Erik Goeddel

Cubs Show Mets How Much Better They Are

For three and a half innings, the Mets had fight, and they were actually leading the Cubs 1-0. They were in that position for unlikely reasons. 

The first is Travis Taijeron, who has struggled mightily since he was called up, delivered his first non-HR RBI as a major leaguer. That rally got started due to a Juan Lagares hustle double to start that inning. 

At the time the run was scored, you figured it wasn’t going to be enough for Robert Gsellman who was flirting with disaster only to be bailed out by some good defense and good luck. 

In the first, the Cubs had bases loaded and one out. With Willson Contreras having been ruled to have gone out of the baseline to avoid a Jose Reyes tag, Ian Happ grounded into an inning ending double play. 

The Mets turned their second double play in the third with Travis d’Arnaud throwing out Ben Zobrist after a Kris Bryant strikeout for the strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play. Before you get too excited by d’Arnaud, Zobrist was running at maybe half speed. 

Through three Gsellman was well over 60 pitches, and despite him throwing three straight scoreless innings, he was laboring. For those three innings, he bent. In the fourth, he broke. 

The Cubs tied the game on a Jose Quintana perfectly placed sacrifice bunt down the first base line. It not only allowed himself to reach safely, but he moved Jason Heyward to second. More than that, Kyle Schwarber scored on the play. 

He scored because Dominic Smith somehow got a late break and still tried to get Schwarber at the plate. Many will disagree, but trying to get Schwarber wasn’t a bad play because a better throw gets him. 

From there, the Cubs played Home Run Derby blowing the doors off the Mets. The first was a three run homer by Bryant off Gsellman. 

By the time the fourth inning was over, the Mets were down 4-1, and Gsellman had thrown 93 pitches. His final line in the loss was 4.0 innings, five hits, four runs, four earned, five walks, and four strikeouts. 

Schwarber would hit a solo homer off Tommy Milone in the fifth. Ian Happ homered off Josh Smoker in the seventh. 

In sum, the Mets would use four relievers to pitch the final four innings. All of them, Milone, Smoker, Jacob Rhame, and Chris Flexen, would pitch an inning and allow a run. They all contributed to the 8-3 loss.

If you’re looking at a positive from this loss, Asdrubal Cabrera was 3-4 with a double. However, the contributions of Reyes and Cabrera don’t mean much in what should be a 90 loss season. 

Other than Cabrera, you’re looking at Lagares and Amed Rosario each making terrific plays in the field. Short of that, there’s not much to be enthusiastic about in this loss. That is unless you think d’Arnaud throwing out a base runner and his fifth inning sacrifice fly was a big deal. 

It wasn’t. 

Game Notes: Erik Goeddel was unavailable as he was in New York seeing a doctor for dizziness and blurred vision. Nori Aoki grounded out with the bases loaded in the ninth to make it 8-3. 

Votto Is Great, The Mets Are Bad

It’s a good thing the Mets had both Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera start this game.  If not for them, the Mets probably would have been shut out instead of the team losing 7-2.

Reyes got things started in the first with a double off Reds starter Robert Stephenson.  Naturally, Reyes was hitting lead-off because they need to see if he, rather than today’s clean-up hitter Brandon Nimmo, could be the lead-off hitter of the future.  Fellow prospect, and third place hitter in the line-up, Cabrera, would boost his chances of being on next year’s team with a sacrifice fly.

After the Mets fell behind 2-1, Reyes and Cabrera showed what this young team is capable of doing by hitting a pair of singles.  Reyes then scored when run producer Nimmo came to the plate and singled a ball off of the pitcher to tie the game at two.

From there, the Mets failed because they simply just didn’t have enough players who played with as much fire and passion as Reyes and Cabrera.  That was evident by the Mets going 1-11 with RISP and the team leaving eight men on base.  That would never happen with a lineup full of Reyeses and Cabreras.

The Reds initially took the lead on a Scooter Gennett two run homer in the second inning.  Gennett would later get to Jacob deGrom again in the fifth with an RBI double.

