Buck Showalter

Mets Lose Game But More Importantly Marte And Alonso

The New York Mets are going to lose games, and they are especially going to lose games where the starting pitcher is great. That was the case with Yu Darvish, who had no-hit stuff. Mark Canha got a hit in the sixth, and it was one of two total from the Mets, so there’s that.

Really, at the end of the day, no one should care about losing this game. It’s going to happen. It will happen many times this season. That said, there was something very troubling during that game.

Both Starling Marte and Pete Alonso left the game with injury.

Marte seemed to injure his leg on a stolen base attempt. First, he was thrown out, and then after he tried to give it a go, he was out of the game. Later in the game, Alonso was hit on the hand with a pitch, and he had trouble with his grip

Both had imaging, and the early results were negative. While initial good news, we have seen through the years how quads and hand injuries can linger. That is even if subsequent MRIs prove to be negative.

Now, we can argue the Mets could handle the absence of either for a prolonged period of time. After all, the Mets are in first place without Jacob deGrom throwing a pitch, and they are 13-6 (.684) with both deGrom and Scherzer out of the rotation. Keep in mind, Tylor Megill was also out of the rotation.

Certainly, the Mets could navigate losing Marte even with how good he has been. Jeff McNeil can shift to left with Canha going to right. Of course, this is dependent on Luis Guillorme playing like an everyday player, which he has even with his latest slump. The Mets also have the option of playing Nick Plummer everyday in right, which he has showed he may be capable of doing right now.

With Alonso is where things get dicey. You could shift Canha to first with McNeil and Plummer in the outfield, but Canha isn’t ready to play first everyday. As noted by Buck Showalter, J.D. Davis neither has the footwork nor the instincts, but he sure has the arm. Considering that was the Mets failed talking point about Davis playing left and third, that’s an indication Davis can’t handle the position long term.

In many times, that means the balance of the season could rest with Dominic Smith.

On the bright side, Smith has responded well to the demotion going 4-for-14 with a double, homer, and three RBI over three games. If he can carry that forward, the Mets are not going to miss a beat. There are a few caveats there.

First and foremost, the Mets have to want to bring him back up to take over at first. The team really hasn’t shown a willingness to do that even when Smith had his good moments this season. They seem more comfortable giving Davis a run because we are all pretending his hot streak of hitting .286/.360/.381 over seven games means he can justify playing first or DH.

The other caveat here is Smith has to do it. He just hasn’t this year. For him, it is very possible the Mets are going to desperately need him to do it now. In reality, Smith desperately needs to as well because if he doesn’t, it just may mean the end of his Mets career.

So, in the end, this 7-0 loss went from bad loss to existential crisis. We’ll see if this moves to panic as the MRI results come back.

Eduardo Escobar Cycles Mets To Victory

If you were an analyst or New York Mets fan who thought the team had something to prove on this west coast trip, you have to find yourself feeling awful silly. After all, they split with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now they took the opener of the series against the San Diego Padres.

That’s not to say everything was perfect for the Mets. They had some short starts, and their bullpen has been getting taxed as a result. That means they desperately needed length from Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco would deliver.

Arguably, it was the best performance by Carrasco as a member of the Mets. He pitched 7.0 innings, which was the second most innings he’s thrown in a start, and he struck out a season high 10 batters. He did that while getting the key outs he needed in the big spots.

Entering the bottom of the third, the Mets were up 3-0 largely because Blake Snell could not find the strike zone early on. After Starling Marte stole second with two outs, Snell would walk three consecutive to force in a run, then Eduardo Escobar hit a two RBI single giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. It was not the last time we would hear from him.

As alluded to above, Carrasco got into trouble in the third. It started with a Jorge Alfaro lead-off double past a non-moving J.D. Davis, who got the surprise start at first. Alfaro scored on a Jurickson Profar RBI single. On the play, Mark Canha didn’t come close to getting Alfaro. Tomas Nido read it perfectly, and he came up firing to first to pick off Profar. With that, the rally was stymied to just one run.

