloop hit and threw out Cabrera trying to stretch the single into a double. For a player that did not want to be at second today, Belt granted him his wish.
Granderson would score on a Wilmer Flores two out RBI single. Unlike the past two games, the Mets would win a game they had a 1-0 lead after the top of the first. The main reason for that was the Mets bats exploded in the top of the second.
After Cabrera singled, Yoenis Cespedes would hit his third home run since coming off the disabled list:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 24, 2017
With that lead in hand, Lugo was cruising. Through the first five innings, he had just allowed one run, and he was making quick and efficient work of the Giants.
His lead would grow to 10-1 in the sixth. Cespedes hit an RBI double scoring Granderson. Flores hit a sacrifice fly scoring Cabrera, and Conforto hit a two out RBI single scoring Cespedes.
After another long inning, Lugo struggled. After having thrown just 59 pitches through the fifth, his pitch count would escalate to 95, and he still didn’t get out of the inning.
It was a combination of the Giants batters being more patient and Lugo issuing two of his three walks on the night.
He loaded the bases with one out, and Brandon Crawford tattooed one that became a sacrifice fly.
— MLBBarrelAlert (@MLBBarrelAlert) June 24, 2017
Lugo issued another walk to re-load the bases, and Gorkys Hernandez followed with a two RBI single. At that point, Terry Collins had little choice but to go to his bullpen. Paul Sewald came on and got the out to keep the score at 10-4.
From there, Duda continued his monster night at the plate. He hit a seventh inning homer, and he nearly missed another in the ninth. Overall, he was 3-5 with with two runs, two doubles, a homer, and an RBI.
In addition to Duda, Cespedes also went 3-5. Cespedes was also amazing falling a triple short of the cycle. With the sac fly, Flores was 3-4. Overall, the only Mets batter without a hit was Jose Reyes who walked twice.
Cabrera should also be signaled out for having a good game. Despite all the pregame hysteria over his move to second base, he came to play. He was 3-6 with two runs. He was flawless in the field even turning a double play. Perhaps if he had played this well all year, the Mets never would’ve had the inking to move him to second.
Game Notes: Before the game, Cabrera demanded the Mets trade him for the team’s decision to play him at second base. Sandy Alderson said Cabrera’s option would not be picked up. Gavin Cecchini was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Cabrera on the roster.
After getting outclassed by the Washington Nationals, the Mets are now six games under .500, and they are 10.5 games back in the division. Things are bleaker in the Wild Card race. The Mets are now 12 games out of the second Wild Card spot. One of the teams they are trailing are the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. While it may be too early on July 20th to say the season is over, realistically speaking, the Mets really need to consider selling.
Aside from Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and the core group of starting pitchers, the Mets should look to sell everyone on the major league roster. The problem is why would anyone want what the Mets are selling?
Travis d’Arnaud has had another injury this year and has regressed in all aspects of his game. His backup, Rene Rivera has been hitting .162/.205/.297 over his last 10 games. With Rivera, this isn’t too far from what he’s been his entire career.
Across the infield, the situation is no better. Lucas Duda has had his typical hot and cold season with him hitting .175/.283/.375 over the past two weeks. It also doesn’t help that he struggles against left-handed pitching.
Just as Neil Walker was playing great again, he suffered a tear in his hamstring, and he will not be able to come back from the disabled list until after the All Star Break. That leaves little time for him to get back into form before the trade deadline assuming he is even able to return by then.
Asdrubal Cabrera is having a terrible season. He has twice landed on the disabled list with a thumb injury. His already poor range has been further limited. While he’s always been a second-half hitter, his stats this season lag behind last year’s first half stats.
Flat out, Jose Reyes has been the worst infielder in the major leagues. With his poor defense, he is little more than a pinch runner.
In the outfield, Curtis Granderson has shaken off his cold start, and he has been much better of late. However, he’s still hitting .212/.302/.396, and he’s still 36 years old. If a team were interested in Juan Lagares and his Gold Glove defense, that opportunity has passed with Lagares’ thumb injury.
