Dominic Smith

Edwin Diaz Not Quite Elite

The most promising sign we have seen from Edwin Diaz this year was how he reacted to the no-hitter. He knew what was happening, and what he needed to do. That would be the best we’ve ever seen of him.

Really, this year is the best we’ve seen of him. He’s having his first All-Star caliber season with the New York Mets, and there is a real and justified discussion about the need to extend him.

Diaz has been very, very good this year. However, as we saw in San Francisco, he’s just not quite elite. Not yet.

The Mets were down 8-4 entering the top of the eighth when they exploded for seven runs. They took an 11-8 lead.

Drew Smith, who has struggled lately, gave that lead right back. The Giants tied the score at 11-11 before he recorded an out. Fortunately, he was bailed out by Joely Rodriguez.

The Mets offense picked the team off the mat again. After knocking in the first run of that eighth inning rally, Dominic Smith came up huge again leading off the top of the ninth with a triple. Travis Jankowski pinch ran, and he’d score on a Brandon Nimmo sacrifice fly.

The Mets had a 12-11 lead, and they brought Diaz into the game.

Obviously, you need your closer to lock down every game he pitches. That said, these are the games you REALLY need. The Mets fought to get back into the game, and then, they fought back again.

After a double play, all Diaz needed was one more out. He didn’t get it, and the trouble started with a walk to Mike Yastrzemski.

From there, three straight singles from Darin Ruf, Joc Pederson, and Brandon Crawford turned an exhilarating 12-11 victory to a devastating 13-12 defeat.

You’ll note this damage mostly cane from left-handed batters. There’s something there with Diaz.

Yes, by and large, he’s platoon neutral. That said, he’s always walked left-handed batters at a higher clip than right-handed batters. Those walks lead to trouble, and they did here.

This marked the third blown save in 13 chances for Diaz. Those three saves are the second most in all of baseball this season. We can pretend otherwise, but even when Diaz is at his best, blown saves have been an issue for him.

It’s not just the blown saves but the moments. While there were a number of mitigating factors, you can certainly recall how he wilted in his one and only pennant race in 2019.

Overall, you’re better with Diaz than not. We’ve seen him able to rise to the occasion. You can win games and potentially World Series with him.

However, he’s just not elite. He’s not there quite yet. Elite closers lock down that game. He didn’t. We don’t need to over dwell on it because he will be fine in the long run. That still doesn’t mean we have to pretend he’s something he isn’t.

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.

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.

Luis Guillorme Has Earned Starting Job

Truth be told, neither J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith have done anything to claim the DH spot. There are a myriad of factors why including the wasted Robinson Cano plate appearances, and the New York Mets shifting between Davis and Smith trying to find out who should get that spot.

So far this season, Smith is hitting .177/.257/.226 with three doubles and nine RBI. Really, he can’t play everyday while he is hitting like that. Sure the strikeouts are down and the quality of contact is rising, but again, there are zero tangible results to justify playing him at all.

For some the answer is to play Davis. Well, that’s not an inspiring choice either. Through 22 games, Davis is hitting .204/.333/.333 with two doubles, one triple, one homer, and six RBI. You dig deeper and see him hitting the ball on the ground half the time, and you see a player who isn’t forcing his way into the lineup.

The problem with this DH analysis is it has been seen as a binary choice between Davis and Smith. To a certain degree, you understand as they were the two best bats for the DH spot. However, that analysis is wrong and was always the wrong approach. Really, it should be about getting the nine best players into the lineup.

That is why Luis Guillorme should be playing everyday.

No, this is not an argument for Guillorme to be the DH. He doesn’t have that kind of bat, and really, it is a waste of what Guillorme brings to the table.

What Guillorme mostly brings is defense. In his limited time at second this year, he has a 2 OAA. That’s a 4 OAA dating back to last season. He can also play a solid shortstop giving Francisco Lindor a break now and then. While Guillorme isn’t a great third baseman, he is certainly better there than Eduardo Escobar, who has struggled there in his career and this season.

Guillorme’s defense is reason enough to play him everyday. That defense makes the team better. His versatility can make the team fresher. Certainly, his ability to play second gives Jeff McNeil a chance to play third, left, or DH. If McNeil moves to left, that gives Mark Canha a day. As noted, it can also give Lindor or Escboar a day.

