Heading into this year’s Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series, the Mets had a decided advantage in starting pitching. Yesterday, that led to a win with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.
Up until that point, the Mets had a 1-0 lead due to a Michael Conforto second inning homer. That lead completely evaporated in the bottom of the fourth.
It started innocuously enough with a Giancarlo Stanton leadoff single. Then with one out in the inning, Matt den Dekker would make a number of defensive miscues starting with the Didi Gregorious RBI “triple.”
Throughout that fourth, Matz would make his pitches, but his team, specifically den Dekker, wasn’t making a play behind him. All told, it was a four run inning for the Yankees.
With two outs in the inning, Amed Rosario hit an RBI single that not only brought Conforto home, but it allowed Bautista to go to third. It mattered because Robertson threw away a pickoff attempt allowing Bautista to score. The rally would end there as den Dekker struck out.
The Mets would quickly see the 4-3 deficit grow and grow.
It’s hard to say Matz pitched well considering he surrendered five runs, all earned, but he did. The defense was that poor.
In the ninth, it seemed like Aroldis Chapman was in to pitch his inning and let everyone get home before the rain came later tonight. The issue with Chapman was he couldn’t get an out.
Now, it should be noted Asdrubal Cabrera should have been due up. The problem was he was ejected in the fifth after getting tossed arguing balls and strikes. When that happened, he joined hitting coach Pat Roessler who was tossed in the third for the same issue.
Cabrera was replaced in the lineup by Devin Mesoraco (as a DH). He’d face Chasen Shreve who came on for Chapman, get the most important at-bat of the game, and he’d hit into a rally killing 4-6-3 double play.
With that, the Mets did just enough to lose. Just enough.
Game Notes: Jeurys Familia was finally traded to the Athletics. Yoenis Cespedes was unavailable as he was too sore to play. As it turns out, he also needs surgery to remove calcifications in both heels. The recovery time is approximately 10 months.
With the New York Mets sending Dominic Smith down in a series of transactions designed to make room on the Major League roster for both Yoenis Cespedes and Jason Vargas to return from the disabled list, the Mets will have both Smith and Peter Alonso on the same roster.
This could not have happened at a worse time for either player.
When Smith was called up to the majors, he had not exactly earned his way onto the roster hitting just .260/.343/.370 in 56 games. Unfortunately, things did not improve for him when he was called up to the majors. He would play sparingly, and when he did play he didn’t hit. Overall, he has a -1.1 WAR while hitting .183/.216/.324.
With Smith struggling and Alonso dominating in Double-A, it seemed as if Alonso had easily surpassed Smith as the Mets first baseman of the future. With every homer, it seemed like that future was going to happen at some point this season.
Things changed for Alonso when he was called-up to Triple-A. In 27 games, he is hitting .178/.306/.426 with a 30.1 percent strikeout rate. One thing that has been encouraging is Alonso has not regressed in terms of his newfound plate discipline. Despite his struggles, he has maintained a solid 12.4 percent walk rate.
With both players struggling, Tony DeFrancesco not only has to find a way to get both players back on track, but he also has to find a way to find playing time for both players.
Seemingly, the playing time is the easier of the two issues. With Smith getting up to speed in left field, and the Mets having no prospect of note in the outfield, it would at least seem he could play there everyday. Another consideration is Las Vegas will have the DH available to permit the team to shift both prospects between first base and DH.
The dilemma there is Smith is by far the better defensive first baseman of the two. From that standpoint, Smith should be the everyday first baseman with Alonso at DH.
However, this is the minor leagues where organizations put an emphasis on player development over winning. To that end, Alonso needs the reps at first base much more than Smith does.
To that end, it should come as no surprise John Ricco says Alonso will get most of the reps at first with Smith mostly playing the outfield.
This is really where DeFrancesco is going to have to earn his money. Somehow, some way, he has to help both players improve, have them not just retain but improve their value, and he is going to have to make each player feel as if the organization is invested in them. That’s much easier said than done, especially when the organization is having Smith play out of position to accommodate Alonso.
Further complicating everything is Cespedes interest in possibly making a position change to first base in order to help keep his legs healthy to stay in the lineup. Given his being owed $58 million over the next two seasons, Jay Bruce being owed $28 million over the next two seasons, and the emergence of Brandon Nimmo was an All Star caliber player, it’s very possible the Mets give Cespedes every opportunity to become the Mets first baseman next year.
With that being the case, Smith and Alonso are not only in a position where they have to distinguish themselves from one another, they are also going to have to distinguish themselves to the point where the club is willing to give these two talented young players a job at first base over more established and far better paid players.
