Brandon Nimmo

Despite Or Because Of Mickey, Mets Win

In tonight’s game, you got to see reasons why the Mets should and should not fire Mickey Callaway.

For starters, there’s Zack Wheeler, who has been a different pitcher working with Callaway and Dave Eiland. While he’s had his struggles against the Nationals this year, he came to pitch tonight.

Over his first six innings, he allowed just two hits with one of those being a second inning Juan Soto solo homer. Entering the seventh, the score was tied 1-1 partially thanks to a Jeff McNeil fifth inning RBI single. With Wheeler at 99 pitches, you expected Callaway to pull Wheeler.

However, with Wheeler dominating and the Mets in a stretch of 14 straight games without an off day, Callaway pushed him. When Wheeler struck out Soto, you got a sense it was the right move. It probably still was even with Gerardo Parra hitting a single and Brian Dozier getting his first hit off a Mets pitcher this year. Unfortunately, that was a two run home run giving the Nationals a 3-1 lead.

While you may question sending Wheeler out for the top of the seventh, you have to give Callaway credit for utilizing his bench to take the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Wilson Ramos led off the inning with a single off Wander Suero, who was in his second inning of work. After Carlos Gomez struck out, Callaway sent up a pair of pinch hitters for Juan Lagares and Wheeler.

Dominic Smith walked putting the tying run on base. Then, J.D. Davis came up for Wheeler. Apparently, the Nationals are the only team who doesn’t have a scouting report on him because with two strikes against him, Suero didn’t throw a fastball to him. Nope, he hung a curveball, and Davis hit it off the top of the right field wall and out for a go-ahead three run homer:

The Mets had a lead with an opportunity to win their first game when trailing in the seventh. For some reason, Callaway went to Jeurys Familia despite his pitching 1.1 innings yesterday and struggling in that second inning, and that’s nothing to say of his coming off the IL recently.

Familia didn’t have it. Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff single, and he scored on a Trea Turner RBI double. Kendrick was able to score there partially because Davis, who is not a left fielder, couldn’t handle a ball hit to the corner.

Callaway went to Daniel Zamora to get Soto and Parra out. Soto jumped all over the first pitch hitting a go-ahead RBI double. After Zamora retired Parra, Tyler Bashlor came in and got Victor Robles out. Certainly, with how good Bashlor has been of late and with Familia going more than an inning yesterday, Callaway looked bad when Bashlor got that huge out.

We’d soon forget that as Callaway’s team played hard for him. That started with Pete Alonso, a player vocal in his support of Callaway, hit a mammoth homer in the eighth, tying the game:

Seriously, no one could quite tell if that was fair or foul. What we do know was that was Tommie Agee-esque, and it’s a new Mets rookie record for most first half homers.

With that homer and Edwin Diaz pitching a scoreless ninth, the Mets had a chance at a walk-off win.

Even with Tanner Rainey allowing that blast to Alonso, the Nationals stuck with him for the ninth. After striking out Gomez, he walked Adeiny Hechavarria and Davis back-to-back.

Kyle Barraclough came in and got deep into McNeil’s kitchen. McNeil hit a bloop toward second. Dozier got cut waiting on it. This led to getting Davis out at second easily, but Hechavarria and McNeil were easily safe. This put the game in Amed Rosario‘s hands . . . and feet.

Rosario hit a high chopper to short. Turner had to back up on it, and just as he was about to throw, McNeil jumped in his line. Maybe it made a difference, and maybe it didn’t. Whatever the case, the throw was a tad high, and with Rosario absolutely busting it down the line, he was safe by a half step, and the Mets won the game 6-5.

A week ago, the Mets lose this game. However, a team playing for a manager they apparently seem to like and respect, they pulled this one out. Even with a couple of questionable moves, maybe Callaway is the right guy for the job. He was at least for tonight.

Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo was a late scratch from the lineup with a neck injury.

