Watching the game tonight, it is really difficult to assess how well Zack Wheeler performed. On the one hand, he was executing his pitches as well as he ever has, and yet he earned the loss against a bad Marlins team.
Actually, there is a debate how much he “earned” that loss. Really, there was just one hiccup for him, and that was in the second inning when the Marlins scored all three of their runs.
The first run was on Wheeler, who allowed three straight hard hit balls by Brian Anderson (double), Derek Dietrich, and Miguel Rojas. After that, it’s hard to pin anything else on him. Caleb Smith popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, which Jose Reyes fielded on hop, looked at every single base, and then threw the ball in the dirt thereby loading the bases.
That three run lead was brutal because as Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling kept opining, Smith was dealing for the Marlins. That is a plausible explanation considering Smith entered the game striking out 12 batters per nine. However, it needs to be noted the Mets bats are really awful against left-handed batters. Tonight, was no exception as Smith allowed one run on three hits over 6.2 innings.
The one run he allowed was in the bottom of the second, and it started with a Jose Bautista double. Speaking of Bautista, he was signed just before the game, and he was put in the starting lineup ahead of Jay Bruce, and he played left field. After the predictable Reyes out, Bautista moved to third, and he scored on a Tomas Nido sacrifice fly.
The Mets really wouldn’t get another rally started until the eighth. Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a double, and later than inning Brandon Nimmo earned a one out walk. The rally would falter there as Cabrera would hit into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
While disappointing, that rally was too little too late anyway. In the top of the inning, Derek Dietrich hit a two run homer off AJ Ramos to expand the Marlins lead to 5-1. That would be the final score on a deeply disappointing day.
Game Notes: Reyes made two errors in the game, and he now has three hits and two errors on the month. Devin Mesoraco did not start after getting hit on the elbow with an errant swing last night. He did pinch hit in the seventh and flew out.
There are many different ways to gauge how bad the Marlins are after they traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Perhaps the best way to gauge it was how Jason Vargasshut them down tonight.
Entering tonight, Vargas was 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA, and he had yet to pitch long enough to qualify for a win, which based on his ERA, was the least of his problems.
Astonishingly, Vargas was perfect through three. He wouldn’t get into trouble until the fifth. He was able to get through the two on one out situation by striking out Lewis Brinson and Elieser Hernandezto get out of the jam.
At 86 pitches, Vargas was done putting the game into the Mets offense and bullpen’s hands.
The Mets did have a lead when Vargas departed thanks to the speed of Amed Rosario.
In the third, Rosario reached on a one out single, and he was standing there when Asdrubal Cabreracame to the plate. Like he’s done all year, he delivered with a double to right center. On the double, Rosario took off, and with his incredible speed, he scored from first.
Amed Rosario keeps setting #Mets speed marks.
His 9.02-second first-to-home time on Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI double is the fastest by a #Mets player since Statcast came online in 2015. Amed reached a blazing 29.4 feet per second. 🏃🏃🏃 pic.twitter.com/2xWRJlBL9V
— Matt Kelly (@mattkellyMLB) May 22, 2018
This gave the Mets a lead, but with the offense struggling, the bullpen did not have any margin of error.
In the sixth, Paul Sewald got into some trouble. After a two out Starlin Castro single, Sewald walked Brian Anderson. Jerry Blevins didn’t help matters but walking Justin Bour to load the bases. AJ Ramos came on and fell behind 2-0 to Derek Dietrich. Ramos battled back in that at-bat, and he struck out Dietrich to end the inning.
As impressive as that was, Ramos helped negate a lead-off walk to Miguel Rojas by being aggressive with his defense. He quickly and adeptly fielded a comeback we from JB Shuck. He quickly whipped and threw to second for the 1-6-3 inning ending double play.
The Mets would plate another run lather that inning on a rally started with a one out Devin Mesoraco double. After Luis Guillorme reached on an error by Martin Prado, Wilmer Flores made sure to make the Marlins pay for the misplay by going with an 0-2 fastball on the outer half to drive the ball past Castro and expand the Mets lead to 2-0.
Those two runs were plenty as Seth Lugo and Jeurys Familia combined to shut down the Marlins in the 8th and 9th to give the Mets their fourth win in a row. It was also the first time Vargas won a game in a Mets uniform breaking a streak stretching back 11 years (and three teams).