In the third, the Reds took the lead for good on an Amed Rosario miscue.  Billy Hamilton found himself on second after a lead-off single and a stolen base.  If we’re being honest, there’s just no way Travis d’Arnaud is ever going to throw out Hamilton.  Joey Votto then hit a grounder to Rosario.  Rather than take the sure out at first, which would have been the second out of the inning, Rosario rushed the play throwing off balance pegging Hamilton in the leg.  Hamilton then scurried home.

Certainly, Terry Collins can no longer justify playing Rosario at shortstop when he has both Reyes and Cabrera available to play there.  Nope, that error and a .240 batting average needs to be put on the bench so the Mets can win some games.

They weren’t going to win this one with the way deGrom struggled, or at least struggled for him.  The Mets ace would allow four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks.  While he would take the loss, deGrom would strike out five.  With those five strikeouts, he now has 206 on the season, which is a new career high.

After deGrom’s relative struggles, we saw the bullpen struggle as well.  Jeurys Familia allowed a homer to Votto.  While you hate seeing the Mets give up a crucial homer, it was alright in this instance as Votto hit the home run for a six year old boy undergoing chemotherapy:

It’s a reminder that even with the Mets doing incredibly stupid things, the strife we face across the country, and the flooding in Houston, there are still good things and good people in this world.  To that end, Votto saved the day in what was an otherwise typically lousy and wasted Mets performance.

Game Notes: Erik Goeddel‘s struggles continue with him allowing a two run homer to Stuart Turner in the eighth.

Terry Collins Double Switches His Way to Double-Header Split

This was one of those days that makes you question why exactly the Mets are sticking with Terry Collins right now?  

He’s eschewing developing young players like Dominic Smith, but he makes sure to get Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera in the lineup. 

He also continues to make just poor decisions with his pitching. If you didn’t know any better, you’d expect Collins gets paid by the bullpen move, and he gets paid double for each double switch. 

He really pressures his pitching staff. Today, Collins took that to an absurd level. 

Even knowing Seth Lugo would be limited to 75 pitches in the second game of the double header, Collins ripped through his bullpen. 

Part of that was Tommy Milone only lasting 4.1 innings. The bigger part of that was Collins managing the game like it was Game 7 of the World Series to try to protect a five run lead. 

What was really irritating was Collins first ripped through the guys who could give him multiple innings – Hansel RoblesRafael Montero, and Josh Smoker. The trio combined to pitch one inning with 35 pitches. 

With all Collins histrionics, the Mets still blew the 5-0 lead. They got there because Cabrera and Flores hit a pair of homers. 

With the Mets blowing the lead, they needed another homer. Amed Rosario came through with an eighth inning homer off Joe Blanton

The Mets would hold onto the 6-5 lead with AJ Ramos getting the sixth out save to preserve the rare Mets Sunday win. Of course, to get the rare win, you needed a play you rarely if ever see. 

With Adam Lind getting the two out single to extend the game, Edwin Jackson pinch ran for him with Daniel Murphy coming to the plate as the go-ahead run. 

Murphy ripped a liner above a leaping Cabrera. Travis Taijeron, who had some on in one of the multitude of double switches, overran the ball, and Jackson broke towards home. 

Juan Lagares adeptly backup up Taijeron on the play. He then made a strong throw to Cabrera, who in turn, made a strong throw  to Travis d’Arnaud. With the tag, the Mets cut down Jackson, and the Mets won the game on your typical 9-8-4-2 put out. 
After this game, the question was whether the Mets pitching staff had enough bullets left to pull out a win in the nightcap. The answer was a resounding no.

The Mets had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the second game.  

Lagares knocked in the first run on an RBI double. He then came home to score on a Brandon Nimmo two run homer to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. It was short-lived. 

After Lugo went 3.2 innings allowing two runs, Smoker came on, and he kept the Nationals at bay in his 1.1 innings of work. 

Then came Robles in his second appearance on the day. After getting a Murphy line out, the Nationals had a runner on first with one out. 

Robles continued by walking the first four batters allowing the Nationals to not only tie the game, but also take a lead. On the bright side, Collins double-switched Smith out of the game meaning he was willing to sacrifice development to win this one game. 

Things could’ve been worse, but Chasen Bradford enduced Howie Kendrick to hit into the inning ending 4-4-3 double play. 

