It’s important to remember Michael Wacha was not good in 2019. He had an 89 ERA+ and a 5.61 FIP. Despite this and his shoulder problems, Brodie Van Wagenen went out and brought in this CAA client.
With Wacha having a 63 ERA+ and a 5.03 FIP this year, you’d think it would be an easy decision to keep him in the pen. Instead, he got the ball over better pitchers or pitchers more deserving of an opportunity.
Wacha was incapable of keeping the game tied or getting his first quality start of the season. Those hopes went away when he allowed a two run homer to Randy Arozarena.
Things went from bad do worse when Chasen Shreve, another CAA client , entered the game. He allowed three in the eighth putting the game out of reach, and as a result, putting the Mets outside postseason hopes out of reach.
The Mets rallied for three in the ninth, but all it did was make the 8-2 game look much closer and competitive.
In the end, the Mets lost 8-5. They’re against endured a losing record, and they’re moving closer to having absolutely zero chance to making the postseason.
But hey, Van Wagenen used the opportunity to boost up the value of the players who are former clients and pending free agents. Hopefully for him, it was well worth missing the postseason.
Well, the Mets took two out of three from the Phillies. As a result, the Mets next series actually matters. So there’s that. Here’s some more:
1. This is just the third series the Mets have won all year and the first against a team other than the Miami Marlins.
3. The deGrom start was a tough one because it probably cost him the Cy Young, which will also hinder his Hall of Fame chances.
5. As far as the starting pitching, we haven’t seen much of a tangible impact from new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, but we have seen him help relievers with pitch utilization and locations.
6. That’s not to say the bullpen has been good because it hasn’t. However, they came up big in a series when deGrom and Lugo didn’t pitch five innings combined.
7. There’s a lot to unwrap from Lugo’s start including how the Phillies hit four homers off of him and his decreased velocity as a starter. While this bears mentioning, we need to see more before drawing any conclusions.
8. Lugo even being in the rotation is another indication of just how awful a job Brodie Van Wagenen has done and just how much he has stripped the Mets of quality rotation depth.
10. Articles trying to explain why Steve Cohen’s money may not matter and why he won’t spend right away are trying to be a little too cute and are very disingenuous in their premises.
11. Also, Cohen is getting approved because he’s going to be the wealthiest owner in the game, and he bought the Mets for more than any North American sports team has ever sold. People telling you his approval is because of the respect Fred Wilpon has in the game are embarrassing themselves.
12. Wilson Ramos has seemingly struggled more than anyone being separated from his family. It’s a real shame he has dealt with these issues.
13. Its a good thing J.D. Davis had that big game on Wednesday because he’s been basically terrible since August 1 costing the Mets games with his ground balls and glove.
14. Over the last month, Davis is hitting .253/.360/.411, and Jeff McNeil is hitting .360/.442/.584. Naturally, McNeil bats seventh and Davis third. It’s because it’s not about winning, but rather about Van Wagenen.
15. With Davis and Pete Alonso struggling, at some point the uncomfortable conversation needs to happen about how much the juiced ball impacted their 2019 production.
16. Anyone calling Brandon Nimmo a fourth outfielder doesn’t know anything about baseball.
17. With Dellin Betances likely exercising his $6 million player option, and the Mets having to buy out Ramos for $1.5 million and Robinson Chirinos for $2.5, the Wilpons have left a nice $10 million tab for Cohen.
18. The extra postseason spots made sense in a 60 game season, but it will be a disaster going forward. So naturally, Rob Manfred wants it.
19. Looking through the years, under this new proposed format, you’re going to get under .500 teams in the postseason on a routine basis. That’s bad for the sport.
20. The Mets have to play the best baseball they possibly can to even have a chance. Given the matchups against the Braves and Rays, their chances aren’t good, but we’re Mets fans, so we’re going to watch and hold out hope.
For a second straight game, a Mets starter didn’t see the third inning, and for the second straight game, the Mets made an improbable comeback.
At least for tonight, Harper owned Lugo homering off of him again in the second inning. Gregorius then knocked out Lugo with an RBI single.
It was 6-3 Phillies, and it was in the hands of the Mets bullpen. Starting with Erasmo Ramirez, they were brilliant. He and Chasen Shreve would each pitch 2.1 scoreless before handing the ball to Jeurys Familia who pitched 1.1 scoreless.
Their pitching kept the Mets in the game, and it gave them a chance to comeback against what has been a terrible Phillies bullpen.