Another point here is while Guillorme isn’t going to slug like a DH, he gets on base. So far this season, he is hitting .255/.364/.383 with three doubles, one homer, and two RBI. That’s productive.

Go back to Davis and Smith, Guillorme is actually out-hitting them. His OPS is higher, and he has more extra base hits than Smith while having the same as Davis. Keep in mind, Guillorme has just 56 plate appearances to Davis’ 66 and Smith’s 70.

If this were truly a meritocracy, Guillorme has earned the everyday job. He’s out-hit Davis and Smith, and he has contributed defensively more than either one of them ever could. Sooner or later, the Mets need to accept he’s one of their best players, and they need to find a way to play him everyday instead of finding ways to play Davis and Smith when they’re not earning those chances anymore.

Mets Trading Jarred Kelenic Remains A Disaster

With Jarred Kelenic and the Seattle Mariners coming to town, many will attempt to re-litigate the shocking trade which sent Kelenic to the Seattle Mariners organization as a part of a trade package for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Of course, 2022 performances invite revisionist history here.

This season, Diaz has clearly been the top performer from this trade. Through 14 appearances, he is 1-0 with seven saves, a 1.93 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and a 15.4 K/9. He looks like he’s having a career year, but it’s important to note much of that is due to Jeremy Hefner.

Hefner has diligently worked with Diaz on his mechanics making sure his delivery has been repeatable, and he’s landing with his foot pointed towards home plate. He’s also helped Diaz create more break and spin leading to a 55. Whiff%. Really, it took four years for Diaz to be what the Mets expected him to be.

In many ways, Diaz is not the same pitcher he was in his first three years with the Mets. That’s very good to a certain extent because that Diaz was not the difference maker he was advertised to be.

On that point, it is important to remember the trade to obtain him was a win-now deal for the Wilpons who were nearing being forced to sell the New York Mets to the highest bidder. Really, the deal smelled like a one last shot to try to win a World Series, and ironically, it was the trade that prevented the Mets from winning that World Series.

In 2019, Diaz was dreadful with a career worst 5.59 ERA, 74 ERA+, and 4.51 FIP. He blew seven saves and lost seven games for a Mets team which missed the postseason by three games. Really, Diaz was a big reason why the Mets missed the postseason that year.

Cano might’ve been a bigger reason. Cano was the target as Brodie Van Wagenen sought to bring his former client back to New York as Cano wanted. Cano responded with a career worst season with a 0.6 WAR and a 94 wRC+. This was supposed to be a key bat in the lineup, and Cano was terrible while Van Wagenen ensured Mickey Callaway batted his former client third.

With Cano, it is the gift which keeps on giving. Yes, he had a bounce-back 2020 season, but as we learned, he was using PEDs again. That cost him the 2021 season, and with him able to physically return, it was $40.5 million the Mets did not get to spend.

Instead of keeping Aaron Loup or further addressing the bullpen, the Mets were restricted to Adam Ottavino and Chasen Shreve. Instead of a Kris Bryant, Michael Conforto, or Seiya Suzuki, the Mets obtained Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, who have so far underwhelmed this season.

Really, that has been the theme of Cano’s time on the Mets. It’s been the organization wasting resources on him that could have been better spent. The biggest example of that is Zack Wheeler desperately wanted to stay with the Mets, but they couldn’t keep him because the money was going to Cano.

As a result, the Mets dead weight became the Phillies ace. The Wilpons didn’t have any money to spend in the ensuing offseasons, and Steve Cohen has $20.25 million per year he can’t spend on better talent through next season.

There’s also the matter of this season. The Mets completely wasted plate appearances over the first month of the season trying to see what they had in Cano. The answer was nothing, and they were happy to part with him and his onerous contract. However, that came with a consequence with Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis not getting the playing time they needed to succeed this season.

There were some who wanted to defend the trade because the Mets moved “untradeable contracts.” The Mariners had no problem trading Jay Bruce whatsoever. They also traded Anthony Swarzak, who helped the Atlanta Braves win the division.

Also, keep in mind the Mets parted with two Top 100 prospects in Kelenic and Justin Dunn. Certainly, Kelenic has struggled early in his career, and Dunn is dealing with a shoulder injury. Certainly, that is part of a very suspect Mariners player development system where we constantly ask why their prospects never seem to pan out.

However, this is also very much besides the point. Back in the 2018 offseason, that duo could have gotten the Mets anything they wanted. Teams would have been literally lining topping one another to get Kelenic and Dunn.

