Dominic Smith

deGrom Inches Closer To Cy Young

That Cy Young Award is now so close for Jacob deGrom he can almost taste it. While Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola have slipped this month, deGrom continues setting records.

With his win tonight (A WIN!), he broke the record he shared with Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter for consecutive quality starts in a season.

In his seven innings of work, deGrom allowed just one earned on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. He would lower his MLB best ERA to 1.77.

After Wilmer Difo hit a second inning sacrifice fly, deGrom would only yield one base hit. That lone base runner wouldn’t get past first.

Unlike other games where deGrom has taken the loss for a terrific start like this, he would get that rare win.

Amed Rosario hit the first pitch of the game for a double. Victor Robles misplayed it, but Rosario didn’t head to third. For a moment, it looked like Rosario would be stranded there, but Jay Bruce blooped a two out single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

After the Nationals tied it in the second, the Mets got the lead again in a big three run third.

That rally was started with Michael Conforto and Bruce hitting consecutive one out doubles off Nationals starter Joe Ross.

Dominic Smith brought home Bruce with a key two out RBI. After an uncharacteristic Anthony Rendon error allowed Todd Frazier to reach, Devin Mesoraco doubled home Rosario.

At that point, it was 4-1 Mets, and deGrom was in the drivers seat. Effectively speaking, both offenses went completely silent. That meant the cushion the Mets have deGrom was more than sufficient.

Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless eighth, and Robert Gsellman had an eventful ninth. He’d get through it allowing just one run with some help as Conforto made a leaping catch to take a hit away from Bryce Harper.

With the 4-2 win, both the Nationals and deGrom now see their records at .500. With how the season has gone,

Game Notes: After not playing in over two weeks, Mesorsco was 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, and

https://twitter.com/mikemayermmo/status/1043316071770537984?s=21

Matz Helped His Friend, Mets Didn’t Help Matz

The Mets had won 19 consecutive games in which a Mets pitcher had hit a homer.  That included Steven Matz‘s last start when he had homered.  Well, Matz woud hit a homer again in this game giving you hope it was going to be 20 straight:

That homer came off of Aaron Nola, and it not only gave the Mets the lead, but it put a little dent in Nola’s Cy Young case.  Certainly, Matz was cognizant of that as after Matz trotted around the bases, he walked up to Jacob deGrom and said, “That was for my friend.”

Really, Matz did all he could do to help deGrom win the Cy Young.  In addition to the homer, Matz was good on the mound.  In his five innings, he would allow just two hits while walking five and striking out four.  In addition to the hitting and pitching, Matz would make an incredible behind the back catch to start a double play:

With the four walks, Matz’s pitch count was up.  At 91 pitches, it made the decision to pinch hit for him in the top of the sixth an easier one than it normally would be.

At the time the Mets had a 2-0 lead because Dominic Smith would double home Brandon Nimmo in the fourth inning.  Smith and Nimmo would take part in another two out rally in the fifth.  After Nimmo walked because, well that’s what he does, and Dom singled, Gabe Kapler would pull Nola and put it Pat Neshek.  Neshek walked Kevin Plawecki to load the bases, and Mickey Callaway sent up Wilmer Flores to pinch hit.

Flores would strike out on three pitches.

That Flores strikeout was a missed opportunity.  With the inherited runners on base, it was a chance to put a further dent in Nola’s Cy Young wishes.  It was also a chance to tack on some needed runs.

The Mets would add .02 to Nola’s ERA which probably won’t have much impact on his Cy Young chances.  Because the Mets failed to take advantage of the opportunity, they would also miss a chance to saddle Nola with the loss. Well, it was the missed chance and the bullpen implosion.

Jerry Blevins started the fire by walking Carlos Santana and hitting Aaron Altherr with a pitch.  Callaway then brought on Drew Smith, who just could not get anyone out.  First, it was a Wilson Ramos single.  Then a Justin Bour double.  Finally, Jorge Alfaro homered.  Anthony Swarzak would come on and get the Mets out of the inning without allowing another run.

But by then, it was too late.  The Mets fell behind 5-2, and they did not have another run in them.  It didn’t matter much as the chance to really dent Nola’s Cy Young case went by the wayside.

Game Notes: In a recent BBWAA poll, deGrom was overwhelming voted as the Cy Young winner.