If Mets Fire Mickey Callaway, Luis Rojas Should Be His Replacement

When Jim Riggleman was hired as the bench coach this past offseason, the running joke was the Mets hired their interim manager. With the Mets faltering, Mickey Callaway‘s seat grows hotter by the day, and it would appear this is less of a joke than it is becoming a reality. Or is it?

According to Mike Puma of the NY Post, in the event Callaway was fired, the organization would consider hiring Luis Rojas as they view him “as a rising star.”

Not only is Rojas a rising star, baseball runs through his veins. From the moment he was born, baseball encapsulated his entire life. This is the way things are when you grow up in country like the Dominican Republic. It’s also that way when your father is famed player and manager Felipe Alou, and your brother is Moises Alou. Taking a look at the bloodlines, you could almost see being a Major League manager as Rojas’ destiny.

For his part, Rojas believed this upbringing has influenced not just his career choice but also his views. Rojas would tell Anthony Dicomo of MLB.com, “Growing up in that environment was very impactful, very influential in my baseball growth. Just being born in a baseball atmosphere, right away opening my eyes on baseball from the beginning of my understanding was just really helpful. Right away, I wanted to follow my brothers’ steps. I wanted to follow the family’s steps.”

Obviously, Rojas was never the baseball player he brother was. From 1999 – 2005, he was a part of the Orioles, Marlins, and eventually Expos farm systems. He’d play 37 games for the Expos Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2004 hitting .240/.315/.352. Two years later, Rojas would begin his managerial career for the Expos Dominican Summer League team.

After that one season, the Mets jumped on Rojas, and they made him their DSL Manager for one season. The team then brought him stateside to serve as a coach for two years in the Gulf Coast League. Finally, in 2011, at the age of 29, Rojas would be named the manager of that same affiliate. From that point until this year, Rojas has been a manager in the Mets farm system.

During his time as a manager in the Mets system, he has managed a number of Mets prospects including current Mets Pete Alonso, Tyler Bashlor, Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Drew Gagnon, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, and Daniel Zamora. Put another way, Rojas has helped develop the current Mets core become not just Major League players, but in some instances, All-Star caliber players.

He’s certainly left an impression on each of these players. When hired, Alonso shared a story about Rojas’ enthusiasm for his players saying, “He was jumping up and down, arms waving in the air. I honestly think Luis was happier than [Nick Sergakis].”

But it’s more than enthusiasm and relationships, Rojas can coach. It’s one of the reasons why the Mets see him as a rising star and why they were so enthusiastic to name him the team’s first ever quality control coach. In addition to those duties, he is also the team’s outfield coach.

We are seeing his impact as an outfield coach right now. Entering this season, McNeil had played all of 26.1 innings in left field over a six year span. It was up to Rojas to get McNeil up to speed. As he explained, Rojas’ plan was to begin “with the basics: pre-pitch, stance, route, reads off the bat and we progress into other things that we are taking here into camp and then some of the drills that we bring in with some of the outfielders.” (NY Post).

With Rojas coaching McNeil, McNeil has quickly become good in the outfield with a 2 DRS, which is sixth best in the league. It’s also important to note when Conforto was drafted, the knock on him was his defense. He worked with Rojas on his defense, and he has been really good out there. Now that he’s reunited with Rojas, Conforto has a 3 DRS which is good for sixth best in the majors.Credit is due to the players, but they got to that point because they are working with an excellent coach.

Rojas is not just a coach who is able to connect with this players, he is also comfortable not just with analyzing advanced data, but also putting it in terms which are useful to the players. As noted by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, it is Rojas’ responsibility to streamline the data to the players.

While comparisons of this nature tend to be unfairly lofty, in some ways Rojas does remind you of Alex Cora. Rojas has shown the ability to understand not just the fundamental aspects of the game, but he is also well versed and comfortable handling analytical data. He is an excellent communicator and coach. He loves the game, and he loves his players.

