It may be every fan base, but it seems like whenever the Mets need to add players via trade or free agency, fans seem to look towards acquiring former players. It may not be just the fans either as the Mets bucked conventional wisdom by signing Jay Bruce and Jason Vargas last year. If the fans and organization wants to go down that road again, there are plenty of options this offseason:
Jose Lobaton – If he’s back, we may actually see fans boycott the team.
Devin Mesoraco – Other than like a one week stretch, he was terrible in every facet of the game. There is no way he should be back in Queens next year.
Rene Rivera – He would be a fine addition on a minor league deal to work with up and comers like Justin Dunn. If there’s an injury or two (ideally three), he could resume his role as Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher.
Lucas Duda – Fans used to debate at length whether Duda was a good or bad player. The debate is over. He’s now a bad player who has not much to offer anymore.
Asdrubal Cabrera – Unless Cabrera is looking to accept a utility role behind two still largely unproven young players, there would be no reason to bring him back to the Mets.
Daniel Murphy – There is a scenario in which bringing him back makes sense, but that includes the Mets moving at least one bad contract to put him at first base because his knees have made his already poor defense all the worse. There are many other variables past that making this a non-starter.
Jose Reyes – He shouldn’t even be playing for the Long Island Ducks next year.
Neil Walker – Considering he accepted a utility role for the Yankees last year, he could be willing to accept one with the Mets next year. If so, he could be quality depth for the Mets roster which has not had depth on their bench since 2015.
Carlos Gomez – Judging from last year, it does not seem like Gomez can hit much anymore, but he can still play defense. The Mets need a right-handed outfielder or two, and he would be a much better option than Austin Jackson by the simple fact he’s not Austin Jackson.
Chris Young – In 2014, the Mets made a $7.25 million bet Young still had something in the tank. They wound up releasing him, thereby allowing other teams to discover he did have something left in the tank. That something was hitting left-handed pitching, which is something he didn’t do at all last year.
Austin Jackson – He used up all the playing time he should receive in a Mets uniform last year.
Curtis Granderson – With Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo, you could argue the Mets have no need for another left-handed hitting corner outfielder. Lost in all of that is the fact Granderson is still a productive player who is great in the clubhouse. It would not be the worst idea to bring him back to let him serve as a mentor to the Mets young players.
Bartolo Colon – If you want him back, you deserve to see the Mets go under .500 again.
Matt Harvey – Harvey has basically said he doesn’t want to return. If you ask the Mets, the feelings are probably mutual.
Chris Beck – He was terrible for the Mets last year, so if you’re upgrading your bullpen, you should probably avoid the guys who were terrible for you.
Tyler Clippard – He had surprisingly good stats last year, which is all the more incredible when you consider he pitched in the AL East. Signing him to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training is not the worst idea in the world.
Jeurys Familia – Familia is the best right-handed reliever in Mets history, and unlike the other free agent relief options not named David Robertson, none of them have proven they can pitch in pressure situations in New York. If you’re looking to compete, Familia could be a big boost to the bullpen.
AJ Ramos – The main reason Ramos didn’t work out this year was because he was injured. He did have surgery to repair his shoulder, but we don’t know what he will be when he is ready to pitch again. The Mets need far more certainty than that from their bullpen.
Fernando Salas – Salas helped pitch the Mets to the 2016 Wild Card, and the thanks he received was getting over-used by Terry Collins to the point he was released by the Mets in 2017. He returned to a slightly below average reliever last year. The Mets have plenty of those already.
Jerry Blevins – Even with last year’s struggles, Blevins has traditionally been a good LOOGY for the Mets. If Dave Eiland and Mickey Callaway think he can return to form, and he signs a reasonable one year deal, the Mets should bring him back.
Oliver Perez – If Brodie Van Wagenen had a sense of humor, he would work out a contract with either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but the day before the Mets officially signs either one of them, the Mets would announce Ollie was returning to the Mets organization.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Marc Carig of Newsday wrote a column wherein many Mets fans have applauded because someone not only asked the question about payroll, but also for rightfully taking the team to task for how it’s been operated.