The Mets began tacking on runs from there.

In the fourth, Escobar continued his hot hitting with a lead-off single, and he would eventually score on a Brandon Nimmo RBI single. In the fifth, Alonso reached on a Manny Machado error, and he moved to third on a Canha two out double before scoring on a sacrifice fly.

To their credit, the Padres just didn’t go away. In the seventh, Nomar Mazara hit a two out double scoring Ha-Seong Kim from first. Carrasco got out of the inning and ended his night by striking Alfaro.

The Mets would extend their lead in the eighth. Again, it was courtesy of Escobar, who would hit a two run homer to extend the Mets lead to 7-2:

As noted, the Padres wouldn’t go away. In the bottom of the eighth, they went to work against Joely Rodriguez. If you wanted, you could question Buck Showalter going to him, but with a five run lead and a depleted bullpen, you go to Rodriguez in these spots. He allowed two on with one out before Showalter went to Drew Smith.

Smith would get Machado, but he would get tagged by Luke Voit for a three run homer. Suddenly, a 7-2 impending blowout was now a game in question. Well, it wouldn’t be for long.

You see while the Padres refused to go away, the Mets refused to keep this game close.

In his second inning of work, the Mets would rock Craig Stammen beginning with an opposite field one out single by Pete Alonso. After Canha singled, the Padres brought in Tim Hill. Hill would easily dispatch of Davis, but Escobar got a hold of one. Escobar didn’t hit it out of the park, but he would hit that deep right foot wall.

After it ricocheted off the wall, he would himself with a two out two RBI double. More than that, it was the triple he needed for the cycle. It was the first since Scott Hairston in 2012 and the 11th in team history.

The Mets weren’t actually done scoring. Jeff McNeil would double home Escobar. That would set the stage for Tomas Nido who is a monster with two outs and runners in scoring position. Tonight would be no different. As McNeil took off towards third, Nido shot the ball down the third base line driving home a run. With that single, it was 11-5.

That was once too much for the Padres, who didn’t have any fight left in the ninth. With the huge lead, Showalter opted for a second inning of Drew Smith instead of using Edwin Diaz. After the huge top of the ninth, it was no longer a save situation allowing the Mets to save him for another fight. Smith set the side down in order.

Even with the Padres giving everything they had, the Mets were just flat out better. If you wanted a litmus test to see how good the Mets are and can be, here it is.

Dodgers And CB Bucknor Make Mockery Of Baseball

The story of this New York Mets win should’ve been the homers. They got them from Francisco Lindor, Eduardo Escobar, and Pete Alonso . . . TWICE!

It could’ve been about Walker Buehler getting knocked out in the third. It could be the Mets bullpen stepping up after David Peterson was knocked out in the fourth and after throwing one pitch to Mookie Betts.

Buck Showalter made the bold call to not just lift Peterson after one pitch and in using Colin Holderman. Holderman came up big striking out Betts, and the bullpen as a group came up huge. Of course, there was some help from Luis Guillorme’s glove.

But no, it’s not about any of those things or the other good things that happened for the Mets in this 9-4 victory. Instead, it was about Rob Manfred and his rule changes.

The Mets had that five run lead entering the ninth leading Dave Roberts to waive the white flag by having a position player, Zach McKinstry, pitch. This is what the Dodgers do to keep arms fresh, and, well, the Mets bullpen isn’t the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen

Only problem: you can’t do that.

Per Rob Manfred’s rules, you can’t have a position player pitch unless there is a sux run lead. Yes, it’s a dumb and unnecessary rule, but it exists.

Roberts clearly didn’t know the rule because he sent McKinstry to the mound. Honest mistake, unsure if the rule change was actually implemented (some pitching rules have had their implementation delayed), or trying to pull something. Doesn’t matter. It’s not allowed.

It’s one thing with Roberts. It’s a whole other thing with CB Bucknor and the umpiring crew. They actually had to go to replay to resolve it.

