Drew Smith

Mets Will Win 2021 NL East Title

Maybe this is just the excitement which comes from Opening Day. Certainly, that is amplified by new ownership, the Francisco Lindor extension, and Jacob deGrom taking the mound. However, taking everything into account, this New York Mets team is the best one we have seen since 2015 and probably 2006.

Like most times the Mets are good, they are going to be led by pitching. Their starting staff is great, and when healthy, it is the best in baseball. Part of the reason why is deGrom is still the best pitcher in baseball. Behind him right now is Marcus Stroman. Stroman has made adjustments and added new pitches, and he looks set for a career year. That is really saying something considering he has been a gamer his entire career, and he was the World Baseball Classic MVP.

Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco may be the two most underrated pitchers in baseball. Looking at their FIP, they pitch at or near an ace level. In this rotation, they may be no better than third or fourth starters. It’s not just doing deGrom-Stroman-Syndergaard-Carrasco. This is one of the deepest rotations in all of baseball.

Behind that quartet is Taijuan Walker who was once a top 100 prospect, and he seems poised to take a big step forward after using analytics to help him improve. After Walker, the Mets have David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto, each of whom could be around a three in most rotations. For the Mets, they will eventually be on the outside looking in.

They are all going to be better pitchers because they have the tandem of James McCann and Tomas Nido behind the plate. Both of these players are strong catchers who are excellent pitch framers. Having catchers like that behind the plate make good pitchers even better. When your starting pitching is great and operating at a high level, you are going to win a lot of games.

This is paired with an incredible lineup. They Mets have an embarrassment of riches on that front. Consider Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have each been All-Star lead-off hitters, and they aren’t even the Mets best lead-off hitter. That’s Brandon Nimmo. With that group plus Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith, their 1-6 of their lineup can and probably should be hitting in the middle of the order.

Now, this Mets team isn’t perfect. Far from it. The first problem is their bullpen. The good news on that front is between Edwin Diaz and Trevor May, they have the last two innings covered well. The hope is at least one of Dellin Betances, Miguel Castro, or Jeurys Familia can figure it out to become that seventh inning reliever. That is at least until Seth Lugo is good to return. When that happens the Mets bullpen will be in great shape.

Another factor there is the Mets have some other interesting options. Sooner or later, Drew Smith will be healthy and ready to rejoin the bullpen. It should also be noted when the Mets have their full rotation, someone like Lucchesi can move down to the bullpen where his churve could be a weapon on par with Lugo’s curveball.

The other issue is the defense. Simply put, having J.D. Davis at third is unacceptable. He can’t remotely field the position. Having Dominic Smith behind him makes the left side defense one of the worst in baseball. To that, they may not be the worst in the division with the Atlanta Braves probably being worse with Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna.

It’s very possible Brandon Nimmo can succeed with positioning in center. After all, he’s had positive OAAs in center most of his career, and he does have the speed for the position. Jeff McNeil seems more comfortable at second, and while Alonso has his defensive issues, he is quite adept and receiving throws around first.

While the lineup has serious defensive issues, the bench does not. Luis Guillorme is a Gold Glove caliber defender. Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar are also quite good. With the lead, we can and should see Luis Rojas run all three out with Smith moving to first base. When that happens, the Mets defensive alignment turns from questionable to really strong.

Therein lies the key. Aside from health, Rojas is going to be the biggest key to this Mets season. He is going to need a deft touch as to when to utilize his defensive replacements. He and Jeremy Hefner are also going to have to get their rotation healthy through the season, which is all the more challenging because of the shortened season last year. They are also going to have to find the right mix in the bullpen while making sure they don’t overuse their best relievers.

Right now, the Mets have the right mix to have a great season. They also have an owner willing to invest in the team, and they have Sandy Alderson in charge, who we know will not be shy making a key trade or two to improve this Mets roster.

Looking at the Braves, their pitching has durability issues, and their defensive issues may be worse than the Mets. The Phillies don’t have the starting pitching, and their bullpen was a disaster last year. The Marlins are young and not deep. The Nationals still don’t know what they are going at key positions on the field.

Taking everything into account, the Mets are the best team in the National League East. If Rojas is up to the task, and there is every reason to believe he will be, the Mets are well poised to return to the postseason again and let their pitching take them back to the World Series.