That’s great and all, but that’s not really what this article was about. The article was really about the lack of accountability from this franchise. Here are some key excerpts:
But rather than reach for transparency, the Wilpons seem content to hide. They never talk about money. Whether it’s arrogance or simply negligence, they have no problem asking fans to pony up the cash and never show the willingness to reciprocate.
To the Wilpons, it’s as if nobody is worthy of a straight answer. That’s the biggest failure of all.
But it costs zero dollars to be transparent, to be willing to explain the payroll, to be proactive about presenting a plan to succeed.
The Wilpons can start by publicly owning up to how this franchise is run. They can begin speaking for themselves rather than leaving the dirty work to middle men. But until they show the courage to take that first step, the Mets and their fans are doomed to repeat the cycle, pulling for a franchise that will never actually do enough to win.
Having read and re-read this article, time and again, I really begin to wonder if the term fan is being substituted for reporter.
This is not a slight on Carig or any beat reporter. There job is much more difficult than fans could possibly imagine. There are things we demand they discover, but at the end of the day, there may be no answer to those questions because, well, the team won’t answer them.
Whatever your line of work, it must be nauseatingly frustrating when someone just stonewalls you time and time again, and that prevents you from doing an aspect of your job. In the case of a beat reporter, that would include covering issues that are seemingly simple like the budget and a framework for the offseason.
As an aside, that must be even worse for Sandy Alderson.
Meanwhile, one of the most important currencies for a reporter is access. Write a scathing comment like Carig did, and you may very well find that access limited. That would make an already difficult job all the more difficult.
Still, there is a major question that needs to be asked – why is the payroll question being asked now?
Why wasn’t this asked heading into the 2015 season? The team certainly pushed forth the belief they were going to contend with the rise of Jacob deGrom and the return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery.
After the 2015 season, if not for Yoenis Cespedes lingering longer than anyone believed he would, the Mets were going to enter the 2016 season with lower payroll and a center field platoon of Alejandro De Aza and Juan Lagares to replace Cespedes. On top of that, Eric Campbell made the Opening Day roster because the Mets didn’t want to pay Ruben Tejada $3 million.
With an injured Mets team making an incredible push to claim the top Wild Card, the Mets did not sign one free agent from outside the organization. They re-signed Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins because both surprisingly lingered on the free agent market, and the team gave Cespedes a big contract.
However, it should be noted the Mets did nothing to improve the roster from a team that was simply not good enough in 2016. Instead, of stories about the payroll being below market and window of competition, it was mostly lauding the Cespedes re-signing as the team going for it coupled with the intrigue about how the Mets were returning the same roster.
And look, we all know the Mets are likely cutting payroll because that’s what the Mets do. Still, the team did add a good late inning reliever in Anthony Swarzak, and they were rebuffed by Ian Kinsler. Other than Carlos Santana, the big name free agents are still on the board.
While we don’t expect them to come to the Mets, in prior offseasons, we have seen the market correct with Sandy sitting there ready to swoop in and get them for less money than anticipated. That’s why Cespedes and Blevins will be Mets next season. Such behavior (luck?) has been routinely lauded.
Now? Well, now, it is being criticized because the Mets lack of accountability and refusal to answer the simplest questions has become too much to bear. Except this time, it’s not the fans, it’s for reporters. They’re now writing articles about it – articles we all wish were written in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 (apologies to a few like Megdal who has done excellent reporting on the topic and Vacarro who kept the heat on the team throughout 2015 and beyond).
So yes, I appreciate the article, but really, none of this is news to Mets fans. It’s just confirmation of the status quo. And sadly, in the end, we have learned nothing new from the team. Really, this all just leaves me further frustrated with the franchise, and it leaves me further frustrated that this is really the first we have seen of these articles after all of these years. Hopefully, there will be more. More than that, I just hope something will finally come of this.
But we all know it won’t.
On Thanksgiving, it’s time to go around the Mets 2017 roster and name something each player should be thankful for:
Nori Aoki – He looked so much better in September than he did in all of 2017 by being competent while playing on a dysfunctional team.
Jerry Blevins – Throughout all the stress of the season and his extreme workload, the man didn’t even put on one pound.
