It is well documented the New York Mets have never beaten Yu Darvish. Not once. Now, he is taking the mound in Game 1 of the best-of-three Wild Card Series against the New York Mets. Fortunately, the Mets have Max Scherzer, but as we saw in July, that is not always enough.
While the Mets have not beaten Darvish, there are Mets players on this team who have had success against Darvish. Of course, there are some who have not had much. Here is a look at the overall stats in descending OPS order:
- James McCann (11 PA) 4-for-10, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB 5 K
- Daniel Vogelbach (3 PA) 2-for-3, 2 RBI
- Tyler Naquin (6 PA) 3-for-6, 2B
- Starling Marte (18 PA) 7-for-17, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB 3 K
- Pete Alonso (11 PA) 2-for-10, HR, RBI, 3 K
- Francisco Lindor (19 PA) 5-for-16, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K
- Tomas Nido (3 PA) 1-for-3, K
- Eduardo Escobar (17 PA) 3-for-17, 2 2B, HR, RBI, 7 K
- Darin Ruf (5 PA) 0-for-2, 2 BB, K
- Jeff McNeil (13 PA) 1-for-11, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
- Luis Guillorme (6 PA) 1-for-6, 2B, RBI, 2 K
- Mark Canha (4 PA) 1-for-4, K
- Brandon Nimmo (7 PA) 0-for-6, 2 K
At the moment, we do not know Marte’s status, but you can see just how much the Mets need him in this lineup. Marte not only is a big part of this team, but he also hits Darvish. This team needs that against a pitcher this franchise has never beaten.
On the bright side, if he can’t go, Naquin has hit Darvish. In fact, both he and Vogelbach were brought in at the trade deadline to hit right-handed pitching. This is a right-handed pitcher they have both hit. In many ways, this is the exact moment the thought process behind these trade deadline moves comes to fruition.
The obvious caveat with those two, or really anyone in this lineup, is these are small sample sizes. However, behind these small sample sizes are illustrative of something.
The first thing which really stands out at you is the strikeouts. That should not come as a surprise. This is not only a team which racks up strikeouts, but Darvish is a pitcher who records a lot of strikeouts. However, there is something beyond those strikeouts.
Like any pitcher, Darvish will make mistakes, and as we see with this lineup, when he makes them, they have capitalized on them. When you have Scherzer on the mound, the Mets may only need for one batter to capitalize on a mistake and drive it out of the ballpark.
So yes, the Mets have never lost to Darvish. However, Darvish has never pitched against the lineup the Mets are going put out there in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series. Seeing this team’s ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark against him, and with Scherzer on the mound, you have to like the Mets chances.
There was an in initial and second version of the potential New York Mets postseason roster. With the Wild Card Series upon us, it’s time for a final projection.
With respect to this projection, it’s focusing on just the Wild Card Series where the Mets will need a maximum of three starters. With that caveat in mind, here’s the final projection:
Álvarez’s final two games should be enough to make the roster. The only question is with McCann hitting again, does he supplant Nido as the guaranteed starter.
No changes or surprises here. Of course, with injuries, McNeil might just be an outfielder for the postseason.
Starling Marte is the only wild card here. If he’s good enough to go, he’s going to take someone’s spot. That’ll either be Gore or Vientos.
We know the Game 2 starter debate (start deGrom), and we know Bassitt starts the other game. Chances are, they want both Carrasco and Walker available for long relief even if it would make sense to leave at least one off for this very short series.
- Edwin Diaz
- Mychal Givens
- Seth Lugo
- Trevor May
- Adam Ottavino
- David Peterson
- Joely Rodriguez
- Drew Smith
This picture became a lot more clearer. Trevor Williams threw too many innings in the season finale to be considered. We may see him in the next round.
Givens is healthy, and Rodriguez has pitched well of late. Smith is back in the late inning mix.
Really, choosing the bullpen went from difficult to easy over the past week, The important arms are healthy and ready to go.
