Yesterday, Aaron Nola threw a gem against the Mets which showed everyone the National League Cy Young race is far from over.
All season long deGrom has been great, but today may have been him at his best. Through eight, he was at 99 pitches, and still Mickey Callaway sent him out for that ninth to let deGrom go out and get his complete game.
When Nick Williams grounded out, deGrom had his complete game. His final line was 9.0 innings, seven hits, one unearned run, no walks, and nine strikeouts.
Really, deGrom was just that close to a shutout.
.@Mets challenge call that Odúbel Herrera is safe at 1B in the 7th; call overturned, runner is out.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) August 18, 2018
Wilmer Flores made a nice play to get the lead out at second, but instead of eating the ball, Rosario made a low throw which went past deGrom.
The throw allowed Williams to score from second, but the Mets still got out of the inning as both deGrom and Jeff McNeil made a heads up play.
With Odubel Herrera making the ever so brief turn to first, he was fair game. McNeil got to first and got the tag down on the deGrom throw.
This was just one of several ways McNeil helped deGrom come away with his eight win of the season.
In the fifth, he flat out robbed Herrera of a hit:
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 18, 2018
McNeil also started a fourth inning rally with a leadoff single against Jake Arrieta. When Arrieta threw one away trying to pick him off, he went to third, and he’d score on a Flores RBI single.
With deGrom pitching like deGrom, the Mets would win 3-1.
In the victory, deGrom lowered his already MLB best ERA to 1.71. He would also clear the 200 strikeout plateau. Basically, he continues to prove he’s the best pitcher in all of baseball with each and every start.
Game Notes: Brandon Nimmo missed another game after injuring his hand.
Amed Rosario hit the very pitch of the game from Ranger Suarez for a home run, and the Mets were off and running to set a new franchise record with 24 runs on 25 hits in their 25-4 victory. These records were previously set 30 years to the date in a Mets game at the Cubs.
What is interesting is this game was back-and-forth for the first four innings with the Phillies getting to Corey Oswalt with solo homers from Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro.
Entering the fateful fifth inning, it was just 5-4 Mets. Then in that fifth inning, Alfaro threw away the ball on an Oswalt bunt, and then Hoskins would later just completely miss a fly ball in left. The big hit in what would be a 10 run fifth inning was a Jose Bautista grand slam. From there, the game was over, and eventually Phillies manager Gabe Kapler actually turned to position players to get the final nine outs of the game so to save his bullpen for the second half of the doubleheader.
To put in perspective how well that went, the Mets scored seven runs off the position players, and that was highlighted by Jerry Blevins hitting an RBI single off of Scott Kingery. Yes, that’s how absurd things got. A reliever got a hit off of a position player. All told, the Mets had an absolute field day at plate:
- Amed Rosario 4-7, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, SB
- Austin Jackson 3-7, 3 R, 2B
- Wilmer Flores 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI
- Michael Conforto 3-7, HR, 3 R, RBI
- Todd Frazier 1-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI, 2 BB
- Brandon Nimmo 1-2
- Jose Bautista 3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 7 RBI, BB
- DFA Candidate 2-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI, 2 BB
- Kevin Plawecki 4-4, 3 R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB
As you can see from the 1-2 for Nimmo, the one downside was he had to come out of the game due to him hitting his hand when he swung at a pitch he put in play. Nimmo would come out the game, and his x-rays would be negative, but with the Mets being the Mets, you never know what will happen next.
In the second game of the doubleheader, it seemed like the Mets were going to once again be off and running. Against Phillies starter, Zach Eflin, Rosario, Jeff McNeil, and Conforto would hit three consecutive doubles to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
The disappointment of Conforto not scoring from second would soon be magnified by Steven Matz giving up the lead by surrendering a three run homer to Hoskins in the bottom of the first. Matz would not settle in during the second inning either with him giving up a homer to Kingery in what would be a consecutive three run inning for the Phillies.
All told in his first start since returning form the disabled list, Matz pitched just those two innings allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
As bad as Matz looked, Devin Mesoraco looked worse. After Roman Quinn reached on a throwing error by Matz, Mesoraco would push him to second with a passed ball. Later that inning, Mesoraco threw through on what would be a double steal, and on the return throw, the out of position Mesoraco whiffed on the tag.
César out here giving Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez a run for his money. pic.twitter.com/0K0WV7qERa
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 17, 2018
Things would lie dormant until the bottom of the sixth when Bobby Wahl entered the game. Wahl would appear to have tweaked something in his leg or bat on the Quinn bunt single. Wahl would stay in the game, and he would surrender an RBI double to Cesar Hernandez. On the double, Conforto got to the ball, and made a strong throw to second. Hernandez was dead to rights, but McNeil just dropped the ball.
Later that inning, Williams hit a sinking liner Williams just missed getting to in time. At that point, it was 8-2 Phillies.