Remember, this deal came in the same offseason the Miami Marlins traded J.T. Realmuto. Instead, the Mets hastily accepted a closer and an albatross.

That deal cost the Mets the 2019 postseason. It cost them the opportunity to compete in 2020. It cost them the ability to make deadline deals in 2021 because that trade and all of Van Wagenen’s trades cost them valuable prospect depth needed to swing the trades the Mets needed. It was also $40.5 million the Mets did not have to spend on free agents.

It will again impact the Mets at the trade deadline and this ensuring offseason. All told, this deal remains an unmitigated disaster no matter how great Diaz is or how much Kelenic struggles.

Mets Win With Rat, Not Raccoon

For some reason, the New York Mets couldn’t get to Patrick Corbin even though he’s been terrible since the Washington Nationals won the World Series. Fortunately, he could only go five, and that would be the Nationals undoing.

Entering that top of the sixth, the Nationals were up 2-0. Carlos Carrasco was pitching well, but he allowed an RBI double to Maikel Franco (shocking) and a solo homer to Riley Adams.

The Nationals brought in Carl Edwards, Jr., and the Mets went to work. They loaded the bases with one out, and Jeff McNeil did what he does best – he got it in play.

It was hit hard, but it’s a play Josh Bell needs to make. In any event, Bell pulled a Dorn, and McNeil had a game tying two RBI double.

The Mets took the lead on a James McCann sacrifice fly scoring Eduardo Escobar. It was part of a big game for McCann. In addition to going 1-for-3 with the sacrifice fly and his usual terrific work behind the plate, he also threw out Drew Strange-Gordon attempting to steal second.

It was part of a tremendous defensive inning for the Mets. In addition to the caught stealing, Francisco Lindor robbed Franco of a hit.

That helped Drew Smith get through the seventh. He’d need a little help in the eighth.

Smith departed with one on and Juan Soto coming to the plate. Soto is having a down year (for him), and it didn’t get better as he popped out on the first pitch he saw from Joely Rodriguez.

Buck Showalter would have an interesting ninth. After Mark Canha reached on an error, he didn’t pinch run Travis Jankowski even though he’d bring in Jankowski later in the inning to pinch run, and he’d be the defensive replacement for Canha.

Canha wouldn’t score from second on a Lindor single.

He was also intending to bring in Dominic Smith for defense. However, he didn’t use him to pinch hit for J.D. Davis. Davis was overpowered by low 90s fastballs up in the zone by Erasmo Ramirez.

Davis did fly out. Fortunately, with the infield and outfield in, the Mets took advantage of the back pedaling Soto to not only score a run, but also to see all base runners advance.

The lead was 4-2, but it did seem the Mets left a big inning on the table with some of Showalter’s decisions playing a factor there.

Fortunately, two runs were more than enough for Edwin Diaz, who has been phenomenal all season. He slammed the door shut for his seventh save of the season.

While the win was fun in and of itself, there was some levity during that sixth inning rally when a Rat ran onto the field.

While Keith Hernandez was doing his best James Cagney, Mets fans were remembering the Ratcoon controversy. That’s the way it is when things are going well.

What was once controversy is now fun. Right now, everything is fun for a Mets team on pace for 110 wins.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Love Beating Philly

Once again, the New York Mets played a series, and once again, they won the series. More than that, the Mets faced off against the Philadelphia Phillies and made some history.

1.  If you want to know why this is a special season, look no further than that comeback. After losing 330 in a row when trailing by six, the Mets scored seven runs in the ninth to shock the Phillies.

2.  That rally started with Starling Marte busting it out of the box to get an infield single. That goes back to Arizona when Marte commented how he needs to hustle more like Brandon Nimmo. Notably, in that game, Marte had a game winning infield hit.

3.  In a game like that, there are heroes abound, and that includes Adonis Medina who pitched 2.2 scoreless to prevent the Phillies from tacking on more runs. Maybe, the Mets have something with him.

4.  Between that rally and the co-no, the Mets really have done a number on the Phillies so far this season.

5.  Not now, but at some point, Taijuan Walker‘s rotation spot will be in jeopardy. Tylor Megill is pitching too well to come out of the rotation, and David Peterson has taken advantage of every opportunity. Also, at some point, Jacob deGrom is going to come back.