Game Notes: The Mets are purportedly showing interest in recently released Jose Bautista. It will be interesting to see what the corresponding move will be because the team says Jose Reyes‘ spot on the roster is safe.
This game was a clear dichotomy of what is going right and what is going wrong for the Mets. First, the wrong –
The first moment was in the fourth inning. Paul Goldschmidt broke out of his funk by hitting a homer off Steven Matz to tie the game at 2-2. Later that inning, Matz went from 1-2 to walking Jarrod Dyson. Matz then seemed to get out of the inning by picking Dyson off first:
#Mets challenge call that Jarrod Dyson is safe at 2B in the 4th; call stands, runner is safe.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) May 20, 2018
Somehow both the umpires and the replay officials miss what everyone watching the game saw – Asdrubal Cabrera got the tag in ahead of the slide.
Well, it was a blown call, which led to a typical Matz letdown. Diamondbacks backup catcher and former Yankee John Ryan Murphy hit a go-ahead two run homer.
With that, you had your typical 2018 Matz start. He didn’t get through five. He allowed two homers. He allowed a big walk, and he had a meltdown.
Still, down 4-2, the Mets were still in this game, and it looked like they were going to break through in the sixth with Patrick Corbin on the ropes. The team didn’t break through.
First, Devin Mesoraco popped out, and after the Diamondbacks put Michael Conforto on first, the inning was in Jose Reyes‘ hands. Now, Reyes presumably got the start because he had good career numbers against Corbin. He wouldn’t get a hit off Corbin, and he was in there to face Jimmie Sherfy.
Reyes fouled out, and Adrian Gonzalez couldn’t get the pinch hit. This left the Mets trailing, but it wouldn’t stay that way because of the things that have gone right for the Mets.
First, Conforto is back. After a 4-4 game, he came up in the second inning, and he delievered a two run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
After Matz surrendered the lead and couldn’t go five innings, the game was once again on the bullpen. The combination of Seth Lugo, Paul Sewald, and AJ Ramos pitched four scoreless walking none, allowing one hit, and striking out six. Ultimately, they gave the Mets a chance.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 20, 2018
Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth giving the Mets a chance to walk this one off.
Like many rallies this season, it began with Brandon Nimmo, who led off the ninth with a double, and then the most clutch Met on the team this year, Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a bunt single moving Nimmo to third. This put the game in Wilmer Flores‘ hands, and as we know he has his own history with walk-off hits.
While not the dramatic homers we have seen, he did end the game with a fly ball to the outfield. This one was a sacrifice fly scoring Nimmo giving the Mets a 5-4 win.
This was the first time since April 10-11 that the Mets have won consecutive games. They are now in position for their first home sweep of the season. They do that, and things will definitely be more good than bad right now.
Game Notes: With the Mets lack of outfield depth, Dominic Smith started in right field for the Las Vegas 51s. Reyes is now 7-53 on the season.
There aren’t many things which are right with the Mets right now, but a big thing that’s right with this team right now is Jacob deGrom, and with him, we are seeing reports how the team may look to trade him. Of course, the best way to do that is to win as many games as you can between now and the trading deadline. Part of doing that is going out and not wasting deGrom starts.
Part of that is letting deGrom go out there and do his thing, and really he did his thing tonight.
In seven phenomenal innings of work, deGrom tied his career high with 13 strikeouts, and as noted by the great Michael Mayer, he became the 10th pitcher in Mets history to reach the 800 strikeout mark. He also lowered his ERA this season to 1.75.
There are many ways to say how great deGrom was, but perhaps the best way to say it is his final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 13 K.
He carried into the game and extended his scoreless inning streak to 24.1 innings. It ended in the top of the sixth when Jake Lamb scored Steven Souza from first on a double. On what was a truly bizarre play, Souza ran through the stop sign only to stutter step and then take off from home. After Asdrubal Cabrera missed the relay, Adrian Gonzalez backed him up and nailed Lamb at third.
The Diamondbacks threatened in the seventh again with a Daniel Descalso leadoff double. Being the great pitcher he is, deGrom settled down, and he got the next three out in order.
Fortunately for deGrom, this would be one of the few games where he got real run support, and it began with a first inning rally against Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley, and like with many Mets rallies this season, it all began with a Brandon Nimmo walk.
After Descalso botched what was at a minimum a force out, and quite likely with Cabrera’s speed a double play ball, runners were at the corners with no outs.
