Asdrubal Cabrera

Mets Win Meaningless Long Extra Inning Game 

You just knew the Mets and Phillies would have an extra inning game in the final series of the season. This is the epitome of a meaningless series, so you knew at least one of these games would get dragged out. That was tonight’s game. 

Due to Jacob deGrom‘s gastroenteritis, Seth Lugo was pressed into duty a game earlier than anticipated. 

In what was his last appearance of the season, Lugo lasted four innings allowing two runs on six hits. While he left the game on the short side, the Mets rallied to take the lead after he departed. 

The big hit was a Brandon Nimmo two run triple in the fifth giving the Mets a 3-2 lead:

The ball Nimmo hit normally would’ve gone out. That goes double when you consider it is Citizens Bank Park. It would be one of two caught in the wind for Nimmo. The Mets certainly could’ve used those runs too even with Asdrubal Cabrera hitting an RBI double in the top of the seventh giving the Mets a 4-2 lead. 

The Mets needed the extra run because in his second inning of work, Paul Sewald imploded issuing three consecutive one out walks to load the bases. 

After an Aaron Altherr sacrifice fly and a Rhys Hoskins RBI single, that game was tied, and it would be tied into extras.

Phillies reliever Adam Morgan would play the role of Oliver Perez in this game allowing a three run homer to Cabrera. 

Jeurys Familia came on and earned the save preserving the Mets 7-4 win. The win gave the Mets their 70th of the season. The Mets have not had a season under 70 wins since 2003. 
Game Notes: On the day before the Mets were supposed to have a bullpen game with Noah Syndergaard scheduled to pitch an inning tomorrow, the Mets used eight relievers. 

Mets Smearing Collins Continues Horrible Pattern

Is anyone surprised the Mets decided to smear Terry Collins before parting ways with him this offseason?  Well, you shouldn’t be because  it follows a pattern from this organization since the Wilpons have taken control of the team.  While full ownership did not fully transfer until 2002, the Wilpons had gradually gained control throughout the years and were really front in center with an already hands-off Doubleday suffering health issues.

Coming off the heels of the 2000 World Series, Alex Rodriguez made it well known he wanted to play for the Mets, the team he’s always loved.  Instead of the team letting themselves get outbid, they declared him to be a 24 and one player.

Instead of thanking managers like Bobby Valentine and Art Howe for their service, they talked about how their teams quit on them, which is as damning a statement you can make against a manager.  Things went further for Howe calling him soft, weak, boring, and out of touch.

As poorly as Howe was treated on the way out, it pales in comparison to how Willie Randolph was treated.  This went beyond the accusations he was out of touch and couldn’t get through to his players.  No, they had to fly him out to California and fire him at 3:00 A.M. after a win!  They then replaced him with Jerry Manuel, who was the person bad mouthing Randolph behind his back with, you guessed it, Jeff Wilpon.

It wasn’t just managers that received this treatment.  Remember what happened with Yoenis Cespedes in the 2015 offseason?  When the team made it clear they had wanted to pass on re-signing him?  First, he was a round peg in a square hole that couldn’t handle center.  It wasn’t just that, we heard whispers about whether a team could trust Cespedes on a long-term deal.

Now, the Mets have turned their attention to Collins.  Reading Marc Carig’s Newsday article on the subject, the team couldn’t help but tear him down before parting ways with him this offseason.  Reading the column, you can see the Mets have gotten much better at this detailing all of his faults:

  1. Constant tactical blunders;
  2. Resisted input;
  3. Poor relationship with players;
  4. Shielded by Fred Wilpon from firing;
  5. Front office had no confidence in him;
  6. Abused relief pitchers;
  7. No interest in playing young guys;
  8. Played players like Jeurys Familia into injuries;
  9. Inmates ran the asylum; and
  10. Team was miserable.

Any Mets fans who has paid attention to the team could tell you any of the above was true.  We saw Collins staple Michael Conforto to the bench for under-performing veterans.  He pressured Steven Matz to pitch through the pain.  There was the drama surrounding Asdrubal Cabrera‘s position switch.  There have been a wake of injured relievers during his career.  All of the above has proven to be true.

Through all of it, the Mets kept Collins.  They dismissed these concerns and even put forth the illusion he was great handling the clubhouse.  However, now that Collins is on his way out, those positive narratives are gone; replaced by the truth or something close to it.

The sad part is this is completely unnecessary.  Collins dutifully serves this organization since 2010 and managed them since 2011.  He led the team to consecutive postseasons and delivered a pennant.  Despite all of this, we all knew this was the end, and really, there was no one asking for him to return to the Mets.  Most agreed it was time for the Mets to select a new manager, a new direction.