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. Erik Goeddel pitched the eighth, and Lind took him deep to give the Nationals a 5-3 lead. The insurance run loomed large with the Mets rallying in the ninth off Sean Doolittle

d’Arnaud led off with a pinch hit single, and Gavin Cecchini singled to move d’Arnaud to second. With a 0-2 count, Reyes dropped a single right in front of Taylor allowing d’Arnaud to score to pull the Mets within one. 

The tomfoolery ended with a Lagares line out to Alejandro De Aza

Collins did everything he could to win both ends of the double header even if it meant eschewing his main responsibility right now- developing players. He didn’t care what he did to the bullpen. For all that effort, he just had a split to show for it. 

Game Notes: Kevin McGowan was activated for the second half double-header as the 26th man. He would not pitch. 

Mets Energy Level Better, Still Lose

Late in the season, both Robert Gsellman and Yoenis Cespedes gave you reasons to question their commitment. 

Like he has most of his career, Cespedes has failed to hustle this year. While deemed acceptable when things are going well, this becomes an issue for everyone. 

When he comes to Gsellman, he basically said as much. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. When he was told Sandy Alderson said he needed to pitch better, Gsellman replied he didn’t care. 

On the field tonight against a very good Diamondbacks team, they were both very good. 

Gsellman was reminiscent of the pitcher we saw last year. He mostly kept the ball out of the air preventing him from being victimized by the long ball. With a much better defense behind him, which somehow included Wilmer Flores making some nice plays at third, Gsellman went deep into the game. 

In the odd chance the ball was in the air, the outfield got to those balls. This included Cespedes making not one but two hustle plays in the outfield. 

With the defense playing well behind him, and his sinker working, Gsellman arguably had his best start of the year. His final line was 6.1 innings, five hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and three strikeouts. 

Even with that terrific outing, he still didn’t get the win because the Mets offense continued to squander their scoring opportunities against Taijuan Walker

The Mets could bring home Brandon Nimmo after he lead-off the top of the first with a double. 

Wilmer Flores and Dominic Smith lead off the second with consecutive singles. Amed Rosario  struck out. After Kevin Plawecki intentionally walked to load the bases, Gsellman struck out, and Nimmo lined out. 

Flores came up in the third with runners at first and second with one out, and he grounded into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play. 

Plawecki’s two out double in the fourth didn’t amount to anything with Gsellman hitting it back to the pitcher. 

Plawecki came up in the sixth with runners on the corners and two outs. It would be runners on second and third after Rosario stole second. David Hernandez came on for Rubby De La Rosa, and he got Plawecki to tap it back to him to end the inning. 

Finally, the Mets broke through in the sixth. 

Travis d’Arnaud, who came on for Plawecki in a double switch in the top half of the inning, hit a lead-off double. Nimmo then sacrificed him to third. 
Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Conforto then earned walks to load the bases putting the game in Cespedes’ hands. As noted above, he played this game with a different energy than he has been playing with for most of the season. 
Cespedes battled back from 0-2 against Archie Bradley to rip an RBI single past a diving Jake Lamb to tie the game. 

It only tied the game because David Peralta nailed Cabrera at the plate. It’s a tough play to pin blame on anyone. With it being so close, it was a good send by Glenn Sherlock. Likely, Cabrera would’ve been safe if his leg was on the ground instead of in the air. You can’t blame Cabrera because that was just tough luck. 

In any event, after a Flores foul out, this was now a battle of the bullpens. 

Jerry BlevinsPaul Sewald, and AJ Ramos did their jobs combining to pitch 2.2 scoreless innings helping send the game into extra innings. 

The Mets went to Erik Goeddel in a rare second straight day of work to pitch the 10th. In a rare appearance on consecutive days. We saw the reason why he rarely does this. 

Goeddel issued a lead-off walk to Gregor Blanco before allowing a game winning two run homer to A.J. Pollock:

The homer snapped a Meys bullpen 17.2 streak of not allowing an earned run. 

Mets still has a chance in the bottom of the 10th with the heart of the lineup due up against Diamondbacks closer Fernando Rodney

Conforto got the inning off on the right foot hitting an opposite field lead-off home run to pull the Meys within 3-2. That’s as close as the Mets got as Rodney set down Cespedes, Flores, and Smith to end the game. 