Believe it or not, even with their recent struggles both Smith and Alonso possess the talent to force the issue with the Mets organization. If we get to the point where Smith and Alonso are forcing the issue, the Mets will be in a very good position.
Arguably, this was the most entertaining All Star Game in quite a while. It was not only a close game which went into extra innings, but we got to know more about some of the best players in the game. Certainly, miking Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Francisco Lindor made them much more likeable and did a great job of promoting the young superstar talent in the majors.
Still, given how the All Star Game has dropped drastically in terms of importance and how the ratings have been stagnant, there are ways to improve the game. Here are some suggestions from the Mets Bloggers:
Get rid of it 🙂
They should find a way to show Brandon Nimmo on screen for 100 percent of the telecast. Nimmo watching himself watching the game, Nimmo petting a dog, Nimmo studying film. Any of those really, on the lower right hand corner of the screen.
The losers of that year’s All Star Game each pay a portion of the money Bobby Bonilla is owed that year.
Get rid of interleague play.
That’s if you want to save the All Star Game as is. If not, then scrap the whole thing and just have a season break every four years and make it the World Baseball Classic Semifinals and Finals. If you want to do something the other three years, make it a similar international theme. MLB vs. Cuba.
Give each league a 41-man roster. I was gonna say 40, but 41 will be a subliminal advertisement for the greatness of Seaver. All snubs will be solved up to the 42nd-most deserving NL and AL player. What’s a couple of more minutes of introductions? Those are the best parts of the whole affair.
Also, get rid of Joe Buck and don’t let Matt Vasgersian near the All-Star Game. Team a really good National League announcer with a really good American League announcer. I’d even accept a blending of the defending league champion crews, understanding we might get stuck with somebody from YES one future midsummer night.
If we are going to have every team represented in the All Star Game under the pretext that it generates fan enthusiasm for the event, let the fans pick their All Star.
As a Mets fan in 1995, I would have been much more interested in seeing Rico Brogna, Todd Hundley, or John Franco than seeing Bobby Bonilla, which was just further punishment for Mets fans. Seriously, let the fans pick who they want to see – pitchers included.
In addition to wanting to see fans pick their own All Star, I also want everyone visiting the site to read the All Star quality material produced by the people who participate in these roundtables.
Each and every year, there are a number of notable All Star snubs. While some would argue it’s attributable to the every team represented rule, it’s really a function of how many good players there are in Major League Baseball. Mostly, it’s a function of some really bad decisions by people who are supposed to know better. For example, look at the players who were selected as outfielders for the National League:
- Nick Markakis (3.1 WAR, 135 wRC+)
- Bryce Harper (0.0 WAR, 119 wRC+)
- Matt Kemp (1.5 WAR, 137 wRC+)
- Charlie Blackmon (-0.6 WAR, 114 wRC+)
- Lorenzo Cain (4.5 WAR, 125 wRC+)
- Christian Yelich (2.5 WAR, 121 wRC+)
Two things should be immediately noted: (1) none of these players were their team’s lone representative for the All Star Game; and (2) each one of these players were selected by either fan or player vote.
When looking over this list, immediately Blackmon jumps off the page as undeserving. Harper is probably close to it, but with his track record, the game being played in D.C., and his being elected via the fan vote, you can certainly understand why he was an All Star this year.
What isn’t as understandable is why Brandon Nimmo isn’t an All Star.
At the close of the first half of the season, Nimmo is the National League leader in wRC+ (137) meaning he was the best offensive outfielder in the National League.
His 2.4 WAR puts him above everyone except Cain, Markakis, and Yelich. Although it should be noted if we used fWAR instead of bWAR for the analysis, Nimmo would be ahead of Yelich.
More than that, Nimmo is a player from the largest market in the country who is an eminently marketable player.
Nimmo is a guy who is always hustling, and he does everything with a smile on his face. No matter the score, Nimmo gives an honest effort on the field. It’s a large reason why Mets fans adore him. If he was exposed to a larger audience, other fanbases would get a chance so see him, appreciate him, and adore him as well.
And you know with how lazy national broadcasts are, they would go on and on about Nimmo whenever he entered the game. There would be discussions about how he’s always smiling, he sprints around the bases on a walk or homer faster than most players do on a double, and his pointing to the heavens after a walk. Again, marketing him is easy.
In the end, Nimmo and Mets fans lost out on his being an All Star snub. Mostly, baseball missed out on a guy who is everything that is right about the sport. They missed out on an opportunity to market a guy who has had a smile that has lit up the entire city of New York.
In some ways, the Mets final game before the All Star Break was a microcosm of the entire first half of the season. It started with a lot of promise, and things would quickly unravel from there.