Whenever the time comes, Rojas should prove to be a good manager for the Mets. He is everything an organization and its players want in a manager. Being the communicator he is, he should also be able to handle the press well. Hopefully, another team doesn’t realize what the Mets have in Rojas and grab him before the time the Mets have a chance to elevate him into the manager’s role he was destined to be seemingly since the day he was born.

 

deGrom Stumbles And Callaway Fumbles

You know things are going south fast with the Mets when Jacob deGrom gets battered by the Marlins. In five innings, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits.

Sure, deGrom was abandoned by his defense. Misplays by the team’s two best defensive players, Juan Lagares and Todd Frazier, led to runs. Carlos Gomez threw a ball away allowing a run to score and move a runner into scoring position. However, it wasn’t either one of them who allowed a Jorge Alfaro bomb.

Paul Sewald, who was called up today, would eat up two innings to help save the bullpen. When he left the game, it seemed like the team was just going through the motions.

Up until the seventh, the Mets only run was a Pete Alonso second inning solo shot. A J.D. Davis two run shot in the seventh pulled the Mets to within 7-3, and things began to get interesting.

Brandon Nimmo singled, and Amed Rosario walked in front of Robinson Cano. Instead of delivering the key hit, he’d ground into an inning ending 1-6-3 double play. Although he’s done it his whole career, he certainly chose an awkward spot to not even bother running it out.

For what it’s worth, Cano said the scoreboard said there were two outs.

Still, the Mets had another rally in them even after Sewald allowed a run in the bottom of the seventh.

For some reason, Don Mattingly thought it was a good idea to bring in Adam Conley to start an inning which Alonso was leading off. Alonso made Mattingly pay by hitting a homer which sparked, not killed, rally.

The Mets would load the bases with no outs, and Mattingly brought in Sergio Romo to get the six out save.

The decision briefly looked like it’d haunt Mattingly when Lagares hit an RBI single. However, the rally stifled from there. After a Davis pop out, Nimmo hit a sacrifice fly. That’s when Mickey Callaway made a game altering decision.

Amed Rosario, who has been one of the Mets better hitters of late, was due up. Romo was a tough matchup for him, and you could understand the inclination to hit for him, especially when the guy you’re bringing in was Jeff McNeil. However, that overlooks McNeil not only left yesterday’s game with an abdominal injury, but he also wouldn’t start tonight because of it.

McNeil didn’t look quite like McNeil striking out against Romo. As bad as that was, things would get worse in the ninth.

After two quick outs, Wilson Ramos hit a double to keep the Mets hopes alive. Because of Callaway’s decision in the eighth, that meant the game was Adeiny Hechavarria‘s hands. He predictably struck out and the Mets lost 8-6.

There was plenty of blame to go around. The defense abandoned deGrom, who didn’t pitch well. Cano didn’t run it out and/or didn’t know how many outs there were. Callaway set a series of dominos into effect which led to Hechavarria striking out to end the game.

This is what a bad baseball team looks like.

Game Notes: Michael Conforto was placed on the seven day concussion IL. Keon Broxton was designated for assignment to make room for Gomez on the roster. Gomez is wearing 91. Frazier was 2-for-3 with a walk and a triple.

Syndergaard And Ramos Get The Win

Before the game, Mickey Callaway introduced us to the concept of catcher wins. While Mets fans and the collective baseball world rolled their eyes, Wilson Ramos would have his manager’s back.

Robinson Cano hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play in the first. Except it wasn’t because Gerardo Parra, who was playing out of position, dropped the ball and probably pulled his foot off the bag as well. The Mets would make the Nationals pay for the play (which is technically not an error), when Ramos hit a grand slam off Jeremy Hellickson:

That was more than enough run support for Noah Syndergaard who pitched well in Nationals Park for the first time in his career. That’s putting it lightly.

Syndergaard had a no-hitter through five off just 59 pitches. He’d sit on the bench for a lengthy sixth inning, one which featured a Brandon Nimmo RBI double off the left-handed Matt Grace, the Nationals would finally get to Syndergaard.