While the Mets weren’t able to put up more runs off Aaron Nola from the second through fifth, they made him work. He ran out of gas in the sixth, and that Mets took advantage starting with a Pete Alonso one out homer:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
Jeff McNeil walked leading to the Phillies going to their bullpen. Andres Gimenez walked, and after Luis Guillorme lined out, it was up to Brandon Nimmo. He tied the score on what is arguably the biggest hit of his career . . . up until that point.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
Instead, Wilson walked the bases loaded. Due to the three batter rule, the Mets couldn’t even contemplate lifting him. Fortunately for the Mets, Wilson retired Gregorius to end the inning.
After escalating the jam, it was time for Nimmo to come up huge again. This time, it was a go-ahead homer with a rare pimping of the homer from Nimmo:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2020
That ninth inning leadoff homer off Brandon Workman sparked the Mets offense like Alonso’s did in the sixth. It was a four run ninth with Smith tripling in Michael Conforto, and Cano hitting a two run homer.
While not a save situation, the Mets went to Edwin Diaz. Diaz would make it interesting by loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. Diaz, who was pitching three days in a row, got McCutheon to ground out to end the game.
With that, the Mets have won a series against a team other than the Marlins this year. They’re alive and ready to fight another day as the schedule gets insanely difficult now.
Game Notes: Wilson earned the win.
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Mets were 0-for-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Things weren’t as bad in the second half as the Mets offense went just 0-for-5.
The no hits with runners in scoring position, the Mets offense was shut out over 14 innings. Even if the Mets played the other four innings, you’d be hard pressed to find an argument why they’d score a run.
In this game, the Mets offense had just two hits, and those hits were originally Red errors. That at least spared the Mets the indignity of joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in being no-hit today.
At least the Pirates faced Lucas Giolito. This Mets team really has no excuses.
The Mets inability to hit ruined a good return to the rotation by Seth Lugo. Lugo lasted three innings, and he didn’t allow a base runner while striking out five.
While Luis Rojas said Lugo was good for 60 pitches, he lifted Lugo after 39 pitches. Seeing how the fourth inning unfolded, he may want to revisit this decision (or text message).
Chasen Shreve would relieve Hughes and get out of the inning, but it was too little too late as the Mets couldn’t drive in a run.
It’s gotten to the point where the Mets are snake-bit. Case-in-point is the sixth. The Mets had runners on first and second with one out, and Luis Guillorme tattooed a line drive.
That ball was hit right at Marlins first baseman Lewin Diaz. Diaz caught the liner before easily beating the runner to the base to end the inning.
That sixth was a very curious inning for Rojas.
After Cano beat the shift by slapping the ball the other way, Rojas tabbed Juan Lagares to pinch run for Cano. He did that even with Billy Hamilton being on the bench. Hamilton is a better runner and weaker hitter. The move made little sense.
As embarrassing as that was, there was Berti flat out embarrassing the Mets in the bottom of the sixth.
That wasn’t the worst of it.
With two outs, Ali Sanchez had looked Berti back to third. Berti moved towards third as Sanchez lollypopped a throw back to Familia.
On the throw, Berti spun and broke for home. Even with Berti slipping, he was able to steal home as Sanchez couldn’t field the throw Familia had spiked in front of him.
What — and I cannot stress this enough — just happened. pic.twitter.com/L2zKweOkFv
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) August 26, 2020
It’s one thing to lose. It’s a whole other thing to be flat out embarrassed like this. The Mets lost 3-0. It might as well have been 100-0.
Game Notes: With this being a makeup game, the Marlins batted second. Even with the Marlins batting second, the Mets were still the home team. Jacob deGrom is slated to start tomorrow because the Mets wanted to keep him on his regular schedule. Sanchez had his first career MLB start.
The Mets fell down 1-0 when Robert Gsellman struggled in the top of the first. When Dominic Smith hit a bases loaded double off Jordan Yamamoto in the second, the Mets took a 2-1 lead. After that, the Mets offense exploded with nearly everyone destroying the baseball:
- Brandon Nimmo 1-4, R, 3B, 2 BB
- Jeff McNeil 1-4, R, BB, K
- J.D. Davis 0-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K, HBP
- Michael Conforto 1-3, R, 2B, BB, K, HBP
- Robinson Cano 3-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, K, 2 HR
- Pete Alonso 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 HR
- Dominic Smith 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HBP
- Wilson Ramos 1-5, K, 2B
- Amed Rosario 2-5, R, RBI, 2 K, 2B
The story of the night was Cano and Alonso. For Cano, he continues his great hitting in 2020. For Alonso, that’s eluded him this year, and he’s struggled to the point he was dropped in the lineup to the sixth for the first time in his career. He responded with a two home run game.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 18, 2020
If you are looking for a negative from this game, it was Gsellman who struggled. Even staked to a 3-1 lead, he couldn’t get through the second. He was a bit wild leading Luis Rojas to lift him earlier than he would’ve wanted.
While there was some disappointment in Gsellman not taking a step forward after being reinserted into the rotation, there should be genuine excitement in Chasen Shreve, who was again excellent.