In the end, we can only hope Buck Showalter deploys his arms well. If so, the Mets win this series.
If you were the New York Mets, you couldn’t ask for a better situation heading into a big series. Everything was aligned.
They had everything you need for a big series. Well, everything but the manager because Buck Showalter is not a big game manager.
That was his reputation coming to the Mets. It’s the reason he has only won one postseason series and has a 9-14 (.391) record in the postseason.
1999 NLDS Game 1: NYM @ ARI: Edgardo Alfonzo (2nd of game, 2nd of postseason, 2nd of postseason career, grand slam) off Bobby Chouinard pic.twitter.com/ODym4T3BTK— Mets Home Run a Day (@MetsHRADay) February 26, 2020
There were hopes Showalter grew as a manager. However, after the first game of this series, it’s very clear he’s the same manager he always has been. There were far too many bad decisions to conclude otherwise.
The first six were the first six. The Mets rode deGrom until his blister said he had to come out of the game. Max Fried left after five, but the Mets were obviously keeping the top of their lineup in against Colin McHugh.
The seventh was where Showalter was a disaster, and things didn’t improve.
As noted, deGrom was out after six, and the Mets had a fully rested bullpen. For some unfathomable reason, Showalter opted for Tylor Megill.
Megill has struggled since coming off the IL. It’s difficult to know if he’s rusty or struggling to adapt to the bullpen. Megill struggled and allowed two earned.
That made a clove two run game into a far more difficult four run deficit. There was no reason for Megill to pitch there.
That’s similar to Álvarez batting. These are moves after you clinch or have a big lead. That’s not what you do when you’re in the heat of a pennant race.
This isn’t JV tryouts or the Arizona Fall League. These games count, and the Mets have to be their best in terms of deciding anything. The Mets don’t need to know what Álvarez needs to do in that spot. They need to win these games.
We saw it again in the eighth. The Mets are down four. They need base runners to get a rally going. Luis Guillorme is having a good day at the plate, and he has a .355 OBP.
Nope, we have to see how Mark Vientos hits A.J. Minter. If you are a run behind and need a big fly, that’s one thing. Vientos adds that dynamic. However, the Mets were down four. They needed Guillorme and his on base skills in the spot.
Yes, it did work. However, like with Megill, this was low leverage decision making in a close high leverage game and inning. Megill and Rodriguez are supposed to be spectators in the spot.
In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with one out. Kenley Jansen was struggling with his command. If there was ever a spot which begged for Vogelbach, this was it.
Again, Vogelbach was brought in to face right-handed pitching. He has a 148 wRC+ against right-hanged pitching. He’s got as good an eye and is as patient at the plate as anyone.
But no, Showalter sent up Álvarez to see what he can do. Yes, you can argue he’s a power hitter, but so is Vogelbach. Against a season battled tested closer, Álvarez struck out.
Go over this game again. This was not managed as an important game for a team looking to win the NL East.
Álvarez batted twice over Vogelbach in big spots. Vientos came up for Guillorme. Megill and Rodriguez pitched over everyone.
You expect this in Spring Training. You expect this from a team trying to play spoiler and need to see something from their young players. This is not how a team with a one game less late in the season manages a game.
Again, this isn’t a blip. This is who Showalter is. It’s who he was when he was blowing the ALDS, NLDS, and Wild Card Games. This is who he is as the Mets manager.
Yes, the Mets lost because deGrom battled blisters allowing three runs. They lost because they only scored two runs. They also lost because their managed managed this game like it was Spring Training just like he does all big games.
Thanks to the heroics of Eduardo Escobar and CJ Abrams, the New York Mets will head to Atlanta with a one game lead in the division. Over the course of the weekend series, we may see the NL East race resolved before final series of the season.
Heading into the series, the Mets have a 9-7 record against the Atlanta Braves. Should the Mets win at least one game, they will take the season series. This is of vital importance because Major League Baseball has completely done away with tie-breaker games. Instead, because Rob Manfred wants baseball to not be baseball, it will go to tiebreakers.
