Edwin Diaz

Mets Second Straight Big Comeback

For a second straight game, a Mets starter didn’t see the third inning, and for the second straight game, the Mets made an improbable comeback.

After being staked to a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo had a terrible first inning. Flat out terrible.

After Lugo allowed three straight homers to Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, and Didi Gregorius, he allowed another run in the inning turning a 3-0 lead into a 4-3 deficit.

At least for tonight, Harper owned Lugo homering off of him again in the second inning. Gregorius then knocked out Lugo with an RBI single.

It was 6-3 Phillies, and it was in the hands of the Mets bullpen. Starting with Erasmo Ramirez, they were brilliant. He and Chasen Shreve would each pitch 2.1 scoreless before handing the ball to Jeurys Familia who pitched 1.1 scoreless.

Their pitching kept the Mets in the game, and it gave them a chance to comeback against what has been a terrible Phillies bullpen.

While the Mets weren’t able to put up more runs off Aaron Nola from the second through fifth, they made him work. He ran out of gas in the sixth, and that Mets took advantage starting with a Pete Alonso one out homer:

Jeff McNeil walked leading to the Phillies going to their bullpen. Andres Gimenez walked, and after Luis Guillorme lined out, it was up to Brandon Nimmo. He tied the score on what is arguably the biggest hit of his career . . . up until that point.

Things would get really dicey in the eighth. With two outs, Familia walked Andrew McCutcheon. Luis Rojas brought in Justin Wilson to face the left-handed Harper to get the Mets out of the inning.

Instead, Wilson walked the bases loaded. Due to the three batter rule, the Mets couldn’t even contemplate lifting him. Fortunately for the Mets, Wilson retired Gregorius to end the inning.

After escalating the jam, it was time for Nimmo to come up huge again. This time, it was a go-ahead homer with a rare pimping of the homer from Nimmo:

That ninth inning leadoff homer off Brandon Workman sparked the Mets offense like Alonso’s did in the sixth. It was a four run ninth with Smith tripling in Michael Conforto, and Cano hitting a two run homer.

While not a save situation, the Mets went to Edwin Diaz. Diaz would make it interesting by loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. Diaz, who was pitching three days in a row, got McCutheon to ground out to end the game.

With that, the Mets have won a series against a team other than the Marlins this year. They’re alive and ready to fight another day as the schedule gets insanely difficult now.

Game Notes: Wilson earned the win.

Mets Complete Comeback

This wasn’t your typical Mets script. This is a team who finds a way to get close enough to just rip your heart out. Tonight, they were doing that to the Orioles instead of their fans.

For a while, it seemed there was no shot for the Mets to win this one as the Orioles were teeing off on Rick Porcello. At one point, they were 9-for-15 off Porcello, and seemingly the only way for the Mets to record an out was to throw out a runner looking to stretch a single into a double as Michael Conforto did to Chance Sisco to lead off the second.

Through three, the Orioles were up 5-1. That one run came in the second when Jeff McNeil singled home Dominic Smith, who led off the inning with his MLB leading 17th double.

The score would be 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth after McNeil and DJ Stewart traded a pair of homers. In the bottom of the fifth, Conforto would ignite the Mets with a solo homer.

The rally didn’t end with the homer. Later in the inning, Cano snapped out of his slump to hit an RBI single to pull the Mets to within 6-5. That’s when the Mets defense would shine and keep the Mets in the game.

The first came from McNeil who robbed Jose Iglesias of an extra base hit:

Even though that was the second out and there was no one on, Jared Hughes had trouble getting out of that inning. He’d load the bases, and Luis Rojas would bring in the struggling Justin Wilson to face Rio Ruiz. For a moment, it looked like Ruiz hit a bases clearing double:

After those pair of great defensive plays, the Mets would get the big hits they needed. First, it was Andres Gimenez tying the game in the bottom of the sixth with his second career homer:

Then, it was Pete Alonso hitting his 11th homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth to give the Mets a 7-6 lead.

Being the Mets, they weren’t quite out of the woods yet. Edwin Diaz allowed a lead-off single, and for a moment, it looked like the first two would reach. That was until Luis Guillorme, who was brought in for defense, made another great defensive play.

Diaz retired the last two to earn his third save of the year. It was a dramatic and needed win to help keep the Mets postseason hopes alive.

Game Notes: McNeil has homered in four straight. Diaz, Seth Lugo, and bullpen coach Ricky Bones wore 21 today in honor of Roberto Clemente.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Earn Disappointing Split With Phillies

The New York Mets had an opportunity to make some headway in the postseason race with a four game series against the Phillies. They had their chance, but instead, they could only muster a split.

1. Jacob deGrom AGAIN established he’s the best pitcher in baseball by striking out 12 Phillies over seven.

2. deGrom and Zack Wheeler would’ve been the best 1-2 punch in baseball, but unfortunately, Brodie Van Wagenen is a terrible GM.