Really, the biggest thing you want to take away from this game is just how good Corey Oswalt pitched. He only needed 59 pitches to get through five innings. In those five innings, he allowed just one earned on two hits while walking none.
In four of his five innings, he got the Nationals to go down 1-2-3. The only issue was the second when Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams led off the inning with back-to-back singles setting the stage for a Michael Taylor RBI ground out. Even with that rally, Oswalt still impressed inducing Matt Wieters to hit into a rally killing and inning ending double play.
Of course, with how well he was pitching, you knew Mickey Callaway was going to be double guessed for lifting him for a pinch hitter in the fifth.
At the time, the score was tied 1-1, and to be fair, the Mets weren’t really setting the world on fire against Jeremy Hellickson.
After Jose Reyes hit a one out double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Amed Rosario had a chance to deliver the go-ahead RBI and not just get the lead but keep Oswalt in the game. He struck out. Dominic Smith, who was given a talking to by Callaway, pinch hit for Oswalt, and he was hit by a pitch.
Unfortunately, Brandon Nimmo, who hasn’t been hitting near as well since he was hit on the hand in Atlanta, couldn’t deliver.
Seth Lugo came out of the pen for a shutdown inning, but after that it was the typical Mets comedy of errors coming out of the bullpen.
The Mets would use Anthony Swarzak, Tim Peterson, and Jerry Blevins in the seventh. None of them were effective. Swarzak was the worst with him walking the two batters he faced before getting pulled. Ultimately, to add insult to injury, it was Daniel Murphy who delivered the go-ahead hit in what would become a five run inning.
In the end, the Mets lost 6-1, and they have not won a series since May. They have the fewest wins in the National League, and they continue to play Reyes everyday while not giving younger players like Jeff McNeil or Smith an opportunity.
Really, this is a bad team whose front office is managing it to the ground.
Game Notes: Blevins escaped the seventh inning jam by picking off a runner. That was his third pick off of the season tying him with Steven Matz for the team lead.
Do you want to get a sense of how this season would have gone if the Mets didn’t suffer all of these injuries? Well, tonight was the night.
After being on the disabled list for seven weeks, Noah Syndergaard return to the mound.
If not for a goofy Tanner Roark triple that rolled up the side wall, it’s likely Syndergaard escapes his five innings without allowing a run.
Still, he would allow just the one run, which is impressive considering both the layoff and the Nationals having the leadoff hitter on against him all five innings, it was quite a performance.
In total, he allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Oh, and he also had an RBI single.
While Syndergaard was trying to get his footing, it was Roark who looked rusty from the get-go.
This was another good game from Rosario who was 2-4 with a run, double, triple, and a stolen base.
Despite the hot start and continued base runners, the Mets would not add a run meaning the Mets bullpen would have to come up with 4.0 innings to protect a three run lead.
The only run that duo would allow was a bomb Matt Adams would hit off of Gsellman in the eighth. Gsellman would shake that off to record the six out save.
For a brief moment, we had a glimpse of how good this Mets team once was and how happy things were like when Nimmo made a diving catch to end the game.
When Todd Frazier landed on the disabled list, one of the justifications proffered for the Mets not calling-up Jeff McNeil was the organization views McNeil as a second baseman, and at the moment, the team still had Asdrubal Cabrera.
In true Mets fashion, their narrative and their actions made this statement and position increasingly absurd. And that’s before you consider Cabrera having an MLB worst -16 DRS at second base.
First and foremost, the Mets actually had Mickey Callaway say Jose Reyes was playing well enough recently to man third until Frazier returns. It shouldn’t shock anyone that since Callaway uttered those words, Reyes is 1-for-17 at the plate.
While Reyes was hitting, sorry not hitting, Cabrera would hyper-extend his elbow requiring him to come out early from one game and not start the next.
Now, this wasn’t an opportunity to call-up McNeil. Not for a game. However, this was a chance to play Dominic Smith. After all, the former first round pick and once first baseman of the future has only started in 16 of the Mets past 28 games.
Think about that for a second, the Mets actually went out of their way to start the soon to be 31 year old den Dekker in center over giving the 23 year old Smith playing time. Naturally, the Mets are now looking to send down Smith while presumably keeping den Dekker up in the majors.
It gets better.
The average age of the Mets bench last night was 26.0 years old, and that includes the 22 year old Rosario and the 23 year old Smith.
Remember, this is a Mets team who his now 17 games under .500. Sure, you can understand the concept of playing Bautista to try to pump up his trade value. However, it is unfathomable to sit both Smith and Rosario to get Reyes and den Dekker into the lineup.