Jerry Blevins Sticking Around

After missing the pandemic season and becoming a budding TV star commentator, Jerry Blevins decided he wanted one last crack at a ring. There was only one catch. He only wanted to be a Met.

After a good (but not great) Spring Training, Blevins didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Rather than retire or seek his release, Blevins is going to report to Brooklyn thereby extending his chances of winning that elusive World Series ring.

Right now, the Mets bullpen is in a state of flux. Seth Lugo and Drew Smith are hurt. Veterans like Tommy Hunter and Mike Montgomery didn’t make the team. Players like Dellin Betances and Robert Gsellman had some worrisome signs with their velocity.

Aside from that, over that course of the season, there are pitcher injuries, and there are players who are sent down, designated for assignment, or released due to ineffectiveness. By staying Blevins gives himself a shot, and he very well find his way to Flushing soon.

If nothing else, Blevins had his curveball working. Back when he was with the Mets the first time, he utilized that curve to be a very good reliever in the Mets bullpen.

There is still the chance for him to be that again. He showed this spring he still has the stuff to get Major League batters out. There is still room for him to fulfill a role in the Mets bullpen. What role that is or when it will be is still to be determined.

The one thing we do know is Blevins will stick around until that time comes. That’s very good for the Mets as Blevins can very be a part of a bullpen who can get him that ring he returned to get.

Projecting Mets 2021 Opening Day Bullpen

The New York Mets bullpen has been through for a loop with the injury to Seth Lugo to start the season. Things have grown increasingly complicated by diminished velocity of Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances. With all that said, the bullpen has talent, and there are many spots accounted for already.

Guaranteed – Miguel Castro, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Aaron Loup, Trevor May

Obviously, Diaz is going to be the closer coming off of a strong 2020 season. May is going to figure into the equation as a late inning reliever, and Loup was brought on to be the LOOGY. That’s the easy part.

Castro is out of options, and it is very likely he would be picked up off waivers if the Mets tried to send him down. Fortunately, that does not seem to be an issue with Castro having a great Spring striking out four in 4.0 scoreless and hitless innings.

After him, with Familia seemingly getting his elite level stuff back, he is a lock to make the bullpen. If nothing else, he can pitch the middle innings while the Mets hope Jeremy Hefner gets him back to his dominant form.

Bubble – Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman, Drew Smith, Daniel Zamora

The 13 pitcher roster rule has been suspended for the 2021 season, but that may be a good general construct. Considering a five man rotation with the aforementioned five guaranteed spots, that leaves three remaining spots.

Given his salary and history of building up his velocity in-season, it is likely Betances makes the Opening Day roster. That leaves two spots available in the bullpen. Given the performances this Spring, that is going to be a difficult decision.

Gsellman has been a mainstay in the bullpen over the last few seasons and based on seniority he gets the call. Notably with him, the Mets did have the option to stretch him out as a starter, but they opted not to do that this spring with Gsellman only throwing 4.0 innings over three appearances.

Smith was the one reliever from the 2017 trade deadline debacle who has proven he could pitch in the majors. So far, he looks good, and the Mets are going to have to go out of their way to try to keep a pitcher with three scoreless appearances with no walks and three strikeouts off of the roster.

Finally, there is Zamora who probably presents the Mets best option to carry two left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. He has been a little wild with two walks over 3.2 innings, but he has also struck out three batters. That is typical for Zamora over the last few years.

Fifth Starter Competition – Joey Lucchesi, David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto

The injury to Carlos Carrasco certainly changed the complexity of the fifth starter battle. With his injury, that opened up two spots instead of one. Given the nature of the injury, the Mets could feel more comfortable putting Peterson in the Opening Day rotation as the fear of having to send him down at one point isn’t as strong.

If Peterson were to make the rotation, the Mets could put one or both of Lucchesi or Yamamoto in the bullpen. Both pitchers have been great this Spring, and they have both more than made the case they deserve to be on the Opening Day roster in some way, shape, or form.

Outside Looking In – Jerry Blevins, Tommy Hunter, Arodys Vizcaino

Blevins probably has a much better chance than this given his curveball looking great. However, he has only appeared in two games walking two and striking out three. While this arguably puts him ahead of Zamora, especially with his track record, adding Blevins would require the Mets to make a roster move.