Outside of Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, the bullpen has been mostly terrible. Josh Edgin has had a nice season there, but 30 year old LOOGYs hardly fetch a large haul at the trade deadline. And for what it’s worth, the Mets still have years of control over Edgin. He’s more valuable to the team as a pitcher than a trade asset.
Certainly, if the Mets were interested in moving Blevins, many teams would be interested in the LOOGY. With his outstanding season, he’s probably going to get a larger return than your standard LOOGY, which still won’t be a prospect who will be a major piece of the future.
No, the only two players really capable of that are Reed and Jay Bruce. With respect to Bruce, the bar has been set fairly high for his return. Last year, the Mets traded Dilson Herrera, who was seen as an important part of the Mets future, and Max Wotell, who is an interesting left-handed pitching prospect. If the Mets can match or come near that, they’ve done well. The problem is Bruce is now a pending free agent making that kind of a return all the more unlikely.
Based on last year’s trade deadline, the Mets can legitimately ask for the moon for Reed. He’s been great as a Met, and he’s been great this year. He’s a great eighth inning reliever, and this year, he is showing he can replicate that success as a closer. At the trade deadline, everyone is looking for relief help meaning everyone should be looking at Reed.
And the Mets better maximize that return because looking at the team as a whole, the Mets aren’t likely to get a whole lot back at the trade deadline. Certainly, it will be paltry compared to the Yankees haul last year. The sad part is if these players were playing better, the Mets return might’ve surpassed that. Then again, if these players were playing that well, we wouldn’t be talking about selling at the trade deadline.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets season was falling apart at the seams. The Mets needed offense, and the fans wanted Michael Conforto. Scouts and talent evaluators said the Mets 2014 first round draft pick was ready, but the Mets consistently insisted Conforto wasn’t ready.
Instead of Conforto, the Mets trotted out people who weren’t good and weren’t ready. The Mets were happy trotting out John Mayberry, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Darrell Ceciliani in the outfield. Briefly, the Mets would even try Eric Campbell in left field. For the most part, the Mets mostly stuck with a clearly injured and hobbled Michael Cuddyer in left field. He fell apart in June hitting just .211/.237/.311 in 25 games.
Finally, both Cuddyer and the Mets both had enough, Cuddyer would go the Disabled List, and Conforto would finally get called-up to the majors. At that time, the Mets had lost two in a row and five of their last seven. For a team that once had a 4.5 game lead in the division, they would fall to three games back.
It turns out Conforto was indeed ready. He would play 56 games hitting .270/.335/.506 with 14 doubles nine homers, and 26 RBI. He was a big part of the Mets turn-arond with the team having been 10 games over .500 in the games he played. He was also a big part of the Mets postseason run. He hit three homers in the postseason including two in Game Four of the World Series.
It’s possible Conforto needed every bit the time he had in Double-A. Maybe the extra time he spent in Doube-A put him in position to succeed when he came to the majors. It’s also likely Conforto was ready well before the Mets did what they didn’t want to do when they called him up. Fact is, we’ll never know. The only thing we do know is Conforto was very good when he was called up to the majors, and he has an important part of the Mets success in 2015.
The Mets are in the same exact situation in 2017.
The team has seen Asdrubal Cabrera struggled offensively and defensively, and he has landed on the Disabled List twice. His primary back-up, Jose Reyes, has statistically been the worst infielder in the major leagues this year, and he appears to be getting worse. Now, Neil Walker has suffered an injury that will keep him on the Disabled List for an extended time frame.
Unlike 2015, the real issue for this Mets team is defense. As a team, the Mets rank last in the majors with a -13 DRS, and it is not likely to improve. Reyes is not only struggling offensively, but he is struggling defensively as well. The other players on the roster aren’t much better.
