Today’s Mets game was scheduled at 12:10 because it was Camp Day at Citi Field. Apparently, the Mets aren’t much interested in generating new baseball fans because the team played one of their typical dreary day games. With today’s loss, the Mets are now an MLB worst 10-23 in day games.
This loss was one of the worst. It wasn’t the worst because the Mets were blown out. The 5-1 score dictate otherwise. Rather, it was a dreary day when the Mets gave you very little reason to cheer.
Rangers starter Martin Perez allowed just three hits over eight innings to the Mets with Wilmer Flores‘ fifth inning homer being the lone run scored. Perez was so good on the mound that he was able to stick around long enough to earn a golden sombrero.
One pitcher who did not last very long was Rafael Montero. His good stretch of pitching is now long forgotten, and he’s back to being the very bad pitcher that would drive Mets fans crazy. Just to put it in perspective, the first run of the game scored on a Montero balk, and he followed that up by allowing a three run homer to Joey Gallo, who has just worn out the Mets in this short two game series.
The run in the second inning was maddening. Elvis Andrus would steal consecutive bases off of the combination of Montero and Rene Rivera, and then he would score just ahead of Jose Reyes‘ throw home. It was a bad job blocking the plate by Rivera. The only thing worse than that was Collins failure to challenge the play at second on the first stolen base. Replays would show Andrus was actually out.
Montero’s final line would be 3.0 innings, five hits, four runs, four earned, three walks, and five strikeouts.
From there, Terry Collins played his favorite stretch everyone out in the bullpen game. Josh Smoker would pitch two innings, but he couldn’t get through that third. He would load the bases with no outs. Hansel Robles came on, walked a batter, got out of the jam, and he would pitch three innings. This for a reliever that just said he couldn’t feel his fingers the other day.
Chasen Bradford pitched a scoreless ninth to at least give the Mets a chance to win the game in the ninth. They didn’t.
Really, the one highlight other than Flores’ homer was Amed Rosario making a terrific diving play:
— 🍎 BIG APPLE METS ⚾️ (@BigAppleNYM) August 9, 2017
GAME NOTES: Neil Walker started the game at third base making him the 164th third baseman in Mets history.
What could have gone down as a pretty interesting game fell apart.
deGrom's full of surprises pic.twitter.com/mfJVOA0mXI
— Mets Citi (@metsciti) August 5, 2017
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 5, 2017
Other than that, there wasn’t much reason to cheer. After Michael Conforto‘s single to lead-off the bottom of the first, the Mets offense would only get two more hits.
Long story short, Yu Darvish completely dominated the Mets. He pitched seven innings allowing just three hits. If not for the stolen bases, no Met would have made it to scoring position. He only walked one and struck out 10.
Unfortunately, deGrom could not match zeros with him. It was pretty impossible to do it when Chris Taylor homered to begin the game.
In total, the Dodgers just wore down deGrom, who would need 99 pitches to get through just five innings. His final line was five innings, five hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and eight strikeouts.
Just like that, it was 5-0 Dodgers. After scoring a run off Chasen Bradford in the seventh, it was 6-0 Dodgers. It might as well have been 600-0 at that point. The Mets were overmatched and were not going to do much in this game.
This game was a solemn reminder of the different directions these two teams have gone since that epic NLDS just two years ago.
Game Notes: Conforto, Rosario, and deGrom were the only Mets to get a hit in the game. Conforto was the only Met with a multi-hit game.
The floodgates would eventually happen in a five run third punctuated by a Carlos Gonzalez two run homer to dead center.
After that Flexen was done having thrown 64 pitches in the three innings. He might’ve been coming out anyway, but his developing a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand essentially sealed the deal.
Normally, you’d expect for this game to be over, especially with this Mets bullpen. Then again, this is Coors Field.
Michael Conforto and Asdrubal Cabrera got things started in the fourth hitting back-to-back singles to set up first and third with no outs. The rally sputtered a bit with Cespedes hitting into a double play allowing Conforto to score. The Mets would pull to within 5-2 on a Jay Bruce solo shot:
In the fifth, Curtis Granderson got things started by ripping a ball past Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds. The play was scored as an error. Granderson would then score on a Rosario ground rule triple. Yes, you read that correctly.