First, it was a Wilmer Difo leadoff single. Later, with two outs in the inning, Victor Robles hit a two run homer. Even with the homer, the Mets were up 5-2, and Syndergaard was in control.

Overall, Syndergaard pitched eight innings allowing two earned on four hits and one walk while striking out six.

The Mets would get an insurance run in the ninth when Dominic Smith hit a 3-0 pitch from Joe Ross out to dead center. It should be noted with the homer, it was no longer a save situation, and as we know there is the Diaz Dictate.

This meant Callaway would dry hump Edwin Diaz, and he would bring in Seth Lugo to pitch the ninth. Callaway made that decision despite Diaz being ready to go, and Wilmer Font likely giving the team a short start tomorrow. Hopefully, that won’t matter as Ramos looks to win his second in a row. If he does, the Mets will be back over .500.

Game Notes: Jed Lowrie has been shut down again, this time with a grade one hamstring strain, and he currently has no timetable for his return.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Should Callaway Be On The Hot Seat

When a team disappoints, the manager will be on the hot seat. So far this year, the Mets are one game under .500, the organization had a meeting to discuss what was wrong with Mickey Callaway and to see if there are things the team can do to prevent a repeat of what happened last year. Considering how the team traded away all those prospects in a clear win-now move, it does not seem Callaway is going to stand on firm footing.

The question is whether Callaway should be on the hot seat. The Mets Bloggers offer their views:

Michael Baron

There’s no question about it. I never like to blame the roster or it’s issues on the manager, but the fact remains they have under-performed to this point in the season. The schedule has been rough, but that’s not an excuse for good teams. And the decision making in the dugout continues to be perplexing at its best, which only exacerbates the problems they have. I think there could be action taken if the Mets don’t come through what should be a lighter 16 games heading into Memorial Day over .500.

Tim Ryder (MMO)

Unfortunately, yes, I think he should be. His players appear to enjoy playing for him. But if the results aren’t there, despite his players’ support, he’s gonna have a hard time sticking around.

Joe Maracic (Joe Art Studio)

I never want to see someone lose their job but Mickey should be on the hot seat. Back to back seasons of starting strong then fading is not a good sign. He was a pitching coach and has been anything but creative handling the staff.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Should he be? Yes, this team was built to get off to a fast start and should have, despite the injuries. I like Mickey, seems to be a good man who the players seem to like. But that sounds like how people described Terry Collins for the majority of his tenure. Will he be? Hard to tell. Brodie didn’t hire him, and Jeff Wilpon is reactive, so if the team starts creeping toward being 10 games under, a change will be made.

Here’s the rub for me; the heir apparent is Jim Riggleman, who is the living embodiment of a retread. Not much winning in his background, but a get along, go along persona that will fit right in with an organization that thinks scripting the lineup is the way to run the day-to-day. Think a more assertive, more veteran type of skipper is needed in New York, esp a team that has a perception of not being “all in” financially. A guy who can get more out of players, a guy who has the confidence to walk into his office, see a lineup on his desk, and choose to write up his own if he feels it will be a better one.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

He will be, but he shouldn’t be. I think he should get the season and I think that’s probably going to be it for him. But this team started struggling when it stopped hitting. The players that stopped hitting were Brodie’s acquisitions. They may come out of it and when they do, everything will be fine again. Callaway hasn’t been the best, but we’re living in an age where front offices are taking more of a role in how a manager does his job and makes more decisions than ever. More of what makes a manager successful these days is having a good bench coach. So a manager does less and less, right? Then why now, when we look at fall guys, do we still look at the manager? And if Callaway goes, who replaces him long term, assuming Riggleman is the interim for the season? Is it going to be Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter or Wally Backman? Can you picture the Wilpons hiring a strong personality like that? Okay, so Callaway’s long term replacement is probably going to be somebody else just like Callaway. So my quesion is: what’s the point? Fire Callaway if you want. It won’t do much. This is the way we’re going in baseball now. GMs and team presidents are the stars of the show now. The only question is how long are they going to get away with using managers as scapegoats before people pull back the curtain and realize that front offices have most of the responsibility these days anyway?