The Mets took the starting shortstop position away from Wilmer Flores for a reason. The Mets also transitioned T.J. Rivera from shortstop to other positions because he couldn’t handle the position defensively. Same goes for Gavin Cecchini who is now a second baseman. Matt Reynolds is actually a good defensive shortstop, but he can’t hit enough to play everyday.
Like in 2015, the fans are clamoring for the Mets top prospect, and like in 2015, everyone but Sandy Alderson seems to believe he’s ready. In 65 games for Las Vegas, he’s hitting .336/.378/.500 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven homers, 47 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. Based on the offensive statistics, he seems ready, but that’s not an in depth analysis. Truth is considering the hitting environment that is the Pacific Coast League, we probably don’t know how much improvement a player is making until they get to the majors.
However, the Mets don’t need Rosario for his offense even if anything else is likely better than what Reyes is providing. No, the Mets need him for his defense, and the Mets need him sooner rather than later.
After losing last night’s game, the Mets are five games under .500, and they are 10.5 games back in the division. Like in 2015, the Mets promising season is falling apart. Instead of the team calling up the player who could help address the team’s needs, they are being stubborn in insisting the top prospect isn’t ready. They are once again letting the season slip away. Unlike 2015, things are much more dire.
Sure, the Mets could be right in saying Rosario isn’t ready. After all, it is very well likely they know more than anyone about where Rosario stands in his development. Maybe, just maybe, the Mets know what they’re doing, and when they finally bring Rosario up to the majors, he will have the success and impact Conforto did in 2015.
Hopefully, there is still a season to salvage whenever the Mets get around to calling up Rosario.
Ray Ramirez and Barwin Method jokes aside, do we really know who to blame for all of these Mets injuries? Thi has seemingly been an issue since Pedro Martinez was with the Mets when in three straight seasons the Mets suffered a rash of injuries to their starting rotation. It should be noted, Pedro put some blame on Jeff Wilpon’s shoulder for making him pitch hurt, but that doesn’t address how Pedro go hurt in the first place.
We saw it again last year with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz needing season ending surgery. It is happening again this year with Harvey and Matz both landing on the Disabled List. We also have seen Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, Tommy Milone, and Josh Smoker land on the Disabled List.
It goes further than that. The position players keep getting injured too. This year, Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, David Wright, Asdrubal Cabrera (twice), Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares (twice), and Brandon Nimmo have all landed on the Disabled List. If you’ll notice, you will have seen many of those names pop up on the Disabled List last year.
There’s a simple reason for that. Here’s example of how the Mets handle the situtaion:
Maybe if the Mets continue handling training and treatment of injuries the same way, maybe they’ll have a breakthrough. Just like the Futurama clip, it’s not going to happen.
Prior to Thurdsay’s game with the Nationals, Sandy Alderson indicated he believes the Mets roster is talented, and he’s content to leave his top prospects in the minors. Another way of saying this is with Asdrubal Cabrera landing on the Disabled List with a thumb injury, he’d rather go with Jose Reyes as the Mets shortstop over Amed Rosario.
With Neil Walker going on the Disabled List for an extended period, the Mets had their excuse. But no, they’d rather go with an infield that has Reyes at SS.
Considering when Cabrera was injured, Reyes was hitting .188/.261/.293 and Reyes’ -1.2 WAR ranking him as the worst infielder in all of baseball, Sandy’s decision making here should be called into question.
In situations such as these, there’s only one thing you can do – Start a game log comparing Reyes and Rosario to see if Sandy was wrong, or if Sandy was right:
Cubs 14 – Mets 3
Reyes 1-4, 2 K
51s 13 – River Cats 2
Rosario 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SB, GIDP
Mets 9 – Cubs 4
Reyes 0-2, R, 2 BB, SB, K
River Cats 5 – 51s 4
Rosario 0-4, 2 GIDP
Nationals 8 – Mets 3
Reyes 0-3, K
51s 12 – River Cats 4
Rosario 2-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI
Reyes 1-9, 2 BB, SB, 4 K
Rosario 4-13, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, SB, 3 GIDP