The Mets, who have been playing much better of late would show some fight.
Tyler Bashlor would give one of those runs back by allowing back-to-back doubles to Santana and Franco in the seventh before settling in and retiring the Phillies.
Even with the five run deficit, the Mets would go on the attack in the ninth starting with Plawecki reaching with Phillies reliever Yacksel Rios throughing a screwball between Santana’s legs. As the inning continued Conforto and Flores would hit RBI singles to pull the Mets to within 9-6, which then led to Kapler brining in his closer Seranthony Dominguez.
The Mets would bring the tying runs to the plate with Jackson and Bautista, but both would strike out to end the rally and the game.
Overall, it was quite a day for a Mets offense who is suddenly alive and robust. It will be interesting to see how this continues as this series progresses with the Mets always hitting well at Citizens Bank Park.
Game Notes: With the Mets scoring 25 runs, they became the first team in a decade to score 15 runs in consecutive games. Jacob Rhame was available as the 26th man, and he would pitch two scoreless to close out the first end of the doubleheader.
In the Mets weekend series, they faced off against the Miami Marlins to determine who exactly was the worst team in the National League East. With some guts and guile, the Mets showed it was in fact the Marlins.
In the series, we did see a lot of good from the Mets. Corey Oswalt had another quality start even if he once again sputtered as he navigated the sixth and the third time through the lineup. Noah Syndergaard racked up his eighth win of the year, and Zack Wheeler continued his great pitching winning his fifth straight start.
We also saw Michael Conforto continue this second half resurgence. With his home run yesterday, he’s now hitting .307/.398/.533 with five doubles, four homers, and 11 RBI. If we were to exrapolate those 21 games over a full 162 game season, he would hit 39 doubles and 31 homers. That’s right around the pace he was last year when he suffered that brutal shoulder injury.
While Jacob Rhame took another step back, we saw Drew Smith, Tyler Bashlor, and Bobby Wahl pitch well out of the bullpen. As the season winds to a close, we will have to see that trio get increased chances with the Mets limiting both the appearances and innings of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, both of whom have been pitching better of late.
Moreover, we are watching Wilmer Flores earn a starting job with the Mets next year. Since taking over the first base job in mid-June, he’s hitting .290/.337/.489 with 14 doubles, seven homers, and 26 RBI. In a real surprise, he is getting stronger as the season progresses.
Still despite all that good, there are so many issues, including but not limited to the Mets having three tight games against a bad Marlins team just to win this series.
We have seen Devin Mesoraco continue to regress with him now having a 64 wRC+ since June 1st. Moreover, he has been one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball with him being in the bottom 15 in the majors in pitch framing. Really, there’s a reason why the Mets are just one game under .500 when he doesn’t catch and 16 games under .500 when he does.
Overall, like we saw on that botched double play on Saturday, the Mets defense continues to be horrendous. Per DRS, at every position but third base and left field, they are in the bottom three defensively in the National League. Up the middle, the Mets are the worst in the majors. That also speaks to just how disappointing Amed Rosario‘s development has been.
That also goes towards the Mets continued employment of Jose Reyes, who is one of the worst players in baseball this year. While his selling point this year was he was going to mentor Rosario, it has been a failure. In almost every areas of Rosario’s game, he is worse.
Really, with the exception of isolated instances like the starting rotation, Flores, and Brandon Nimmo, this team is just worse across the board.
So yes, the Mets beat the Marlins, but in the end, who cares? This continues to be a rudderless bad baseball team.
Last year, Player’s weekend was a hit as fans got to see their favorite players wear fun jerseys featuring their nicknames on the back of their jerseys. Believe it or not, some of those were nicknames were rejected for various reasons.
For example, Brandon Nimmo wanted to use his Twitter handle, You Found Nimmo, but MLB was afraid of copyright issues. When it came to Kyle Seager, he wanted to go with “Corey’s Better.” With that rejected, he paid homage to his brother Corey Seager by merely noting on his jersey he was “Corey’s Brother.”
Well, the Mets officially approved Player’s Weekend nicknames and jerseys have been released. However, as noted with Nimmo, there were other names the players wanted which were rejected by MLB:
Tyler Bashlor – Mickey, I’m Available To Pitch
Jose Bautista – Trade Value Going, Going, Gone!
Jerry Blevins – One Magic LOOGY
Michael Conforto – Shouldering The Load
Travis d’Arnaud – d’L
Phillip Evans – DFA TBA
Wilmer Flores – 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Robert Gsellman – Don’t Care What You Think
Austin Jackson – 2019 Opening Day CF
Juan Lagares – Out For The Season
Seth Lugo – Quarterrican (That’s perfection; you don’t mess with that)
Steven Matz – Not So Strong Island
Jeff McNeil – 2B/3B/OF
Devin Mesoraco – Harvey’s Better
Brandon Nimmo – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Corey Oswalt – Vargas (figured it was the only way he would get a start)
Kevin Plawecki – Plawful
Jose Reyes – Melaza Virus
Amed Rosario – Mentor Wanted
Paul Sewald – AAAAll Star
Dominic Smith – Waist And Future Gone
Drew Smith – Mickey, I’m Available To Pitch (Yes, it’s a repeat of Bashlor. They’re trying to prove a point.)