3. If the Mets had the starting pitching, they’d easily be the top team in the division. It’s weird saying that knowing where the Mets have been, and downright hilarious considering Van Wagenen’s preseason declarations.

4. As we continue to see, Seth Lugo can start. That wasn’t really the issue. The issue always was who takes over his role. The answer so far is nobody.

5. Miguel Castro looks like a modern day Mel Rojas or Guillermo Mota.

6. It was past time for Andres Gimenez to take the starting job from Amed Rosario. Now, it’s time to make Rosario the 2021 center fielder.

7. Obtaining Todd Frazier made sense because he gave the Mets the third baseman they didn’t have, and apparently, he was a great presence for this Mets team.

8. The Mets didn’t obtain Frazier for his bat, but maybe they should’ve because Pete Alonso started hitting again using Frazier’s bats.

9. Speaking of hitting again, it’s nice to see Jeff McNeil raking again.

10. Game-in, game-out, Michael Conforto proves the Mets need to extend him.

11. Somehow, someway, Dominic Smith has emerged as the Mets best hitter so far this year, and he’s leading the league in doubles. He wasn’t given an opportunity. He forced it.

12. Luis Guillorme is batting .395, and he plays good to great defense at three different positions. His not being able to crack this starting lineup is another example of why Van Wagenen has to go.

13. J.D. Davis has proven he can’t play in the field. Without the juiced ball, his GB rate is climbing back up to career norms, and his BABIP is dropping. In total, he’s regressing to the mean. Insisting on playing him everyday is holding this team back.

14. The rally yesterday was great, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot when you see the Mets lose in extras.

15. Right now, the only Mets reliever you might be able to trust is Brad Brach, who has been having a very good year. You’d like to see him more, but that may not be possible when his dealing with the after effects of COVID19.

16. To be fair, Edwin Diaz appears to be returning to form. The Mets just need to find a way to prevent those Armando Benitez like blown saves and to have him have fewer of those incidents.

17. The Tom Seaver patch is nice, but it’s perfunctory. It seems Mets fans want more with renaming Citi Field in his honor as a popular one. Personally, I’d like to see the dirt patch be permanent, and/or a 41 permanently on the pitching rubber at Citi Field.

18. It’s funny to think the Toronto Blue Jays are currently the best team in New York. One of the reasons why is Anthony Kay who has a 176 ERA+. The Mets sure could’ve used him this year.

19. We’re counting down the days until the Wilpons are gone. Hopefully, Van Wagenen, who turned a great core and minor league depth into a team four games under .500 f outside looking in on an expanded postseason, follows them out the door.

20. Despite everything, the Mets are just two games out of a postseason spot (five in the loss column). They’re better than the Marlins, Giants, Rockies, and Brewers (or should be). There’s still a chance.

Mets Win Reminder Why We Love This Team

Tom Seaver‘s 41 hung in the dugout, and the Mets players honored Seaver by rubbing dirt on their right knee. Considering the marks Seaver would have on his own knee from his drop and drive style, there really was no better tribute.

As for the game, it wasn’t pretty by any means. There was poor pitching, base running gaffes, and just sloppy play.

Still, the Mets fought in this game. They battled back from deficits of 4-0 and 7-4. They forced extra innings, and it was Pete Alonso up with a runner on second to lead off the inning. He would hit the first Mets walk-off lead-off two run homer.

With that homer, Edwin Diaz picked up a win. The Mets won a needed game. The fans got a much needed win.

It’s been an emotional day in an emotionally draining year. We all needed this one. We needed a reason to cheer. It also helped to have a reminder why we love this team.

As fans, we love these players. They’re resilient. They battle. They don’t give up. They didn’t tonight, and they earned a victory, and in doing so, they won one for Seaver.

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 At Homer In Yankee Stadium

Due to a poor Michael Wacha start, the Mets were down 4-1 in the the of the sixth of a seven inning game. Pete Alonso hit a game tying three run homer to dead center starting the home run barrage.

After Alonso tied it, Dominic Smith hit a homer to give the Mets the lead, and Jake Marisnick homered in his first game off the IL for good measure.

Walker Lockett, who would be DFAd after the game picked up the win, and Edwin Diaz earned the save in what was his first true save chance since the first week of the season.

Again, in the second end of the doubleheader, the Mets fell behind the Yankees. However, while David Peterson did struggle in his first start off the IL.

The Mets fell down 3-1 before getting one back on a Brandon Nimmo RBI double scoring Luis Guillorme in the fifth. That’s where it was when Aroldis Chapman took the mound in the seventh.