Rosario hit a call down the third base line. As Rosario was beginning to round second, a fan touched it before Gerardo Parra would get to it. This was Rosario’s first extra-base hit and RBI.
It’s in the sixth then the Mets offense really broke out.
The sixth started with Cespedes doubling home Cabrera tying the game. . Bruce followed with a walk. After Brandon Nimmo hit into a force play, it was runners at the corners with one out for Granderson. Granderson untied the game:
The rally wouldn’t end there. d’Arnaud, Jose Reyes, and Conforto hit consecutive singles making it 9-5. A Cabrera RBI ground rule double made it 10-5.
In that inning, the Mets batted around scoring six runs.
What is truly remarkable about this game wasn’t the rally. It was the Mets bullpen keeping the Rockies at bay:
- Chasen Bradford 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2K
- Fernando Salas IP, H, 0R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Paul Sewald 2.0 IP, H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
The Sewald outing was particularly informative for a player who may still yet be an important part of the Mets bullpen next year.
After a clean seventh, he was called to pitch another inning. He then worked around a Reynolds double. This is the latest example we’ve seen with Sewald where he’s comfortable pitching when there’s pressure. Better yet, he typically works his way out of if.
The good bullpen work carried forward to the ninth with AJ Ramos.
This was all part of pitchers making the adjustments they need to make to succeed. Wins and losses don’t matter much when the Met is going nowhere. Rather, you’d like to see them improve at their role. At least for tonight, we saw them successful in both fashions.
Game Notes: Josh Edgin cleared waivers and was sent down to Triple-A. This was Bradford’s first career win.
The reclamation of Rafael Montero has taken an interesting turn. Montero was just a losing pitcher in a game, and he wasn’t the reason why the Mets lost the game. Instead of him letting the team down, the team let him down.
It all happened in the seventh inning. After two singles and a Maikel Franco double, the Phillies were up 2-0 with no outs in the inning. Ty Kelly sacrificed him over, and that’s where things went awry.
The Mets brought the infield in, and Andrew Knapp hit a sharp groundball to the right side. Asdrubal Cabrera couldn’t get to it. He got a glove on it, but he couldn’t field it as it trickled into right field giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
Montero threw a pitch in the dirt. Rather than getting down and trying to block it, he committed the faux pas of just trying to backhand it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Rivera lost complete sight of it thereby allowing Knapp to score from second giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
While it was only the second inning, the lead was daunting. Over seven innings, Pivetta and his 5.40 ERA kept the Mets to one hit – a T.J. Rivera fifth inning solo home run.
Even when the Mets drew a walk, they’d hit into a double play. In a sign of what type of game this was, Lucas Duda hit into a bizarre double play. He hit a shallow fly ball to center, and Aaron Altherr just juggled it. He eventually grabbed it before he was able to double off a confused Bruce.
Things fell apart in the top of the eighth as Rivera’s poor play reared its ugly head again.
With two on and no out, pinch hitter Brock Stassi singled to center, and Franco raced home. Brandon Nimmo made a good strong one hop throw home that had Franco by a good margin. Rivera missed the ball, which not only allowed the run to score, but also allowed the runners to move up a base.
With Daniel Nava‘s subsequent two RBI single off Chasen Bradford pushed the Phillies lead to 7-1. While the Mets made some noise in the bottom of the ninth, they would’ve score a run.
It didn’t matter. The game fell apart. The one piece of good news was it wasn’t his fault. He pitched well and settled down. Overall, his final line was 6.1 innings, eight hits, four runs, one run, one earned, two walks, and six strikeouts.
If this is now what qualifies as a poor start from him, there is reason to believe in Montero.
Whether you believe in this team or not, is up for debate. We’ll know more as the Mets take on the Nationals for a three game set.
Game Notes: Curtis Granderson missed the game with a hip issue that prevented him from being able to swing the bat.
It’s no secret the major league club has had bullpen issues. Jerry Blevins pitches in far too many games. Jeurys Familia is possibly done for the year. Fernando Salas and Addison Reed aren’t the pitchers they were last year. Both Josh Smoker and Hansel Robles have been sent down to Triple-A due to ineffectiveness. Somehow Rafael Montero is still on the major league roster, and he does not appear to be in jeopardy of being sent back to Vegas.
Part of the reason for that is the 51s relievers have been struggling mightily of late. Worse yet, it is the arms who were possibly closest to making the major leagues that are struggling the most.