Chasen Bradford – With his call-up to the majors, he’s now on the short list for best beards in Mets history.
Jay Bruce – He learned from his experience last year, and he played well for a team that acquired him in a trade.
Asdrubal Cabrera – As we found out this season, all he wanted the Mets to do was to pick up his option so he could provide for him family. With the Mets having done that, he can now rest easy.
Jamie Callahan – One day when bards tell the tale of the six right-handed relievers the Mets acquired at the 2017 deadline, they will regale us all with stories of how Callahan was the first of them to finish out a game the Mets won.
Gavin Cecchini – He made the switch from short to second where it will be easier for him to make it to the majors. That goes double if the Mets who are tightening payroll off a poor season don’t bring in a free agent to play the position.
Yoenis Cespedes – With Cespedes missing half the season, that left a lot of time for him to hit the course.
Michael Conforto – Collins is gone meaning no one is standing in his way from being a superstar anymore.
Travis d’Arnaud – He became the greatest defensive second baseman in Mets history by posting a 1.000 fielding percentage at the position.
Jacob deGrom – With him pitching so well this year, he knows he will finally be able to cash in in arbitration thereby allowing him to afford a haircut.
Phillip Evans – After winning a batting title in 2016, having a good Spring Training, and a good second half for Vegas, the Mets finally decided to let him post similarly good numbers for them in September.
Jeurys Familia – Blood clots in his shoulder costing him most of the season made most people forget why he missed the beginning of the season.
Wilmer Flores – He fouled a ball off his face, and he lived to tell about it.
Sean Gilmartin – With his going from the Mets to the Cardinals, he was able to prove he wasn’t bad. It was just the Mets as an organization did not employ anyone capable of knowing he was actually injured.
Erik Goeddel – No matter how much he struggled this season, he will never be the most hated person in pro sports with the last name pronounced GO-dell\n
Curtis Granderson – He had a front row seat to seeing Chase Utley fail in the postseason.
Robert Gsellman – He has so much self confidence he doesn’t care what anyone things of him.
Matt Harvey – Between the Tommy John, TOS, and the Mets rushing him into the rotation with atrophied muscles in his throwing arm knowing he wouldn’t really be ready until a month into the season, he should be thankful for getting out of the season with his right arm still attached.
Ty Kelly – He got out of here after one game thereby preventing Nurse Ratched from getting to him and ending his season.
Juan Lagares – With all the injuries and the Mets looking to cut payroll, he is once again the center fielder of the future.
Steven Matz – With him suffering the same injury deGrom suffered last year, we all know he can come back from this to be the same exact injury prone pitcher he was before the surgery.
Kevin McGowan – He will always have a special place in Mets fans hearts as it was his call-up that forced Ramirez off the roster.
Tommy Milone – He was able to find a team that was okay with him having an ERA over 8.00.
Rafael Montero – For the first time in his life, he wasn’t a complete abomination as a pitcher.
Tomas Nido – Even with his struggles at the plate in Binghamton, he can rest easy knowing the Mets don’t expect an OBP over .300 from their catchers.
Brandon Nimmo – No one, not matter what, has been able to wipe that smile off of his face.
Tyler Pill – In a year of embarrassing pitching performances by Mets pitchers, Pill actually acquitted himself quite well before suffering his season ending injury.
Kevin Plawecki – He’s so well liked by his teammates that someone left him a present in his locker, which apparently has inspired him to hit the ball harder and longer thereby resurrecting his career.
Neil Ramirez – Somehow, someway, he was not the absolute worst pitcher on a team’s pitching staff.
AJ Ramos – To him, getting traded to the Mets meant he was traded to a team that actually spends money in the offseason.
Addison Reed – He was so good this year he was worth not just one but three right-handed relievers.
Jose Reyes – The Mets didn’t cut him or his playing time no matter how horrible he played during the 2017 season.
Matt Reynolds – He got that long look in September Sandy Alderson promised him. Unfortunately, that only amounted to him getting 10 games to show what he could do at the MLB level.