The umpires had to go to replay because they didn’t know a rule. They didn’t tell Roberts no because they didn’t know the rule. Worse yet, they let the Dodgers get away with it.

Instead of ordering a pitcher to the mound, they waited. Worse yet, when they ordered a pitcher to the mound, they allowed the Dodgers to stall. Then, they let Evan Phillips warm up on the mound like it was an injury situation.

The only injury was to the umpires who were brain dead. They botched the entire situation and permitted the Dodgers to get away with it with no repercussions.

Overall, this was a sick joke all the way around. Umpires and managers weren’t quite sure about a needless gimmick rule, and there was no penalty for it. Just another embarrassing day for Rob Manfred’s MLB.

Mets Loss To Dodgers Glass Half Full

The already depleted New York Mets roster faced an even tougher challenge as Francisco Lindor slammed the door shut on his finger knocking him out of the opener of the series between the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. To a certain extent, their being shut out for the first time all season wasn’t a shock.

Tony Gonsolin has been great all year, and he was again in this game pitching six shutout innings. Of course, his job was made easier with Lindor out of the lineup and with Brandon Nimmo dealing with a wrist injury. Digging deeper, Eduardo Escobar is ice cold, and the Mets were stuck putting J.D. Davis at DH, who is ill suited to play a team like the Dodgers.

So yes, the Mets were shut out. Luis Guillorme and Jeff McNeil collected two of the Mets three hits with Davis lucking into a mistake from Gonsolin around two strikeouts. Pete Alonso had a golden sombrero which was part of Mets batters striking out nine times.

Looking at that, you would think this was a lost game. That could not be further from the truth. In fact, the Mets showed something as they were in this game throughout despite being dominated by Dodgers pitching.

Taijuan Walker was fantastic limiting the Dodgers to two runs on seven hits and one walk over 5.2 innings. Remember, Walker is a pitcher who would move to the Mets bullpen in a potential postseason match-up between these teams. As of right now, the Mets fifth starter shut down the Dodgers vaunted offense.

Walker was helped by good Mets defense. That included a heads up play by McNeil to run Mookie Betts towards first as he got Freddie Freeman out at first. Alonso threw to Guillorme to get Betts heading to second, and Guillorme had his head on a swivel throwing home to try to catch Gavin Lux.

Guillorme did not make the best throw home, but Patrick Mazeika stopped it. It took longer than needed, but he made a strong throw to Escobar who made a terrific tag. That helped keep that rally to just one run.

The Dodgers scored another in the sixth off a two out double from old friend and now nemesis Justin Turner. Buck Showalter went to Colin Holderman who showed some moxy getting out of the jam. He would then throw another scoreless inning to boot.

For the final inning, the struggling Chasen Shreve threw a scoreless inning. With that, the Mets fifth starter and the Mets “lesser” relievers limited the highest scoring team in the majors to just two runs. Again, without using any of their best pitchers, the Mets limited the high powered Dodgers offense, with all of their best hitters in the lineup, to just two runs.

If you are someone who wants to view this series as a litmus test, the Mets came out of this game looking great. They have the arms to shut down the Dodgers. They’re going to get healthy, and they will hit anyone. Yes, it sucks getting shut out, but in the end, there was far more good than bad in this loss.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Finally Lose Two In A Row

The New York Mets went to San Francisco looking to take yet another series, but this time, they failed, and for the first time this season, we saw some cracks in the foundation.

1.  If Edwin Diaz wants to be considered an elite closer, he cannot blow that save. Even when he is at his best, he has a propensity to blow saves in an inordinate fashion, and that is starting to creep back this season.

2.  A bigger issue in the bullpen is Drew Smith. The Mets can ill afford him regressing. No, you shouldn’t anticipate he would be the 12 scoreless appearance guy he was to start the season, but lately, he’s allowed runs in four of his last six appearances. There needs to be a happy medium here.