Kevin McGowan started the year using his big fastball to strike batters out at high clip. More than racking up strikeouts, McGowan was keeping runners of the bases. He had a 0.700 WHIP to go along with a sterling 0.90 ERA. With him harnessing his stuff, and the major league bullpen struggling, it appeared as it he might get his chance sooner or later. Well, it is going to be later. Since May 4th, he’s appeared in six games, and he has allowed two plus runs in four of those appearances. His last appearance was a disastrous 0.2 appearance where he allowed six earned.
Another pitcher who has struggled of late is Alberto Baldonado. The left-handed pitcher was getting both righties and lefties out in Double-A leading to his promotion to Triple-A. Since joining the 51s, Baldonado has been hit hard. In his six appearances, he has a 10.80 ERA and a 1.350 WHIP. He’s become less of a cross-over reliever and more of a LOOGY with right-handed batters hitting .261 off of him. It’s a large reason why Baldonado has allowed three earned runs in two of his last three appearances.
Both McGowan and Baldonado have presumably surpassed Erik Goeddel on the depth chart. In 2014 and 2015, Goeddel had been a good major league reliever pitching to a 2.48 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP. Last year he struggled, and he would need surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow. He hasn’t gotten back to the effective major league reliever. In fact, he hasn’t even gotten back to being an effective pitcher. In 16 games, Goeddel is 2-3 with an 8.68 ERA and a 2.036 WHIP. He’s probably closer to being designated for assignment than getting called up.
It is more of the same with the rest of the 51s bullpen. Ben Rowen went from a consideration for the Opening Day roster to a 5.91 ERA. David Roseboom went from revelation last year in Double-A to an 8.31 ERA. Chasen Bradford has a 4.22 ERA and a 1.622 WHIP. Beck Wheeler has a 5.95 ERA and a 1.932 WHIP. About the only reliever with good stats is Logan Taylor, and he is walking the ballpark with a 4.1 BB/9.
Right now, as bad as things are in the majors, it is worse in Triple-A. At both levels, the Mets have talented pitchers who are going to have to make the necessary adjustments to start getting batters out. If they don’t, the Mets will be forced to look outside the organization for bullpen help. That is something no reliever in the Mets organization wants right now.
With the Mets adding Gavin Cecchini to the 40 man roster to sit on the bench as the Mets are chasing down a Wild Card spot, the team had one less decision to make on who should be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Even if the Mets didn’t add Cecchini now, he was going to be added in the offseason. Cecchini is too valuable a prospect, and he would be snatched up immediately in the Rule 5 Draft.
Cecchini was not the only player the Mets were going to have to make a decision on this offseason. In fact, the Mets have to make a decision on 66 different prospects about whether or not they should be added to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Here is a review of some of the more notable Mets prospects that need to be added to the 40 man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft:
SS Amed Rosario (Advanced A & AA) .324/.374/.459, 24 2B, 13 3B, 5 HR, 71 RBI, 19 SB
Yes, if it hasn’t been apparent this entire year, Rosario is in a class all by himself. If he’s not added to the 40 man roster someone is getting fired.
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
1B/3B Matt Oberste (AA) .283/340/.409, 21 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 1 SB
One issue that has plagued Oberste his entire minor league career is he has to fight for at bats as he is usually behind a bigger Mets prospect. That has been literally and figuratively Dominic Smith (who is not yet Rule 5 eligible). Oberste was an Eastern League All Star; however, the issue that is always going to hold him back is the fact that he is a corner infielder that does not hit for much power. Most likely, Oberste will not be added to the 40 man roster.
CF Champ Stuart (Advanced A & AA) .240/.314/.349, 12 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 40 SB
Stuart is an elite defensive outfielder that has speed on the bases as evidenced by him stealing 40 bases this season. The issue with Stuart is he is a maddening offensive player. He went from hitting .265/.347/.407 in 71 games for Advanced A St. Lucie to hitting .201/.264/.261 in 43 games for AA Binghamton. While he certainly has the tools to possibly be a big leauger one day, he’s too far away at this point. Also, with teams putting more of a premium on offense than defense, it’s likely he will not be protected, and he will go undrafted.
