Eduardo Escobar

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.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Take Two From Nationals

The New York Mets are now 9-0-1 in their 10 season series, and they are on pace to win 108 games. After another series against the Nationals, the Mets look all the more like a World Series caliber team:

1.  The incredible 5-6-1-9-6 double play was punctuated by Taijuan Walker knocking down Juan Soto, who went in hard. That’s the way it is with this Mets team, they’re there to beat you, and they’re not stepping down.

2.  It just seems like the Mets have something special store in each series. There was the co-no, the epic comeback, and now that double play. These are the things fun and special teams do.

3.  Luis Guillorme had a heads up play to start that double play, and he’s really earning more playing time. Over his last 10 games, he’s batting ..321/.387/.536 with five runs, three doubles, a homer, and two RBI while playing exceptional defense. Perhaps, he needs to play everyday.

4.  Eduardo Escobar is in a real bad place. Over his last 15 games, Escobar is hitting .167/.231/.200, and he has struggled defensively with a -2 OAA and -3 DRS at third. The good news is he usually has a bad May and breaks out in June.

5.  The Mets can’t seem to hit left-handed pitching even when it’s Patrick Corbin. Corbin has a 2.00 ERA, and against the rest of baseball, he has a 7.60 ERA. Overall, the Mets are the fifth worst NL team against left-handed pitching with a 90 wRC+.

6.  We can save the J.D. Davis needs to be the everyday DH narrative. He’s batting .217/.362/.326 driving the ball on the ground with a 51.5% ground ball rate so far this season. With that, he’s now back to a much more reasonable .286 BABIP. Really, this is the batter he is.

7.  Mark Canha snapped out of it just when the Mets needed him. His 3-for-4 game with a homer and three RBI snapped a streak where he hit .231/.292/.292 over his previous 19 games.

8.  Canha is still a player in decline with him seeing a steady decline in barrels, hard hit rate, exit velocities, whiff%, chase rate, and really all metrics. A game like he had is fun, but overall, there is a reason Buck Showalter removes him late in games and was transitioning him to a part-time player.

9.  Brandon Nimmo has an eight game hitting streak, and he has reached base safely in all but one game this season. He’s the Mets best player, and the way he is playing, he is not only going to get All-Star consideration, but he will get MVP consideration as well.

10. Carlos Carrasco has continued his terrific bounceback season. He is again the pitcher he was in Cleveland, and the Mets are on a different level because of it.

11. Not enough can be said about the job Trevor Williams and Stephen Nogosek did. They saved the bullpen in what was a lost game in more ways than one. These are the unheralded moments which helps teams win divisions and World Series.

12. Trevor Megill had a bad start. It happens. It’s best not to over-analyze it. Just move on and reassess after his next start.

13. The Mets have missed James McCann, who has been out with an injury. He’s been quite good this year, and Tomas Nido has not shown he can replicate what he can give. Now seeing its a hammate bone injury, for all intents and purposes McCann may be done for the year.

14. We can probably now add catcher to third base for trade deadline needs because it is way too soon for Francisco Alvarez. That goes double with Alvarez’s recent slump.

15. Jeff McNeil has been great this year. He has been versatile, and this is the best he has ever hit. He’s learned to combine some patience at the plate with his hit everything approach.

16. This upcoming series was going to be about Jarred Kelenic and Edwin Diaz, but with Kelenic getting sent down, it’s not. Whatever the case, the trade remains an unmitigated disaster.

17. Robinson Cano turned down a chance to go to Triple-A to help get back up to speed and help the Mets in the long term. Instead, he’s going to the San Diego Padres. This is not remotely a player grateful for the Mets keeping tabs on him last year and making sure he was alright and for giving him an undeserved chance again this year.

18. The Mets can beat teams in just so many ways. They can do it with power, with singles and timely hitting, with speed and defense, and with pitching. When you get that rare mix, you’re a special team. This is a special team.

19. No one should care what Noah Syndergaard has to say about the co-no or anything Mets. Just be grateful he was a Met, hope he pitches well this season, and mostly, hope he returns next year.

20. Mets in the black jerseys on Friday the 13th with Max Scherzer on the mound. Mariners are going to be frightened as is the rest of baseball when they see the Mets on their schedule.

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.

Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil Lead Mets 4-Ward

On May 2, MLB rosters are reduced by two. Buck Showalter said one of those two would be a position player, and it’s long rumored it could be Dominic Smith.

Well, Dom just told the Mets that under no circumstances should he be sent down.

Against the Philadelphia Phillies, Smith would get the start at first. He again looked like the guy who should be the Mets everyday first baseman (or DH).

He would go 4-for-4 with a run, double, and three RBI. For a good chunk of this game, it seemed like the Mets needed every bit of it.

Max Scherzer wasn’t Scherzer. There was an inkling of that when Kyle Schwarber hit a second inning homer off of him.

The Mets responded right away. Smith followed Eduardo Escobar‘s lead-off single with his first hit of the night. After a Starling Marte RBI fielder’s choice and Luis Guillorme RBI double, the Mets were up 2-1.