Conforto would repeat that feat in the fifth inning. After a Flores two out walk and Jay Bruce walk, the inning was on Conforto, and he delivered with another RBI single. It was part of Conforto’s first three hit night of the season and just the second four hit night of his career. Overall, he was 4-4 with two RBI.
Really, the Mets need more of that from Conforto because he is not just the best hitter in the lineup, he’s the best hitter on the team. When the team is without Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier, Conforto has to carry even more of the load. He did it tonight, and if he continues doing it, like he did last year, this Mets team will be in much better shape.
Things got interesting in the eighth. After a Conforto one out single, Gonzalez dropped a perfect bunt against the shift. After a Jose Reyes pinch hit walk, the bases were loaded with two outs. This led to Amed Rosario popping one out to Descalso, but he then dropped it. Initially, it was ruled a drop leading to two runs scoring. Upon the umpires commiserating, it was ruled an out meaning it was a 3-1 and not a 5-1 lead.
After Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia shut the door, deGrom had his fourth win of the season, and the team beat a Diamondbacks team who is having a very similar season to the one the Mets are having. Hopefully, this weekend the Mets will take advantage of a reeling team like other teams have done to them over the last few weeks.
Game Notes: Juan Lagares, who suffered a toe injury in the rain soaked game is likely done for the year leaving the Mets with three healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster. Jerry Blevins was activated from the paternity list, and he took Lagares’ spot on the roster. Paul Goldschmidt had the golden sombrero.
Over in Washington, D.C., even though the Nationals and Yankees were facing even more pressure than the Mets and Blue Jays to get their game in, they postponed the roughly game and a half they had to play. Perhaps both teams were aware they had important players they did not want to see get hurt, and it was better to do this another day.
Not the Mets.
Despite torrential rains, the Mets decided to play. Despite a rain delay which required the grounds crew to empty the coffers of diamond dust to eliminate the standing puddles on the infield, the umpires decided to let these two teams play.
Actually, check that, it was the Blue Jays who played a game. The Mets were there to get drowned.
For Zack Wheeler things started well enough. Sure, he didn’t get an 0-2 pitch quite up and in enough to Justin Smoak, but other than that, Wheeler was good over the first three innings. In that time, he had struck out six while allowing just the one homer.
Then came the inane rain delay precipitated by J.A. Happ not liking how he landed on the mound. The umpires did the right thing delaying the game to get the field in playing condition. It would have been a better thing to call the game because that field was dangerous.
And yes, someone did get hurt. Juan Lagares went back on a ball, and his foot hit the wall causing a sprained toe. Maybe if the ground conditions were better, he gets back to the ball quicker, and doesn’t need to jump. Maybe in better conditions, he’s better able to plant and go up. Or knowing Lagares, maybe he gets hurt anyway.
Fact remains, he got hurt in nearly unplayable playing conditions. That’s not okay, and the Mets and MLB should be forced to answer to that.
Yes, we know there were problems with these pitchers, but they knew the job when they took it on. It would have been unfair to expect 2015 results from each of these pitchers, but it was fair to expect a progression based on what we saw last year. We haven’t.
That includes Wheeler falling apart after that lengthy rain delay. He began the fourth and fifth yielding lead-off walks. He got through the fourth allowing a two run homer to Teoscar Hernandez. He wouldn’t get an out in the fifth leading Callaway to go to his bullpen.
While the Blue Jays, who play their home games in a retractable roof, were not bothered by the conditions, the Mets couldn’t manage.
Considering in his last start Happ allowed seven runs in 3.1 innings, his two hit seven inning effort made the Mets offense all the more embarrassing. It gets worse when you consider one of those two hits was a Luis Guillorme infield single.
Perhaps, that is also a reflection of the 4-9 hitters having all spent time in Las Vegas over the past year. It’s also an indication Michael Conforto is not Conforto anymore. With each passing day, we get closer and closer to asking the question about whether this is shoulder related.
In the end, there were really no positives until there were two outs in the ninth. That’s when Brandon Nimmo battled back from down 0-2 in the count to hit an opposite field home run. Really, this team needs a lot more Nimmo than whatever it is this team has right now.
That was once again clear after this 12-1 loss.
Game Notes: Guillorme became the first Met since Steven Matz to being his MLB career going 3-3.