Jacob Rhame – He’s with an organization that has had success getting flame throwing right-handed pitchers who have slimmed down since getting drafted reach their full potential.
Rene Rivera – After failing to whisper loud enough to help the Mets pitchers pitch better, he was able to go to the Cubs to help their pitchers lead them to an NLCS berth.
Hansel Robles – In his mind every ball hit in the air is an inning ending pop up.
Amed Rosario – He didn’t have to have his development hampered by being expected to be the savior when he was called-up to the majors as the Mets were well out of contention on August 1st.
Fernando Salas – Despite his rough stint with the Mets, he was able to land with the Angels to end the season thereby proving it was the Mets handling of pitchers and not him that was terrible.
Paul Sewald – As a reward for all of his hard work in Vegas, he got the privilege of being the arm Collins loved to abuse during the season.
Dominic Smith – He finally got his call-up in August in Philadelphia of all places allowing him to celebrate the accomplishment and the win with a cheesesteak from Pat’s. (NOTE: not a cheapshot at his weight, this actually happened)
Josh Smoker – After the Mets finally gave up on using a pitcher with a history of shoulder issues as the long man in the pen, he showed the team in September that he could be as a lefty out of the pen to get lefties out.
Noah Syndergaard – Mr. Met flipped off someone this year other than him.
Neil Walker – The Mets moved him to the Brewers where he was able to re-establish his free agency value by being productive and by staying healthy, which was coincidentally was when he was away from the Mets medical team.
Adam Wilk – Because Harvey was at home one day in his pajamas, he set off on a path where he would become eligible to earn a share of the postseason money awarded to the Twins for claiming the second Wild Card.
Zack Wheeler – Instead of missing two years due to injury, he missed two months.
David Wright – Despite all evidence to the contrary, the Mets still have not given up on him.
Terry Collins – At the end of the day, he was able to make a friend of Fred Wilpon who had his back no matter what. We should all be so lucky.
Dan Warthen – He found a new group of pitchers in Texas who have elbows waiting to learn how to throw that Warthen Slider.
Sandy Alderson – Collins was so poor at managing, he was able to convince ownership it was all Collins’ fault and not his for poorly constructing a roster.
Mets Fans – Well, even if it wasn’t at this post, we all still have a sense of humor, and we can still laugh at what we put up with from this team on a daily basis.
The floodgates would eventually happen in a five run third punctuated by a Carlos Gonzalez two run homer to dead center.
After that Flexen was done having thrown 64 pitches in the three innings. He might’ve been coming out anyway, but his developing a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand essentially sealed the deal.
Normally, you’d expect for this game to be over, especially with this Mets bullpen. Then again, this is Coors Field.
Michael Conforto and Asdrubal Cabrera got things started in the fourth hitting back-to-back singles to set up first and third with no outs. The rally sputtered a bit with Cespedes hitting into a double play allowing Conforto to score. The Mets would pull to within 5-2 on a Jay Bruce solo shot:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) August 3, 2017
In the fifth, Curtis Granderson got things started by ripping a ball past Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds. The play was scored as an error. Granderson would then score on a Rosario ground rule triple. Yes, you read that correctly.
Rosario hit a call down the third base line. As Rosario was beginning to round second, a fan touched it before Gerardo Parra would get to it. This was Rosario’s first extra-base hit and RBI.
It’s in the sixth then the Mets offense really broke out.
The sixth started with Cespedes doubling home Cabrera tying the game. . Bruce followed with a walk. After Brandon Nimmo hit into a force play, it was runners at the corners with one out for Granderson. Granderson untied the game:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) August 3, 2017
The rally wouldn’t end there. d’Arnaud, Jose Reyes, and Conforto hit consecutive singles making it 9-5. A Cabrera RBI ground rule double made it 10-5.
In that inning, the Mets batted around scoring six runs.
What is truly remarkable about this game wasn’t the rally. It was the Mets bullpen keeping the Rockies at bay:
- Chasen Bradford 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2K
- Fernando Salas IP, H, 0R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Paul Sewald 2.0 IP, H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
The Sewald outing was particularly informative for a player who may still yet be an important part of the Mets bullpen next year.