Anthony Swarzak – Still Just One Good Season
Noah Syndergaard – 60’6″ Away
Jason Vargas – $16 Million Dollar Man
Zack Wheeler – Finally Good
David Wright – Hurts Here Doc
With Jacob deGrom entering today’s game with an MLB best 1.85 ERA and a career 1.99 ERA in day games, you knew he was going to completely shut down the Reds.
Even with him getting squeezed a bit by the home plate umpire leading to an increased pitch count, deGrom would dominate yet again. In his six scoreless innings pitched, deGrom limited the Reds to just four hits and a walk while he struck out 1o.
Two of those four hits would come in the first inning with Phil Ervin and Scooter Gennett hitting back-to-back one out singles. After Eugenio Suarez struck out, the Reds put on a play in an attempt to score a run.
While it was surprising the Mets made a good defensive play and took advantage of another team’s error, it was all the more surprising the Mets scored some runs for deGrom. In fact, he would get eight runs of support, which was more than he received in any game he has had since the middle of June, which was a Mets game in Coors Field.
To put it in perspective, over his last four starts, the Mets scored six runs for him. In entire Month of July, he received 10 runs of support. Basically, today was an extreme and welcome outlier.
Conforto would get a one out hustle double, and he would come home to score on a Brandon Nimmo RBI double. Nimmo scored on Jackon’s second RBI single of the game.
At that point, it was 5-0 Mets as in the previous inning, Reds starter Robert Stephenson loaded the bases by intentionally walking Mesoraco to pitch to deGrom. deGrom would help his own cause by walking on four pitches, and Rosario would tack on another run with a sacrifice fly.
At 5-0 in the fifth, deGrom had nearly a half month’s worth of run support. After six, it was up to the bullpen to make sure they didn’t blow a big lead for a pitcher everyone on the Mets owed a win.
The use of Gsellman was certainly odd as the Mets rallied in the eighth to tack on three runs. Again, that was the result of Conforto and Jackson at work. Conforto, who walked, scored with Wilmer Flores on Nimmo’s double, and once again, Nimmo scored on a Jackson RBI base hit. This one was a double.
Speaking of Nimmo, this was a nice bounceback game for him with his going 3-for-5 with three runs, three doubles, and three RBI.
All-in-all, this was a very good game for the Mets, and it was the type of game which will hopefully get deGrom that Cy Young Award he so richly deserves.
This isn’t really an anomaly as the aforementioned 30+ year old veterans on expiring deals have been getting regular playing time over the younger players.
Earlier this season, Dominic Smith was up with the Mets for a 31 game stretch. The 23 year old former first round pick started in just 16 of those games. During this time, Mickey Callaway described Smith as a bench player.
That’s better than what Guillorme got. Despite his not getting a chance to ever really prove himself, he was described as a pinch hitter and late inning replacement who should not be getting starts the rest of the year. Naturally, this was said on a day Reyes got a start at second.
Seeing how the Mets don’t play the young players when they’re here on how they seemingly go out of their way to disparage those players, as a fan, ask yourself why you would want Peter Alonso called up right now.
Do you want to see him on the bench behind Bautista, or in the event be actually does manage to return this year, Jay Bruce?
Do you want to see him get benched for failing to scoop out a Reyes throw in the dirt leading to his eventual (punishment) benching?
Do you want to see him sit and have the team refer to him as a late inning power threat off the bench?
Judging from what we’ve seen this year and the last, we know that’s what’s going to happen to Alonso.
With that in mind, again ask yourself, do you really want to see the Mets call up Alonso this year?
Tonight, Jacob deGrom pitched eight innings allowing just two earned on six hits. He struck out nine and walked one.
Believe it or not, this outing increased his ERA from 1.82 to 1.85. He lowered his K/9 from 10.7 to 10.6.
Put another way, deGrom has been so great this season that this qualifies as an off night for him.
He did his part to offset his “poor” pitching by driving home a run. That would be one of the Mets only two hits on the night.
To make matters worse, it’s not even like the Mets lost with the young players either:
- Jose Bautista started at third over Wilmer Flores
- Jose Reyes started at second over Flores, Jeff McNeil, and Luis Guillorme
- Devin Mesoraco started at catcher over Kevin Plawecki
As we saw, the Mets were not terribly active at the trade deadline. Curiously, the team either couldn’t move or didn’t want to trade assets like Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco. Instead, the team has held onto them and other players who have expiring deals.
