The Mets went into Philadelphia with a chance to make a statement. On the bright side, they made that statement. On the downside, it wasn’t the statement we wanted them to make.
1. This series only further cemented Brodie Van Wagenen as the worst GM in baseball.
3. Remember when Van Wagenen said the Mets had the deepest rotation in baseball? With Jacob deGrom dealing with a neck injury, Porcello and his 5.76 is now the Mets staff ace.
5. Steven Matz had three good enough starts to begin the season before pitching terribly in his last three starts. Fortunately for him, the Mets don’t have other options to replace him in the rotation.
6. It’s easy to point fingers at Jeremy Hefner but even a pitching coach with a magic lamp would still be stuck with two incapable starters.
7. On the topic of Van Wagenen’s incompetence, Wilson Ramos has been beyond terrible this year. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, he completely whiffed on a tag allowing the game winning run to score.
8. Van Wagenen preached accountability and media access when he took the job. The Mets made Ramos unavailable after that lame tag attempt, and the Mets made every player who would rebut their fabricated version of events when Yoenis Cespedes opted out.
9. There’s a lot wrong with the Mets, but Luis Rojas isn’t one of them. The Mets are not losing games because of him. They’re losing because the GM is horrendous.
10. Knowing that and seeing all that has transpired since, everyone owes Mickey Callaway an apology for how he was maligned.
12. Way too much was made of Drew Smith being optioned. The Mets bullpen has depth at the MLB level, and there were legitimate options in Brooklyn.
13. No, Smith didn’t deserve to be optioned as he pitched well, and yes, Brian Dozier had been terrible, but the Mets have nothing in reserve on terms of MLB caliber hitters.
14. Speaking of the Brooklyn site, the Mets added Francisco Alvarez and Matthew Allan which means they can now be traded.
15. We should be afraid they’ll be traded for pennies on the dollar with that being the defining characteristic of Van Wagenen’s tenure.
16. On the bright side, Van Wagenen is getting exposed, and the Wilpons will sell the team without winning a World Series as majority owners.
17. Mets fans deserve better. Hopefully, we’ll get that instead of getting Alex Rodriguez.
18. The St. Louis Cardinals have played eight games. The Miami Marlins are playing catch-up and have only played 15 games. The Cincinnati Reds aren’t playing games. Naturally, MLB’s response is to loosen COVID19 return to play restrictions.
19. Good for the Cleveland Indians for optioning Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger to the alternate site after breaking COVID19 protocols. It’s good to see someone in baseball take this pandemic seriously.
20. It’s the centennial of the Negro Leagues, and MLB did not do nearly enough to honor it. That goes double in a year where COVID19 prevented them from honoring Jackie Robinson. Shame on MLB.
There’s many reasons to pinpoint why the Mets lost this game in excruciating fashion to the Phillies. That’s the way excruciatingly losses go.
There was the Mets going 2-for-16 with RISP leaving 10 runners on base.
There was Billy Hamilton‘s TOOBLAN off all TOOBLANs when he cleanly stole second, took off for third, and was easily thrown out.
Despite all that, it was tied 5-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Seth Lugo, who hadn’t pitched in five days, wasn’t sharp allowing the first two to reach.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) August 15, 2020
What ensued was the absolute worst attempt at a tag. Seriously, Wilson Ramos should be embarrassed, and frankly, he owes his teammates an apology for costing the game. It was that bad.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 15, 2020
You don’t want to accuse someone of not trying. However, you really should question what Ramos was doing there. You should also ask why the apparent lack of a sense of urgency.
While we’re asking questions about the catcher who went 1-for-5 with a GIDP, we also need to ask what should the Mets do with him? Clearly, it seems it’s time for a switch to Tomas Nido. We know the Mets won’t do that, so we’re stuck with the awful play of Ramos.
It’s at that point where it’s overshadowing some truly terrific performances from his teammates.
Dominic Smith was 2-for-4 with a run, walk, homer, and two RBI. He also made a nice play in the field.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 15, 2020
Robson Cano returned from the IL to go 2-for-5 with a run, homer, and two RBI. That includes a two RBI.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 15, 2020
The biggest story right now remains Luis Guillorme. In addition to playing Gold Glove caliber second base, he’s hitting .474. With this being a shortened season, we may be having a Ted Williams discussion at some point.
However, none of this matters as Ramos continues to be terrible. It’s now at the point it’s costing the Mets games. Sooner or later, the Mets are going to be forced into making a decision on him.
One of the most puzzling and overblown aspects of this early season was Pete Alonso struggling. The Mets made the right move for defensive purposes and to allow him to focus on hitting by moving him to DH. The move has proven to be a boon.