Heading into the game, there was much said about how Dave Eiland challenged or disrespected Noah Syndergaard in his saying Thor hasn’t accomplished much at the Major League level. During the broadcast, it was discussed, and Ron Darling said as a player, he would have taken it the wrong way.
Whatever the case, Syndergaard seemed motivated by it in the first inning as he struck out the side while needing just 15 pitches. You got all the more excited seeing Syndergaard knocking home Devin Mesoraco from first after he had drawn a leadoff walk against Jaime Garcia giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. For a moment, it seemed as if things would go rolling on from there, and we would see the Syndergaard we saw prior to the lat injury.
Instead, we saw the Syndergaard we have seen all this season.
In the third, he allowed a one out single to old friend Curtis Granderson, who was playing his first game against the Mets since being traded to the Dodgers for Jacob Rhame last year. After Josh Donaldson popped out, that should have been the end of any prospect of danger.
Instead, we got to see some of Granderson’s knowledge from his playing time with the Mets. He would put himself in scoring position stealing a base, and he would hold at third on a Justin Smoak single. It wound up being a terrible throw from Juan Lagares, but he charged the ball hard, and Granderson, being perhaps well aware of Lagares’ arm, held on third. It didn’t matter because after Syndergaard plunked Teoscar Hernandez with a pitch, Yangervis Solarte hit a two RBI single.
On the single, it is quite arguable any other second baseman but Asdrubal Cabrera gets to that ball, but he didn’t leading the the Blue Jays taking the 2-1 lead.
Seeing how the Mets have played of late, this was a real danger sign. Fortunately, the Mets offense would finally break out.
Beginning with a Jay Bruce double, the Mets would quickly load the bases for Syndergaard, who tied the score with a sacrifice fly. Amed Rosario then nearly hit one out with the ball hitting the top of the fence and bouncing in instead of out. In any event, it was a two RBI double giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.
It should be noted Jose Reyes, who started because with the left-handed pitcher on the mound, Wilmer Flores started at first and Adrian Gonzalez sat, somehow did not score from first. Really, he did not score from first on a ball which was nearly a homer to one of the deeper parts of the park. At best, this was shades of Timo Perez. At worst, this is a player who no longer belongs in the majors.
Lagares would make sure both Reyes and Rosario both scored as he slashed a two RBI single to center, and even with Donaldson cutting it off, he would get to second ahead of the throw.
.@Mets challenge call that Juan Lagares is out at 2B in the 4th; call overturned, runner is safe.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) May 16, 2018
A Cabrera double after that, and the Mets not only had a five run inning, but they would also have a 6-2 lead. In the fifth, the Mets would add the runs needed to make this the laugher the Mets desperately needed.
Gonzalez, Rosario, and Brandon Nimmo would hit consecutive singles first scoring Mesoraco and later scoring Gonzalez. After that Lagares hit an infield single to third allowing Rosario to score.
When Gonzalez pinch hit for Syndergaard that inning, it was the end of Syndergaard’s night, but really, he was going to be pulled after the fifth anyway.
As noted earlier, Syndergaard labored through the third, and he would do the same in the fifth needing a Hernandez double play to get out of the inning. Overall, Syndergaard needed 103 pitches to get through five. He walked an uncharacteristically high two batters. While he’s been effective, he has not yet been Syndergaard this year.
Finally, in the eighth, the Mets would put a capper on this game. Lagares hit a leadoff triple, and he scored on a Luis Guillorme RBI single, his first RBI. After a force out, Mesoarco hit his second homer as a member of the Mets expanding the Mets lead to 12-2.
All-in-all, a pretty good night for the Mets. Mesoraco could not make an out going 2-2 with three walks, four runs, a homer, and two RBI. Lagares was just as good going 4-5 with two runs, a triple, and three RBI. Really, in a game like this, you are going to see everyone contribute somehow, and that’s what the Mets did. The only hope now is the team left some hits in those bats.
Game Notes: The Blue Jays have never beaten the Mets in Flushing going 0-12.
When the 2019 schedule is released, and the Mets are going to have to make sure Jacob deGrom doesn’t start the game because it will inevitably lead in heartbreak. Last year, it was the inexplicable loss to the Brewers. This year, it was one of those everything goes wrong type of games.
For his one inning of work, deGrom turned into Houdini. After walking the bases loaded to start the game, deGrom had to recalibrate and try to get through the inning by limiting the damage. Well, he would do much more than that.