Between the moves the Mets did make and the injuries, the Mets only had 14 players from the Opening Day roster on their roster after the trade deadline expired. Can you name those players? Good luck!
Jerry Blevins Jacob deGrom Jeurys Familia Robert Gsellman Matt Harvey Seth Lugo Steven Matz AJ Ramos Jacob Rhame Paul Sewald Anthony Swarzak Noah Syndergaard Kevin Plawecki Travis d’Arnaud Adrian Gonzalez Asdrubal Cabrera Todd Frazier Amed Rosario Wilmer Flores Phillip Evans Jose Reyes Juan Lagares Yoenis Cespedes Jay Bruce Brandon Nimmo
There are many, many reasons to criticize the Mets. Even with the presence of smart baseball people, who have been a part of well-run organizations in their previous stops, the Mets are a mess. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this is directly attributable to ownership.
That same ownership has decided that rather than appointing one of their existing assistant general managers to be the interim general manager, they would each role share with them presenting ideas they used to offer to Sandy Alderson directly to Jeff Wilpon. Yes, Jeff Wilpon essentially named himself the general manager.
The end result of that has led to a number of decisions which have made the Mets even more of a laughingstock then they already have been.
The Jeurys Familia trade was widely panned. Making matters worse, we subsequently discovered Will Toffey, the key prospect in the deal not only needs offseason shoulder surgery, but his dad is also friends with J.P. Riccardi. It so happens Riccardi was the pointman for the deal.
We didn’t know that initially because the Mets went into media silence. The reason for that was the team was actively ducking the media over their continued bungling and outright lying in delivering the message about what they knew and didn’t know about Yoenis Cespedes‘ heels.
Consider that over the course of a few days, John Ricco and the Mets went from saying they didn’t know Cespedes needed surgery to saying surgery was a last resort to saying he needed the surgery.
What was even better about all of this was the Mets waited for this noise to clear before calling on Ricco to speak with the media about the Familia trade, a trade which he said Riccardi ran point and that one of the key pieces was the international money which Omar Minaya could utilize well. So basically, the team sent out the one guy of the three to speak on a deal who didn’t work on getting the deal done or who will utilize the assets acquired.
Meanwhile, the Mets continual insistence Jeff McNeil was a second baseman blew up in their faces. Within a week of this proclamation, McNeil would play third in a Triple-A game, and eventually he would be called up to play third base in the majors.
After the trade deadline, the three general managers hopped on a conference call where they told everyone ownership entasked them with being creative and open to all possibilities. That resulted in them getting a poor return for Familia. Worse yet, the team was unable to move Jose Bautista, Jerry Blevins, or Devin Mesoraco despite them being 30 year old veterans on expiring deals.
Better yet, they added to the over 30 mix by signing Austin Jackson on the eve of the trade deadline.
After what we have seen from this front office in a very limited time period, you really trusted them to make major deals on these players. You really thought they were capable of getting the type of return the Rays got for Chris Archer?
Have you been remotely paying attention to anything that has happened over the past two years?
Honestly, how could you want this structure get rid of players who will have a huge market during the Winter Meetings should the Mets eventually decided to tear it all down and rebuild?
That’s just being completely delusional.
Again, the Mets need to be held to task for many things they do. They need to be constantly reminded of their failures and ineptitude.
That said, with those failures and ineptitude, how can we possibly trust them to do anything until they bring in a fresh voice into the organization who knows what he is doing?
When you consider, the Mets added Austin Jackson to the mix, that’s five 30 year old players on expiring deals who were not moved at the trade deadline.
The issue isn’t just the Mets inability to get something, anything for these players. It’s the fact these players can and will stand in the way of a younger player.
Looking over this roster, there is no reason why Luis Guillorme and Jeff McNeil aren’t in the lineup everyday. Until Todd Frazier returns, the Mets have second, third, and left to use to figure out playing time.
Speaking of which, the Mets still have both Dominic Smith and Peter Alonso in Triple-A. It’s truly bizarre that neither one of them are up here now, especially with Smith’s purported ability to now play left field.
With McNeil’s, Guillorme’s, Smith’s, and Wilmer Flores‘ versatility, the Mets have the ability to find playing time for everyone. With that versatility, we can not only see who’s ready to contribute at the Major League level, but also who’s a real part of the Mets future.
Instead, we’re going to see way too much of Bautista, Jackson, and Mesoraco in the starting lineup than is warranted for a team this many games under .500. We may very well see a game where they play on the same day as Reyes and Blevins.
Certainly, there are better odds of this happening than seeing an infield of Flores-Guillorme-Amed Rosario-McNeil with Smith in left. That’s before we even consider Alonso.
That’s not how you properly play out the string, and it’s a reason why the Mets are who they are and perennially winning teams are what they are.