Wright’s Playing Days Ending As The Mets Play On

In an emotional press conference, David Wright announced he was playing on Saturday, September 29th and never again. While we’ve already entered into a post-Wright Mets era, this was a crushing confirmation of the news.

With news like this, the last thing on most people’s minds was playing a game. Let alone two. And yet, there was a scheduled doubleheader.

In the first game, we were treated to a terrific performance from Steven Matz.

After allowing back-to-back homers to Peter O’Brien and Isaac Galloway in the second, Matz would hit his first career homer to tie the game.

The game would stay tied 2-2 until the seventh when O’Brien would strike again singling off Drew Smith to drive home Brian Anderson, who led off the inning with a double off Matz.

Overall, Matz pitched 6.1 innings allowing three earned on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

It seemed the Marlins were going to win this game 3-2, but that was until Don Mattingly made a mistake. Instead of sticking with Adam Conley, who absolutely owns the Mets, Mattingly went to Kyle Barraclough because Amed Rosario was due up.

Mickey Callaway went to Dominic Smith who grounded out right in front of home plate.

While Smith wouldn’t deliver, Michael Conforto would hitting a game tying homer off Barraclough. It was his fourth homer in five games.

Three pitches later, Todd Frazier would hit a walk-off homer.

With that, the game ended with a homer by Wright’s heir apparent for best homegrown position player followed by a homer by the guy signed to replace Wright. Really, it was quite the fitting ending.

But still, there was more baseball to be played.

Surprisingly, the Mets got a strong start by Jason Vargas with him allowing little more than a two run homer to Miguel Rojas over six innings.

Vargas would get the win for a few reasons. Chief among them was his catcher Tomas Nido, who made a great play in the field

before hitting his first career homer

The Nido solo shot opened the scoring for the Mets in a three run inning capped off by a two out Conforto RBI double.

That 3-2 lead would hold up as Seth Lugo was as dominant as you can be in his two innings. In fact, Lugo would strike out five of the seven batters he faced.

The Mets built a seventh inning rally starting starting with a Jeff McNeil two out single. As the inning progressed, the Mets scored insurance runs on singles by Conforto and Smith.

That 5-2 lead proved to be save for Robert Gsellman to shut the door on a seemingly rare doubleheader sweep.

With the sweep, the Mets are now just 10 games under .500 for the first time since June 21st.

Game Notes:

Wheeler Drowns Marlins

It was supposed to be a doubleheader, but with the rain the best laid plans were washed out. With MLB not looking to schedule a triple-header for the Marlins last series at Citi Field, we waited over five hours for Mets baseball.

Zack Wheeler was worth the wait.

He needed just 35 pitches to get through the first four. With his dominance, he had a chance at The Maddux.

He was in that position partially because he induced Lewis Brinson to hit into an inning ending double play. With that 5-4-3 double play, Wheeler escaped a bases loaded jam.

Astonishingly, with Wheeler only throwing 89 pitches over eight innings, he didn’t get a chance to get the complete game. Paul Sewald would close this one out.

Wheeler’s incredible final line was 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K.

Wheeler got the win because the Mets offense exploded.

Dominic Smith started a second inning rally with a leadoff double off Marlins starter Trevor Richards. He’d score on a double by the worst player in the National League.

Brian Anderson made an error on a Tomas Nido grounder to make it 2-0. Nido scored on a Jeff McNeil triple.

It was another big game for McNeil. For the third time over the past week, he had a three hit game. Overall, he was 3-for-4 with a run, triple, and three RBI.

Speaking of hot hitters, Amed Rosario absolutely launched a three run homer in the fourth:

Up 6-0, things would get completely out of hand on the sixth. The Marlins played terrible defense (no errors charged), and the Mets sent 11 batters to the plate.

The two big blows of the inning was a Jay Bruce grand slam and a Dom two run homer. All said and done, it was a seven run inning turning this into a 13-0 route.

It was just a brilliant performance by the Mets all around. It was the kind of performances we saw in April. We’re seeing them again now, and on nights like this, we can believe it’ll happen in 2019.

Game Notes: Michael Conforto‘s streak of three straight games with a homer was snapped leaving Richard Delgado‘s franchise best five game streak in tact.

Mets Fail deGrom Again

Tonight was one of the few important games remaining on the Mets schedule because Jacob deGrom was starting.

