Brandon Nimmo

Dickey Great, Taijeron Walks Off

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. 

Through six, the Mets accumulated just two hits – a second inning double by Brandon Nimmo and a third inning Travis Taijeron single. They didn’t amount to anything. 

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.

Dan Winkler struck out Taijeron to end the jam preserving the 3-2 lead. 
The Braves were up 3-2 because they got to Rafael Montero early. 

A pair of first inning doubles from Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. 

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 AokiJohan 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. 

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. 

Mets Can’t Get deGrom Number 16

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. 

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. 

When Dusty Baker brought in the left-handed Sammy Solis to fave him. In terms of developing Smith, you couldn’t as for a better situation. Instead, Collins went with Kevin Plawecki

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. 

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.

 

Montero Back To Form, Mets Back To Losers

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 PlaweckiBrandon 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.

 

 

Mets Are Younger But This Is Ridiculous

With the Mets selling at the deadline, we saw them call up young players to begin building for the future.  That meant players like Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Curtis GrandersonAddison Reed, and Neil Walker were gone.  In their stead are young players like Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Jamie Callahan, Jacob Rhame, Gavin CecchiniKevin McGowan, and Tomas Nido.  

With that, you knew the team was going to be young, but his young?

Wow.  I expected a younger group, but not ones that were dressed up in rompers like my then nine month old son.

It seems that with the Mets recent youth movement, my son is closer to majors than I initially believed:

 

deGrom Finally Gets Win Number 15

Back in 2012, when things were about as bad as they are right now, the most captivating moment of the season was R.A. Dickey and his push for 20 wins and a Cy Young.

Somewhat fittingly, Dickey was the starting pitcher for the Braves on a night when Jacob deGrom was going for a career high 15th win. 

This was deGrom’s third chance to get that 15th win. That’s two more than he had in 2015. In 2015, he would only pitch four scoreless innings before being taken out of the game so he would be ready for the postseason. Tonight, with the Mets playing for nothing else, he would go as long as he needed. 

deGrom would throw 101 pitches over seven innings. His final line would be 7.0 innings, five hits, one runs, one earned, two walks, and seven strikeouts. 

The one run deGrom allowed was a Freddie Freeman sixth inning solo homer because it’s Freeman. With that homer, the only question was whether the Mets would score enough runs. 

Tonight, deGrom got the requisite run support and then some thanks to the Mets offense exploding for seven runs thanks to the Mets young hitters. 

The standouts were Brandon Nimmo (1-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, RBI), Dominic Smith (2-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI), and Gavin Cecchini (3-3, 2B, 2 RBI). 

The scoring began with a two run second started by back-to-back singles by Smith and Travis d’Arnaud. They’d score on a pair of Juan Lagares and Cecchini RBI singles. 

This would prove to be enough, but the Mets offense would keep on clicking. 

A trio of doubles in the third (Nori Aoki, Nimmo, and Asdrubal Cabrera) would make it 4-0. 

The doubles would continue. A fourth inning Cecchini double scored Lagares, and a seventh inning Smith double plated it two more to make it 7-1. 

After deGrom exited with a six run lead, it was time for the Mets bullpen to hold the lead. After the Cubs series, it was far from a guarantee. 

Jeurys Familia alleviated some of the tension pitching a scoreless eighth. 

Not leaving anything to chance, Terry Collins went to AJ Ramos in the ninth to protect the lead. After a typical stressful Ramos inning, the Mets would win 7-3, and deGrom would finally have his 15th win. 

deGrom winning his 15th is a big highlight in a terrible season much like Dickey winning 20 in 2012. Hopefully, prosperity will soon follow much like it did after Dickey’s magical season. 

Game Notes: On Smith’s seventh inning double, Gary Cohen referred to him as Lucas Duda

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. 

Cubs Maul Mets Again

Well, this game just shows how far the Mets have fallen. Last year, Seth Lugo caught Mets fans attention and the attention of Stat Cast people by striking out Anthony Rizzo on a nasty curveball. 

Tonight, Lugo wasn’t fooling Rizzo who was 2-2 off Lugo with a homer. 

For that matter, Lugo wasn’t fooling anyone. In three plus innings, he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits and one walk. 

Lugo’s outing wasn’t even the worst thing that happened that night. The worst thing that happened was Amed Rosario leaving the game with a hip pointer. 