3.  Luis Guillorme is one of the Mets best players. He sits. J.D. Davis has a four hit game. He sits. Dominic Smith has a multi-hit game. He sits. It’s like Buck Showalter is punishing players for playing well.

4.  Starting Thomas Szapucki was just plain wrong on every level, and it cost the Mets a game.

5.  Yet again, Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek stepped up for the Mets. Williams needs a job in the starting rotation, and Nogosek is earning a deeper look going forward.

6.  Colin Holderman was been fantastic.

7.  Chris Bassitt chose a bad time for his first bad start, but it is what it is. He’s been great all year, and he will be fine.

8.  With his versatility and hitting, the Mets can ill afford to lose Jeff McNeil. That is even with Guillorme being more than capable of locking down second.

9.  McNeil’s sliding catch is why this Mets team is great. It was 9-1 in the third, and he’s risking injury to make an out. This team keeps fighting and does not quit no matter what the obstacle.

10. Francisco Lindor was a force in this series, and he fueled that seven run comeback. It was a reminder he’s an All-Star caliber player and future Hall of Famer.

11. For the first time in a long time, Eduardo Escobar had a good series. It was more than the doubles. It was the hustle on that infield single.

12. Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte certainly set the tone atop the lineup. It’s not just the at-bats or getting on base. It’s the way they hustle. It has rubbed off on everyone on this roster.

13. You can say until you’re blue in the face the Mets need to get a starting pitcher. They’re not available now. The Mets just have to weather this storm.

14. The ceiling is not caving in on this team. That is partially because the Phillies and Nationals are next. That said, they absolutely need to take care of business with an absolutely brutal West Coast trip to open June.

15. Just as Patrick Mazeika looked like he was going to push for more playing time, he stopped hitting. He also doesn’t seem to be syncing with up with the starting pitchers.

16. For all the talk about J.D. Martinez, the Boston Red Sox have gotten hot, and it looks like they can play themselves back into the expanded postseason picture. Also, we again need to note teams don’t make big trades like this in May.

17. While many are focusing on trades and needs and starting to panic, this Mets team keeps reminding us how good they are and just how much fight they have. That ninth inning rally against the Phillies was no fluke. This is deeply ingrained in the team’s DNA.

18. Mark Canha has really stepped it up of late. He had a big series against the Giants, and he’s reached safely in seven straight games. This comes at a time when the Mets need all of their bats to step it up.

19. It is certainly interesting that Showalter thinks Canha needs to sit as much as he does. What it says is difficult to ascertain, but we will see if this changes with McNeil banged up.

20. The Mets have a chance to absolutely bury the Phillies. They need to take advantage.

Mets Must Now Bench J.D. Davis After His Big Game

In San Francisco, J.D. Davis had his best game of the season. He was 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. Obviously, after a big breakout game like that the New York Mets have little other choice than to bench Davis.

Sounds dumb? Well, sure, but that is what Buck Showalter has been doing all season.

This is really how the Mets have handled Dominic Smith all-season. There is a clear pattern which has emerged where Smith has been benched immediately after he has had a multi-hit game: That includes the time where Smith had a four hit game like Davis just had.

It’s not just Smith. Luis Guillorme can’t seem to gain traction as an everyday player despite doing everything possible to prove he belongs. Case-in-point, Guillorme was actually sat in favor of Davis for the series opener against the Giants despite Guillorme being the Mets best player of late.

Guillorme has a current streak where he has reached safely in eight straight games. Over that stretch, he is batting .480/.500/.520 with a double, RBI, walk, and just three strikeouts. He’s also been playing absolutely stellar defense.

Go deeper, Guillorme has a 0.7 WAR so far this season. That puts him well ahead of Davis and Smith, each of whom have a negative WAR. As an aside, it also puts him ahead of Eduardo Escobar, who has had a miserable May.

The overriding point here is Guillorme has been playing extremely well. Over the past two weeks, he’s absolutely been one of the Mets best players. Despite that, he was sat against the Giants to permit Davis to get into the lineup. To his credit, Davis stepped up with a big game at the plate.