6.  After the last series, there is some surprise there was no real issues regarding batters getting hit by pitches.

7.  Max Scherzer‘s unbeaten streak of 24 straigh starts ended on a game where he allowed three earned in six innings. That’s more on the team than him, but overall, this speaks to just how great he is.

8.  Eduardo Escobar has been really bad lately. He’s not hitting, and his defense keeps slipping. Fortunately for him,. the Mets really don’t have another third base option leaving him to be able to fight through it.

9.  Mark Canha hasn’t been hitting much either, but his defense has improved significantly, and he did have a key hit off the pitcher during that ninth inning rally.

10. Chris Bassitt wants to stay with the Mets, and each time he takes the mound, he gives the team another reason to sign him to an extension.

11. Obviously, there is a long line of extensions which needs to get done with Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Diaz needing extensions of their own. That’s nothing to say of the others coming down the pike like Seth Lugo.

12. After dealing with the dead ball by going the other way, we saw Pete Alonso hit two big homers at Citizen’s Bank Park. Perhaps, he is ready to have a break out.

13. You know everything will be alright by the end of the season, but Francisco Lindor‘s defense has been bad. It’s not just the errors. He has a -2 OAA too.

14. The Mets haven’t really given Dominic Smith a chance to get in rhythm, but he’s not forcing the issue with his latest cold snap which includes striking out in the ninth as the tying run at the plate twice in this series.

15. On that point with Dom, who do you sit him after a 4-for-4 game?

16. While Smith is struggling, keep in mind J.D. Davis is hitting .231 with a .734 OPS meaning he’s not exactly pushing for playing time. Moreover, he’s a horrid defender, and with extended playing time he gets exposed with his struggles handling velocity and pitches up in the zone.

17. Remember when the Mets can’t beat good teams was a thing? Well, the Diamondbacks are over .500 now. More to the point, they are 2-4 against the Mets and 13-10 against everyone else.

18. The Mets are 9-4 (.692) against teams with a winning record, and they are 11-5 (.688) against teams with a losing record. While a fractionally small difference, the Mets are better against good teams than bad teams.

19. Chasen Shreve has been awesome to start the season.

20. Right now, the Mets have a 6.0 game lead over the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins in the division. For all the days the Mets were in first place last season, the Mets were never more than 5.5 games up, and they were up 5.5 games for all of three games during the season.

Mets Miracle Comeback After Rangers Win

With the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs, their games are going to take precedence. That goes double when you see the Philadelphia Phillies annihilating Taijuan Walker to the tune of seven runs over four innings.

It didn’t help that Aaron Nola was having an easy time with the Mets lineup. All-in-all, it just seemed like the Mets were going to get blown out for a second straight night.

Still, when you’re a diehard Mets fan, you check back in here and there. With the Rangers winning, you skip the postgame and head to SNY.

In some ways, it’s a way to reduce the adrenaline. Between the big win and Jeff Carter taking out Igor Shesterkin (and the morons on TNT defending it), the blood was running hot. A cool down was needed.

Then, Francisco Lindor hits a two run homer off James Norwood. Okay, so the score is 7-1, so things don’t look so bad.

Pete Alonso doubles, but just when you think it could get interesting, Eduardo Escobar lines out. Jeff McNeil singles putting runners at the corners.

It’s intriguing, but Joe Girardi is done messing around. He brings in Corey Knebel, the former Milwaukee Braves closer who has been lights out this year.

Except, Mark Canha hits an RBI single. Suddenly, Dominic Smith is up as the tying run. The Mets might just have a chance.

Nah, they don’t. Smith chased ball four to strike out. Buck Showalter throws a Hail Mary sending up J.D. Davis to hit for Tomás Nido.

Davis can’t hit velocity or pitches up in the zone. Knebel is smart, and as a result, you expect this game to be over. However, for reasons beyond comprehension, Knebel grooves a pitch over the heart of the plate, and Davis hits an RBI double.

Suddenly, the Mets are down 7-5 with the go-ahead coming to the plate. To make things all the more interesting, Showalter sent his fastest runner, Travis Jankowski, to pinch run for Davis.

That means a single ties the game. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Knebel hung a curve, and Brandon Nimmo tied the score.

Up to the plate comes Starling Marte. He had hit what seemed like a meaningless sixth inning homer. He had what seemed like a meaningless infield single to start the inning. Now, he could put the Mets ahead.

Off the bat, it looked gone, but it hits the wall. With the way Nimmo perpetually hustles, this was not a Todd Zeile/Timo Pérez situation.