Early on, it looked like deGrom had it all going. After issuing a leadoff walk to Rafael Ortega, deGrom struck out the side. In fact, he’d go the first 3.2 innings without allowing a hit.

Brian Anderson then hit a slow roller up that middle Amed Rosario couldn’t get to and Jeff McNeil could not field cleanly. Derek Dietrich singled cleanly to put two on with two out.

deGrom went 0-2 against Lewis Brinson, and he tried to go up in the zone to get out of the inning. He didn’t get it up enough, and Brinson drove it to deep center. Austin Jackson, who is in there for defense despite a -13 DRS, took a bad route and wasn’t nearly quick enough. Instead of being out of the inning, deGrom was down 2-0.

We knew the Mets weren’t getting him off the hook as they were providing deGrom with his typical run support. Really, Michael Conforto was the only one who showed up with his bats.

After being stranded at fourth with a leadoff double, Conforto would make sure he scored in his next at-bat as he homered off Jose Urena.

Overall, the Mets had four hits in the game. Two were by Conforto. The other two were by Dominic Smith and deGrom.

Even if the bats did get going, the bullpen would’ve made it a moot point.

JT Riddle, he of a career .371 SLG, hit a no doubt homer off Anthony Swarzak in the eighth. Robert Gsellman was tasked with keeping at 3-1 in the ninth. He didn’t.

He wasn’t helped out by Brandon Nimmo making an ill advised dive for an Anderson sinking liner. Instead of two on, it was an RBI triple. A Dietrich RBI double made it 5-1.

Overall, deGrom’s final line in the loss was 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. This was his record 25th start in a row allowing three earned or fewer.

As noted by the eminent Jerry Beach, this was the 10th time deGrom allowing two earned or fewer over seven innings and did not get the win. There are only six pitchers to do this in 2018, and it’s only happened 10 times total.

In the end, deGrom is now 8-9 because the Mets two out rally in the ninth, highlighted by a Kevin Plawecki two run homer, sputtered out with a Rosario broken bat ground out.

Mets lost 5-3 in a game they could’ve helped deGrom.

Game Notes: Todd Frazier was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. McNeil moved to third, and Wilmer Flores played second. The Mets had 9/11 patches on their caps. Again, there were no First Responder caps.

Things Can Never Just Be Good With The Mets

Last night, the Mets were absolutely rolling knocking Zach Eflin out after three and Jerad Eickhoff, who was making his first appearance of the year, out after one.

Tomas Nido, who was catching either because Kevin Plawecki was hit with another pitch or because Noah Syndergaard likes having a personal catcher, cleared the bases with an RBI double to give the Mets a 3-0 second inning lead.

Todd Frazier hit a three inning homer in the third giving the Mets a 6-0 lead leaving you to wonder how long before Gabe Kapler started going to the position players.

Jeff McNeil was great going 3-for-5 with two runs, and a triple. Michael Conforto surpassed Asdrubal Cabrera for the team lead in RBI. Not too long ago, Conforto also surpassed Cabrera for the team lead in homers. Jay Bruce looked good again at the plate going 2-for-2 with two runs, an RBI, and two walks.

However, this is the Mets, so nothing can be this easy. Not even in a 10-5 win that they led 7-0 heading into the sixth and 9-2 after six.

Dominic Smith followed a good game by going 0-for-2 with a walk before leaving the game with a groin injury. He was replaced by Jack Reinheimer for reasons only Mickey Callaway knows.

Speaking of Reinheimer, you’d be hard pressed to explain why he’s here and Luis Guillorme isn’t.

That wasn’t the worst of it. No, that was Cesar Hernandez hitting a hard liner that went off Syndergaard’s ribs. It may have chased him from the game, but he was able to laugh about it later:

Syndergaard’s final line was 6.2 innings, 12 hits, four runs, four earned, five walks, and four strikeouts. The low strikeouts are alarming, but not as much as the walks or the career high in hits allowed.

Still, this was mostly a fun game with some terrific signs for the Mets going forward. Here’s hoping the Mets didn’t burn through all their offense for this series with Jacob deGrom going Sunday.

Game Notes: Bobby Wahl was placed on the 60 day DL to make room for Jose Lobaton on the roster.

Dominic Smith Re-Emerges

In some ways, today’s game was not about standing in the Phillies way of making the postseason. Rather, it was more about putting a dent in the Cy Young candidacy of Aaron Nola to help Jacob deGrom.