We saw that again tonight when he hit a two run homer off of Marlins starter Daniel Castano, who was the second straight Marlins starter to make his MLB debut. Alonso’s homer certainly got out in a hurry:
💥 1️⃣1️⃣6️⃣.9️⃣ 💥 pic.twitter.com/JoVEVyZfZT
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 9, 2020
It was the Mets second two run homer of the game. The first came from Michael Conforto who supposedly can’t hit lefties. Someone just forgot to tell Conforto and MLB pitchers this year:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 8, 2020
Notably, Conforto has reached safely in all 15 games this season. Conforto and Brandon Nimmo remain the only Mets to reach safely in every game they’ve played.
That pair of two run homers gave David Peterson a 4-1 lead. It was another strong performance for the young lefty. He allowed two earned over five on four hits and three walks. He may have only struck out three, but he did flash some filthy stuff.
Oh my goodness David Peterson pic.twitter.com/69yR2v7QHm
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) August 9, 2020
Jeurys Familia continued his Jekyll/Hyde routine of the season struggling tonight. After allowing the first two to reach, he got Francisco Cervelli to hit into the double play he needed. Unfortunately, instead of getting out of the inning, Familia walked the next two to load the bases.
Drew Smith relieved Familia, and he made a good pitch getting Monte Harrison to hit what is normally a routine ground ball. Unfortunately with the shift, it was a two RBI single. This was a situation where the process was right, the pitch was good, but the result was bad. More often than not, if the Mets continue this approach, they’ll win more than they lose.
Smith fell down 3-0 to Jonathan Villar. Fortunately for Smith, it was a horrendous at-bat by Villar from that point forward, and Smith would get the strike out to end the jam.
Nearly a year to the date of his last performance, Robert Gsellman pitched a scoreless seventh striking out two. After Gsellman, Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth. With the Mets up by four runs and it not being a save opportunity, Rojas made the right call limiting Lugo to an inning.
While eventful, Justin Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth. With that, the Mets became the first team to beat the Marlins in two weeks. That’s partially the result of the Marlins COVID19 outbreak. Whatever the case, the last place Mets beat the first place Marlins.
Last night, Travis d’Arnaud was 3-for-4 with five RBI. Three of those five RBI came on an eighth inning double which put the Braves ahead 11-10. This was the same d’Arnaud he rage released last year.
You couldn’t help but notice the same game d’Arnaud won, the .208/.269/.250 hitting Ramos flew out with the tying run on second to end the game.
Case-in-point, Ramos called six outside pitches when Marcell Ozuna was up last week, and on a 3-2 pitch, he called the same pitch Ozuna struck out on the previous day. Short of using a megaphone, Ramos couldn’t have made the pitch type and location any more obvious.
This is normally where we go to Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. On that note, the Mets called up Brian Dozier despite his bit really fully preparing for the season and his not taking part in summer camp.
By hastily starting an ill-prepared Dozier, the Mets have admitted Cano is no more than a platoon player making that trade somehow worse.
On the topic of the platoon, you know who was a really good right-handed platoon option? Wilmer Flores.
However, the Mets non-tendered Flores partially because of a knee condition he never actually had. Instead, they replaced him with Jed Lowrie, a player who actually had a knee injury.
That knee injury is the invented condition of PCL laxity. Even better than the conjured up diagnosis was it taking nearly a year-and-a-half to get a second opinion.
While the Mets are getting nothing from the impending free agent Marisnick, and their bullpen has been struggling Blake Taylor has been terrific out of the Houston Astros bullpen.
The list with Van Wagenen goes on and on. He told us he was replacing Zack Wheeler with Marcus Stroman, who was in the same rotation. He then let Wheeler walk and actually replaced him with Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha while trying to tell us the pitching improved.
Don’t forget his continuously telling us he wasn’t going to fire Carlos Beltran only to fire Beltran before he managed a game.
It’s like Van Wagenen is George Costanza. Every instinct is wrought with failure. The key difference is Costanza was the assistant to the traveling secretary, and Van Wagenen is the GM.
The other difference is Van Wagenen is real. He’s all too real.
With the crazy 2020 schedule, the Mets had a four game two city set with the Boston Red Sox. The road teams had the better of it.
3. With Smith and Luis Guillorme, it’s hard to conclude anything other than the Mets aren’t prioritizing getting them into games. After all, Brian Dozier wasn’t in full game shape and missed Summer Camp, yet he was activated and started the finale.
5. Diaz imploding again, and the Mets essentially admitting Robinson Cano is now a platoon player, that trade somehow got worse.
7. Aside from Rick Porcello, the Mets have gotten good starting pitching. Their offense, while disappointing, has been good. And yet, they’re under .500. Why? Because they’re the worst defensive club in baseball.