That lead was short lived as Schwarber got Scherzer again in the fourth. This time, it was a two run shot. Again, that lead was short lived with the Mets responding in the bottom of the inning.

Escobar again got it started with a single. This time, Smith doubled driving him home bringing the Mets to a 3-3 tie.

While Smith was on second with no outs, he would not score as the Mets squandered the opportunity. They wouldn’t in the fifth.

Francisco Lindor hit a one out single, and he’d go to third on a Jeff McNeil double. While Dom was the headliner, McNeil was also phenomenal going 4-for-5 with two runs, two doubles, and an RBI.

Zack Eflin went 2-0 against Pete Alonso. At that point, the Phillies thought it better to not tempt fate walking Alonso and lifting Eflin for Jose Alvarado.

It seemed like it worked with Alvarado striking out Escobar, but Smith came up huge again with a two RBI single extending the Mets lead to 6-3.

In the sixth, it was Scherzer’s former teammate Bryce Harper who homered off Scherzer. Notably, Schwarber was Scherzer’s teammate on the Nationals last year. That pulled the game to within 6-4.

For Scherzer, it wasn’t a great start, but it was good enough for the win. Three of the five hits he allowed were homers as he walked just one and struck out nine.

The Mets blew it open in the seventh starting with Lindor reaching on a Jean Segura. Lindor busted it out of the box causing Segura to try to rush it, and when he picked his head up too soon, he booted it.

McNeil went against the shift with a single through the vacated shortstop hole. Alonso went the other way to increase the Mets lead to 7-4.

Escobar struck out before Smith singled to load the bases. Marte hit a two RBI single, but he’s get a little too aggressive on the base paths getting thrown out at second.

With Smith and McNeil, it was easy to overlook Marte in what was his best game so far with the Mets. In addition to the three RBI, he made an absolutely unreal catch in right field.

Brandon Nimmo would hit his own opposite field single in the eighth. He’d go to second when Lindor was hit by a pitch (more on that in a minute), and he’d score on McNeil’s second double of the game.

With the Mets up 10-4, Showalter went with his “designated hitter” Yoan Lopez. Lopez threw two at Schwarber leading to umpire warnings.

What’s interesting is Lopez was one strike away from ending the game before he accidentally plunked Alec Bohm. He’d come to regret that after allowing a two run homer to Johan Camargo.

Despite the mild fireworks at the end, the Mets won this game 10-6. They got great games from Smith and McNeil as the Mets won their seventh straight series to open the season.

Game Notes: Lindor was miked up for the game. Sean Reid-Foley has a torn UCL.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets/Cardinals Rivalry Still Alive

The New York Mets traveled to St. Louis for another litmus test, and once again, they proved they’re this good. More than that, they proved they’re mentally tougher.

1.  Pete Alonso has now been hit twice in the head and dragged to the ground from behind by Stubby Clapp. He’s either going to break or just absolutely going to go on an absolute tear.

2.  On that note, Alonso needs to start hitting for power again. These opposite field singles aren’t going to cut it.

3.  Chris Bassitt basically said he dominated the Cardinals without being able to get a grip on the ball. He’s that good.

4. Miles Mikolas is an idiot. Bassitt threw his pitchers a life-line saying it was MLB’s fault the Cardinals hit his teammates, and Mikolas, who hit Mark Canha with a pitch, basically said, no, it’s not the ball. We’re going it on purpose, or we’re that incompetent.

5.  Sooner or later, Canha has to get an extra base hit, and it has to be more than an attempt at a hustle double. With him coming out of games last for Travis Jankowski, he’s not good enough to be a glorified slap hitter.

6.  Jankowski has proven himself to be a valuable contributor. He cannot be DFA’s May 1. That goes double when you consider how bad Robinson Cano has been.

7. That may not be an issue with J.D. Davis getting hit on the foot and having to get taken out of the game. The x-rays were negative, but if it’s a lingering issue, there will be an MRI and perhaps an IL stint.

8.  Jacob deGrom‘s MRI was a mixed bag. On the one hand, he is healing, but it does not appear he is on schedule to return when we all hoped. Still, it’s progress, so we should take it.

9.  Max Scherzer has been just as advertised. He’s out there pitching like an ace, and he’s as fierce a competitor as there is. He was in the dugout telling the Cardinals to shut up, and then he was the first one out of the dugout when the benches cleared.

10.  Oliver Marmol is a fraud. His pitchers hit Mets batters in the head. Steven Matz threw one up at Brandon Nimmo‘s head. His team knocked Davis out of a game with an injury. He is then going to get up there and complain like the Mets have been throwing at his batters all series, and then he goes and defends Clapp.

11. Nimmo has been great to start the year as has Jeff McNeil. Those are two homegrown Mets who have been the Mets best players, and they are leading them to first place.

12. The Mets are withstanding slumps from Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte to win games, and they are doing it against good teams like the Cardinals. That’s a very good sign for the season.

13. With respect to Marte and Scherzer, there is a real edge to this team. We see it in how the players stick up for one another, and we see it in moments like that comeback against Giovanny Gallegos. This is just a special team.

14. Yoan Lopez made a case for himself when he buzzed Nolan Arenado. That alone is not enough to keep him on the roster (ask Jacob Rhame), but he has the respect of everyone in that clubhouse.