With respect to Hunter and Vizcaino, they may well both prove to have an impact on the Mets in 2021. That said, neither quite seem ready to pitch Opening Day at the moment. That goes double for Vizcaino who has only made one apperance so far.

Wild Card – Mike Montgomery, Corey Oswalt

With Carrasco suffering an injury, the Mets are said to begin stretching out Montgomery. That would seemingly be an indication they are looking for him to begin the season in Syracuse instead of Flushing. Still, it is hard to overlook his ability to be another lefty in the bullpen and a pitcher who can give you multiple innings. That said, Lucceshi could offer that himself.

Oswalt has had a very good Spring Training with Luis Rojas being very impressed. His velocity is way up, and he has looked quite strong. In fact, we probably shouldn’t completely rule him out in the fifth stater competition. If it is about competition, Oswalt has a strong case to make the Opening Day roster. That said, the fact it’ll require a 40 man move serves as a significant impediment.

Opening Day Bullpen

Joining the aforementioned group of Castro, Diaz, Familia, Loup, and May will very likely include Betances giving the Mets two more spots to figure out. With Lucchesi and Yamamoto now poised to start the season in the rotation, it would seem the final two spots can go to pitchers who are strictly relievers and not converted starters.

At the moment, it looks like one of those two spots should go to Smith. It’s possible the last spot goes to Gsellman due to his ability to give the Mets an extra inning here or there, but it would seem his spot is about as tenuous as Betances’ is right now. Overall, there are two weeks to go and a lot can happen. It will be very interesting to see where things go from here.

Mets Second Starter Should Be Taijuan Walker, Joey Lucchesi, Or Jordan Yamamoto

When teams assemble their pitching rotations, they typically assemble them in order of the talent of their top starters. Taking the New York Mets as an example, Jacob deGrom will be the Opening Day starter. After him, with Carlos Carrasco possibly delayed to start the season and Noah Syndergaard on the 60 day IL, it is fairly clear right now Marcus Stroman would be the second starter.

If you are taking the long term view of the season, Stroman should not be the second starter. Yes, he is the second best starter available, and if this was Game 2 of a postseason series, you would definitively be handing him the ball. However, in the regular season, that does not make any sense.

Looking at deGrom, since he has been the best pitcher in baseball, he has averaged 6.1 innings per start. If you look at the two seasons prior to 2020, he averaged 6.2 innings. That means whenever he takes the ball, the bullpen is getting a break. That is important when you consider the bullpen gets increasingly taxed and taxed with each start. To that, here is the average innings per start over the last four seasons for the Mets projected 2021 rotation options:

Now, the Mets seemed to be blessed with pitchers who tend to go deeper into games than most teams. Still, when fully healthy, this will be a rotation with two 5+ inning starters at the back end of their rotation. That means a bullpen who gets increasingly used after deGrom starts will be asked to provide a lot more without much of a break.

That was something which truly presented an issue for the Mets during deGrom’s first Cy Young campaign. Yes, he received little to no run support far too often that season. However, he also would see the bullpen blow a number of late leads for him. Part of the result is that the bullpen had been taxed heading into his starts. Rather than having the bullpen in the best possible shape to secure a win from their ace, they were on fumes hoping for deGrom to give them a break.

That is partially how you take a season for the ages and turn it into a 11-10 record for deGrom. That is both a reflection of how wins and losses for a pitcher are overrated. However, it is also an indication that something is going wrong that a pitcher who is setting records can’t buy a win.

If we were to look at the current Mets rotation, the bullpen is going to be well rested when deGrom takes the mound. Typically speaking, they will need to get about 6-8 outs in a game. That will leave them well rested. That is exactly the right time to line up the bullpen for a Walker start.

Typically speaking, Walker provides 5+ innings in a start. After deGrom, the bullpen will be well poised to provide that. Of course, after that, the Mets will have run through some of their bullpen. That is when you combat that by going to Syndergaard or Carrasco (if healthy) or Stroman. The Mets can then go to their 5+ inning fifth starter whether that is Luccesi, Peterson, or Yamamoto. Finally, the Mets could then go to Stroman who can eat some more innings before handing the ball back to deGrom.