8. Much of that is attributable to J.D. Davis, who has been dreadful in left. Much like last year, he’s the worst defensive LF in baseball. It was his defense which led to the game winning rally on Wednesday.
9. The Mets need to go back to the drawing board and re-figure things out. Davis doesn’t belong in left. Amed Rosario is not a lead-off hitter. Your top OBP guy in Brandon Nimmo can’t hit ninth. Jeff McNeil is struggling at third.
11. Don’t discount Drew Smith who has been terrific.
12. Speaking of terrific young Mets pitchers, David Peterson took his velocity and game to another level in his first career start. It this is who he is now, his ceiling is much higher.
13. Despite what delusional Yankees fans will tell you Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball. He now has a 2.23 ERA in no decisions.
14. deGrom should’ve had the win, but that’s nothing new. He needs more run support.
15. The Mets had some very ugly ABs in crucial situations. Michael Conforto had a few of those. Don’t make too much of that as Conforto is a terrific hitter.
16. It’s interesting Dozier was activated but not Juan Lagares when both were very similarly situated. It’s all the more interesting when the Mets activated Ryan Cordell over Lagares when the team needed to replace Marisnick’s defense.
17. Overall, this Mets team should be better. It’s just better situational hitting (which comes and goes) and playing a better defensive lineup, which the Mets refuse to do.
18. You wonder how much longer the Mets can stick with Yoenis Cespedes. At times, he looks lost. Other times, he’s battling in AB and seems very close.
19. Speaking of Cespedes, it seems odd today is July 31 and we’re not awaiting Brodie Van Wagenen making a dumb trade.
20. We may never reach that new trade deadline with the Phillies on the cusp of an outbreak themselves, no one knowing when the Marlins can play again, and with Rob Manfred not taking this pandemic seriously.
Apparently, Christian Vazquez now belongs on this list.
After an impressive first start of the season, Steven Matz was good again tonight. Good, not great, and that was because of Vazquez.
Over his 5.1 innings, Matz allowed three runs on eight hits. All three of those runs came on Vazquez homers.
The first homer came in the top of the second. Matt settled in, and the Mets would get him a lead. In the third, Jeff McNeil hit a bases loaded two RBI single. The Mets only had one out, but failed to push across another run. It would cost them.
In the fourth, Matz had one of his moments of old. Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a slow roller down the third base line. McNeil had little choice but to eat it. Matz was visibility frustrated by getting beat on a slow dribbler off a good pitch.
Like we’ve seen in the past with him, he can let the emotions get the better of him. He’d leave a fastball up and over the middle of the plate, and Vazquez would hit his second homer of the game giving the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
Vazquez really just wore out the Mets in this four game two city set. He was 4-for-12 with three homers and four RBI. All three of his homers came over the last two games.
It wasn’t just his work at the plate. He was also terrific behind the plate. He worked well with Martin Perez. On that note, Perez allowed just two runs on two hits and four walks over 5.1 innings.
Vazquez would also throw out one of the two stolen base attempts against him.
Back to Perez, he was good but very wild walking four. Even with those four walks, the Mets really only got something started in the third against Perez.
Fortunately, the Mets bullpen was great with Drew Smith pitching 1.2 scoreless with two strikeouts. Jeurys Familia has his turbo sinker working striking out two in a 1-2-3 eighth. That gave the Mets a chance.
Michael Conforto came up with a chance, but he had a terrible at-bat. He was uncomfortable with many check swings, and he’d just get overpowered when he struck out. As good as Conforto was to start he year, he’s been that bad the last two games.
Despite not really preparing for the season and missing Summer Camp, the Mets activated Brian Dozier. Not only was he activated, but he’d also be thrust into the starting lineup.
Dozier was 0-for-2 with a GIDP. With the Red Sox pitching the right-handed Heath Hembree, Luis Rojas sent Robinson Cano to the plate. After Cano’s lead-off single, Rojas sent Gimenez in to pinch run for Cano. Gimenez would steal a base, but he’d get stranded.
That meant Gimenez was up in the Dozier/Cano spot in the eighth. Unlike yesterday when he tripled, he rolled over one for the inning ending groundout.
Brandon Workman, who really labored yesterday and nearly blew the save, came on to try to get another save tonight.
Alonso swung at a 2-2 pitch well out of the zone to strike out and end the game. The Mets turned what should’ve been a series sweep with two flat out ugly loses at home, and they fell back under .500.
Game Notes: Dozier replaced Eduardo Nunez, who was placed on the IL. Daniel Zamora was recalled, and Hunter Strickland was designated for assignment. Despite having a 22 game on base streak, Brandon Nimmo continues to bat ninth.