It’s the second time this month he’s dealt with an injury. To put it as succinctly as possible, he’s now a Met just like Travis d’Arnaud, who to the surprise of no one left this game early with a twisted knee. 

As if it wasn’t depressing enough, the Mets continued some horrendous pitching out of the bullpen. 

In this series the Mets have made 17 pitching changes. It wasn’t until Chris Flexen‘s appearance today that a Mets reliever didn’t allow a run or an inherited run to score. 

It’s hilarious to think at one point in this game, the Mets were playing well and winning. After the top of the second, they lead 3-0. Even after the Cubs tied it at 3-3, the Mets responded immediately to go up 5-3. From there, the Cubs scored 11 unanswered runs in a 14-6 win. That sealed the Mets fate giving up 39 runs in this series, which is the most runs allowed in franchise history in a three game series. 

If you’re looking for a bright side, it’s Dominic Smith. He continued his good month of September going 2-3 with a run, homer, RBI, and a hit by pitch. 

Special mention should also go to Brandon Nimmo who was finally allowed to play. After sitting in the first two games, apparently because Terry Collins finally figured out he’s a left-handed hitter, Nimmo was 2-4 with a double and an RBI. 

Tomas Nido got his first major league base hit in the top of the month. It was an RBI single scoring Juan Lagares.  He then made the last out of the game trying to score from second on a Phillip Evans dribbler down the third base line. 
The catcher, who fell down, made an easy flip to the catcher, who easily applied the tag. It was a perfect way to end this series. 

Other than Smith, Nimmo, and Nido, the only highlight is this series is over. Soon, this season will be over. Once that happens, the Mets will then be obligated to build a team that will no longer play like this. Well, at least that’s the hope. 

Game Notes: Jay Bruce had a walk off hit in the bottom of the 10th to propel the Indians to their 22nd straight win. This only proves Bruce right. He’s gone from a bad to a good situation. 

Cubs Walk All Over Mets

Well, if you watched last night’s game, you got the jist of what was going to happen tonight. The Cubs dominated the Mets, and you were left looking for bright spots. 

Certainly, one was and continues to be Juan Lagares and his defense in center:

Not seen there was Lagares making the throw. His throw lead to a run not scoring on a double base running gaffe by Ian Happ and Willson Contreras. Happ’ was trying to go to third with two outs, and Contreras’ was not hustling home while watching the horror unfold. 

At the time, the play kept the game tied at 2-2. 

The Mets runs had come off a Jose Reyes keynote address off Jon Lester, and a Matt Harvey safety squeeze plating Amed Rosario. No, it didn’t make up for what happened yesterday. 
Speaking of Harvey, the best thing you can say about his start is he left under his own power.

The velocity was there, but his location wasn’t.  When he wasn’t leaving pitches in the hitting zone, he wasn’t throwing strikes. When he was pulled with one out in the fourth, he allowed seven hits, two runs (both earned), and four walks with just two strikeouts. He also left the bases loaded. 

He left them loaded for Hansel Robles, who is having a nightmare of a season. That became evident when he issued a bases loaded walk to Anthony Rizzo and then a two RBI single to Contreras.  Just like that, it was 5-2 Cubs on the way to becoming a 10-2 lead. 

But hey, Robles had a sparking stat line. His was 1.2 innings, one hit, no runs, one walk, and two strikeouts. 

He was the only pitcher with a good stat line. Chasen Bradford allowed four runs in an inning of work. He certainly wasn’t helped out when Asdrubal Cabrera let one go through the wickets. Javier Baez homered off Kevin McGowan in McGowan’s lone inning of work. Jacob Rhame surrendered 

One of the runs Rhame allowed was off a Rivera double. The former Met had quite an evening himself. Despite coming off the bench, he was 2-2 with a run, double, and two RBI. 

Jamie Callahan then had a sinilsr outing to Robles. He relieved Rhame with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. Just like Robles, he issued a bases loaded walk to Rizzo. Albert Almora then hit a bases leading triple. Unlike Robles, he’d get hit with a charged run. 
With all the frustrations, the Mets showed some fight in the eighth. Rosario scored on a Rene Rivera passed ball. Later in the inning, Dominic Smith hit a two run homer to pull the Mets within 10-5. 

All said and done, it was a hard to watch 13-5 loss featuring Mets pitchers issuing 11 walks. It’s quite the metaphor for a team that everyone not named the Reds or Phillies have walked all over. 

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo dat for a second straight game against a left-handed pitcher while Nori Aoki got the start in both games.