If the Mets lost two of three to the Braves, they still control their own destiny. At that point, if they sweep the Washington Nationals at home to close the season, they win the division. Obviously, if the Mets lose a game to the Nationals, they would need the Miami Marlins to defeat the Braves at least once. You can extrapolate that as needed for the three game series.
Now, if the Mets were to sweep the Braves, they clinch the NL East. At that point, the Mets could get swept by the Nationals in the final series of the season, and it will not matter one iota. With the tiebreaker, the Mets win the division.
In the event the Braves sweep the Mets, things get very dicey for the Mets. At that point, the Braves would not only have a two game lead, but they would also have the tiebreaker as they will have won the season series. Effectively speaking, a Braves sweep would mean the Braves clinch the division because they would only have to register one win against the Marlins.
As it stands, if the Mets take two out of three, they also effectively win the division. The Mets would have the tiebreaker and a two game division lead. The Mets magic number would be one. That would mean they would need to win at least one game against the Nationals. For all the Mets struggles against bad teams at home over the final month of the season, it is hard to imagine they would get swept.
Overall, all the Mets need to do in Atlanta to control their own destiny is to win one game. You have to love the Mets chances of doing that with them sending Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt to the mound. If the Mets win the series, they effectively take the division. If they sweep, they definitively win it.
Right now, the name of the game is to win at least one. After that, the Mets control their own destiny. In the end, that’s all they can ask for at this point in the season.
Baseball is the best sport there is. No other sport can give a team and player the chance for redemption like the others.
We were reminded of that with this New York Mets team and Eduardo Escobar.
Escobar was great to start the season. However, he tapered off and was injured. He’d lose his starting job and become a weak side platoon option.
Well, Guillorme and Baty would both go dish with injury. That meant the Mets had little choice than play Escobar. Boy, are they lucky that happened.
Arguably, Escobar has been the Mets best player this month. In fact, he’s been a top 20 player in the majors this month (per fWAR) with the third most RBI in all of baseball.
That Escobar was on display against the Miami Marlins. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets were collapsing, and they looked dead in the water in this game. That was until Escobar’s seventh inning homer:
Suddenly, the Mets were back in the game, and they had some life. In fact, the Mets team now down 4-2 would load the bases in the eighth.
Through six innings, the Mets couldn’t muster a run. In the ensuing two innings, Escobar would knock in a pair tying the score.
In the ninth, the Mets couldn’t come through because, well, Escobar didn’t bat. That’s only half-joking because Escobar was in the zone like no other Mets player.
After Drew Smith came up huge, the Mets went to the bottom of the tenth needing just one to walk it off. With the Washington Nationals beating the Atlanta Braves in extras, the Mets had a chance to go to Atlanta one game up in the division.
Lindor was at second as the ghost runner because Rob Manfred hates baseball. Mark Canha came close to ending it, but he’d strike out.
The Marlins intentionally walked McNeil to get to Escobar. Unlike the previous at-bats, Escobar was batting left-handed, his far weaker side. On a night like this, it didn’t matter:
Like that, the Mets won 5-4 with Escobar driving all five Mets runs. Not too bad for a guy who lost his job twice and saw the Mets try to severely limit his at-bats.
You could see Escobar was ecstatic. We all were. We got to see it on display when Escobar gave one of the more joyful and entertaining postgame interviews we’ve ever seen with him ending the interview saying, “Arigato! Thank you!”
While great and much appreciated, it is Escobar who deserves our thanks and appreciation. Even when times were at their worst, he never gave up, and he kept fighting saying he would one day give the fans a reason to cheer:
Eduardo Escobar with a message for Mets fans:— SNY (@SNYtv) June 22, 2022
"One day, I'm going to give them the reasons to cheer for me" pic.twitter.com/7NRCEjzXBZ
Assuredly, this came at a time later than anyone wanted. However, it could not have come at a better time. For this game propelling the Mets to a one game lead, Mets fans should say to Escobar, “Arigato! Thank you!”