If you think this is all a sick joke and a gross mismanagement of the team, we have yet to reach the best part.
Last night, McNeil, the guy the Mets solely viewed as a second baseman, played third base for Triple-A Las Vegas. On Monday, McNeil was just a second baseman. By Thursday, he was capable of playing third base. It didn’t take the Mets a week before completely upending their own narrative.
This just highlights how completely lost this entire Mets organization is.
The player the Mets view only as a second baseman is playing third base. The man who is supposed to be the first baseman of the future has played way out of position in left field over one-third of the time. Their starting shortstop, a player upon much of the future hangs, is sat because he’s playing too well.
The Mets would have to significantly improve things in order for them to start looking completely inept and confused. Really, this is as bad as it gets. But hey, at least the Wilpons are doing well financially.
This past week, we saw the Mets win games with Wilmer Flores and Jeurys Familia hitting walk-off homers. For Wilmer, it tied him for the most walk-off homers in Mets history. Still not one of those homers was a grand slam.
In fact, in Mets history, there are only eight players to hit a walk-off grand slam. Can you name them? Good luck!
Well, the Mets are terrible, and we are at the point where the Mets are sellers at the trade deadline. Given the composition of their roster, there isn’t much in terms of trade assets unless you start giving away some pretty major pieces. Given the rise of the Braves and Phillies and this awful Mets season, it’s worth asking whether the Mets should burn it all to the ground and start over.
Then again, with Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper being free agents and the Mets starting pitching staff, there is a legitimate question whether the Mets truly need to tear it all down in a rebuild. With that as the pre-text, our Mets Bloggers offered their opinion as to whether any of the Mets players should be absolutely untouchable at the trade deadline:
I don’t think there’s anyone who is untouchable in this scenario. By doing so with sincerity severely handicaps one’s position in the trade market. I think that can be used to posture in an effort to drum up the cost, but in the end, the Mets cannot discount any one single trade scenario they are confronted with. But I also believe if they intend on contending next season, there’s no way they can trade any one starting pitcher. To get this value in free agency would cost 2-4x (if not more) that which they are paying now. That’s not to say Jacob deGrom will repeat his performance, or any one of them will be healthy, but its safe to say that about any starting pitcher. That plus the cost to get equivalent value in years they want to contend would make it foolish to trade from their only strength at this point in time.
No player should be untouchable if there is a team out there willing to give a lot of value in return.
I’m sorry, but I have to flake out and say it’s deGrom AND Noah Syndergaard. I know you said one, but these are two guys that should be built around. And if the Mets spent more money on the fringes of the roster, and on scouting and development, you could rebuild rather quickly. Also, sign players for their baseball ability, not for their clubhouse presence.
Everybody is listenable. That’s the key. The Mets should listen to everybody who asks about anybody — and start conversations as they deem fit. They can decide on who shouldn’t be touched from there.
But, honestly, all things being equal, I don’t want anybody laying a finger on deGrom.
Unless you are a player on an expiring deal, you should be untouchable because this team does not have a front office in place for next season. Seriously, should we trust John Ricco to trade Wilmer Flores or Zack Wheeler let alone deGrom or Syndergaard?
Say good-bye to Jerry Blevins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jeurys Familia. Maybe Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco if anyone will actually give you something in return. After that, unless you are firing Vargas and Jose Reyes into the sun, there’s no other realistic moves to be made . . . at least not by this front office.
As you can see in what has been a depressing season, there is still people putting out quality content about this team. While the Mets really don’t have much to offer at the trade deadline, these writers do. You should take the time to visit their sites.
Every fifth day, Mets fans are treated to a pitching duel. It’s Jacob deGrom against whoever the starting pitcher will be for the other team.
Tonight, that pitcher was Vince Velasquez.
Now, Velasquez occasionally shows some flashes. That said, this is a guy with a 4.69 ERA.
Didn’t matter for a Mets team historically inept at home (.207 home batting average).
Velasquez limited to no runs in two hits in six innings. The Phillies bullpen contributed two more scoreless including Adam Morgan coming on in the bottom of the eighth to get Michael Conforto to ground out to end a mini rally.
On the other side, deGrom was once again completely dominant.
In eight brilliant shut out innings, he allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out seven.
Because the Mets gave him absolutely no run support, he walked away with yet another no decision. It’s criminal.
However, for the second straight deGrom start, the Mets would win on a walk-off homer.
Because baseball is sometimes comical, Robert Gsellman got the win. He now has six wins which is one more than deGrom.
Game Notes: In the third, deGrom popped up a bunt Maikel Franco let drop so he could turn an inning ending double play.