First, he struck out Rhys Hoskins. Then on a dribbler in front of the plate, deGrom got to the ball, and he nailed Cesar Hernandez at home. Finally, he got Maikel Franco to strike out on a 3-2 pitch. It was downright miraculous.
It also required 45 pitches. With that heavy first inning workload, and with his just coming off the disabled list prior to the game after his hyper-extended elbow issue, Mickey Callaway did the prudent thing and put the game in his bullpen’s hands.
While the bullpen was going to the whip, the Mets offense was getting whipped by Aaron Nola who would allow just one run over six to lower his season ERA to 1.99.
It wasn’t that this Mets offense was dominated. Far from it. It’s that the offense didn’t do anything when they had the opportunities.
After Brandon Nimmo got things started with a bunt against the shift, the Mets loaded the bases with one out. Wilmer Flores then struck out on four pitches, and Michael Conforto hit the second pitch he saw for an inning ending ground out.
In each of the subsequent innings, the Mets would get at least one base runner on against Nola, and they would do nothing. That was until the sixth when Nola didn’t get one in enough to Yoenis Cespedes, who would hit it out to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 13, 2018
The rally would continue with Adrian Gonzalez and Flores hitting back-to-back singles, and Conforto getting ahead in the count at 2-0. That 2-0 count would turn into an awful at-bat with Conforto striking out, and Devin Mesoraco following with an inning ending double play. Essentially, they did the polar opposite of what they did on Friday night.
Really, this one run gave the Mets bullpen little margin of error. Until the sixth, they were pitching quite well. Robert Gsellman threw three scoreless before the Mets turned to Paul Sewald, who pitched a scoreless fifth. Sewald, who has mostly struggled in May, wouldn’t have it in the sixth.
Santana began the inning with a double, and Scott Kingery walked. Between the rally and this being a bullpen game, Callaway had AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins warming in the bullpen. They were there when Sewald struck out Jorge Alfaro, and they were there when the left-handed pinch hitter Nick Williams hit a go-ahead three run homer off of Sewald.
Now, there are many ways you could choose to defend the decision. Sewald has been better than Blevins all season long against left-handed pitching. Callaway wanted to get length from as many people as he could muster. However, he had double barrel action going on so he would have Blevins ready for the big at-bat against a left-handed batter, and he didn’t use him.
While you can agree with the decision to go with Sewald, you cannot agree with the thought process of getting your LOOGY warmed up for a big spot and then refusing to use him in that big spot. If you are not using Blevins there, you’re not going to use him in the game.
From there, the Mets had another rally they didn’t fully cash in on. Nimmo drew his first or two walks for the game, and he scored on the ensuing Asdrubal Cabrera double. It was a one run game, and Cespedes strode up to the plate. There was no guessing right this time as Luis Garcia got him to pop out to end the inning.
Instead of building on the momentum from Friday’s Conforto homer, the Mets once again failed to muster enough offense, and maybe even energy to pull this one out. We were also left wondering about Callaway’s thought process with his failing to use Blevins. All-in-all, a disheartening loss.
Game Notes: Luis Guillorme collected his first MLB hit with a bloop pinch-hit single to center in the second inning. Dominic Smith struck out in his only plate appearance, and he will be sent down to Triple-A with Jay Bruce‘s paternity leave ending. Buddy Baumann was sent down to the minors to make room for deGrom. His Mets experience amounted to little more than his getting a pending one game suspension out of the way.
Well, just when you think things can’t get worse, you’re reminded this is the Mets. Perhaps the biggest punchline of this season, maybe the past decade, was how the Mets BATTED OUT OF ORDER IN THE FIRST INNING!
Can someone send this down to the third base dugout? https://t.co/htjvJss5k1
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 9, 2018
Basically, the Mets skipped Asdrubal Cabrera, and Wilmer Flores took his spot striking out. Cabrera, who was supposed to bat second, came up third and doubled. That’s when Reds manager Jim Riggleman pointed out to the umpires the Mets were batting out of order.
Cabrera’s double was erased from the record books, and Jay Bruce, whose turn it was actually to bat, was ruled out.
Aside from making Mickey Callaway and bench coach Gary Disarcina looking completely incompetent, it really hurt the Mets because this game would prove to be a pitcher’s duel between Zack Wheeler and Sal Romano.