While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.
While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.
Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.
There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.
The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.
Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.
We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.
There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.
With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.
POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE
If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.
Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.
For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.
Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.
RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE
- Mychal Givens
- Tommy Hunter
- Joey Lucchesi
- Tylor Megill
- David Peterson
- Joely Rodriguez
- Drew Smith
- Trevor Williams
As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.
Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.
Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.
If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.
To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.
Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.
Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.
If you want to crystallize everything going wrong with the New York Mets right now, that paragraph does it. The Mets can’t outscore the Pirates, and in a crucial spot, they have a rookie who had all of 0.2 innings to his career to the mound.
The Mets biggest need at the trade deadline was the bullpen. Billy Eppler walked away with only Mychal Givens. It was inexcusable then, and it’s all the more now.
When you look at this Mets team, they’re just imploding, and nothing is working. In many ways, this is why Showalter was hired. The Mets wanted a season leader to ensure things like this would never be an issue.
For whatever reason, Showalter hasn’t been that calming presence. We see a lot of that with Pete Alonso’s struggles and noticeable frustration on the field.
There’s a lot of panic everywhere. We saw that with Carlos Carrasco getting a start without so much as throwing one rehab inning in the minors.
A lot of this is outside Showalter’s control much like with Willie Randolph in 2007. In 2007, Randolph got a huge chunk of the blame. So far, Showalter is dodging that criticism even with his recent very questionable bullpen management.
Showalter isn’t the reason Max Scherzer left his last start early with a re-aggravated left side. He’s not the reason Luis Guillorme and Brett Baty went down. He’s not the reason Starling Marte got hit in the hand and had to leave the game.
Whatever the case, the Mets lost three in a row against teams on pace to lose over 100 games. Worse yet, each of those losses were by six runs. More than anything, that’s completely unacceptable.
It’s one thing to slump. It happens to everyone. Everyone loses to bad teams. However, there is no excuse to being non-competitive against flat out horrid teams.
Right now, the Mets are imploding. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to right the ship, and they’re still in first place (for now). All it takes, is a big start or hit to turn things around and get the Mets back on track.
Fortunately, Jacob deGrom takes the mound in the doubleheader. After that, we shall see.
The news on Brett Baty was bad. He tore the UCL in his right thumb. He will have it surgically repaired, and for all intents and purposes, he’s done for the season.
It also means the Mets have a roster spot to fill. On that note, they’re an infielder short, but it does appear they’re filling the spot with Deven Marrero. That really doesn’t do much to help this roster right now.
Marrero is your classic Four-A player. In his Major League career, he has a 38 wRC+. That’s actually worse than the Mets catching situation. He’s been solid in the field, but his glove in no way carries his bat.
This is why he started the season with the Long Island Ducks. Picking him up as minor league depth is one thing. Adding him to the roster, and making a 40 man move in the process for a player they don’t need doesn’t make sense.
What the Mets need is Mark Vientos.
In full disclosure, Vientos is not a third base option. He’s been a poor defender there, and that’s why the Mets have looked at him at first and in left. Truth be told, they don’t love him in those spots either.
What Vientos does is hit. More than that, he destroys baseballs.
Through 94 games with Triple-A Syracuse, Vientos has a 136 wRC+. That’s after posting a 159 wRC+ in 12 games for Syracuse last season. A
s a point of reference, Pete Alonso posted a 139 wRC+ in 67 games with Triple-A Las Vegas. Vientos is a full year younger than Alonso was in 2018, and he is in a far less hitter friendly environment.
Another consideration with Vientos is his 136 wRC+ is inclusive of a disastrous first month of the season (Vientos always struggles the first month of the season). In April, Vientos hit .169/.257/.312.
From May 3 to the present, a span of 74 games, Vientos is hitting .310/.382/.582 with 12 doubles, 22 homers, and 63 RBI. Extrapolating that over 162 games, Vientos would be on pace for 26 doubles, 48 homers, and 138 RBI.