After a clean seventh, he was called to pitch another inning. He then worked around a Reynolds double. This is the latest example we’ve seen with Sewald where he’s comfortable pitching when there’s pressure. Better yet, he typically works his way out of if.
The good bullpen work carried forward to the ninth with AJ Ramos.
This was all part of pitchers making the adjustments they need to make to succeed. Wins and losses don’t matter much when the Met is going nowhere. Rather, you’d like to see them improve at their role. At least for tonight, we saw them successful in both fashions.
Game Notes: Josh Edgin cleared waivers and was sent down to Triple-A. This was Bradford’s first career win.
After the Mets pulled out a 6-4 win over the Cardinals, there was hope for the team to at least take the series and leap over one team ahead of them in the race for the second Wild Card. As Noah Syndergaard will tell you, the Mets are the second half team. If you wanted a glimmer of hope, here it was.
On Saturday, there was hope. Zach Wheeler turned his season around allowing just two earned over six innings. When Jay Bruce homered to start the seventh inning, and the Mets knocked Adam Wainwright out of the game, there was a chance. Then Fernando Salas came into the game. He was dreadful as usual, and the relievers that followed weren’t much better. A one run deficit became a three run lead too much for the Mets to overcome.
From there, things fell apart. For the first time all season, Steven Matz just didn’t have it allowing five runs over 4.1 inning. The Mets offense could only muster three hits off of Lance Lynn. With that, the momentum from Friday night’s victory was gone. Quite possibly, hope for the Mets making any sort of run in the second half of the season.
Heading into the break, the Mets are 39-47 getting outscored by their opponents by 47 runs. They are 12 games behind the Nationals in the National League East. The team is 10.5 games behind the second Wild Card. Worse than that, the Mets are 5-21 against teams with a winning record.
Every time you want hope, the Mets make sure to take it away. Perhaps, it is better this way. It is time for everyone to admit this team is going nowhere. It is time to sell. It is time for Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini, and Amed Rosario to show the Mets what they are capable of doing. With them playing everyday, it is possible we can all begin to hope again.
This is a game the Mets don’t win this year. They blew the lead twice. They fell behind after a bullpen meltdown. The rain coming was almost an allegory for their season being washed out. Lost in all of that, this team still has some fight it them.
The Mets 1-0 lead on a Jose Reyes double went away with the help of a pair of fourth inning errors.
The Phillies loaded the bases on a T.J. Rivera and a pair of walks issued by Zack Wheeler. Ty Kelly grounded to Lucas Duda on easy should’ve been an inning ending double play. Instead, Wheeler missed the return throw from Reyes allowing two runs to score.
After a Cameron Rupp single, Wheeler was done for the day. In his first start since his brief stint on the Disabled List, Wheeler reminded you of how frustrating he can be. He was unable to put batters away. He walked batters at inopportune times. He didn’t last long in the game.
Erik Goeddel came on and bailed him out. He also gave the Mets the chance to win.
The Mets picked themselves off the mat in the bottom of the inning starting with an Asdrubal Cabrera leadoff double off Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson. He’d then score on a Jay Bruce RBI ground out. Duda then untied it:
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) July 1, 2017
Goeddel couldn’t hold that lead. He’d issue a two out walk to Aaron Altherr, and before you could blink Altherr was on third base as Travis d’Arnaud threw it away on Altherr’s stolen base attempt. The whole course of events might have been rendered moot as Tommy Joseph doubled him home.
This put the game in Fernando Salas‘ hands. Outside the first couple of weeks when Terry Collins went to him again and again, Salas has been terrible. For proof of that, look no further than his 5.88 ERA or his 1.693 WHIP.
Two singles and a Joseph homer later, and the Mets were down 6-3. With the rains coming, it was possible that could’ve been enough to win the game. In fact, a lengthy enough delay after the seventh, and that game is over. With that, the Mets season might’ve been washed away as well.
Then T.J. would jolt everyone alive with a home run to lead off the inning. The home run sparked the Mets offense. d’Arnaud would hit a one out double off Pat Neshek, and he would score on a Wilmer Flores RBI single.