For his part, Wheeler was brilliant, and it was one of the better starts in his Mets career. Over six innings, he limited to the Reds to just one run on four hits and three walks while he struck out seven. He would only really face trouble in the first and the sixth. He got out of the jam easily in the first, but he would not be able to escape the sixth.
The sixth inning Reds rally started with a leadoff walk to Jesse Winker. He’d come around to score after a Jose Peraza bunt single. You could get on Wilmer Flores all you like, but he had no shot on this, and really no one does whenever Peraza lays one down as he is the Major League leader in bunt hits with six.
Joey Votto would follow with an RBI single, and the Mets and Wheeler were teetering. While it was not pretty, Wheeler deserves credit for buckling down and getting the last three outs of that inning without allowing another run.
Unfortunately, that rally tied the score 1-1 because the Mets just blew opportunity after opportunity after opportunity.
After the aforementioned blunder in the first inning, Michael Conforto hit a one out double that Adrian Gonzalez could not score. They stood idly by as Wheeler struck out, and Amed Rosario grounded out to the catcher.
In the third, the Mets did actually score. Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff triple, and with the team hitting in the correct batting order, Cabrera drove him home with an RBI groundout.
In the fifth, the Mets had runners at first and second with one out only to see Cabrera and Flores come up short. From there, the Mets would little to nothing at the plate, which coupled with some strong work out of the bullpen from Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, both of whom have had recent multiple inning relief appearances, bore down and pitched a scoreless seventh through ninth.
At this point, it is important to note the Mets had called up Corey Oswalt to help out with an overworked bullpen. They did this despite his being on three days rest yesterday. As a result, the Mets called up a guy they would be hesitant to use making calling him up in the first place a complete waste of transaction.
As a result, in the tenth inning, Callaway went with AJ Ramos for his second straight game and third time in four days. Callaway went with Ramos instead of going with Jeurys Familia, who was presumably being saved for a save situation. This is a far departure from Callaway’s overtures early in the season when he said he was going to use his best reliever in the highest leverage situations.
Well, that save situation Callaway was waiting for never materialized as Adam Duvall hit a walk off homer off Ramos.
As a result, the Mets dropped to 18-17 after losing a series to the worst team in the National League. This is a far cry from the who went 12-2 and were world beaters. Now, they are just getting beaten up by the world.
Game Notes: Luis Guillorme was called-up from Tripe-A, and Tomas Nido was sent down. Guillorme would not appear in the game. Devin Mesoraco started his first game for the Mets, and he was 0-4 with two strikeouts.
Well, if you were feeling good about the Mets after their win last night, those feelings were quickly dispatched. Todd Frazier, arguably their second best position player all year, landed on the disabled list meaning Jose Reyes was in the starting lineup. Worse than that, Jason Vargas was the starter.
Right away, Vargas loaded the bases, and he then allowed a Eugenio Suarez two RBI single to give the Reds an early 2-0 lead. It was a minor miracle the Reds did not score more from that point.
However, they would score two more in the second with Suarez once again being the catalyst. His RBI double scored Joey Votto from first, and he would come home on a Tucker Barnhart, the catcher the Reds kept, RBI single.
Overall, Vargas’ final line was 4.0 innings, six hits, four runs, four earned, two walks, and one strikeout. As poor as that start was, it should be noted this was his best start this year. With his pitching, you almost have to question why he’s guaranteed a starting spot while the team is keeping some pitchers in the minors and sending another one to Cincinnati.
That four run margin would prove to be enough for a number of reasons.
The first was Reds starter, Luis Castillo, no not that one, but then again it doesn’t really matter because nothing good happens to the Mets when there is a Luis Castillo on the field. He would limit the Mets to just a single over the first five innings.
Finally, in the sixth, the Mets would break through on a Wilmer Flores one out homer. Now, Flores did not start the game. Rather, he was double switched in for Amed Rosario despite Rosario being the one Met with a hit, and Reyes being a terrible defensive shortstop.
The Mets would continue from there with a two out rally. With consecutive walks to Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Adrian Gonzalez, the Reds forced home a run. That’s when Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Brandon Nimmo instead of Juan Lagares or even the newly acquired Devin Mesoraco to face the left-hander Amir Garrett.
Nimmo struck out to end the rally, and things would only go downhill from there.
AJ Ramos was fighting it, but he kept the Reds off the board in the sixth, but he would allow a double to Scott Schebler, and with Votto coming up, Jerry Blevins would come into the game. He got his man, but he would be pulled for Hansel Robles.