For some reason, the Mets couldn’t leave well enough alone.  They had to tear the guy down on his way out.  Sadly, this is not a new low for the organization because you can’t get any lower than how they treated Randolph.  Rather, the team has become better and more efficient at doing it.

With the way Collins has been treated it makes you question what type of manager would be willing to accept a job from the Mets considering how they are treated and smeared on their way out the door.

Collins Wins Last Citi Field Game As Mets Manager

In what is likely Terry Collins last game as the Mets manager at Citi Field, he went out the way he would’ve wanted to go out. No, not  batting Jose Reyes lead-off while sitting Dominic Smith and Michael Conforto against the left-handed Braves starter Sean Newcomb.  Although, we can be sure he was happy to do that. No, Collins went out a winner. 

The main reason the Mets won this game was Robert Gsellman

Gsellman would allow just one run over six innings while allowing six hits. That sole run came off an Ozzie Albies two out RBI single in the third. That wouldn’t be the Braves last threat. 

In the fifth, the Braves loaded the bases with two outs with Mets killer Freddie Freeman striding to the plate. Gsellman would get out of the jam striking out Freeman: one of his four on the night. 

Gsellman would depart in the sixth due to the bat of Travis d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud would have all three Mets RBI on the night. 

In the fourth, he tied the game off a Dansby Swanson error scoring Juan Lagares. d’Arnaud was back abusing Swanson again in the fifth. 

Gsellman led off the fifth with a walk, and Reyes followed with a single. After a Lagares strikeout, an Asdrubal Cabrera groundout moved Gsellman and Reyes to second and third for d’Arnaud, who delivered a two RBI single under the diving Swanson for a 3-1 lead. 

The game would stay tight until the seventh when the Mets would blow the doors open with the help of a Freeman error. 

First baseman Kevin Plawecki got the rally started with a two out walk against Jim Johnson. The inning would continue after Freeman couldn’t come up with a Brandon Nimmo tough grounder. 

That error proved costly as Smith would snap out of a 3-35 streak with a three run homer into the Coke Den. 

Surprisingly, the rally would continue. Matt Reynolds singled, and Nori Aoki walked chasing Johnson. The Braves substituted Ian Krol for Johnson. In what may prove to be Reyes’ last at-bat at Citi Field in a Mets uniform, he doubled home Reynolds and Aoki giving the Mets a 7-1 lead. 

Jamie CallahanChasen Bradford, and Paul Sewald combined to pitch the final three scoreless innings preserving the 7-1 win. 
This game closed a chapter in the legacy of Collins and perhaps Reyes. It’s very likely neither one of them will be Mets next year. For Collins part, he deserved to go out this way. 

Through it all, he gave his all to the Mets and treated Mets fans better than any other Mets manager. Whoever takes over for him will have big shoes to fill on that front. 

Game Notes: Today was the 28th Anniversary of Keith Hernandez‘s and Gary Carter‘s last home game as a Met. 

Ghosts Of Mets Past And Present In Split Doubleheader

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:

  1. Nori Aoki
  2. Jose Reyes
  3. Brandon Nimmo
  4. Phillip Evans
  5. Dominic Smith
  6. Amed Rosario
  7. Juan Lagares
  8. Tomas Nido
  9. Chris Flexen

For his part, Flexen fought the good fight pitching five good innings allowing just one earned run. Then the sixth inning happened. 

Flexen would load the bases to start the inning including his issuing back-to-back walks to Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies

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. 

It should be noted d’Arnaud was not the only Mets with a big game. Nimmo, who finally hit lead-off, was 3-4 with a run and a double. Matt Reynolds got the start at SS, and he was 2-4 with a double. 

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. 

After a Jace Peterson RBI single and Matt Kemp RBI groundout, it was a 3-2 game with Peterson in scoring position. 

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. 

When There’s No Baseball To Enjoy, Enjoy Citi Field

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 AokiJose ReyesAsdrubal 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:


From, there it was the usual pre-game routine with him. First, it was the baseball:


Then, it was a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Met


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 


Going across the Shea Bridge, right above the Home Run Apple’s old location, I spotted something new 

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. 


By the way, I’ve found the helmets with the popcorn and nachos to be the best bang for the buck. They’re full of 

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:


By the way, I really appreciate the giant screen in CF that lets parents run around with their kids and still watch the game. By far, this is the most underrated part of Citi Field. 

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. 