Shreve struck out five while pitching 2.1 scoreless and hitless innings. He led the charge of a bullpen which allowed one run over the final 7.1 innings.
Of note, Franklyn Kilome came in to pitch the final three innings picking up his first career save. He was wild walking five allowing two runs, but he was also lighting up the gun at 96 MPH. He struck out four.
Ultimately, Kilome didn’t do much to make a case for him to replace Gsellman. Still, he helped the bullpen while showing he’s still not ready to pitch at this level.
Things got so bad for the Marlins in their 11-4 loss, Logan Forsythe was the sacrificial lamb. He was the position player who pitched the ninth.
Overall, the Mets outclassed the Marlins. This is what we expect from this Mets team. Hopefully, this will prove to be a turning point of the season.
Game Notes: Jacob deGrom threw a bullpen and showed no ill effects. He’s in line to make his next start.
Starting with just about the longest homer you’ll ever see off the bat of Juan Soto, the Washington Nationals would hit four homers. Two of those homers were by Soto.
That Soto homer off Robert Gsellman in the first was an ominous sign for a Mets team forced to bullpen this game due to the injury to Michael Wacha and the state of “depth” created by Brodie Van Wagenen.
Brandon Nimmo with the leadoff home run to get the Mets on the board 💪 🏃♂️ pic.twitter.com/pX5r7VanL7
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 12, 2020
What had been a 3-0 deficit heading to the bottom of the first became a 4-3 Mets lead. The Mets wouldn’t trail again.
It was 5-4 entering the bottom of the sixth. That’s when the Mets blew the game open. First, Conforto ripped a two RBI double over Adam Eaton‘s head. The ball probably could’ve been played better by Eaton, but it seemed as if Conforto was at least getting a hit even if Eaton played it well.
After that misplay, Alonso and Smith would go back-to-back to give the Mets a 10-4 lead.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 13, 2020
Those 10 runs stood partially because the Mets got some decent work from their bullpen. They also had another night of exceptional defense. It began with Nimmo robbing Kurt Suzuki of a homer in the second.
GET UP BRANDON!!! pic.twitter.com/TZezpQNDZ9
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 12, 2020
Gimenez and Luis Guillorme were again great in the field turning two double plays. They were also forces at the plate again.
Gimenez was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Guillorme was 1-for-2 with a run, two walks, and a stolen base.
That was offset by Alonso getting back on track with two doubles and a homer. We also saw Smith have a double and a homer.
It was the best Betances looked striking out the side. Mostly, this 11-6 win was the best the Mets looked in a while. The hope is they can keep this going.
Game Notes: Alonso batted fifth for the first time this year. It was Gsellman’s first start since 2017.
It seems at least once a year the Washington Nationals just embarrass the Mets. While much has changed in this COVID19 world, apparently, this tradition has survived.
Brandon Nimmo had a rough night in the outfield. He didn’t make an error, but he didn’t get to a lot of balls. He wasn’t the only one off during the Nationals 16-4 thrashing of a the Mets.
The Nationals hit four homers with two of them coming from former Met Asdrubal Cabrera. That included a true juiced ball homer.
JUICED BALL HR OF THE NIGHT pic.twitter.com/uGxSYEHKSb
— Dylan Hornik (@_Hornik_) August 11, 2020
You may remember Cabrera from his stint with the Mets. If not, you may remember him as the guy Brodie Van Wagenen didn’t give a courtesy call to when he instead opted to sign his former client Jed Lowrie, who had a busted knee.
Lowrie gave the Mets nine pinch hit attempts, and Cabrera helped the Nationals win the World Series. He also helped destroy the Mets tonight. So, thanks for that Brodie.
Really, the less said about this debacle, the better. It’s time to turn the page and just try to figure out how to piece together a starting rotation. Again, thanks for that Brodie.
Well, after losing two in a row, Rick Porcello got to play the role of stopper for his hometown team. Initially, it didn’t look good.
After two quick outs, notorious Mets killer Freddie Freeman got the rally started with a single. That started a string of four starting singles. The last two came for Matt Adams and former Met Travis d’Arnaud. That gave the Braves a 2-0 lead when if they lowered Porcello’s ERA.
Rick Porcello just allowed two runs in the first inning, which LOWERED his ERA from 27.00 to 24.00.
— Ed Leyro (@Studi_Metsimus) July 31, 2020
Porcello would actually settle in, and he’d put up some zeros. Thanks to a six run fifth, he’d be in position to pick up the win.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2020
Alonso walked to force in a run, and then Michael Conforto showed incredible wrist strength on a 3-2 check swing and also walked to force in a run. Yoenis Cespedes hit a two run double. The Mets then batted around with Cano hitting an RBI single increasing the Mets lead to 8-2.