15. There is a lot Buck Showalter is getting wrong here. For example, batting Cano during that ninth inning was indefensibly bad. That said, the way he has handled the time share with James McCann and Tomas Nido has been a masterpiece. He’s starting to get the best out of both of them, and as a result, the Mets pitching staff.

16. Trevor May is fighting it. Fortunately, with the return of the real Seth Lugo in addition to the emerge of Drew Smith, the Mets can wait for him to get fully healthy and back on track.

17. There are some serious 1986 vibes with this Mets team. They are not just beating teams on the field, but they are also taking a mental edge. That is a very large reason why we see miscues like we did from Arenado and why Marmol was so bent out of shape.

18. it may be a golden rule not to make the last out of the inning at third, but you can give Luis Guillorme a pass trying to stretch a double to a triple because that throw from Dylan Carlson was the best you’ll ever see.

19. If you want an idea of how good the Mets are right now, the San Francisco Giants are the second best team in the majors with a 13-6 record. Half of their losses have come against the Mets.

20. The New York Yankees have been surprisingly good to start the year. Aaron Judge has been great, and he has a contract situation. Anthony Rizzo has been phenomenal. Gerrit Cole is struggling mightily. They’re in first place. Despite all of that, right now, they seem to be taking a back seat to the Mets. That is really the most shocking development of the year.

Game Recaps

Mets Shock Cardinals

Mets McCann Beat Good Teams on Road

Mets Lose While Cardinals Lose Their Cool

Buck Showalter Is Why Robinson Cano Must Go

One of the biggest mistakes the New York Mets made in their history was trading for Robinson Cano. It wasn’t just about who they gave up. Really, it was about acquiring a 36 year old infielder coming off a PED suspension with just about the worst contract in baseball.

Cano’s first year in Queens was a disaster for him, but he did rebound in 2020 to look like the player the Mets thought they were getting. As we discovered, Cano was using PEDs that season. As a result, he was suspended for the entirety of the 2021 season. During that 2021 season, the Mets were forced to move in another direction.

Now, Cano is back and was always going to get chances because of the contract. Yes, the Mets have acknowledged the sunk cost by at least making Cano a part-time player, or really a semi-regular. That said, they seem to be letting that contract get in the way of some decision making. To the point, it is difficult to discern reasons other than Cano’s contract as to why he is getting the playing time.

To a point, there is the Billy Eppler  and Buck Showalter consideration. Eppler has a relationship with Cano from their time with the New York Yankees. With respect to Showalter, with respect to Cano’s return, he said, “We’re excited about having him back on the club and contributing..”

Now, words are words, and actions are actions. With respect to Cano, the actions are what’s troubling.

First, we need to acknowledge the Mets are in a difficult pot with Cano. They have one month to determine if he can be a viable Major League player. They need to decide if it’s worth carrying one fewer pitcher or designating Travis Jankowski, or another viable player, for assignment. As a result, Cano is going to be forced into the lineup even when it doesn’t make sense.

However, it doesn’t make sense for Cano to be batting ahead of Jeff McNeil. It also doesn’t make any sense why he is up for key at-bats late in games.

Before addressing that point, it should be noted Cano is hitting .184/.225/.263 with a homer and three RBI. After Cano went 2-for-3 on Opening Day, he has been 5-for-36 (.143) since.

Cano is chasing everything, He’s having issues with velocity and breaking pitches. This may be due to a number of factors. He was away from the game for a year, and there’s bound to be some rust. He’s also older. There’s also the presumption he’s no longer taking PEDs.

You can take a look at that and justify giving him chances to start. After all, back in 2006, a 36 year old Jose Valentin came to the Mets looking like he was done as a Major Leaguer, and his hitting .136 over the first month of the season seemed to confirm that. Of course, Valentin emerged as a key piece to that 2006 team. That was only possible because the Mets stuck with Valentin.

However, Valentin was a part-time player to start, and he was not force-fed into late inning game situations like Showalter did with Cano against St. Louis.

Revisiting the game. Giovanny Gallegos was on the mound. There was one out in the inning, the Mets were down 2-0, and Eduardo Escobar was on first. A double play ends the game. Cano is among the slowest players in the majors, and he is hitting the ball on the ground 57% of the time. Long story short, this was a situation primed for an inning ending double play.

On the bench, the Mets had Dominic Smith. Yes, Smith is off to a slow start, but right now, he’s a significantly better hitter than Cano. Certainly, he gives you a better chance. The same goes for Luis Guillorme. Really, it is the case with anyone on the Mets roster.

Instead, Showalter stuck with the veteran Cano. He put Cano above trying to win the game. He stuck by the veteran over opting for the best player. It was in this moment it was clear having Cano on the roster is a detriment to this team because Showalter will stick with him instead of making the moves that need to be made to win a game.

No, it’s not necessarily Cano’s fault Showalter has stuck by him. In the end, that doesn’t matter. So long as Showalter is going to prioritize Cano over winning games, the Mets need to remove Cano from the equation. The Mets won despite this decision, but they may not be so lucky the next time or the time after that.