However, with the way Showalter has run things this year, that means Davis should go to the bench. Guillorme was on the bench to permit Davis to start, and everytime Smith has a multi-hit game, he goes right to the bench.

Starting Davis sends a very clear message the Mets are not invested in either Davis or Guillorme. Instead, it’s just a ruse when they are really only invested in Davis’ success. In reality, no other conclusion can be drawn if Davis plays while Guillorme and Smith sit.

Mets Offense Explodes With Giant Win

Another game and another New York Mets starter with a big start. This time it was David Peterson‘s turn.

It didn’t start that way for Peterson. In the second, Brandon Crawford hit a two run homer giving the San Francisco Giants an early 2-0 lead.

The Mets would get him a lead in the top of the third. At the time, you wondered if it was going to be enough.

The Mets would nickel and dime Alex Cobb to death. For example, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte had consecutive infield singles in the third to help load the bases.

Francisco Lindor followed with a bloop down the left field line. Darin Ruf lumbered over, but he couldn’t make the play as he and the ball landed in the stands for a two RBI automatic double.

The two RBIs tied the score at 2-2. It was also Lindor’s 500th RBI. He would then score his 609th career run as Pete Alonso absolutely launched one to give the Mets a 5-2 lead.

Peterson seemed poised to give that lead right back in the bottom of the third. He walked Ruf to start the inning and then plunked Wilmer Flores.

Peterson bore down, and he got Mike Yastrzemski to hit into the 1-6-3 double play. That play changed the game as Peterson got out of the inning, and the Mets would eventually blow out the Giants.

For Peterson, it was a well earned win. He limited the Giants to the two runs over six while striking out six.

Colin Holderman relieved Peterson in the seventh, and he continued to prove he belongs. He pitched a scoreless inning battling through a bleeding thumb on his pitching hand.

While Mets relievers literally bled, the Giants did figuratively as the Mets offense pounded them in the eighth to break the game open.

It started because Jeff McNeil just couldn’t get a bunt down all game. As noted by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, it was partially because his approach has him running towards first at the point of contact.

When McNeil couldn’t get the bunt down to beat the shift, he instead swung away and hit a two run homer off Giants reliever Mauricio Llovera.

And then, Mark Canha went back-to-back increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.

Patrick Mazeika capped off the scoring in the inning with an RBI double. That gave the Mets a 10-2 lead. For Mazeika, it was his third straight game with a double as he attempts to get the starting catching job.

After another scoreless inning from Holderman, the Giants sent outfielder Luis Gonzalez to the mound. After the dog and pony show was over the 10-2 lead grew to 13-2.

The Mets ability to clobber the Giants pitching led to Gonzalez pitching. Things were so bad for the Giants J.D. Davis, who entered the game hitting .188 with a -0.4 WAR, had a four hit night. It was just one of those nights for the Mets.

Chasen Shreve, who has struggled mightily of late, took the mound in the ninth. Again, he let up a run, but in a 13-3 game, it’s a footnote.

The Mets are now eight up in the division. That includes being nine up on the Atlanta Braves. Yes, the Mets are this good.

Game Notes: This was Max Scherzer‘s spot in the rotation. This was Buck Showalter‘s 66th Birthday.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Leaving Colorado Mile High In Standings

The New York Mets went to Colorado, and while they didn’t explode offensively, they took yet another series.

1.  The Mets are as good as they are because they don’t let losses spiral out of control. They’ve lost two in a row just once, and they have won 14 consecutive games following a loss.

2.  Starling Marte following bereavement leave with a homer was as feel good of a moment as the Mets have had all season.

3.  The Mets may be down Jacob deGrom, Tylor Megill, and Max Scherzer, but they still have starting pitching on this team.

4.  Carlos Carrasco was very good allowing one earned over 5.1 innings.

5.  Taijuan Walker was even better with seven shutout innings. Between him and Carrasco, that’s 12.1 terrific innings from their starters . . . in Coors.