He walked Jeff McNeil to start the inning, and Luis Rojas sent up the ice cold Amed Rosario to pinch hit for the red hot Guillorme. Long story, short, Rojas is a genius:

With that, Rosario hit a walk-off homer in Yankee Stadium giving the Mets a 4-3 win and doubleheader sweep, and Jared Hughes picked up his first Mets win. The Mets batted last in this game (but were still technically the away team) due to this game being rescheduled from last week.

As if the doubleheader sweep with both wins coming in dramatic fashion wasn’t enough, it appears Steve Cohen will be buying the Mets. All in all, this is about as good a day as it gets for Mets fans.

Game Notes: Juan Lagares was DFAd to make room for Marisnick. In the doubleheader, Smith was an incredible 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, homer, and RBI.

Mets Bullpen Almost Negates Guillorme And deGrom Brilliance

After an inexplicable hiatus, Luis Guillorme was back in the lineup, and he picked up offensively and defensively. The beneficiary of his great play was Jacob deGrom who has been unaccustomed to Mets players stepping up their games when he’s on the mound.

For starters, deGrom was his usual brilliant self and showed no ill effects of his neck issue. The Marlins only had five base runners against deGrom and one of those was courtesy of a J.D. Davis error.

While that wasn’t surprising, deGrom getting support was mildly surprising. After being inexplicably benched a few games, Guillorme was back in the lineup, and he delivered almost immediately with an almost literal cue shot double.

The double moved Pete Alonso to third. He’d score on a Wilson Ramos sacrifice fly. That double is not all Guillorme did to provide support to deGrom. He was also his sterling self at second:

deGrom would also get some defensive help from Alonso. Good defense and a lead is a rare experience for deGrom.

Overall, deGrom pitched six shutout innings striking out seven. At 92 pitches, Luis Rojas pulled him even with Seth Lugo unavailable to pitch.

When the Mets went to the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets had a 2-0 lead. The second run came in the top of the seventh when Guillorme singled home Dominic Smith, who had doubled earlier in the inning.

The bottom of the seventh didn’t get off to a great start with Jeurys Familia walked Francisco Cervelli. After a fielder’s choice, Davis wasn’t able to get a throw off after diving after a Logan Forsythe grounder.

With Jonathan Villar entering as a pinch hitter, Rojas brought in Justin Wilson. Wilson would do his job, but Ramos wouldn’t.

After a Villar groundout, Wilson would throw a pitch in the dirt. Instead of getting in front of it, Ramos missed on the backhand. The pitch went to the backstop as a run scored.

The Mets would get that run back in the top of the eighth when Smith doubled in Conforto. Unfortunately, the two run lead was not enough for Dellin Betances.

The Marlins loaded the bases with two outs against Betances. Instead of going to the bullpen for another reliever, Rojas let Betances pitch to Eddy Alvarez. With his second pitch of the at-bat, Betances hit Alvarez to force in a run.

Rojas then made a very curious decision. Edwin Diaz has a history of bouts of wildness. Bases loaded with the tying run at third was probably a better situation for Brad Brach who has better control and also has closing experience.

Diaz walked Forsythe on five pitches with none of them all that close. After blowing the save, Diaz rebounded to strike out Villar.

At that point, deGrom’s brilliance was wasted. It seemed Guillorme’s efforts were all for naught. At this point, the hope was the Mets would not fall apart and lose a game they should’ve won.

That didn’t happen, and that’s because Michael Conforto had another clutch ninth inning hit.

That two run homer gave the Mets a 5-3 lead. That was enough for Diaz who struck out the side in the ninth to vulture the win.

With the win, the Mets pull themselves to within two games of .500. They also are close to completing their first series sweep of the season.

Game Notes: Lugo was unavailable as he will start the series finale against the Marlins. He will be taking over Steven Matz‘s spot in the rotation with Matz moving to the bullpen.

Roadsario Re-Emerges In Win Over Marlins

Around many corners, many were wondering if this was it for Amed Rosario. The one time uber prospect was struggling while Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez seemed to be forming an all-time great Mets middle infield.

That’s what small sample sizes will do to you. That’s also what the urgency of the 60 game season will do.

To their credit, the Mets haven’t given up on Rosario’s talent. Last night, they were rewarded.

It started as an ominous day. That was because in typical Mets fashion David Peterson‘s shoulder injury being worse than originally advertised. That led to Peterson being placed on the IL, and Corey Oswalt being recalled to make the emergency start.

Oswalt acquitted himself well. He threw three scoreless before getting into trouble in the fourth. In that inning, Jesus Aguilar hit an RBI double and come in to score on a Brian Anderson RBI single. That Marlins rally narrowed the score to 3-2.

The first two Mets runs came via solo homers off Marlins starter Humberto Mejia. The first of which was a Brandon Nimmo third inning shot which has continued his impressive stretch of extra base hits.

The Mets rallied in the fourth with another solo homer. After that Michael Conforto walked, and Pete Alonso hit a one out single. Dominic Smith would drive in the Mets third run with a ground rule double.