C Tomas Nido ( Advanced A) .320/.357/.459, 23 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB
This year was a breakout season defensively and offensively for the Florida State League batting champion. Normally, with Nido never having played a game in AA, the Mets would be able to leave him unprotected and be assured he wouldn’t be drafted. However, with catcher being such a difficult position to fill, it’s possible a bad team like the Braves takes a flyer on him and keeps him as the second or third stringer catcher all year. It’s exactly how the Mets lost Jesus Flores to the Nationals many years ago.
SP Marcos Molina 2015 Stats (Rookie & Advanced A) 9 G, 8 GS, 1-5, 4.26 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
Molina did not pitch for the Mets organization for the entire 2016 season as he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Arizona Fall League will be his first time facing batters in a game since his eight starts for St. Lucie in 2015. It’s likely he will go unprotected and undrafted.
ARMS THAT COULD HELP IN 2017
RHP Paul Sewald (AAA) 56 G, 5-3, 19 saves, 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.0 K/o
In many ways, it is surprising that a Mets bullpen that was looking for an extra arm never turned to Sewald. While he struggled to start the season like most pitchers transitioning to the Pacific Coast League do, Sewald figured it out and had a terrific second half with 10 saves, a 1.85 ERA, and a 0.95 WHIP. Sewald should be protected. In the event he isn’t, he should be as good as gone.
RHP Beck Wheeler (AA & AAA) 47 G, 0-3, 6 saves, 5.98 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
Wheeler went unprotected and undrafted last year, and based upon the numbers he put up in his time split between Binghamton and Las Vegas, it appears the same thing will happen this year. The one reservation is like with the Braves interest in Akeel Morris, teams will always take fliers on guys with mid 90s fastballs who can generate a lot of strikeouts. It just takes one team to think they can help him reduce his walk rate for him to go in the Rule 5 draft.
RHP Chasen Bradford (5 saves, 4.80 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) – Bradford regressed statistically from last year in large part because he is a sinker/slider pitcher that pitches to contact. On the bright side, he walks very few batters meaning if you have good infield defense, he will be a successful pitcher for your team. His numbers should scare off a number of teams in the Rule 5 draft just like it did last year.
RHP Ricky Knapp (Advanced A & AA) 25 G, 24 GS, 13-6, 2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.3 K/9
Knapp started the year in St. Lucie, and he finished it with a spot start in Las Vegas. Knapp doesn’t have any plus pitches, but he gets the most out of all of his pitches because he is excellent at hitting his spots. He is a very polished product that is best suited to being a starting pitcher. Since he doesn’t strike out many batters, teams will most likely pass on him in the Rule 5 draft.
RHP Luis Mateo (AA & AAA) 51 G, 4-4, 1 save, 2.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.0 K/9
He’s a fastball/slider pitcher with a low 90s fastball that generates a fair share of groundball outs while keeping the ball in the ballpark. While his ERA should entice teams, his WHIP and strikeout rate may keep them away just like it did last year when the Mets left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. He will most likely begin next year in AAA.
2B/3B/SS Phillip Evans (Advanced A & AA) .321/.366/.460, 30 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 1 SB
The Eastern League Batting Champion certainly raised his profile with a much improved offensive season. He’s starting to become more selective at the plate and learn how to be less of a pull hitter. The main issue for Evans is he may not have a position. While he can make all the plays at the infield positions, he lacks range to be a solid middle infielder. He also lacks the arm strength and power numbers you would want at third base.
RHP Chris Flexen (Advanced A, AA, AAA) 25 GS, 10-9, 3.56 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.4 K/9
Flexen appears to be in the mold of a typical Mets pitching prospect in that he has a high 90’s fastball and a good slider. Despite the repertoire, he is not generating a lot of strikeouts right now. On the bright side, he does generate a number of ground balls while limiting home runs. He was rumored to be part of the initial Jay Bruce trade that fell apart due to an unnamed prospect’s physical (does not appear to be him). A second division club like the Reds could take a flyer on him and put him in the bullpen for a year to gain control over him despite him never having pitched at a level higher than Advanced A St. Lucie.
RHP Tyler Bashlor (Full Season & Advanced A) 54 G, 4-3, 2.75 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 11.8 K/9
While the 5’11” Bashlor is short on stature, he has a big arm throwing a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider which he used to dominate in the Sally League. Bashlor used these pitches to strike out 11.8 batters per nine innings. Like Flexen, there is danger exposing a big arm like this even if the highest level of experience he has is four games for Advanced A St. Lucie.