By restructuring the rotation in that fashion, the Mets are positioning their bullpen to get breaks here and there. You are getting them regular work, and you are avoiding some fallow periods where they are not getting work because the top pitchers are eating up innings. Overall, the general concept is to stagger the pitchers by the innings they will reasonably provide instead of just lining them up without any concept on the impact it will have on the bullpen and staff as a whole.

Hopefully, that means a better rested Edwin Diaz. It could mean less of a need to rely on Seth Lugo for multiple innings when he returns. It could mean not needing to have the Triple-A to MLB shuttle for pitchers like Drew Smith. Instead, pitchers are put in a position where they get regular rest and work. That should help them succeed, and it should help prevent them from blowing games for deGrom.

 

Too Soon For Concerns Over Mets Bullpen

We can and should argue the New York Mets should’ve done more to address the bullpen. That said, they didn’t, and we have to see how it shakes out.

On days like the Spring Training game against the Washington Nationals, you worry. Neither Jeurys Familia nor Dellin Betances was good. With respect to the former, Sandy Alderson was noticeably annoyed with his performance.

Familia walked two in a scoreless and hitless inning. Betances also walked two, but he wasn’t nearly as lucky or effective. Betances allowed four runs on two hits and two walks. He yielded a homer to Ryan Zimmerman, who didn’t play last year due to COVID19 concerns.

Neither pitcher struck out a batter.

For Familia, the walks are especially concerning. In his prime, he walked that fine line, but now that he’s older, he’s been falling off the cliff. Frankly, he’s walking far too many batters to be reliable and effective.

The situation is similar for Betances, but at least with Familia, his velocity is there. While it’s usually not there this early for Betances, it seems more of a fait accompli it’s not returning considering it hasn’t been there for two years now.

To wit, Betances is working to adapt to be a more effective pitcher without the velocity.

For both Familia and Betances, it’s clear they both had a lot to work on after last year. That’s just the thing. They’re still working on things. It’s also just their first Spring outings.

Opening Day is still about a month away giving both pitchers time to improve and hone things. Certainly, they can also work on things in-season.

They may succeed, and they may not. They may prove to be nothing more than middle relief rather than the high leverage relievers they once were.

There’s an important consideration there. No one said they need to pitch the seventh or eighth inning. For that, the Mets already have Trevor May and will be getting Seth Lugo back at some point before that All-Star Break.

There’s talented young arms behind them. Drew Smith is pushing his way to the majors, and Miguel Castro will be on the roster. He may just be THIS CLOSE to a breakout too.

Robert Gsellman has shown flashes of brilliance when used judiciously in the pen. Joey Lucchesi profiles as a potential top end reliever, and who knows what Jordan Yamamoto could do there if given the chance. That’s nothing to say of the veterans like Tommy Hunter who are fighting for a job.

The overriding point is the talent is here, and it doesn’t need to be Familia and Betances back to their dominant forms for this bullpen to succeed. What the Mets need is for Jeremy Hefner to get through to these relievers, the front office to provide the coaching staff with useful data, and for Luis Rojas to put them all in a position to succeed.

Overall, it’s just way too sook to freak out about the bullpen. It may still be great. It may also falter. The thing is we don’t know which direction it will go based on one Spring Training game. In fact, we may not really know until a month into the season.

So just calm down, and let’s see how this all shakes out.

Mets Probably Don’t Need Another Reliever

Like it always seems to be, the New York Mets entered the offseason with the need to rebuild their bullpen. As the Mets entered Spring Training without Seth Lugo, there seemed to be a renewed emphasis on the need to add more relievers to the bullpen. However, when you break it down, the Mets may not need to actually add another arm.

Typically speaking, we will see the Mets carry a 12 man pitching staff which means seven relievers. Right off the bat, the Mets are set at closer with Edwin Diaz. He will certainly be joined in the bullpen by recent signees Trevor May and Aaron Loup. That trio right there takes care of the Mets closer, the eighth inning, and their LOOGY.

That leaves them having to figure out the other four relievers in the bullpen. Based upon the moves of Brodie Van Wagenen, three of those spots are occupied by Dellin Betances, Miguel Castro, and Jeurys Familia. This trio could very well become the core of what might be an excellent bullpen.