Then, with two outs, against the team that led to the home run which inspired the day’s bobble head, Cabrera struck again:
Asdrubal Cabrera rocks a two-run homer to deep right-center field, putting the Mets in front 7-6 in the 7th inning on his bobblehead day!!! pic.twitter.com/RkfqBECoJP
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) July 1, 2017
That doesn’t mean it was smooth sailing. There would be a rain delay and a couple of false starts by the Phillies.
To lead off the ninth, Altherr hit one to deep center just missing a home run. Reed buckled down, and he made sure to strand Altherr at second to pick up his seventh straight save attempt and his third in as many days.
With the win, the rejuvenated Mets are now just 8.5 games behind the suddenly reeling Nationals. The Mets have a chance to make things interesting.
Game Notes: Michael Conforto went to the Disabled List with a bone bruise in his left hand. Wheeler was activated off the Disabled List to make the start.
This game started just like yesterday’s game with Anthony Rizzo leading off the game with a home run. Then, things were worse than where last night’s game started when Ian Happ followed with a home run of his own to make it 2-0 Cubs before there was an out in the game.
It seemed Iike things were going to be worse than that. It has become passé to say Matt Harvey didn’t have it, but he really didn’t have it tonight. He was throwing his two seamer in the high 80s. Even when Harvey’s been at his most injured, he was never there. The Cubs would take advantage too.
Kyle Schwarber was chief among them with this shot OVER the Shea Bridge:
Kyle Schwarber launches a majestic fly ball well over the wall in right-center field for a two-run homer, extending the Cubs' lead to 4-1!!! pic.twitter.com/wM7tKuEMjv
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 15, 2017
The Cubs would go up 4-1, and Harvey would only last four innings.
However, unlike last night, the Mets were in this game.
In the fourth, the Mets loaded the bases with no outs with Harvey due up. Yoenis Cespedes wasnot yet warmed up to play, because, why have all your players ready to play the game. Michael Conforto likely wasn’t an option with the left-handed starter Mike Montgomery on the mound. Terry Collins opted to go with Steven Matz as the pinch hitter.
Matz made Collins look like a genius (nah) with an infield single in a ball Javier Baez didn’t get quite cleanly enough. After Juan Lagares‘ sacrifice fly, the Mets rally sputtered, and the Mets went to the fifth inning and their bullpen down 4-3.
The Mets pitchers contributions were terrific. Matz had the RBI single. Paul Sewald pitched two scoreless. Fernando Salas pitched two-thirds of an inning scoreless. Jerry Blevins had his longest outing of the year pitching 1.1 scoreless innings. Robert Gsellman entered the game as a pinch runner.
Their collective work allowed the Mets to stay in the game and have a chance to win.
The chance came when Curtis Granderson earn a lead-off walk. Two outs later and two strikes on Lagares, it appeared as if the Mets might squander the opportunity. Then, Lagares hit a ball off Pedro Strop only Lagares could’ve caught:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 15, 2017
The score remained tied until the eighth when Granderson did what Granderson does when the Mets need a huge hit:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 15, 2017
The homer ignited the Mets offense. The next big hit came from Lucas Duda:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 15, 2017
As it turns out, Duda wasn’t even supposed to be in the game. With the left-handed starter on the mound, he was on the bench. However, when Neil Walker suffered a leg injury attempting a bunt single, Duda came in the game.
The homer didn’t kill the rally either. The Mets poured it on against Carl Edwards, Jr. Three more hits would follow culminating in a T.J. RBI single to make it 9-4.
Collins went to Addison Reed to close out the game. It wasn’t easy with the Cubs loading the bases with two outs and Rizzo coming to the plate. Rizzo grounded out, and the Mets won 9-4.
This was a huge win in front of a huge series this weekend. Things are definitely looking up for this Mets team.
Game Notes: Walker is getting an MRI tomorrow and is likely DL bound. Gavin Cecchini was held out of the 51s game, and he looks like he will get the call once Walker is put on the DL. Granderson’s eighth inning home run was the 300th of his career.
Well, this was exactly how the Mets drew it up. Dominant starting pitching and an offense to match. They only thing missing was the players capable of doing it.