After a Suarez single, Scooter Gennett would have Robles pointing to the sky again with his three run homer giving the Reds a 7-2 lead.
Making this game worse was the fact the Mets had called up Corey Oswalt in place of P.J. Conlon to give them some length in the bullpen. Of course, they called up Oswalt on three days rest instead of Chris Flexen on full rest. The end result was Callaway ripping through his bullpen trying to save Oswalt’s arm . . . the very same Oswalt who was called up to supposedly help protect against that.
That’s embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as getting blown out by the now nine win Reds team.
Game Notes: On the eve of the game, Matt Harvey was traded to the Reds for Mesoraco.
Given everything that has happened since Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, you can hardly blame Matt Harvey for refusing a minor league assignment and for the Mets designating him for assignment. Ultimately, this is something which may prove beneficial to all parties involved.
For Harvey, he has a lot of work ahead of him. Unfortunately, the same goes for the Mets, who for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, stopped their roster alterations at Harvey.
There is no doubt Harvey was under-performing, but at the time of the Mets decision he was the last guy in the bullpen mopping up games like the 6-0 mess left for him by Jason Vargas. Rarely is the last guy in your bullpen the real issue with your team, and the Mets are not one of those exceptions.
One of the main issues with this time right now is the lineup. With injuries, slumps, and flat out benching more talented players, the team needs to make changes there desperately.
One of the changes that needs to be made is to get Brandon Nimmo into the lineup everyday. At the moment, Nimmo is hitting .256/.448/.442 with a 17.2% walk rate. By OPS+ and wRC+, he is the second best hitter in the Mets lineup. There is no justifiable reason to keep him as the fourth outfielder.
However, he is because the Mets are trying to make Adrian Gonzalez happen. Well, if you go by his hitting .231/.311/.372 with a -0.4 WAR, it’s not happening, and it’s not going to happen. Game-in and game-out, he’s showing why the Dodgers took on Matt Kemp to get rid of him and why the Braves were happy to pay him $21.8 million to go away.
Really, there is no reason why the Mets continue to trot him out there when they can put the hobbled Jay Bruce at first base.
Whether it is the plantar fascitiis or something else, Bruce has struggled this year and playing the outfield is doing him no favors. Really, he and the team is best served by moving Bruce to first and allowing more athletic players like Nimmo and Juan Lagares play out there.
Again, the only thing standing in the way of the Mets optimizing both their defensive alignment and their lineup is a 35 year old with a bad back who already has a -0.4 WAR.
Speaking of players in their mid 30s, well past their prime, and standing in the way of more talented players, the Mets need to do something about Jose Reyes.
So far this season, Reyes is hitting .139/.184/.222. To put that in perspective, the recently designated for assignment Matt Harvey was batting .286/.286/.286. Put another way, Reyes is hitting like a pitcher . . . or worse.
That’s except when he’s coming off the bench. When he’s pinch hitting, he’s not hitting at all going 0-9 with three strike outs. When he substitutes into games, he’s 0-4.
Really, what’s the point of having a bench player who can’t hit when he comes off the bench?
Remember this was the same Reyes who posted a -0.6 WAR last year and his -26 DRS was the worst among Major League infielders. There is really not hope there’s any upside.
Looking at Las Vegas, Gavin Cecchini is hitting .313/.359/.500 while mostly playing the middle infield with a game at short.
After a slow start, Luis Guillorme is in the midst of an eight game hitting streak that has seen him go 13-28 with three doubles and seven RBI. After starting the year hitting .211/.338/.281, he’s not hitting .294/.394/.376.
In addition to Cecchini or Guillorme, the Mets could opt to go with Phillip Evans, who won a bench job out of Spring Training or Ty Kelly, who is once again dominating in Las Vegas hitting .300/.364/.600 with four doubles, four triples, six homers, and 21 RBI.
Even if you didn’t like the group as a collective, you’d be hard pressed to present an argument where they would not be able to get at least one hit while coming off of the bench.
Now, are Gonzalez and Reyes the only two problems? Far from it. The catching situation is still a mess, the bullpen is regressing, and every starter not named Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard has been completely unreliable.
That said, Gonzalez and Reyes are blocking more talented players who promise to be more productive than what we have seen from both players not just this year, but stretching back to last year. If the Mets are truly interested in becoming a better team, these two need to join Harvey in looking for another team.