As previously detailed, Betances induced very weak contact last season, and he would miss a lot of bats. Looking at Baseball Savant, there was also a lot of promise with Jeurys Familia‘s season as he also induced a lot of weak contact, and he had terrific velocity. What really hampered each of their seasons was a mixture of walks and plain old bad defense.

Betances had a 1.56 GB/FB last year, but despite the weak contact, he yielded a .353 BABIP. Familia didn’t have the same issues with ground balls turning into outs as Betances, but he did see a career worst walk rate come back to bite him. Keep in mind, in only two of the 10 appearances where he didn’t walk a batter did the opposition score off of him.

Both relievers will be helped by the improved infield defense we should see with Francisco Lindor at short. Also, while we may see J.D. Davis start at third, in all likelihood, he should be removed late in games for Luis Guillorme thereby making the Mets defense elite for these groundball pitchers who induce weak contact.

Keep in mind, while Betances and Familia have typically had higher walk numbers, neither had really posted numbers that poor in their careers. Part of that could easily be explained by them trying to regain their prior form in a disjointed offseason. Really, both pitchers needed to hone a number of things, and the pandemic really cost them the opportunity to work with Jeremy Hefner like they needed.

Given a normal offseason and Spring Training, it is reasonable to assume both could be reasonably relied upon to at least easily handle the middle innings. Perhaps, they could eventually be reasonably be able to be relied upon for the seventh and eighth. In fact, we should be able to see them close a game or two here and there.

In terms of Castro, no one throws it harder. Really, that makes him a bit of a wild card not too dissimilar to what Hansel Robles used to be for the Mets. If you can harness him, you have an elite reliever. If you don’t you have an interesting mop up reliever. Either which way, he is out of options, and he is going to get every chance for the Mets to be the team to finally unlock his abilities.

When you add Lugo to these relievers, this bullpen could be the envy of every team in the majors. The question for the Mets is what to do in his absence. In terms of that, the Mets have plenty of options.

Joey Lucchesi profiles as a potential elite reliever. We have seen Robert Gsellman be elite out of the bullpen for stretches. If nothing else, we know he can absorb innings. The same could also be true for Jordan Yamamoto. The Mets also have a number of interesting young relievers to throw at the problem with Jacob Barnes, Yennsy Diaz, Sam McWilliams, Sean Reid-Foley, Drew Smith, Stephen Tarpley, and Daniel Zamora. Of course, there is also Mets fan favorite Jerry Blevins here on a minor league deal.

The moral of the story is the Mets have the talent in the bullpen. The real challenge is going to be for Hefner to work with them to get the most out of them. Then, perhaps the even bigger challenge is for Luis Rojas to deploy them properly. Overall, if Hefner and Rojas are successful, the Mets will get the most out of what is an extremely talented group, and we will begin to wonder why exactly we were so overly concerned about adding a big name reliever in the offseason.

Mets Can’t Afford To Lose Seth Lugo

Perhaps, the New York Mets just heard the worst possible news they could’ve heard. Seth Lugo needed elbow surgery, and he may not be able to pitch again until May, which is probably the optimistic view .

Make no mistake here. The Mets need Lugo back as soon as he can get back to being Lugo. That Lugo is the best and most versatile reliever in baseball. That reliever was desperately needed to stabilize this Mets bullpen.

Edwin Diaz is coming off a tremendous bounce-back year. That said, it was still just 26 appearances, and he still managed to blow 40% of his save opportunities. Moreover, he’s developed an every other year pattern with 2021 projected to be the down year.

Jeurys Familia has not been good since returning to the Mets, and based on his FIP, it’ll be difficult to imagine him turning it around in 2021.

There are some indications we could see a bounce back year from Dellin Betances. Still, Betances needs to regain some velocity and control with the latter always being an issue for him.

Miguel Castro may have a live arm, but he’s yet to harness it. He’s got a very poor career 4.7 BB/9, and even with the strikeout numbers, he only has a 1.59 K/BB, and batters hit .244 against him.

Aaron Loup has traditionally pitched well against left-handed batters, but he’s historically struggled against right-handed batters.

When you break it all down, the only pitcher you can truly have confidence in the Mets bullpen is Trevor May. Part and parcel of that is how the aforementioned relievers will be deployed has now been altered by Lugo’s injury.