Suddenly, a Mets team left for dead scored seven runs in the ninth to take an 8-7 lead. This was a team who had lost their last 330 games entering the ninth down by at heart six and literally only had a 0.1% chance to win.

That win went to Adonis Medina, a pitcher who most Mets fans probably didn’t know was on the team. He earned that by keeping the Phillies off the board for 2.2 innings.

Edwin Diaz was again lights out picking up his third save of the season.

For a fan, it doesn’t get better than this. The Rangers beat the Penguins 5-2, and then the Mets completely stun the Phillies. Right now, New York owns the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and there are two teams with legit championship hopes.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Blow Opportunity

The New York Mets had won seven straight series before a key divisional match-up against the Atlanta Braves. They would not make it an eighth straight series.

1.  Last season, the Mets failed on multiple occasions to deliver a knockout blow to the Braves leading to the Braves buying at the deadline, winning the division, and eventually, winning the World Series. This was the Mets first chance to deliver a huge blow to the under .500 Braves, and instead, they let the Braves walk away with a split.

2.  You can’t use Adam Ottavino for three straight games. That’s just an unforced error that helped lead to the Mets getting blown out.

3.  Buck Showalter came into this season with a number of questions. Seeing how he burns Drew Smith for two innings instead of saving him for another day and used an injured Trevor May in a key spot, it would seem like he hasn’t improved in the slightest in this area.

4.  Chris Bassitt and Tylor Megill deserved better.

5.  If Bassitt wants to sign an extension, the Mets should sign him to one. This is a good pitcher who seems to like pitching here. You keep those guys.

6.  The walks are starting to pile up with Megill. If he isn’t pounding the strike zone, he becomes vulnerable to the big inning. That is essentially what happened to him. Right now, this isn’t any cause for alarm.

7.  All the metrics say Francisco Lindor is hitting the ball very well, but the results aren’t there. Put another way, it’s too soon to overreact, but it is something we need to monitor.

8.  The Mets poor hard hit rates is not an issue for players like Jeff McNeil and Luis Guillorme. However, it is a much larger issue for the rest of the team who are more line drive power hitters.

9.  Eduardo Escobar went from pleasant surprise and leader to looking like the player the Mets shouldn’t have jumped the market to sign. His hard hit rates are cratering as is his defense.

10. Starting J.D. Davis over Dominic Smith, especially with a right-handed pitcher starting is just plain wrong. With extended playing time, Davis’ struggles with any sort of velocity and with pitches up in the zone are magnified.

11. For all the focus on the struggles of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Smith have the final 2-3 innings locked down. Looking at that, building the rest of the bullpen is a much easier task until May returns from the IL.

12. It’s very interesting how May and Jacob deGrom were dealing with very similar injuries. What that says about the Mets is anyone’s guess.

13. The umpiring in this series was embarrassing. It helped cost one game with Dansby Swanson being ruled to have a double on a clear foul ball. Dom was called out on a pitch well out of the zone. Between this series and the Madison Bumgarner ejection in Arizona, the umpiring has been unacceptably poor this season. Really, you know it’s bad when Max Scherzer gets thrown out of a game when he’s not pitching.

14. The notion anything other than balls and strikes is not reviewable is ludicrous.

15. Travis d’Arnaud is certainly going the way of Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner in how he is making the Mets pay for their flat out wrong decision to cut him loose and look in another direction.

16. Players like Travis Jankowski and Guillorme deserve more respect. They fill their roles in perfectly and make this ball club infinitely better. Jankowski knows people won’t buy his jersey, but we will all cheer him on like he’s a superstar.

17. Carlos Carrasco has been amazing this season, and his eight innings not only helped the Mets pick up a win, but it also saved the bullpen.

18. Trevor Williams wasn’t great, but he took one for the team pitching 3.2 innings. Outings like this often get overlooked and under appreciated, but it is something which will really help the Mets in the long run. With May out, you do wonder if the Mets can give him more of a look out of the pen. After all, it’s not like they have other options.

19. The Showalter suspension was ridiculous, especially when you consider Stubby Clapp wasn’t suspended. You do wonder how much that impacted the Mets in the opener of the series, especially with Showalter being informed right before game time.

20. Alonso is heating up just when the Mets need his bat to carry this team. Hopefully, he can help carry the offense as they try to give the Philadelphia Phillies the knock out blow they failed to give the Braves.