The main thing that really stood out today was the Mets played with a different energy. At this point in the season, it’s all we can reasonably expect. Well that and better situational hitting. 

When that happen, we will see a much better brand of baseball much like we saw tonight. 

GAME NOTES: Steven Matz is done for the year as he will undergo surgery to re-position his ulnar nerve. It is the same surgery Jacob deGrom underwent last year. 

Mets Blow Winnable Game To Yankees

With Rafael Montero and Luis Cessa on the mound, we got the pitcher’s duel we all expected. 

The Mets got to Cessa first with Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes hitting a pair of third inning homers. What was interesting with the Cespedes’ homer was his homer was against one of the two prospects the Mets traded to get him in 2015. 

Unfortunately, the Mets bats went completely cold after this leaving Montero and the pen to hold a 2-0 lead. Most of that was due to Chad Green, who pitched 2.2 hitless and scoreless innings, after coming on for a hurting Cessa with one out in the fifth. 

For his part, Montero cruised into the fourth. All of his pitches were working, especially his fastball which was clocked in the high 90s. However, he would walk consecutive batters helping load the bases with one out. 

Surprisingly, he got out of the jam mostly unscathed. The only run he allowed was when Aaron Hicks beat out a Cespedes throw on Gary Sanchez‘s sacrifice fly. 

Montero got out of the inning without further damage, and he was back on cruise mode. That was until he left one over the plate against Aaron Judge who went opposite field to tie the game in the sixth. 

That closed the door on Montero who pitched a fine game. His final line was six innings, five hits, two runs, two earned, two walks, and six strikeouts. 

Terry Collins went to Hansel Robles, who pitched a scoreless seventh. Then, like Collins always does with Robles, he pushed the envelope with him. It’s all the more puzzling when you consider that not too long ago Robles couldn’t even feel his fingers. 
Hicks led off the eighth, and we soon found Robles pointing to the sky.  

After the homer, the Yankees had a 3-2 lead, and Collins overreacted like he always does. Collins went into super matchup mode using Jerry Blevins for a batter, and then bringing in Erik Goeddel. Goeddel was greeted with a Sanchez home run. 

Unfortunately, the Mets wouldn’t have an outburst in the ninth. That’s partially due to Joe Girardi going with Dellin Betances instead of Aroldis Chapman

In fact, you question a bit where the effort level was with some of the Mets players. In the eighth, Asdrubal Cabrera walked on a 3-2 pitch that ricocheted off the umpire. Instead of busting it to first to see if he could get into scoring position with two outs, he took his time. When Cespedes struck out in the next at-bat, the ball would get away from Sanchez, but he couldn’t be bothered to try to go to first. 

The Mets blew a winnable game, but there’s a silver lining. The Wilpons got their wish that they didn’t have to pay Jay Bruce to beat them. Instead, they paid Collins and a bullpen to do that. 

Game Notes: Granderson’s homer was his 69th in Yankee Stadium since 2010. That trails just Mark Teixeira

Tough Loss But The Young Guys Did Play 

Don’t read too much into tonight’s game. The game started off on a strange foot when Neil Walker was pulled off the field (and his being removed from the lineup) during batting practice with his reportedly being dealt to the Brewers. 

There was also the matter of Aaron Nola, who has been pitching like a Cy Young contender of late. Including tonight’s start, Nola now has a 10 start streak with him pitching at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer runs. 

Tonight, that one run came off a Yoenis Cespedes fourth inning homer that briefly gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. There’s the argument it should have been a 2-0 lead. 

In the third, Amed Rosario hit a one out double. He found himself on third when Brandon Nimmo struck out on a wild pitch. The wild pitch allowed Nimmo to reach first instead of the inning ending. 

Rosario and Nimmo then attempted a double steal. Cameron Rupp threw through.  Seeing this Rosario took off. With Nimmo seemingly having the base, Freddy Galvis didn’t hesitate coming off the bag to meet the throw and go home nailing Rosario. 

That play would loom large during a two run fifth inning. 

Up until that point, Steven Matz was cruising. He had four no-hit innings, which ended with the Phillies hitting back-to-back singles to start the fifth. Matz was so close to getting out of this jam. 