6.  One of the smartest things Buck Showalter has done all season is pairing his groundball pitchers with the optimal infield defensive alignment. It has been something which has helped both Walker and David Peterson.

7.  Of course, that means more playing time for Luis Guillorme, which is a great thing because he was a wizard in the field again, and he just keeps hitting.

8.  Again, Guillorme needs to play everyday. Saying otherwise is just wrong at this point.

9.  Mark Canha is certainly feast-or-famine. He will have two good games followed by a prolonged stretch of bad games.

10. It’s a good thing Eduardo Escobar historically struggles in May and follows that with a great June because it would otherwise be very worrisome that he has been this bad this month.

11. Regardless of how he hits, Escobar is not a third baseman as evidenced by this play in the field in this series and the season (-5 OAA) overall. This leaves the Mets top target at the trade deadline third base.

12. Patrick Mazeika has stepped up in his limited duty, but with Tomas Nido not hitting, the Mets are going to have to find a catcher at some point.

13. Growing up in Wyoming, Brandon Nimmo was a Rockies fan, and he always seems to play very well while out there. Then again, Nimmo plays well everywhere.

14. Chasen Shreve is really fighting it now, but mostly, he is just a victim of baseball’s three batter rule. The rule just never made sense, and it makes it all the more difficult for relievers to thrive.

15. Trevor Williams gave the Mets what you expect from a fifth starter in Coors. To some degree, it was surprising the team did not look to stretch him past four innings especially with him only at 52 pitches.

16. The Mets offense did not give you what you expected. A large part of that is the Mets offense regressed in May going from a 115 wRC+ in April to 105 this month.

17. Give the Mets credit, they did all you can expect up to this point of the season, and they have a seven game lead to show for it. They’re going to need it too with their top starters down as they head to a brutal June schedule.

18. Chris Bassitt avoided arbitration with a mutual $19 million option for next year. He’s not going to take it, but it going to be a launching board for an extension, which would be a great thing.

19. When the Mets are out of town playing a late night West Coast series, it is always great to head to Brooklyn to take in a Cyclones game. It is a great park.

20. This Mets team is more resilient and more special than what we have seen since 2016. They’re going to be in the postseason and make noise.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Back On Winning Ways Despite Biggest Losses Of All

The New York Mets responded to losing their first series of the season by taking three out of four from the St. Louis Cardinals. However, that does not mean the Mets did not sustain major losses.

1.  The worst thing to happen with the Mets this week was the death of Starling Marte‘s grandmother, a woman who began raising him when he was nine after his mother died. This is on the same week as the anniversary of his wife’s death. Nothing related to the Mets can be worse than this, and fans should greet him with a standing ovation when he returns to Citi Field.

2.  In terms of on-field, the Max Scherzer news is devastating. The Mets need him atop the rotation, and really they are at the point where they cannot afford to lose another starter.

3.  It would appear Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are on a race to see who will be the first to return. Never did we think this would happen this season, and yet, here we are.

4.  This makes the Chris Bassitt acquisition all the more important. He’s a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher (not an ace) for this team when they need one. We saw him be that in the series finale.

5.  Mets pitching from unlikely sources have stepped up all season, so maybe we will see it again. For example, Colin Holderman just picked up his first career win.

6.  In fact, pitchers not on the Opening Day roster to begin the season – Holderman, Adonis Medina, Stephen Nogosek, Jake Reed, and Yoan Lopez – have combined to allow just three earned over 17.1 innings.

7.  Speaking of stepping up, Trevor Williams stepped up big time pitching four scoreless innings. Really, he has been very good for the Mets eating innings over his last three appearances allowing just three earned over 11 1/3 innings. That’s great because he now needs to fill-in for Scherzer.

8.  In the series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Alonso hit a two run walk-off homer with an accompanying jump shot to give the Mets yet another series win. It was the capper for a big series for Alonso which saw him hit two homers with seven RBI.