Now, this is an opportunity for another pitcher, but they have to grab it.

Drew Smith has tremendous velocity and spin. The same holds true for Yennsy Diaz and Sean Reid-Foley. None of these three have been able to establish themselves yet with the later two having significant control issues. This also applies to Franklyn Kilome.

Robert Gsellman could return to the form we saw of him when he first landed in the bullpen. One of Joey Lucchesi or Jordan Yamamoto could find themselves there pending the results of the fifth starter spot.

There’s also the free agent and trade market as well. Even at this point in the offseason, there are still quality options remaining.

No matter where the Mets look, they’re not finding anyone nearly as good as Lugo. If they can’t, it throws the entire bullpen and pitching staff in disarray. As we’ve seen in years past, bad bullpens can ruin good teams.

These Mets are a good team. They might be a great team. However, with the loss of Lugo, their chances of hitting that ceiling took a massive hit. At the end of the day, there’s just no replacing the best reliever in baseball.

Instead, the Mets have to just hope they have enough quality depth. They need to hope 1-2 pitchers really step up. Mostly, they just need to hope Lugo is able to be Lugo at some point in 2021.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Blow Big Chance Against Yankees

The Yankees were banged up, and they struggled against the Mets. However, when push came to shove, they came out on top because this Mets team couldn’t get that big hit or big out.

1. The Mets were sellers at the deadline obtaining Steve Cohen for Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, and a Wilpon to be named later.

2. You’d have to assume if any deadline deals go forward now they have Cohen’s blessing. Of course, with the Wilpons, it may not be safe to assume.

3. This season is more evidence Brodie Van Wagenen should be fired. Hopefully, that’ll be one of the things Cohen does first.

4. No, Van Wagenen’s hot mike saying Rob Manfred doesn’t get it doesn’t make him likable or competent.

5. Hopefully, that wasn’t Van Wagenen’s Terry Collins ejection video.

6. Mets should insist on wearing Jackie Robinson‘s 42 for the rest of the year as art of their protests.

7. Luis Rojas‘ bullpen management has not been great.

8. Not using Drew Smith to protect a five run lead but then using him in a tied extra inning game is bizarre. That’s still not as bizarre as bringing in Edwin Diaz with runners on base.

9. These games just further cement how much the Mets need Seth Lugo in the bullpen. Aside from him, there’s no one you can truly trust in that pen.

10. The Mets are looking for a catcher at the trade deadline because Wilson Ramos has been terrible, and all indications are Tomas Nido has COVID19.

11. The COVID19 anonymity doesn’t work when you put players on the IL. At that point, we all know who had it.

12. Aside from that huge three run homer, Pete Alonso has been lost at the plate all season.

13. The same is true for Amed Rosario. He hit that walk-off homer off Aroldis Chapman, and then he once again did nothing at the plate. Also, he still hasn’t drawn a walk all year.

14. Chapman plunked J.D. Davis leading some to point out Davis was on the 2017 Astros.

15. Speaking of Davis, he’s been flat out terrible. Without the juiced ball, he’s back up to a 50% ground ball rate. That’s where he was before the juiced ball.

16. While others struggling mightily stay in the starting lineup, Luis Guillorme continues to sit despite his stellar defense and his continuing to get on base. If he’s not playing, it’s clear these Mets only want to win with Brodie’s guys.

17. Dominic Smith continues to play great, and he continues to show the Mets organization failed when they didn’t give him a real chance to win the first base job.

18. Andres Gimenez had just about as bad an inning at third as you can have. It’s a reminder he’s a rookie who never played above Double-A before this season.

19. If you like these seven inning games, you don’t like baseball. You might’ve at one point. You might’ve even loved it. But if you’re pushing for seven inning games now, you no longer like the sport.

20. Hopefully, Cohen tells Van Wagenen he’s not allowed to ruin the Mets future for short term personal glory before being shown the door for a real GM.

Game Recaps

Mets At Homer In Yankee Stadium

Dellin Betances Throws It Away

A Doubleheader of Depressing Losses

A Doubleheader Of Depressing Losses

The Mets were up 7-2 after a good Rick Porcello start and some late clutch hitting blowing the game open. It was the bottom of the seventh of the top end of the doubleheader, which meant this game should have been over.