The knock on Vientos, even with this level of production, is he strikes out too much. With a 28.5 K%, which is an improvement from last season, there is truth to that.
However, Vientos does not strike out much against left-handed pitching (21.8 K%). On that note, Vientos annihilated left-handed pitching. In 124 plate appearances, he’s batting .343/.411/.759 with six doubles, 13 homers, and 37 RBI.
As an aside, Darin Ruf has struggled with the Mets. In his 15 games with the Mets, he has a 49 wRC+. That includes a 52 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. It’s a small sample size for sure, but it is indicative of the overall struggles the 36 year old has had this year.
At this point, it appears the Mets are just going out of their way to find reasons to keep Vientos in Triple-A. Vientos has proven he can hit, and his bat would fill a need. Moreover, the Mets have again made a 40 man move to call up a Four-A caliber player over him.
Yes, Vientos has his issues. They’re well known and noted. However, this is a player with the potential to be a special bat. He could provide power to a lineup and bench mostly bereft of it.
Vientos is ready to help this Mets team, and he can fill a void. He’s better than the other options the Mets are utilizing. At some point, enough is enough. We’re at that point. It’s time to call up Vientos.
The previous few seasons, the New York Mets had Gary Disarcina as their third base coach. Compared to him, anyone would look terrific.
However, that does not mean Joey Cora has been great or even good. Remember, this is the same guy the last place and perennially rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates fired.
The reason the Pirates fired him was because he was literally the worst third base coach in the game. Things started off very rocky with the Mets.
He had very bad sends of Pete Alonso, Robinson Canó (remember having to deal with that mess), and Eduardo Escobar. Things got better over the ensuing months, but Cora has looked like the Cora of old of late.
Per Baseball Savant, McNeil has slightly below average speed. He also hesitated slightly around second.
It was a perfect carom to the center fielder who threw a strike to the cut-off man. The throw by cut-off man was strong but pulling the catcher towards first.
Now, the narrative usually is it took a perfect throw. The thing is it wasn’t perfect. It was string, but it wasn’t perfect at all. Still, it beat McNeil by a good margin. Here’s the photo:
McNeil didn’t really have a chance. Even if you want to blame him for the hesitation, that’s still on Cora because he sent him. McNeil tried, but he was still out by a good margin.
If this were an isolated instance, you shrug it off. However, these sends are starting to pile up. The hope is it stops here because if it doesn’t Cora may cost the Mets a postseason game.
Honestly, in May, this was unthinkable. There were very real concerns about Baty. While the tools were there, he was hitting for zero power.
The big reason was he was a ground ball machine. Think J.D. Davis without the strikeouts. That and real promise.
Something clicked for Baty in June. He began hitting more line drives and for real power. That .409 SLG over the first two months of the season was a .604 from June 1 until his call-up.
We saw that power in Baty’s first career at-bat where he homered off of Jake Odorizzi:
It was an incredible moment. For a Mets fan, you think the third baseman of the future is now the third baseman of the present. He’s arrived and will be there for the next decade.
Baty followed with three good at-bats. He didn’t record another hit, but they were good at-bats with notably no strikeouts.
That’s a key. The moment wasn’t too big for him. He was ready, and he handled Major League pitching much like he did minor league pitching this year.
Left or right didn’t matter. He hit the ball hard. However, he hit it on the ground three times. That’s been the one thing that’s been a concern for Baty.
Of course, we see plenty of Major Leaguers ground out three times in a game. That doesn’t necessitate a rush to judgment. Rather, it’s just something to monitor.
In the field, he made the plays he was supposed to make. Nothing flashy or spectacular. There’s some debate whether he’ll stick, and to that, we saw him split time between third and left in his brief Syracuse stint.
With Baty, if he hits, the Mets will find the right spot. In his debut, there was room at third due to tut injuries, and he did hit. In fact, he hit a homer.
Ultimately, Mets fans should come away ver excited by this debut, and they are. That said, there is still room for Baty to grow and improve, which he will. Every fan should be ecstatic to see that happen.