9.  Alonso is having a big month. Over 18 games so far, he is hitting .309/.397/.618 with three doubles, six homers, and 19 RBI. It’s about to get a lot better with him and the Mets headed to Coors Field.

10. Again, Luis Guillorme needs to be an everyday player on this team. He was 5-for-12 in this series with a double and RBI. He’s hitting .323/.382/.484 in May. Really, there is zero reason not to play him everyday.

11. Buck Showalter makes some baffling moves sometimes like lifting Guillorme late in the game for Travis Jankowski only to bunt him over. Really, the Mets brought in a pinch runner to be sacrificed over and worsened their defense in what was then a tight game where the Mets had a lead.

12. For all the nonsense hysteria over Francisco Lindor. he was 4-for-12 in this series with six walks and has reached base safely in eight straight games. He’s fine and still a great player.

13. Time and again, Brandon Nimmo comes up huge. Whether it was the RBI triple or another big hit or great play, Nimmo is one of the best players in all of baseball and needs to be extended.

14. Speaking of great plays, Jeff McNeil scaling the wall and throwing out a player tagging up was just a phenomenal play. Really, between the versatility, improved defense, and his hitting, this is the best he has ever been.

15. Good for Dominic Smith for backing up his talk of wanting to play every day by going 3-for-7 with a run, double, two walks, and two RBI. This is the type of player who needs to play everyday.

16. Of course, the Mets followed his hot hitting by forcing J.D. Davis into the lineup who promptly went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The Mets really just need to stop forcing him into the lineup whenever Smith gets going. It’s just counterproductive.

17. With the Mets dealing with starting pitching injuries, they just need to play their best players. That isn’t Davis.

18. Eduardo Escobar is hurting this team with his defense, and he’s still not back to hitting. The Mets may be forced to find a third baseman at the trade deadline.

19. When you hit a game winning homer, you can do whatever crazy celebration you want including the one Alonso did.

20. For all the troubles right now, the Mets are 12 games over .500 with a seven game lead in the division. They did what they needed to do through this part of the season, and now, they just need to keep playing well to win this division regardless of who is healthy or not.ba

Dominic Smith Showed Signs Of Life

In the bottom of the ninth in the second game of the doubleheader, Dominic Smith came up as a pinch hitter with one out. St. Louis Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos had Smith right where he wanted him with a 2-2 count. If you’ve been watching the New York Mets and Smith all season, you expected a strike out.

As noted in the first half of the doubleheader by Keith Hernandez, Smith has been expanding his zone all season. Chiefly, it has been at pitches up in the zone. However, we have also seen it on pitches down-and-in. For some reason, Smith just can’t seem to lay off those breaking pitches breaking in off the plate.

Gallegos reared back and busted Smith in, and Smith laid off of it. Full count. Then, Gallegos made a very smart pitch. He threw that slider low-and-in. Smith has struck out on that pitch all year. Except, this time, Smith didn’t. He spit on the pitch, and he took his walk.

Right there, more than anything, was the biggest sign Smith might just be breaking out of his season long slump.

We had thought that what was going to happen with Smith after his four hit game against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, Smith went right back into his funk. After that game, he was 1-for-22 with six strikeouts. It was at the point where Buck Showalter was suggesting Mark Canha needed to get work at first base.

In the first half of the doubleheader, Smith looked much like the Smith of old. In his first at-bat, he got a rally started with a lead-off single. In the third, he hit an RBI double. Smith would finish the game 2-for-4 with a run, double, and RBI. Importantly, it was his first start since the beginning of the month where he did not strike out.

With Smith, we know what he can do. We’ve seen when he’s healthy, he hits. He needs to just get on track, and he hasn’t so far this season. As noted, part of the reason is the Mets initial need to see what they have in Robinson Cano leading to a season’s worth of disjointed playing time.

Case-in-point, after Smith had his four hit game, he did not start the ensuing game. Hopefully, the Mets are able to recognize how Smith has finally made the adjustments he needed, appears locked in, and is ready to contribute like we all know he can.