You’d think the Mets should cruise, but then again, this is the Mets.
After Porcello issued a lead-off walk to Dansby Swanson, J.D. Davis just flat out dropped a fly ball. His error was dubbed the Mets worst error of the year by Gary Cohen. Instead of one on, one out, it was two on, no outs. That led to Paul Sewald replacing Porcello thereby cheating Porcello of the chance of getting the win.
Again, it was Adams and d’Arnaud hurting the Mets. Adams hit an RBI double, and d’Arnaud singles to pull the Braves within 8-4. An Austin Riley RBI groundout made it 8-5.
An Amed Rosario homer to lead off the sixth began a two run inning giving the Mets a 10-5 lead. It still wasn’t enough.
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 1, 2020
Chasen Shreve, easily the Mets best pitcher of the night still allowed a run in his two innings. On the bright side, five of his six outs recorded were strikeouts. His one non-strikeout was a great play by Gimenez
— Matt Musico (@mmusico8) August 1, 2020
The Mets brought on Dellin Betances to start the eighth, and that’s when the wheels fell off.
Betances didn’t have it both in terms of control and stuff as he was only hitting 94 MPH on the gun. The bad inning started with a leadoff single by Adeiny Hechavarria. Then, Betances walked Ender Inciarte.
Swanson singled to pull the Braves within 10-7. Then, Betances nearly hit Freeman on a 3-0 pitch. That pitch got past Ramos. Betances was late to the plate, and he still almost got the tag down on Inciarte. In fact, it appeared he did, but replay confirmed the run.
Lugo wasn’t sharp. He walked Marcell Ozuna. That was the seventh walk Mets pitchers issued and the fifth by the Mets bullpen. After Lugo got Johan Camargo to hit a shallow fly ball, d’Arnaud came up to the plate.
d’Arnaud would hit an RBI double to right center. Notably, on that play career right fielder Ryan Cordell, put in center for defense, couldn’t cut it off in time. As a result, it was a bases clearing double giving the Braves an 11-10 lead.
Instead, the Mets fell behind. The decisive blow was delivered by their former catcher, a guy Brodie Van Wagenen cut. Last year, d’Arnaud was more productive than Ramos, and tonight, d’Arnaud was 3-for-4 with a double, walk, and five RBI.
In a nice juxtaposition, it was Ramos, who is hitting .208 this year, who flew out to end the game with the tying run at second. That saddled Lugo with the loss and the entire Mets team with an uglier loss.
This was an ugly loss which exposed the Mets bullpen and only further highlighted the team’s bad defense. When you have that, you’re going to have more than your fair share of these losses.
Game Notes: Gimenez started at third over Jeff McNeil. Mets scored 10 runs tonight. They’ve scored 12 runs in five home games.
The Mets were bludgeoned by the Yankees over the two game exhibition set by the combined score of 15-3. The key word there was exhibition.
Neither of these two games counted, and they had all the weight and importance of a Spring Training game. That’s because it was Summer Camp, which was really Spring Training Part Deux.
Really, when you break it down, almost none of what happened the past two games matters. That’s even if you want to get bent out of shape about the Yankees homering off of Corey Oswalt, Drew Smith, and Chasen Shreve, i.e. bullpen bubble guys.
That’s not to say there weren’t some important takeaways. There absolutely were. It’s just the final score of home run barrage weren’t close to them.
The biggest takeaway was Yoenis Cespedes was able to play consecutive days, and he looked good running. He also only played three innings in left meaning he’s not quite in a spot to play the outfield just yet. Put another way, on a team of DHs, he’s the Mets DH.
Jed Lowrie still isn’t really playing, and the Mets have no idea when he can play. Basically, it’s 2019 all over again. To a certain extent, in this topsy turvy COVID19 world, it’s nice having some consistency.
It appears with Wilson Ramos missing these two games to attend to an undisclosed family matter and Rene Rivera being added to the 40 man roster, Tomas Nido might be the Mets Opening Day catcher. Somewhere the rehabbing Noah Syndergaard must be ripping his hair out.
On the topic of Opening Day, Jacob deGrom had a good bullpen session, and he appears set to go.
In that Opening Day lineup, all indications are Robinson Cano will start the year batting third . . . again. Of course, this once again means this wasn’t a Mickey Callaway decision, but rather a Brodie Van Wagenen one. That is, unless, you believe Luis Rojas independently reached the same decision, and Van Wagenen isn’t still trying to prop up his former client he used Jarred Kelenic to obtain.
More than any of this, it’s great having baseball back with Gary, Keith, and Ron calling games. Let’s all just cherish this, hope everyone stays safe, and the Mets got the work in they needed to start their path towards winning the 2020 World Series.