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

The hot seat is a terrible concept, but Mickey Callaway hasn’t been much of a manager.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

To me, it seems like too many fans judge managers mostly based on whether or not they look like Lou Brown from “Major League.” I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “Mickey has no fire” or “this team isn’t hungry enough,” or things like that, but I think the simple truth is that we hit a bunch of offensive skids (Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, Jeff McNeil to an extent, Todd Frazier, J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo) and not many teams could overcome that. To me, the manager barely matters at all, and in terms of actual managing, I’d say Mickey has been pretty much solid so far. If there was someone else who could make the team better, I’d say sure, go out and get them — but I don’t think the manager is where our problems are coming from right now, and our problem certainly isn’t some ridiculous 1950s-style intangible, like “not wanting it more,” that could be fixed if we just brought in a guy with a beer gut and a mustache who cursed a lot.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Lou Brown was an analytics pioneer. Knew exactly how many wins the Tribe would need to take the division.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

Oh, believe me…the moment the Mets call the California Penal League and sign a big arm with no control who doesn’t realize he needs glasses, Lou Brown is the guy you want.

Until then, though…

Mets Daddy

There are many and varied valid criticisms of Callaway. Personally, I find his willingness to just burn pinch hitters late in game to be a bizarre move, especially when the front office routinely gives him short benches. But when you look at it, this is the team the front office gave him.

There’s no amount of managing Callaway can do to make Cano younger, or to make players who are playing through injuries, like Nimmo, play better. Also, when a team buys into Chili Davis‘ offensive approach like the Mets seemingly have so far, you begin to realize this is more a problem of design than execution.

When looking at Callaway, you do see a team continuing to play hard, and you do see the team pitching well. These are two areas which could be attributable to Callaway. You also see a manager handling the bullpen much better than he did last year. Taking a long term view, the real strength of this team is the pitching, and it has been Callaway and Dave Eiland who has taken them to the next level.

What the Mets need to do before even considering putting Callaway on the hot seat for the inherent flaws in this roster, is they need to figure out who they can hire to keep Eiland around even if they fire Callaway. Short of Girardi, is there really anyone? Of course, the next step is to figure out why Girardi would make this team his last stop or how exactly the Mets plan to pay him.

No matter what the Mets decide with Callaway, this great group of fans and bloggers aren’t going anywhere. You should do yourself a favor and follow the links to their sites to read their great analysis of Callaway and all things Mets.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Feast on Marlins

Nothing like the league worst Marlins to come into town to help the Mets offense get rolling:

1. Michael Conforto, not Derek Jeter, owns the Marlins. He proved that by going 5-for-6 with four runs, two walks, a HBP, two homers, and three RBI in the two game set.

2. For all the (deserved) talk of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, Conforto has been their best player. His 2.0 WAR is sixth in the league.

3. Batting Conforto fifth is plain stupid and reactionary, especially when he’s their best hitter. Same goes to batting Brandon Nimmo sixth.

4. Alonso’s numbers look good due to his first 12 games. Since that time, he’s batting .222/.316/.444. He’s increasingly becoming an all or nothing hitter, albeit one with the propensity for the big hit.

5. Nice to see the Mets wait too long before putting Steven Matz on the IL. It’s like for all of Brodie Van Wagenen’s boasting about things being different, nothing has changed with him in charge.

6. So, Jed Lowrie has gone from being activated on Friday to sitting out two out of the last four games, and the Mets having no timetable for his return.

7. Say what you want about Jason Bay, but at least he played for the Mets.

8. The Mets giving Mickey Callaway no information on Lowrie and then having him be the one answer questions about his status once again shows nothing has changed under Van Wagenen.