First, Rupp popped out, and then Nola laid down a sac bunt. Matz couldn’t get the big out yielding a game tying single to Cesar Hernandez. Galvis then hit a seeing eye single that was just past Jose Reyes giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Ultimately, that was the game-winning hit. 

Nola continued to shut down the Mets. His final line was seven innings, two hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and eight strikeouts.  This made Ricardo Pinto  a welcome sight in the eighth. 

Curtis Granderson and Reyes each walked setting up two on and two out for Cespedes. Pinto would strike out Cespedes on three straight pitches to end the rally. 
From there, the Phillies would add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth off Erik Goeddel giving them a 3-1 lead. 

Ultimately, the Mets lost a difficult game. They lost a teammate, and they faced a tough pitcher. With that said, they did the right thing and played some young guys. More than that Matz progressed from where he has been. 

Given how the Mets are constituted, they’re going to lose a lot of games. That’s understandable. The only thing you can reasonably ask is when they lose, it’s a good game, and the young players are getting their feet wet. That happened today, so all-in-all, that’s not too bad a day. 

Game Notes: Michael Conforto started the game in center, and Nimmo played right. Reyes wasn’t initially supposed to be in the lineup, but took over for Walker in the lineup and played second. Asdrubal Cabrera played second. 

Mets Straight Flexen

After two straight tough starts to begin his career, Chris Flexen finally had that magical major league experience every organization’s young top prospect envisions they’ll have. 

Staked with a 4-0 lead on the strength of homers hit by Michael ConfortoYoenis Cespedes, and Travis d’Arnaud off Rangers starter A.J. Griffin, Flexen was able to go out there and just focus on getting the batters out. 

Now, it wasn’t always pretty. He did wind up walking three batters. He also came close to hitting a few batters until he finally plunked Rougned Odor in the fourth. With that said, Flexen pitching inside was a welcome change, and it was part of his effectiveness. 

The Rangers wouldn’t score off of him until a Joey Gallo homer to lead-off the fifth. 

Despite the homer in the fifth, Flexen would start the sixth. He would come just short of finishing the inning. If he had, he would’ve doubled the amount of innings he lasted in his first two starts. 

First, it was an Adrian Beltre homer. After a Carlos Gomez two out walk, Terry Collins pulled his young starter and entrusted Erik Goeddel to get the Mets out of the jam. Goeddel would first allow Gallo to hit an RBI double to pull the Rangers to within 4-3 before Goeddel would get out of the inning. 

Flexen’s final line in his first career win was 5.2 innings, four hits, three runs, three earned, three walks, and four strikeouts. In addition to that, Flexen would double in the fifth to collect his first career hit. 

The win would be secured with some good bullpen work from Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos, who collected his first save in a Mets uniform. 

It also helped Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI double scoring Conforto in the seventh to provide an insurance run in the 5-4 victory.  That homer loomed large with the Robinson Chirinos two out homer in the ninth. 

The game certainly earned Flexen another opportunity to start. That’s a good thing when you consider the Mets are stubbornly playing their vets over the young kids. At a minimum, we can see the maturation of Flexen. 

Game Notes: Neil Walker had his first career start at first base. Matt Harvey threw a 25 pitch bullpen before the game. 

Rosario Flashes Talent And Inexperience In Debut

Surrounding all the hoopla of Amed Rosario‘s first game with the Mets, a baseball game broke out, and it was a pretty good one at that. 

Rosario’s impact was felt immediately. In the first, he made a couple of plays including turning a 1-6-3 double play. 

That play helped preserve a 1-0 lead when Yoenis Cespedes doubled home Michael Conforto, who has reached with a lead-off walk against Rockies starter Jeff Hoffman

That lead grew to 2-0 when Jay Bruce doubled in Cespedes from first in the sixth. 

At that point, things looked great for Steven Matz. Despite a rough stretch over his last four starts where he pitched to a 14.18 ERA (not a typo), he was dealing. 

Through the first four innings, he had a no-hitter going. That was broken up on a Trevor Story lead-off single. On the play, Rosario got to a ball no other shortstop on the roster comes near, but with one slight tap of the glove before the throw, Story was able to beat it out. 

In that inning, he labored, but he managed to work his way out of the jam. He wasn’t so lucky in the sixth. 