But this is the Mets.

Andres Gimenez, ironically in for defense, threw a ball away to allow the lead-off hitter to reach. Later on in the inning, he had a chance to tag out Thairo Estrada to end the game on an insanely bad base running mistake, but Estrada would kick it out of Gimenez’s glove.

Still, that doesn’t explain why Justin Wilson pitched so poorly. Even with those two gaffes, Wilson still allowed two runs leaving runners at the corners with two outs.

For some reason, Luis Rojas thought it would be a good idea to bring Edwin Diaz into this spot despite Diaz being horrendous with inherited runners.

Well, Diaz threw a wild pitch scoring a run before allowing Aaron Hicks to hit a game tying homer. From 7-2 to tied 7-7.

Since this is a doubleheader in 2020 and Manfred hates baseball, this meant the eight inning was considered extra innings, and there was a runner at second to start the innning.

As usual, the Mets can’t get a hit with RISP. In the bottom of the inning, Michael Conforto had Michael Tauchman nailed at the plate, but Wilson Ramos missed the tag.

That meant Diaz got a blown save and a loss in one of the most frustrating losses you will see.

Being this is the Mets, more misery was in order.

Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia made his Major League debut and was great allowing just an unearned run over six.

In that sixth, Jeff McNeil reached and went to second on a Luke Voit error. He’d score on a Dominic Smith RBI single. The rally ended there was J.D. Davis, who has been absolutely terrible of late, hit into an inning ending double play.

That play got Seth Lugo off the hook after he had allowed one run over 3.2 innings. It also meant another maddening loss was on the horizon.

Drew Smith, who was not trusted to protect a five run lead in the first game, came on to pitch the eighth. He’d take the loss because Gary Sanchez would hit a grand slam off of him, and in the bottom of the inning, Ramos would strike out in his bases loaded situation.

Overall, the Mets should’ve won four of these games. Instead, they lost three, and they did so in excruciating fashion.

Game Notes: Luis Guillorme made a pinch hitting appearance and drew a walk. Despite hitting .419, it was just his sixth plate appearance over the past week.

Mets 2020 Roster Without Brodie Van Wagenen

For all his bravado, Brodie Van Wagenen has not only stripped the farm system down, but he did it while impinging the Major League roster’s ability to compete for a World Series. To put it in perspective, let’s just look at what the Mets roster would look like right now if Van Wagenen only kept the Mets players in the organization had he not taken the job, or, if he did nothing.

Some caveats here. This assumes free agents were re-signed. Without the Robinson Cano deal, that would’ve been possible. Also, it assumes the same players who are injured for the season would remain injured. Finally, this will eliminate those players not on active 28 man rosters. With that in mind, here’s what the 2020 Mets would’ve looked like.

Lineup

C Travis d’Arnaud

1B Dominic Smith

2B Jeff McNeil

3B Todd Frazier

SS Amed Rosario

LF Brandon Nimmo

CF Juan Lagares

RF Michael Conforto

DH Pete Alonso

Bench

C Kevin Plawecki

INF Wilmer Flores

1B/OF Jay Bruce

INF Luis Guillorme

Starting Rotation

RHP Jacob deGrom

RHP Zack Wheeler

LHP Steven Matz

LHP Anthony Kay

LHP David Peterson

Bullpen

RHP Seth Lugo

RHP Rafael Montero

RHP Justin Dunn

RHP Robert Gsellman

RHP Drew Smith

LHP Blake Taylor

RHP Bobby Wahl

LHP Daniel Zamora

RHP Paul Sewald

RHP Franklyn Kilome

This isn’t set in stone. The Mets could’ve opted for one fewer reliever for Andres Gimenez. On the subject of top 100 prospects, the Mets also would’ve still had Jarred Kelenic.

Looking at the team overall, the starting pitching is vastly superior as is the team defense. The bullpen may not be as deep, but they certainly have the arms.

Overall, this non-Van Wagenen impacted roster would’ve certainly been better than the 9-14 team his Mets roster is. This just goes to show you how bad of a GM Van Wagenen is.

He’s made the Mets worse in 2020, and he’s made the Mets future less promising. You could not have done a worse job than Van Wagenen has done.