That would start with Jay Bruce hitting a first inning homer, and it would continue thanks to the younger players on the Mets roster.

In the third, Brandon Nimmo did what he does best – walk on a 3-2 count. Mickey Callaway then swung into action ordering a hit-and-run with Jeff McNeil at the plate.

Nola would make a tough pitch, but with McNeil being excellent with his bat control, he was able to put a cricket swing on the pitch and hit it into right field for an RBI double.

For a moment, it looked like Bruce was going to drive home McNeil, but he was robbed by Carlos Santana.

At that point, it was tied at 2-2 with Steven Matz matching Nola pitch for pitch. Over his five innings, he allowed two earned on three hits while walking two and striking out eight.

Those two runs were the result of a Santana homer. As it would turn out, Santana would not be the only first baseman flashing leather and hitting homers.

In a surprise decision, Dominic Smith got the start at first against one of the best pitchers in the National League despite not having started a game in over a week. Despite the difficult circumstances, Smith would deliver:

That homer would tie the game at 3-3, but the Mets would not be able to pull this one out as the young bullpen was not up for the task.

Eric Hanhold made his second MLB appearance in the sixth, and Odubel Herrera hit a leadoff double. He’d come home to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.

Tyler Bashlor entered in the seventh, and he dominated the Phillies with two strikeouts and a pop out. The problem would be Callaway left him in for the eighth.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins hit a leadoff homer to put the Phillies up 4-3. The Phillies couldn’t muster a rally past that as McNeil and Smith combined to make a phenomenal defensive play:

Overall, the Mets would increase Nola’s ERA from 2.23 to 2.29, but they would also give him his 16th win of the season. Time will tell if this will be sufficient to help deGrom.

Game Notes: While downplaying the possibility David Wright will return this season, John Ricco admitted he has not spoken to Wright.

Mets Teetering On Irrelevance

Tonight, the new NFL season officially begins with the Atlanta Falcons taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.  With that, for the first time since Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals claimed their first Stanley Cup, Major League Baseball no longer has the stage all to themselves.

That’s a big problem for the New York Mets.

On Sunday, the Mets are going to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at the same time the New York Giants will begin their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  With respect to the Giants, they are a team featuring a new head coach, the second overall pick from the draft, and of course, future Hall of Famer Eli Manning.

On Monday, the Sam Darnold Era begins as the Jets travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Monday Night Football.  At the same time, the Mets will be hosting the Miami Marlins on Bark at the Park Night.

Certainly, the early NFL season offers optimism for both Jets and Giants fans.  It also features young and exciting players who fans hope will serve as the cornerstones of their respective franchises for the next decade.

By the same token, the Mets have decided it was not time to call-up Peter Alonso, and have instead opted to play Jay Bruce at first base.  For that matter, the team is not playing Dominic Smith at either first base or left field.  Apparently, the team believes fans want to see Austin Jackson play center field over Brandon Nimmo.

That’s the problem with the New York Mets right now.  Short of a Jacob deGrom start and possibly a Zack Wheeler start, the Mets are not offering you a real reason to tune into their games.  That was one thing during the summer when baseball was the only show in town.  However, with the NFL season staring along with your favorite TV shows beginning to roll out their season premieres, the Mets are going to fade further and further away.

Really, short of David Wright making a miraculous comeback, a proposition which seems less and less likely by the day, the Mets are not offering their fans much of a reason to watch.

Clearly, this is something which has been lost on the Mets franchise.  It’s not just that they are a bad team who is 13 games under .500.  Now, they’re a team overshadowed by the world around them.  For the moment, it is something that will affect just September viewership and attendance.  However, until the Mets fix something with their team, it is something that is going to plauge their 2019 season and beyond.

Certainly, this is something the Mets should be considering before they deem Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, or even A.J. Pollock too expensive this offseason.

deGrom Sets Mets and MLB Records In No Decision

When Justin Turner hit a first inning home run off of Jacob deGrom, it was evident deGrom did not have his best stuff.  After all, deGrom had not allowed a home run in his last 42 innings pitched.  As it turned out, it really was a struggle for deGrom with him needing 109 pitches to get through six innings.  That’s notably because he threw 108 pitches in each of his last three starts, and he went 9.0, 6.0, and 8.0 innings respectively.