Brandon Nimmo Should Be Hitting Lead-Off

Since Brandon Nimmo was called-up on July 30th and became an everyday player, he has shown patience and a good eye at the plate.  In fact, he has led all Mets players in walks (25), and he is second on the team in OBP (.392).  These are the numbers you would like in a lead-off hitter, especially one that was a successful lead-off hitter in Triple-A.

However, the Mets don’t want Nimmo as their lead-off hitter right now.  They would rather have Nori Aoki hit lead-off.  For that matter, they would rather have Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera hit behind him.  Surprisingly, the Mets have no room for Nimmo in the top half of their lineup.

Instead, they would have Aoki lead-off.  Now, it’s quite understandable why the Mets would play Aoki.  There’s really no third Major League caliber otufielder on the team, and the Mets want to get a closer look at him with the team having a possible opening for a fourth or fifth outfielder on the 2018 roster.  Still, that does not mean he should be hitting lead-off.

We already know what he is as a lead-off hitter.  He has been fine in that role hitting .286/.354/.388 in his six year career.  He’s been successful enough in that role that he has played a vast majority of his games as a lead-off hitter.  Overall, it’s been well established he is a capable lead-off hitter.

The same cannot be said for Nimmo.  While we know he’s a great lead-off hitter in Triple-A, we don’t know that he is in the majors.  Sure, September is a small sample size, but it is still an opportunity.  It’s a wasted opportunity with the way the Mets are wasting.  It should be a surprise to no one as the team has wasted most of this season.

 

Mets Vets Win Meaningless September Game

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. 

Once again, the top three in the lineup were Nori AokiJose ReyesAsdrubal Cabrera. For his part, Aoki certainly earned his spot in the lineup going 3-4 with a run, double, and two RBI. 

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. 


He also had a nice day at the plate going 2-4 with two runs and a double. In fact, it was his bunt double to start a huge five run rally in the fifth to tie the game. 

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. 

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. 

The combination of Chasen BradfordPaul Sewald, and Jerry Blevins kept the Nationals scoreless into the ninth handing the ball off to whomever Collins wanted to close. 

At least to start the ninth, it was AJ Ramos. However, Ramos would not finish the inning. 

Ramos struggled again allowing a lead-off walk to Wilmer Difo and a single to Howie Kendrick. This put runners at the corner with one out. It gave Collins the excuse he needed to go to the bullpen. 

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 

Like Terry, I Checked Out Tonight

Entering tonight, the Mets were 65-84 and out of postseason contention. Terry Collins lineup started with Nori AokiJose ReyesAsdrubal Cabrera

Amed Rosario was scratched from the lineup with an upset stomach. For all we know, it happened when he saw the lineup. 
Even with all that, I still tuned it because Matt Harvey was the starting pitcher. Admittedly, I still believe he has a second act. He just needs to get healthy, get stronger, and figure things out.

Sadly, that wasn’t tonight. Sure, there were signs of improved velocity. He even had some movement on his fastball. His slider was the best we’ve probably seen it all season. 

It didn’t matter because he still hasn’t put it all together. A level of inconsistency remains. Perhaps, it is because he’s still not ready to be on the mound. 

That certainly became apparent when Giancarlo Stanton hit his 55th home run of the year to give the Marlins a 5-1 lead in the fourth. 

Actually, it wasn’t apparent to Collins who didn’t take Harvey out of the game. 

After allowing back-to-back singles to Ichiro Suzuki and Mike Aviles, Collins finally gave Harvey the hook. In four plus innings, Harvey threw 76 pitches. 

A combination of Tommy Milone and Hansel Robles would relieve Harvey in the fifth and throw gasoline all over the place. By the time the fifth inning was done, the Marlins led 12-1. 

Harvey’s final line was four innings, 12 hits, seven runs, seven earned, two walks, and two strikeouts. 

At this point, the Mets had no realistic hope of coming back in a season where the Mets are playing out the string. With the Giants playing a fairly important game against the Lions, I checked out on the Mets. 

Not too dissimilar from Collins who has abdicated his duties as manager by focusing on his dwindling chances to earn wins than to actually develop young players. 

Game Notes: Gavin Cecchini, who replaced Rosario in the starting lineup, knocked in the Mets lone run with a fourth inning RBI single. 

Gsellman Dominates With Good Defense Behind Him

If you want to see how important defense is to a starting pitcher, especially a ground ball pitcher, you need to look any further than today’s game. 

With a better infield defense featuring Amed Rosario, who we all recall cannot pitch, and Phillip Evans in his first career start, Robert Gsellman reminded us of the pitcher we all thought was going to take a big step forward this year instead of the struggling one that doesn’t care. 