Recaps

Same Old Mets Against Braves

Mets Send Message to Braves

Credit to Trevor Williams

Mets Send Message To Braves

After losing the opener of the four game set to the Atlanta Braves and playing their worst baseball of the season, the New York Mets had a doubleheaders scheduled. With maybe not as important in the grand scheme of things, the Mets actually needed to sweep that doubleheader to continue their streak of winning their eighth series to start the season.

They did just that.

In the first game, the Mets jumped all over Charlie Morton not giving him a chance. Now, this wasn’t the Mets hitting bombs, but rather, they kept making contact and putting it where they ain’t.

It all started with surprise lead-off hitter Travis Jankowski hitting an infield single. After the perfunctory HBP, this time it was Francisco Lindor, the Mets got RBI singles from Pete Alonso and Eduardo Escobar to jump out to the early 2-0 lead.

Jankowski would be great in this game. He was a huge part of the Mets offense taking part in all of the run scoring rallies. He was there again in the second drawing a one out walk after Luis Guillorme‘s leadoff walk. Lindor hit an RBI groundout to drive home Guillorme, and again, it would be an Alonso single driving home Jankowski.

In the fourth, Jankowski put on a show with his speed. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, he stole second, and then took third on Travis d’Arnaud‘s wild throw. That permitted him to score on a Mark Canha sacrifice fly. Really, as Jankowski explained properly, he does those things a winning teams need to do.

Right there, the Mets had five runs. It would barely be enough.

David Peterson got the call up for the start with the doubleheader. For four innings, he was really good allowing just one run. It would fall apart in the fifth, which is a shame because he should have been out of the inning.

After Travis Demeritte hit a lead-off single, Guillermo Heredia struck out, and Ozzie Albies hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play. However, Peterson booted it leading to everyone being safe. On the very next pitch, Matt Olson hit a three run homer to pull the Braves within one.

The thing is, that’s the last run the Braves would score in the doubleheader.

The Mets bullpen was awesome. Adam Ottavino struck out two in his scoreless inning. Drew Smith struck out two over his two innings. Finally, Edwin Diaz was unhittable yet again. With that, the Mets took the opener 5-4.

If you thought that pitching performance was impressive, you were in for a real treat with Carlos Carrasco in the second end.

After coming out of the gates red hot, Carrasco took a major step backwards in his last start. Given what happened last season, you could understand fans concerns. This start should have allayed all of those fears.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a lead-off double, which again gave rise to concerns of the first inning problems last year. Carrasco settled down to mow down the Braves and pitch the first of what was eight scoreless innings.

In doubleheaders, you need at least one starter to step up. When you don’t have that, you run the risk of absolutely burning out your bullpen. Carrasco being the first Mets starter to go eight innings was bigger than the start itself. He saved the Mets bullpen for the next day. This is what veteran leaders do.

After the second inning, Carrasco would allow just two more hits. He would put the Mets in line for a big win.

After making the roster for good with the Robinson Cano DFA, Dominic Smith would get his first start since his 4-for-4 game. He picked right up where he left off hitting a two run double in his first at-bat to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

With respect to Dom, it is important to note just how horrid the umpiring was in these games and overall. For example, when Peterson allowed his first run of the game in the first end of the doubleheader, the ball that was hit was clearly foul. However, due to inane MLB replay rules, it was not reviewable.

With respect to Smith, one of his issues this season has been horrendous strike calls against him. We saw it again in the sixth with Smith striking out on a pitch that was a foot off of the plate.

This call was too much for everyone to take. In fact, after seeing this strike call, and really, the umpiring so far in this series, Max Scherzer would actually get ejected for arguing balls and strikes. This was actually the second time in his career he was ejected with both times coming in games he didn’t pitch.

The Mets would wind up winning this game 3-0. The second run came on a monster Alonso home run to the opposite field. Alonso has been shooting that way all year, and now, he has a big homer out there:

This was a big day for Alonso. Between the two games, he was 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBI. This is the type of hitter we have seen him be, and this is the type of hitter who can carry the Mets offense like he did in these two games.

After Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season, the Mets completed the doubleheader sweep. That was with the help of six scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Overall, this was not the Mets who have struggled against the Braves. This is a Mets team ready to make a statement. They did in this game and have a chance to win an eighth straight series to start the season and let the Braves know this division belongs to the Mets.