But either Cespedes or Matz had an impact in this double header, Robert Gsellman made his latest case as to why the Mets should keep him in the rotation.
Gsellman flat out dominated the Braves over 6.1 innings allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out four. It was his latest big start after he had been temporarily moved to the bullpen due to his early season struggles.
The Mets needed that start too. They needed it because the Mets bullpen has been a mess. They needed it because of the double header. They needed it because Sean Newcomb was dealing for the Braves.
The Mets were only able to scratch one run against him in the second with the assistance of a throwing error from Newcomb. T.J. Rivera hit a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0. Mets had to wait until the eighth to get another real threat going.
The Mets had second and third with no outs against Luke Jackson after he hit Michael Conforto with a pitch, Cespedes singled, and Jackson threw a wild pitch. Ender Inciarte took what was a sure extra base hit and turned it into a Wilmer Flores sacrifice fly.
The Mets had Jackson and the Braves on the ropes, but they left him off the hook. Then Fernando Salas allowed an eighth inning homer to Brandon Phillips, and he needed to get bailed out by Addison Reed, who was coming on for the five out save partially because Terry Collins ripped through his bullpen yet again.
The ominous tone of the game, and perhaps the season changed with one swing of the bat:
Just like that, it was 6-1, but it was more than that. The Mets were rejuvenated. They won the first game, and then they went out and dominated the second game.
Like the first game of the double header, it all began with the starter. Matz pitched seven innings allowing just one run. That one run was in the seventh, but by that time, the game was already over.
Jay Bruce hit a three run homer in the fifth off Matt Wisler. Somehow in the sixth, Flores hit a triple, and he scored on a Travis d’Arnaud sacrifice fly making it 4-0.
T.J. Rivera provided insurance with an eighth inning two run homer. In the ninth, Juan Lagares hit a two run double making it 8-1. That’s a lead not even Neil Ramirez or Tyler Pill could blow.
That’s how different things are with Cespedes back in the fold. The Mets are scoring insurance runs, and their bullpen doesn’t blow leads.
Overall, it was a double header sweep where the Mets dominated the Braves. The Mets looked like the team many thought they would be to start the year. Both starters pitched into the seventh. There was a different vibe around this team. At least for one day, you believed this team still has some life.
Game Notes: Neil Walker returned from the stiff knee and played in both games starting the second. Cespedes was the 26th man. Rivera and Pill were sent down after the game to accommodate Matz and Seth Lugo being activated from the disabled list. Flores, Jose Reyes, and Conforto were the only players to start both games. Asdrubal Cabrera committed two errors.
Harvey was good enough. For just the third time in his 12 starts, he didn’t allow a homer. More than that, for the first time this season he had an outing where he didn’t allow a run.
Still, it wasn’t smooth sailing. The only 1-2-3 inning he had was the fifth, which was also his final inning as he needed 104 pitches.
Most of those pitches came in a 27 pitch second inning. The Braves loaded the bases with one out with Teheran coming to the plate. He hit a chopper to Wilmer Flores, who came home with it. His throw barely beat Matt Adams.
For what it’s worth, it may not have beat Adams. That play was close as it gets, and shockingly, the Braves didn’t challenge. It was probably lucky they didn’t. It was emblematic of the luck Harvey continues to have with runners in scoring position.
The Braves were 0-5 with RISP against Harvey leaving six runners on base. It fueled a good start for Harvey whose final line was five innings, four hits, no runs, no earned, two walks, and three strikeouts. It was enough for Harvey to leave with the win.
And it was barely enough. Teheran was his usual terrific self, and the Braves were flashing the leather.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 10, 2017
While he wouldn’t score there, Granderson did get the Mets on the board with a solo shot in the third. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.
Paul Sewald was double switched into the game in the sixth, and he was immediately in trouble after Matt Kemp‘s lead-off double. Sewald was so close to working around it. With two outs in the inning, the Mets had an option: pitch to Danny Santana or Swanson.