DJ LeMahieu double set up second and third with no outs. Matz was flirting with disaster since the fifth and in the following at-bat. He fought back into the st-bat getting it to a 3-2 count, and that’s when Nolan Arenado hit an opposite field go-ahead homer. 

After a Mark Reynolds double, Terry Collins finally pulled Matz. The combination of Josh Smoker and Erik Goeddel would limit the damage keeping the game at 3-2.

The Mets tied it in the seventh with some help from Rockies catcher Ryan Hanigan. When Pat Neshek struck out Jose Reyes to start the inning, Hanigan whiffed on the ball. With the ball going to the backstop, Reyes reached base safely. 

Reyes moved to third on a Conforto single, and he’d score the tying run on an Asdrubal Cabrera sacrifice fly. On the play, Charlie Blackmon didn’t have much of a chance to get Reyes, but still:

It would be untied in the eighth on a Bruce homer off Chris Rusin:

For a moment, it appeared as if that 4-3 lead might grow. 

Rosario would get his first career hit off Scott Oberg. It was an infield single to short (turnabout is fair play). Rosario moved to second on Story’s throwing error. It appeared as if Rosario was going to score his first career run when the ball left Travis d’Arnaud‘s bat. 

Unfortunately, the ball ricocheted off Oberg’s leg to Reynolds. Reynolds was able to flip to Oberg to record the out. It was a bigger out than originally anticipated. 

Paul Sewald started his second inning of relief by allowing a base hit to Reynolds. Collins responded  to this by bringing in Jerry Blevins to face a couple of lefties. 

Blevins responded by allowing singles to Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez. The hit by Gonzalez was cued right off the end of the bat, and Cabrera had little to no chance to get anyone out. With Blevins allowing yet another inherited runner to score, it was a tie game. 

The Rockies rally sputtered when Hansel Robles came on to get the last two outs. Robles wouldn’t be so lucky in the ninth. 

After allowing a lead-off walk to Blackmon, LeMahieu hit what could’ve been a double play ball. Likely, it was just a fielder’s choice. Still, that play wasn’t turned as Rosario broke towards second with Blackmon moving on the play. With Rosario booting it, it was first and second with no outs instead of bases empty with no outs. 

After that, Arenado blooped the ball into center, and Conforto had no chance to get Blackmon. Ballgame. 

Overall, it was an entertaining game where we saw all that Rosario could be. We also saw that he’s an inexperienced rookie that needs more seasoning. 

Game Notes: Matt Reynolds was sent down to make room for Rosario on the roster. 

Defense Matters, That’s Why The Mets Lost 

Here’s the game in a nutshell. Steven Matz didn’t have it, and the Padres defense made the 85 Bears look like a sieve. 

The Padres were hitting Matz hard right from the jump when Manuel Margot hit a two run homer to give the Padres a 2-0 lead. 

After a scoreless second, the Padres jumped all over Matz again scoring four runs. Matz didn’t get help from his defense. Case in point was the Cory Spangenberg grounder. 

Jose Reyes couldn’t pick it up cleanly, and he made an ever so slightly offline soft toss to Wilmer Flores. It wasn’t a particularly difficulty play for either middle infielder, but neither could complete the play. Only because it was home town scoring, it was ruled a “single.”  

This was Reyes’ second RBI of the night with him singling home Jay Bruce in the second inning. 

After that third inning, Matz was done. His ugly final line was three innings, nine hits, six runs, six earned, no walks, and four strikeouts. Honestly, Matz probably wasn’t even that good. 

The Mets did have a chance to get back in this game in the sixth inning. 

The Mets loaded the bases with one out against tiring Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin with Lucas Duda coming to the plate. Padres Manager Andy Green went to the left-handed Buddy Baumann to face Duda.

Duda hit a deep enough fly ball, but the combination of Hunter Renfroe‘s arm and Asdrubal Cabrera‘s lack of speed, there would be no sacrifice fly. Cabrera would score when Baumann walked Reyes pulling the Mets to within 6-2. 

Craig Stammen came in to pitch to Rene Rivera, who hit a hot shot up the middle. Allen Córdoba made a nice play on the ball, which could’ve been a two RBI single, and got Rivera at first to end the inning. 