9. Mets determined Justin Wilson didn’t need a rehab stint, and now, after one appearance after coming off the IL, he’s going back on with the same injury.

10. Seeing how well things worked with Wilson, the Mets are using the same plan of action with Jeurys Familia.

11. You have to admire Van Wagenen’s refusal to learn and adapt on the job.

12. Injuries create opportunities, and we have seen Tyler Bashlor, Drew Gagnon, and Daniel Zamora take advantage of their opportunity thus far.

13. With Jacob deGrom having three straight good starts after coming off the IL, can we forever have fans stop clamoring for Devin Mesoraco?

14. If Tomas Nido starts hitting that’s a game changer. Over his last three, Nido 4-for-11 with a homer.

15. While it was overlooked, Nido had LASIK surgery in the offseason. It may take time to adjust, but if he’s seeing the ball better, he may begin to hit better.

16. One underrated thing Callaway did Saturday was running out Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares for late inning defense. With Conforto in RF, that’s a great defensive lineup.

17. Amed Rosario went from a below average hitter over the first month to a 111 wRC+ so far in May. Seeing his offense progress this way, maybe there’s still hope for his glove to catch up.

18. Keon Broxton has been worse than terrible, and Carlos Gomez has been hot in Syracuse. That doesn’t erase the past few years, and Broxton should get a longer rope considering he’s out of options, has actually been a successful bench player, and has arguably been a better player over the past few years.

19. Mets going a perfect 5-for-5 for the Marlins is no small feat. It’s exactly what they need to do, and destroying bad teams is exactly how the 2015 Mets won the division.

20. Whoever came up with the new backpack policy is an idiot, and the Mets deserve to have decreased attendance for having implemented it.

Mets Finally Give deGrom Run Support

While we all expect Jacob deGrom to receive little to no run support in his starts, this was the Marlins. When push comes to shove, you’d expect the Mets to give deGrom the run support he needed to get the win.

When opposing pitcher Sandy Alcantara doubled home a run in the third, you figured it would be the only run the Marlins got off deGrom. You’d be right too as deGrom allowed just one run over seven innings off five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

The Mets finally broke through in the fourth when Michael Conforto singled home Robinson Cano. Still, entering the sixth, it was tied at one, and aside from that fourth inning, the Mets did little against Alcantara.

Then, Pete Alonso and Conforto would make sure deGrom would get his win:

https://twitter.com/mets/status/1127380015417524225?s=21

With respect to Conforto, the Marlins cannot get him out. After his going 3-for-3 yesterday with a HBP, walk, and homer yesterday, he was 2-for-3 with a walk and a homer tonight. Perhaps, he should be hitting higher than fifth, especially when you consider he’s probably the best hitter on the team.

Even with the two homers, Don Mattingly didn’t pull Alcantara. The Mets and deGrom would make him pay. After a Brandon Nimmo two our walk, Tomas Nido and deGrom hit back-to-back singles giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.

In the eighth, Mickey Callaway had some fun. He double switched Seth Lugo into the game putting him in a position to go two innings. He’d line up his defense as well with Dominic Smith, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares coming into the game. With the way Lugo pitched, it proved to be a superfluous move.

Even with the flexibility to go two innings with Lugo, with the Mets not adding an insurance run in the eighth, Callaway gave the ball to Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Diaz got the first two outs quickly, but after Diaz issued a walk to Jorge Alfaro, Harold Ramirez hit an infield single bringing Jon Berti up as the tying run. He’d line out to Conforto to end the game, and suddenly, the Mets are in position to not just go for the sweep tomorrow but also get back to .500.

Game Notes: Before the game, Justin Wilson was put on the IL with elbow soreness, and Eric Hanhold was called up to take his spot in the bullpen. This is Wilson’s second IL stint due to his elbow.