RHP Kevin McGowan (Advanced A & AA) 42 G, 4 GS, 2 saves, 2.35 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8.9 K/9
McGowan is a fastball/changeup pitcher that still needs to develop a breaking pitch. While that fastball/changeup combination has been good enough to get batters out at the lower levels of the minor leagues, he is going to need another pitch if he is going to progress as a pitcher.
RF Wuilmer Becerra (Advanced A) .312/.341/.393, 17 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 7 SB
Around the time of the Rule 5 Draft last year, the debate was whether a bad team like the Braves would take a flyer on Becerra just to get the promising young outfielder into their organization. Unfortunately, Becerra would have a shoulder injury that would rob him of his budding power. More importantly, that shoulder injury would require surgery ending his season after just 65 games.
1B/3B Jhoan Urena (Advanced A) .225/.301/.350, 17 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB
With the emergence of David Thompson, Urena was pushed from third to first. However, that isn’t what was most troubling about his season. In fact, many questioned whether he could stay at third given his frame. The issue was the switch hitting Urena stopped hitting for power this season. With his not hitting for power, Rosario’s best friend in the minors should go undrafted in the Rule 5 Draft.
LHP Paul Paez (Advanced A & AA) 34 G, 4-1, 3.88 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.9 K/9
This year Paez failed to distinguish himself by not pitching particularly well for St. Lucie and then struggling in Binghamton. He only has a high 80’s fastball and lacks a true swing and miss breaking pitch. While lefties hitting .308 off of him this year, he may not even have a future as a LOOGY in a major league bullpen.
NEEDS TIME TO DEVELOP
OF Patrick Biondi (Advanced A) .271/.352/.332, 17 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 34 RBI, 26 SB
While Biondi’s stats look good on the surface, it should be noted at 25 years old, he is old for the level. On the bright side, Biondi has speed and is a good defender in CF. However, until he starts getting on base more frequently, he will not be considered for the 40 man roster.
RHP Nabil Crismatt (Short & Full Season A) 13 G, 7 GS, 1-4, 1 Save, 2.47 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 10.1 K/9
Crismatt is only 21, but he is mature in terms of his ability to control his changeup and curveball and throw them at any point in the count. Couple that with a low 90s fastball that could gain velocity as he ages, and you have someone who has the repertoire to be a major leaguer. However, considering he hasn’t faced stiff competition yet in his career, he is nowhere ready for the majors, at least not yet.
2B/3B/SS Jeff McNeil 2015 Season (Advanced A & AA) .308/.369/.377, 18 2B, 6 3B, 1 HR, 40 RBI, 16 SB
Coming into the season, McNeil appeared to be more mature physically and at the plate. He seemed ready to begin hitting for more power while still being able to handle 2B defensively. Unfortunately, he would only play in three games this season for Binghamton before going on the disabled list needing season ending sports hernia surgery.
RHP Tim Peterson (Advanced A & AA) 48 G, 4-1, 2 saves, 3.03 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 12.3 K/9
At each and every level Peterson has pitched, he has shown the ability to strike people out with a fastball that touches on the mid 90s and a plus curveball. The only issue for him in his career so far was his PED suspension in 2014.
OF Travis Taijeron (AAA) .275/.372/.512, 42 2B, 5 3B, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 1 SB
Taijeron continued to do what he does best, which is get on base and hit for power. Despite a strong Spring Training and another solid offensive season, the Mets really showed no interest in calling him up to the majors. He will most likely go unprotected, but maybe this year a team out there desperate for some power in the outfield or on the bench will give him a shot.
2B L.J. Mazzilli (AA & AAA) .239/.320/.348, 18 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 43 RBI, 8 SB
Lee Mazzilli‘s son is a grinder out there who plays a decent second base. Unfortunately, it appears his bat will prevent him from ever getting a real shot to ever play in the big league.
Likely: Flexen, Nido
Bubble: Bashlor, Knapp, McGowan, Sewald, Wheeler
As for the remaining players, the Mets may very well gamble exposing them to the Rule 5 Draft and potentially lose them to another team. It is also possible the Mets unexpectedly protect a player like Knapp. In any event, the Mets have a number of important decisions to make that can have far reaching implications.