With Reyes and Córdoba, we really witnessed what a difference defense makes. Then again, we saw it all game long with this Padres defense, especially with both Margot and Jabari Blash making sliding catches to rob Michael Conforto of a couple of hits. 

The Mets did pull within 6-3 when Flores homered to center:

Even with the homer, the Mets couldn’t catch up to the Padres. Maybe the Mets would’ve had a chance if they had better defense, but the Mets were content to punt on defense this year. It’s haunted them many times. Tonight was the latest example.

Game Notes: Erik Goeddel, Tyler Pill, and Hansel Robles combined to pitch five scoreless innings out of the pen. Pill will likely be demoted tomorrow to make room for Chris Flexen, who is scheduled to make his MLB debut tomorrow. 

Cardinals Pull A Mets

It is nice to see the Mets win a game because the other team had mental lapses in the field, poor managerial decisions, and had a bullpen blow a late lead and finally the game.  Through the first 82 games, that seemed to be the Mets specialty.  Today, in what was mostly a lethargic afternoon game, the Mets got bested by the Cardinals in something they had seemingly mastered.

Through the first 4.2 innings, Seth Lugo had a no-hitter going.  Somewhere someone must’ve taken notice and said something because Greg Garcia hit a double for the Cardinals first hit of the game.  Still, things were in good shape for the Mets because Lugo erased Garcia, and the team had a 1-0 lead.

That lead came because Lucas Duda hit a second inning homer against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn:

The sizzling hot Duda has homered three times over his last five games.  Duda was also good in the field saving his infielders from a few errors.  Most notably, his scoop of a bad T.J. Rivera throw in the seventh saved a run.  Hopefully, one of the teams that needs a 1B/DH, and there are more of them than people will lead you to believe, have taken notice.

That 1-0 lead evaporated in the sixth.  After a one out walk to Matt Carpenter, Tommy Pham, who has been killing the Mets of late, doubled him home to tie the score.  Once again, Lugo settled in, shut the door in the sixth, and he pitched a scoreless seventh.

The Mets hurler deserved the win with his outstanding performance, but will have to settle for a no decision.  His final line was 6.2 innings, four hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and five strikeouts.  With him and Lynn out of the game, it became a battle of the bullpens, and a battle of wits between the managers.

With Erik Goeddel getting the last out of the seventh, Terry Collins turned to him to pitch the eighth.  It’s hard to fault Collins when everyone else in the bullpen is terrible, but the decision backfired when Pham hit a 3-1 pitch out of the park to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.  With the way this game was going, and with how poorly the Mets have played of late, it seemed like this was how the game was going to end.

That was until Mike Matheny thought it was a good idea to let the left-handed Brett Cecil pitch to Wilmer Flores in the eighth.  Everyone and their mother knows Flores crushes left-handed pitching.  Matheny either didn’t know that, or didn’t care.  That decision cost him as Cecil hung one to Flores:

From there, the Mets turned to the one reliever in their bullpen that they can have confidence – Addison Reed.  Reed did his job pitching a scoreless ninth thereby giving the Mets a chance for a walk-off victory.

The ninth inning rally started with Michael Conforto drawing a lead-off walk against Trevor Rosenthal.  It was another excellent game for Conforto that has gone unnoticed.  On the day, the Cardinals allowed eight baserunners (six hits and two walks).  Conforto accounted for four of those with him going 2-2 with two walks on the day.

Conforto would be erased on the basepaths on what initially appeared to be a double play ball off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes.  Credit should be given to Cespedes for busting it down the line and keeping a runner on base.  It paid off as he went first to third on a Rivera single.  He would then score on what should have been the last out of the inning:

That Jose Reyes “single” was the improbable winner that sent Mets fans home happy, and it enraged Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter:

It was nice to be on the other side of one of these games this year.  It was also nice to earn a split in the series.  Even if the Mets aren’t going anywhere, it is still always a joy to beat the Cardinals.  At the very least, it was a pleasure helping ensure they didn’t get the sweep they needed to get back into an NL Central race that is suddenly in flux.

Game Notes: Neil Ramirez was designated for assignment before the game to make room for Josh Smoker on the roster.