The Mets chose Swanson, and intentionally walked Santana putting the go-ahead run on base. The Mets would rue the the decision as Swanson hit a two RBI double to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, the Braves brought on Jason Motte to pitch to d’Arnaud, and d’Arnaud tied the game at 2-2 with a solo home run.
In the eighth, d’Arnaud would also help the Mets by completing a strike ’em out – throw ’em out double play.
That only stayed the inevitable. In Fernando Salas‘ second inning of work, he allowed a one out hit to Swanson. Swanson got on his horse, and he took advantage of Granderson’s poor arm for the hustle double. It didn’t hurt that Granderson was deep playing no doubles, and he didn’t go full speed getting to that ball.
Terry Collins went to Josh Edgin to pitch to Rio Ruiz. Ruiz hit Edgin’s first pitch past a diving Asdrubal Cabrera. With Conforto unable to get the ball out of his glove, there would be no play at home.
The Mets lost a game they should’ve won further pushing them closer to selling. If only this team had a SS prospect who could’ve had an impact on this game like Swanson.
While we watch Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom struggle, and with Noah Syndergaard gone for most of the year, it has been Wheeler. He’s been the most consistent starter, and he’s getting better as the season progresses.
Tonight’s start was a microcosm of Wheeler’s season. In the first, the Rangers loaded the bases with no outs, but they only came away with one run on a Nomar Mazara RBI groundout. It was initially ruled a double play, but upon replay, he was ruled safe. It didn’t matter much, as Wheeler got out of the inning by inducing Robinson Chirinos to hit into the inning ending double play.
From there, Wheeler was brilliant. He mowed down the Rangers, and he pitched into the seventh. The Rangers put Wheeler on the ropes with runners on first and second with two out, and Delino DeShields coming to the plate. At that point in the game, DeShields was 2-2 with a run and a walk. Despite this, Wheeler dug deep, and on his 108th pitch of the night, he got DeShields to fly out to right.
The 108 pitches matched a season high for Wheeler. His final line on the night was seven innings, six hits, one run, one earned, three walks, and five strikeouts. Simply put, he was terrific.
On the opposite side, Darvish probably had better stuff. He was perfect through three, and the Mets didn’t look like they had much of a chance on the night. Things changed in the fourth.
Crew Chief reviews call that Jay Bruce hit a triple in the 4th; call overturned, home run:https://t.co/D1cv6BUlYH
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) June 8, 2017
Darvish would not make another mistake until Bruce came up again in the sixth. Bruce took a slider off the plate, and he drove it opposite field for a solo home run making it 3-1.
Overall, Darvish was nearly unhittable over his 7.1 innings pitched. In fact, other than Bruce, Juan Lagares was the only Met to get a hit off Darvish. That hit chased Darvish. Former Met Dario Alvarez would walk Conforto before getting Asdrubal Cabrera to hit into the inning ending double play.
Despite Blevins having a terrific year with a 1.42 ERA, he has struggled against righties. On the season, righties are hitting .364/.481/.591 off of him. The batter, Chirinos, the Rangers version of Wilmer Flores, is hitting .353/.389/.529 off lefties. Chirinos struggles against righties hitting just .210/.310/.460 off them. Looking at the splits, it was an obvious spot for Addison Reed to go with the four out save with the Mets having a day off tomorrow.
If not Reed, at least Fernando Salas, who was warming in the bullpen. Instead of Salas, Collins stuck with Blevins, who hung one to Chirinos. Tie game.
Reyes hit a bouncer to Rougned Odor who spiked the throw to Elvis Andrus. Andrus could not come up with the throw, and on the throw, Matt Reynolds, who came on to pinch run for Duda, never stopped and scored from second on the play.
With the Rangers failing to make the play, and with Reynolds’ hustle, the Mets reclaimed the lead at 4-3. Reed came on in the ninth, and he pitched a rare 1-2-3 save for him.
If nothing else, this win shows this team has heart. They blew a game yesterday. They had their stomach punched on the Chirinos homer. And yet, they pulled this one out. Maybe, just maybe, there’s still room for hope.
Game Notes: Reyes got the start with Neil Walker out of the lineup. While Collins said it was a routine day off, reports indicated Walker may have a knee injury.