Through all of his troubles tonight and him fighting it, deGrom’s final line was 6.0 innings, two hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and six strikeouts.

It’s at the point where deGrom is so good his inability to find himself and be on his A game leads him to having an absolutely terrific and dominant start.  He’s been having a lot of those lately.  In fact, with this quality start, deGrom set a new Mets record with 20 straight quality starts.  It gets better.  With deGrom allowing three earned runs or less in his past 25 starts, he has set a new MLB record.

And to think there are some people who don’t want to give him the Cy Young.  Of course, those people’s justification is wins.  Well, tonight was another exercise of how absurd that is.

While deGrom has been great all season, Alex Wood has been great of late, and the Mets do not hit left-handed batters well.  More to the point, for some reason when the Mets have been playing good teams of late, they find ways to shoot themselves in the foot.  Tonight was no exception.

In the first Wilmer Flores hit into an inning ending double play.  In the second, Todd Frazier, who had made a fine catch in the game diving into the stands,  was thrown out stealing to end the inning.  In the third, Austin Jackson struck out to end the inning with runners at second and third.  After all of that, deGrom needed to take control of things himself in the fifth inning.

After a Jay Bruce leadoff walk and a Devin Mesoraco single (he was lifted from the game and Jose Reyes pinch ran for him due to injury), Jeff McNeil hit into a double play leaving it up to deGrom to get Bruce home from third.  With him using McNeil’s bat, deGrom delivered the RBI single tying the game at 1-1.  Really, deGrom was doing all he could do out there with him combining his excellent pitching with him going 2-for-2 at the plate.

There was a chance deGrom was going to get into the seventh inning in this game to just allow him to hang around long enough to hope beyond hope the Mets put him in a position to win.  However with an Amed Rosario error in the sixth inning, that pretty much ended that hope meaning the 8-8 deGrom was saddled with another no decision, and this was going to become a battle of the bullpens.

The Mets would win that battle as the offense would eventually break through and because the Mets bullpen did not break.

In the seventh, the Mets were close.  They had the bases loaded with two outs, but Jackson couldn’t deliver the key hit.  Well, if the Mets thought they were close, the Dodgers were even closer.

Against Seth Lugo in the seventh, they had runners at the corners and no outs.  Lugo first struck out Yasmani Grandal, and then he induced Yasiel Puig to hit into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the eighth, Drew Smith issued a two out walk to Turner which almost blew up in his face.  If not for the low right field wall in Dodgers Stadium, it is likely Manny Machado‘s double gives the Dodgers a 2-1 lead instead of being a ground rule double putting runners at second and third with two outs.  After getting Enrique Hernandez to fly out to center, Smith officially dodged a bullet.

Kenta Maeda was not dodging the same bullet in the ninth.  After a Bruce leadoff double, Kevin Plawecki sacrificed him over to third base.  After McNeil was hit by a pitch, the Mets had runners at the corners with one out setting the stage for Brandon Nimmo, who came on to pinch hit for Smith:

With Nimmo’s pinch hit three run homer, the Mets had an unlikely 4-1 lead, which Robert Gsellman had the task to save.  It was not going to be easy for him and the Mets.  After a replay review, the Dodgers had runners at the corners with no outs.  The game was 4-2 after Grandal brought a run home with a sacrifice fly.  That would be the final score as Gsellman induced Matt Kemp to hit into the game ending 6-4-3 double play.

So overall, the Mets won a game partially because of the six dominant innings he gave them, but for some reason, there is going to be a voter out there who is not going to put him atop the Cy Young ballot because of his 8-8 record.

Game Notes: With the Dodgers starting the left-handed Wood, McNeil batted eighth, and Nimmo was on the bench.  Before the game, the Mets recalled Dominic Smith, Jack Reinheimer, and Drew Gagnon

Reasons To Continue Watching The Mets

The Mets are so far under .500 that they can’t even get in the mix for what is a wide open National League Wild Card.  They’re not even following the Nationals lead who traded off Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams at the same time the Mets are playing Jose Bautista and Austin Jackson everyday.  Given the record and the poor direction of this organization, it becomes increasingly difficult to find reasons to watch.

With that in mind, here are reasons to watch the Mets other than you love the Mets or you hate yourself:

More than any of this, we wait for baited breath to see if David Wright will actually take the field for the Mets again.  If he does, that will be the greatest reason of all to watch the Mets again this year.