Mets Drown Marlins

Long story, short, the Mets first eight batters reached base safely off Pablo Lopez of the Marlins. The big blast was from Amed Rosario who hit an opposite field grand slam:

By the time the first inning was over, it was 8-0 Mets, which essentially meant it was game over. Really, the Mets abused Lopez. The young pitcher allowed 10 earned over two innings.

Aside from Rosario’s blast, Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano hit first inning RBI singles, and Brandon Nimmo walked to force home a run. In the second, Michael Conforto hit a homer making it 9-0.

Conforto snapped an 0-for-12 streak heading into the game. He would not make an out going 3-for-3 with a walk, HBP, three runs, and the aforementioned homer.

Later in the game, Jeff McNeil hit a homer of his own, and Nimmo had an RBI single giving the Mets an 11-2 lead.

What was noteworthy about one of the Marlins two runs was Neil Walker drove home Curtis Granderson home in the second. It was certainly an off sight to see for Mets fans.

That rally was the only time the Marlins got to Zack Wheeler. He’d go seven allowing just two runs on nine hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts.

Every Mets starter, including Wheeler, reached base safely. Pete Alonso was the only Mets starter without a hit, and he’d still walk twice and score a run.

Overall, a Mets team scuffling and incapable of scoring runs got real healthy against a terrible Marlins team. This is what the Mets are going to have to continue to do to not just get to .500, but also make headway in the division.

Game Notes: This was the first time since 1989 the Mets first eight batters reached in a game. Dominic Smith was called up to replace Steven Matz, who was placed on the IL.

Mets Biggest Problem Is Chili Davis, Not Mickey Callaway

So far this season, the New York Mets have disappointed. When a team disappoints to this level, people begin to look for scapegoats, and almost always that is the manager. With the Mets, Mickey Callaway is a ripe target as he had a disappointing 2018 season with some real issues like having Jay Bruce bat out of order. The Mets start this season has done little to instill confidence he’s progressing.

The question is whether he is the biggest issue. Arguably, he isn’t. It’s the offense.

So far this season, the Mets rank 21st in the Majors in runs scored putting them squarely in the bottom third of the league. This is a component in their having been outscored by 27 runs so far this year. For comparison’s sake the Mets pitching staff have allowed the fifth fewest runs allowed.

With the offense, there are a number of problems. Wilson Ramos hasn’t hit at all, and he has a career and Major League worst ground ball rate. Todd Frazier hasn’t hit either, and it should come as no surprise he also has a career worst ground ball rate. Robinson Cano is struggling, and he currently has a career worst strike out rate. The list goes on and on including Brandon Nimmo and Keon Broxton.

When you break it all down, the peripheral numbers are terrible. The Mets have third worst ground ball and GB/FB rates in the majors. As a team, they’ve accumulated the fourth most strikeouts in the Majors. The team is in the bottom third in the Majors in HR/FB, hard hit percentage, and homers. For all the preaching about situational hitting, their five sacrifice flies are the third fewest in the Majors.

In total, the team’s 98 wRC+ puts them in the bottom half of the league. Put another way, this is exactly what a Chili Davis‘ offense looks like, and it is why the Mets are Davis’ third job in as many years. Overall, while his uniform has changed, he hasn’t:

Team GB% GB/FB HR/FB K% wRC+
2019 Mets 46.5% 1.41 12.8% 25.4% 98
2018 Cubs 46.0% 1.41 10.4% 21.8% 100
2015-2017 Red Sox 45.6% 1.34 11.7% 18.7% 101

At the end of last season, Cubs President of Baseball Operations said, “Something happened to our offense in the second half,. We stopped walking, we stopped hitting home runs, we stopped hitting the ball in the air, and we stopped being productive. Not being able to get to two runs that many times in the second half is really unacceptable.” (MLB.com).

After the 2017 season, Red Sox Owner John Henry said, “I think we would’ve had significant power last year if we had a different approach.” (Mass Live). He would add, “I didn’t think we were nearly aggressive enough and I think our approach was lacking for a good part of the season.”