That put Oswalt in position for the win, but he would fall just short. Overall, his final line was 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He’d also have a pick-off.

Magneuris Sierra led off the fifth with a single, and he would steal second. With the Mets holding a one run lead and the tying run in scoring position, Luis Rojas brought in Justin Wilson to relieve Oswalt with one out in the fifth.

Wilson got out of the jam, and he’d pitch 1.1 scoreless. He’d pick up the win as he’d combine with Jared Hughes, Dellin Betances, and Edwin Diaz to shut out the Marlins over the final 4.2 innings.

They’d maintain the lead and see it grow as Rosario began to put on a show. In addition to making diving stops in the infield, we’d see his bat come back to life. We first saw that with a no doubter in the seventh.

He wasn’t done. In the eighth, the Mets loaded the bases, and Smith drew a wall forcing home a run. Then, Rosario came up and delivered an opposite field two RBI single effectively ending the game.

Nimmo delivered the final RBI with a single to increase the Mets lead to 8-2. In addition to Rosario, Nimmo had a huge game as well going 3-for-5 with a run, triple, homer, and three RBI.

Going back to Rosario, he was 2-for-5 with a run, homer, and three RBI. Perhaps more than any Met, he needed this one. Maybe, he just needed to get away from Citi Field as he’s been a MUCH better hitter on the road.

Whatever the case, he put together a big game with Guillorme and Gimenez seriously vying for playing time. He helped a Mets team desperately trying to right the ship. They’re now 11-14 and three games behind the Braves.

Game Notes: Wilson picked up the win on his birthday. Jacob deGrom appears set to start the series finale against the Marlins.

Edwin Diaz Can Still Close

On July 25, the second game of the season, Wilson Ramos called for just about the worst pitch you’ll ever see. After five pitches on the outer half, he called for an outside corner. He also called for the same exact pitch Edwin Diaz used to strike out Marcell Ozuna the previous game.

When you telegraph a pitch to a Major League hitter, bad things are going to happen. That goes double when it’s a hitter as good as Ozuna. That’s exactly what happened with Diaz who blew the save when Ozuna homered.

With Diaz struggling all throughout 2019, that moment wasn’t about a bad pitch, albeit a well executed bad pitch. No, it was further evidence he can’t close.

Since that game, the second game of the season, Diaz was removed as the closer. Now, we missed it at first as the Mets played poorly and didn’t have a real save opportunity.

Since that game, Seth Lugo recorded all three of the Mets saves. The first two weren’t unusual for him as they were the multi-inning variety. Yesterday was different.

Yesterday, Diaz was brought into the eighth inning as a set-up man for Lugo. For seemingly the first time in his career, the Mets indicated they will use Lugo as a traditional closer. That means what we have long suspected – Diaz officially lost the closers’ job.

What’s interesting about that is Diaz had pitched very well of late.

After his blowup against Boston which Diaz partially attributed to non-use, he’s made four appearances, and he’s been brilliant. Over those four appearances, he’s pitched four scoreless innings striking out eight. In essence, he’s been the Diaz the Mets thought they were getting.

What was really impressive was his outing yesterday.

Mark Carlson was TERRIBLE behind the plate, and he missed what should’ve been a called strike three. On the next pitch, Ryan Lavarnway singled.

The ensuing batter, Eddy Alvarez, hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball which would’ve gotten Diaz out of the inning. Instead, it just carried over the head of Jeff McNeil and it hit the outfield wall.

The ball was carrying well to left yesterday, and there has been suspicion the juiced ball has returned. In either event, Diaz appeared to twice be out of the inning only to find himself dealing with the tying runs in scoring position.

While many expected Diaz to just melt down, he didn’t. Instead, he went back and continued making good pitches. He blew three fastballs by Monte Harrison to get out of the inning.

This was a pressure situation with the game on the line, and Diaz rose to the challenge. He was great in that spot just like he has been great in the vast majority of his save opportunities in his career.

Understandably, Diaz has lost the faith of Mets fans. With outings like this, he’ll regain that trust. However, make no mistake here. Diaz dominating in the eighth is not an indication he should be a set-up man because he’s thriving in that role.

No, this is an indication Diaz still has the ability to close. He has the stuff. He has the moxy. He has the track record.

If the Mets choose to let Lugo go multiple innings to save a game, great. Lugo is perhaps the best reliever in the game. The Mets need to put him in the highest leverage situations and get the most out of his brilliance.

However, Lugo as a one inning closer is a waste of his skill. No, when the Mets need that one inning reliever, the best guy they have for that role in the bullpen is Diaz. When the time comes for the Mets to bring in a reliever to get just three outs to save a game in the ninth, they should hand the ball to Diaz.

After all, as we saw Sunday, he’s still a dominant reliever who can get your team out of a difficult spot to preserve the lead.