Gsellman had that power sinker working today getting the Braves to drive the ball into the ground. With the better defense behind him, most of those balls turned into outs. Part of that was also Gsellman getting the ball inside. Credit there should go to Kevin Plawecki, who called a superb game. 

Really, the only time the Braves got to him was when the infield defense failed him. On back-to-back plays in the seventh, Rosario made errors allowing Johan Camargo and Dansby Swanson to reach with one out. To Gsellman’s credit, he shook off the errors, and he got out of the jam allowing just the one run. 

Gsellman’s final line would be seven innings, three hits, one run, none earned, no walks, and three strikeouts. Because his offense did just enough, he would get the win. 

It was tough going for the Mets offense because the Braves started Julio Teheran has been great against them in his career. Entering today, he was 8-4 with a 2.56 ERA against the Mets. 

That made the first inning rally all the more important. 

After a Nori Aoki walk to start the game, Jose Reyes would triple him home. 

Teheran would then lose his control a bit walking Brandon Nimmo, who had a typical Nimmo game walking twice, and Dominic Smith to load the bases. Rosario would knock in Reyes on an RBI groundout giving the Mets a 2-0 lead. 

From that point until the ninth, the Mets would only get two more hits, both by Aoki,  for the rest of the game.  It didn’t matter because the two runs they did score were more than enough for Gsellman. 

The Mets would put the game out of reach in the ninth. After a Rosario infield single and stolen base, Evans would hit his second career double and earn his first major league RBI. 

After Evans’ double, Asdrubal Cabrera put a 10 game hitting streak on the line in his pinch hitting appearance. He now has an 11 game hitting streak after his two run homer giving the Mets a 5-1 lead. 

AJ Ramos closed out the ninth with a scoreless inning. The win gave the Mets their seventh win in 10 games at SunTrust, which already makes it much more hospitable than Turner Field ever was. 

Game Notes: Rosario was recently rated by Statcast as the fastest player in the majors. The Mets rank last in the majors in infield hits, bunt singles, and stolen bases. 

Improved Montero Can’t Get Out Of Fifth

After you get your brains beat out like the Mets did in Chicago, you want your ace taking the mound. The good news is the Mets had their ace taking the mound. The bad news is that their ace has become Rafael Montero

That’s no slight on Montero, who had pitched much better of late. It’s more of an indictment on the Mets starting pitching staff who has the second worst ERA in the majors. 

Tonight, Montero regressed a bit needing 108 pitches to get through 4.2 innings. It harkened back to the days when he couldn’t put anyone away. On the flip side, he only walked two batters. With Montero only pitching 4.2 innings, he didn’t qualify for a win. 

He also didn’t qualify for a win because he reliqushed the lead in that turbulent fifth inning. 

The Mets had the lead partially because Dominic Smith continued flashing his extra base power. In the fourth, he doubled home Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

The Mets first run was scored in the third on a Jose Reyes groundout scoring Gavin Cecchini

Cecchini got the rare start partially due to Amed Rosario missing tonight’s game with a hip injury which forced him out of last night’s game. Cecchini took advantage of the opportunity going 1-3 with a run and a double. He was also good at second showing range and helping start a double play. 

Despite Cecchini playing well defensively, it was defense that cost the Mets this game. 

The game winning rally started in the fifth when Brandon Nimmo misread a ball cutting in on a David Freitas liner. Hard to say it would have been an out with the correct read, but with Freitas’ speed, Nimmo might’ve been able to limit him to a single. 

Freitas would score on a Ender Inciarte game tying single. Inciarte then put himself in scoring position with a stolen base. With his speed and Kevin Plawecki‘s arm, it really was only a matter of time before Inciarte stole that base. 

After that stolen base, Montero walked Ozzie Albies. Worse yet, Montero threw a wild pitch during Freddie Freeman‘s at bat putting runners on second and third with one out. Freeman was then intentionally walked bringing Lane Adams to the plate. 

Adams hit a sinking line drive that Nimmo made a great play on:

It was a great play, but it was also a sacrifice fly giving the Braves a 3-2 lead. 

The Mets would rally in the eighth staring with a two out Cabrera walk. After a Plawecki single, the tying run was in scoring position for Smith, the team’s leading RBI guy since he call-up. Unfortunately, he didn’t deliver. 

With that, the Mets had a rather mundane 3-2 loss against the Braves.  The real hope in watching this game is that Smith continues to hit for power, and Cecchini builds off of this game. 
Game Recap: In addition to Rosario, Travis d’Arnaud sat a day after being lifted from a game. It is possible he was going to sit anyway with Plawecki having served as Montero’s personal catcher of late.