Ultimately, when you look at the numbers and what the Cubs and Red Sox had to say, the Mets should not be surprised with their offensive output this season. Looking at the numbers, the Mets are getting exactly what they should have expected when they hired Chili Davis.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Show Signs Of Life In San Diego

The Mets went out to San Diego already under .500 and incapable of scoring runs. At least for one day, they figured things out, and suddenly things don’t look so bad:

  1. The Mets schedule so far this year has been idiotic including the team having a two city road trip to Milwaukee and San Diego. Someone should get the person in charge of making the schedules a map of the United States.
  2. If Chris Paddack was a Met, the fans would love this. In fact, they did when it was Matt Harvey before he had the audacity of getting injured.
  3. If Pete Alonso is going to hit homers and celebrate on the field, he is going to make himself a target for other teams. This was a good test for him. While he failed the first part striking out twice, popping out, and whining, he responded the perfect way by hitting the go-ahead homer and having a great bat flip.
  4. Aside from needing to respond to the challenge, he needed a good game because he went into that game hitting .184/.241/.347 over his previous 13 games.
  5. It wasn’t just Alonso who got off the snide, Brandon Nimmo snapped an 0-for-28 streak which was one off Eric Campbell‘s Mets hitless record. Instead of struggling, he’s Nimmo again with him going 2-for-6 with two doubles and three walks over his last two games.
  6. At least Robinson Cano was good for a day, but the Mets needs more than just the sporadic outburst from him.
  7. No one should fault the Mets for rejiggering the lineup to try to get things going, and with the way Amed Rosario has been hitting, it was smart putting him in the second spot in the lineup. However, this is a patch and not a fix, and when Jed Lowrie is finally activated, it is time to move him back down the lineup.
  8. Once Lowrie is activated, Todd Frazier has to go to the bench. While his defense has been great, his bat has been that bad.
  9. There is way too much hand-wringing over Keon Broxton, J.D. Davis, and Adeiny Hechavarria. They’re not that good, and no one should be that worried with them being designated for assignment or headed to Triple-A. Instead, they should be worried about what makes up the best composition of the bench and how it complements the roster.
  10. Indications are if Davis goes to Triple-A, he will work on the outfield. It’s bizarre the Mets would do that with him while simultaneously not even allowing Dominic Smith to work out there.
  11. Speaking of Smith, the Mets really could have used a left-handed bat off the bench during this road trip.
  12. It’s not just Frazier who has been bad. It’s the majority of the lineup. While you may expect this to be a blip, this may be Chili Davis‘ influence as his other teams have done the same exact thing.
  13. Wilson Ramos has a career worst ground ball rate, and there aren’t really signs of him turning things around right now.
  14. Tomas Nido had offseason LASIK surgery. If his hitting is that much improved, given how well he plays defensively, the Mets are going to need to find him more playing time, especially given Ramos’ struggles.
  15. The heart says Jeff McNeil looks like an MVP candidate, but the mind sees a staggering .400 BABIP with a low walk rate and wonders when exactly the regression is going to come.
  16. Brodie Van Wagenen built a team with zero starting pitching depth, and he was forced to trade for Wilmer Font to start a game despite Font not actually being a starting pitcher. It is beyond amusing the Mets had to go to Chaim Bloom to bail them out for the actions of the General Manager who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.
  17. After a rough start, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have been terrific, and they are giving the Mets every opportunity to win these games.
  18. Michael Conforto going in an 0-for-12 streak where he is still drawing walks and getting on base is a testament to how great a player he is becoming.
  19. More than anyone Conforto gets screwed on balls outside of the strike zone. That’s not just guessing or fan overreaction either, it’s fact.
  20. Mets fans need to stop over-criticizing Mickey Callaway. Who cares if he didn’t throw a tantrum after that bogus third strike call? The team still rallied after it, so it’s quite possible he has the pulse of this team. After all, Callaway did have the team playing hard last year.