Baseball is the best sport there is. No other sport can give a team and player the chance for redemption like the others.
We were reminded of that with this New York Mets team and Eduardo Escobar.
Escobar was great to start the season. However, he tapered off and was injured. He’d lose his starting job and become a weak side platoon option.
Well, Guillorme and Baty would both go dish with injury. That meant the Mets had little choice than play Escobar. Boy, are they lucky that happened.
Arguably, Escobar has been the Mets best player this month. In fact, he’s been a top 20 player in the majors this month (per fWAR) with the third most RBI in all of baseball.
That Escobar was on display against the Miami Marlins. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets were collapsing, and they looked dead in the water in this game. That was until Escobar’s seventh inning homer:
Suddenly, the Mets were back in the game, and they had some life. In fact, the Mets team now down 4-2 would load the bases in the eighth.
Through six innings, the Mets couldn’t muster a run. In the ensuing two innings, Escobar would knock in a pair tying the score.
In the ninth, the Mets couldn’t come through because, well, Escobar didn’t bat. That’s only half-joking because Escobar was in the zone like no other Mets player.
After Drew Smith came up huge, the Mets went to the bottom of the tenth needing just one to walk it off. With the Washington Nationals beating the Atlanta Braves in extras, the Mets had a chance to go to Atlanta one game up in the division.
Lindor was at second as the ghost runner because Rob Manfred hates baseball. Mark Canha came close to ending it, but he’d strike out.
The Marlins intentionally walked McNeil to get to Escobar. Unlike the previous at-bats, Escobar was batting left-handed, his far weaker side. On a night like this, it didn’t matter:
Like that, the Mets won 5-4 with Escobar driving all five Mets runs. Not too bad for a guy who lost his job twice and saw the Mets try to severely limit his at-bats.
You could see Escobar was ecstatic. We all were. We got to see it on display when Escobar gave one of the more joyful and entertaining postgame interviews we’ve ever seen with him ending the interview saying, “Arigato! Thank you!”
While great and much appreciated, it is Escobar who deserves our thanks and appreciation. Even when times were at their worst, he never gave up, and he kept fighting saying he would one day give the fans a reason to cheer:
Eduardo Escobar with a message for Mets fans:— SNY (@SNYtv) June 22, 2022
"One day, I'm going to give them the reasons to cheer for me" pic.twitter.com/7NRCEjzXBZ
Assuredly, this came at a time later than anyone wanted. However, it could not have come at a better time. For this game propelling the Mets to a one game lead, Mets fans should say to Escobar, “Arigato! Thank you!”
While the division is still up for grabs, the New York Mets are definitively headed to the postseason. While their opponent remains to be seen, we can start looking at who will be on the roster. After all, the Mets have begun doing that themselves by playing Mark Vientos in addition to taking looks at starters Tylor Megill and David Peterson in the bullpen.
While September rosters are at 28, rosters will drop back down to 26 for the postseason. So with that, at least two players currently on the roster will not be on the postseason roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at who is currently a lock to make the postseason roster.
Believe it or not, Francisco Alvarez could potentially be added to the postseason roster. However, that’s only in the event of an injury to McCann or Nido and another to Michael Perez. Put another way, we’re going to see McCann and Nido all postseason.
There are no surprises here. This is obviously the starting infield with the Escobar/Guillorme platoon. Of course, Marte’s health will impact if Guillorme and Escobar play everyday with McNeil in right field against right-handed pitching.
The obvious caveat here is Marte. If he is good to go, there are four outfielders who will be good to go. However, at the moment, we do not know how or if Marte can play through the pain. Keep in mind, that broken middle finger is inhibiting his ability to throw.
Simply put, Darin Ruf is not doing enough to secure a spot on the postseason roster, and the same goes for Vientos at the moment. The Mets obviously brought Gore in for the sole purpose of being a pinch runner, but his spot may be in some doubt with the Mets platoon strategy. Marte’s health may very well impact who is carried to be the right-handed DH with Marte himself being a possibility.
We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. At the moment, it looks like the Mets will have to decide between Carrasco. Whichever they pick, it would be an absolute shock if the Mets do not put the other starter in the bullpen for the postseason.
There are a name or two here that may very well be here, but at the moment, this is the only group that can be considered a lock. Yes, it is a surprise that’s it after a long season and multiple opportunities for upgrades.
With all the aforementioned players, the Mets have 20 players who are locks for the postseason roster. Per MLB roster rules, the Mets (or any team) can only carry up to 13 pitchers. At the moment, the Mets have nine pitchers considered as locks. As a result, the Mets can add up to four more pitchers leaving them to add two position players.
POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE
If Marte is healthy and ready to go, he will be on the postseason roster. However, the Mets have to be very careful here. If they carry Marte in the first round series, and he can’t go that puts them in a very precarious spot. That means they’re going to be down a player for the round, lose Marte for the ensuing series if he needs to be replaced on the roster, or both.
Marte’s availability is the biggest question mark, and it may be the biggest issue with how the roster is comprised.
For example, Gore was brought here solely to pinch run in the postseason. However, if Marte is still working his way back, the Mets just may roll the dice and use Marte for the role and revisit it again for the next series. If Marte can’t play the field but can DH, that takes Ruf and Vientos completely out of the picture.
Essentially, what Marte can and can’t do will dictate which two players will make the roster. Ideally, the Mets probably want to carry Marte and Gore, but we will see if that is a possibility. Of course, we can’t rule out the possibility, the Mets carry just 12 pitchers with a reliever going to the bullpen to allow the Mets to carry Marte, Gore, and one of Ruf/Vientos.
RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE
- Mychal Givens
- Tommy Hunter
- Joey Lucchesi
- Tylor Megill
- David Peterson
- Joely Rodriguez
- Drew Smith
- Trevor Williams
As noted above, we can see the Mets carry 3-4 pitchers from this group. Keep in mind, who the Mets carry from this group may be somewhat opponent dependent.
Right off the bat, the Mets would carry Givens, but he is on the COVID IL. Until he is activated, we are not quite sure if he can be carried on the postseason roster, at least not in the first round. Assuming for a second Givens is available, things get interesting.
Realistically speaking, the Mets will carry Rodriguez even though he has been bad all year. Of course, Lucchesi is a wild card here. However, if we don’t see him pitch in the Majors soon, there is just no way the Mets can carry him on the postseason roster.
If the Mets want two left-handed relievers, they are definitively going to carry Rodriguez and Peterson (short of Lucceshi being good to go). If they carry both, and Givens is healthy, that may just be a full bullpen depending on what the Mets want to do from a position player perspective.
To a certain degree, that squeezes Williams off the postseason roster. That is unfair and dubious considering he has been one of the Mets best pitchers all season. That said, if you’re carrying your best pitchers, Williams has been that all season.
Theoretically, Megill of Co-No fame would be left off the roster. At the moment, Megill is trying to prove he can be utilized in the bullpen.
Overall, this all hinges on Marte’s health. The role if he can play, if he can play role at all, can dictate just how the Mets are able to comprise their postseason roster. Right now, there are eight games for players to secure their place on the roster leaving a number of moving pieces and decisions yet to be made.
For some reason, it just seems players need a year to get acclimated before taking off with the New York Mets. Just ask Carlos Beltran.
We’re again seeing it with Francisco Lindor.
Lindor’s first year with the Mets did not go well at all. He was booed, and there was controversy over the thumbs down bit.
Sure, the numbers weren’t bad. However, they weren’t quite Lindor. Not the future Hall of Famer who commanded the biggest contract ever handed out by the Mets or any shortstop in Major League history.
This season has been different. Even with the injures, Lindor has been as advertised. He’s playing near Gold Glove caliber defense, and he’s had a number of key hits.
That includes the grand slam against Taylor Rogers. Lindor just does so many things to help the Mets win.
The grand slam proved necessary. That’s not just because the Atlanta Braves won again, but it’s also because the Brewers would score again. Ultimately, the Mets won 7-5 and remain in first place.
For Lindor, he’s been exactly as advertised this season. He has a 13 OAA. That’s tied for second best among shortstops and the top seven (out of any position) in the majors.
At the plate, Lindor has a 129 wRC+, the second best of his career. That’s fourth among Major League shortstops.
What’s notable is Xander Bogaerts comes closest to Lindor with a 5 OAA, which is a wide disparity. The other two shortstops ahead of Lindor have a negative OAA.
Lindor is a truly unique player. He’s a power hitting shortstop who plays Gold Glove defense. He’s already the best shortstop the Mets have ever had, and he’s on his way to being among the best ever.
Mostly, when Lindor was acquired and extended, fans were promised things were different. The Mets had a superstar in the vein of a Beltran or Mike Piazza. Only this time, the Mets were not going to stop short of doing what was necessary to build a true World Series contender around their star player.
The Mets have shown the willingness to do all in their power to build a roster befitting their superstar. However, sometimes, it’s up to the superstar to be the difference maker, and once again, Lindor was just that.
It is long past time we stop sugar coating what is happening with the New York Mets. Moreoever, we absolutely need to stop giving the Atlanta Braves more credit than they are actually due.
Yes, the Braves were nipping on the Mets heels as the result of playing ridiculously well since June 1. That is even the case with them having a losing record against teams with a winning record, and the Mets leading the season series against the Braves. The Braves got themselves in it because they were resilient and won a a lot of games.
However, they are in a first place tie now (in the loss column) because the Mets are collapsing. Yes, it is a collapse, and we need to call it as such.
The Mets have the easiest September schedule in all of baseball. So far, the Mets are 6-7. That record looks worse when you consider they opened the month with a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. This means the Mets are 5-7 against teams with a losing record this month.
They were swept for the first time all season. It was the Chicago Cubs, who are on pace to lose 93 games. By the way, they didn’t even need Marcus Stroman to do it.
The Mets are the only team in the Divisional Era (1969) to get swept at home while 35+ games OVER .500 against a team 20+ games UNDER .500.
Last team to suffer such a sweep: Detroit Tigers in the final 3 games of the 1968 regular season.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 15, 2022
They had a three game stretch where the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates beat them by six plus runs. That was the first time in Major League history where a team with a 30 game differential in the standings lost three consecutive games by six runs. The first ever time. That’s how unacceptable those losses were.
They lost a series to the Nationals. They were swept by the Cubs. They couldn’t sweep the Pirates, who are dreadful. At least, the Mets took two-out-of-three from them. Of course, everything looked good after that series only for them to be swept by the Cubs. Yes, it is getting redundant saying that, but it is just that maddening.
We can and should note Starling Marte and Max Scherzer landed on the IL, but then again, so what? Did the Mets really need both of them to win these games. That is what was supposed to be so good about this schedule. The Mets could rest some players and allow players to heal. Also, with all the trade deadline moves, weren’t the Mets supposed to be in a position to be able to easily withstand injuries like these?
When it was Willie Randolph trotting out pitchers like Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, and David Williams, we all correctly termed it a collapse and were embarrassed by it. There were some who called for Randolph to be fired. The fact we’re not seeing similar anger is shocking.
Yes, the Mets are definitively going to the postseason. However, with the new format, not winning the division actually creates an addition hurdle. It actively works against their chances of winning a World Series. For some reason, everyone seems cool with Buck Showalter leading this collapse.
Keep in mind, he’s had some bizarre decisions. Joely Rodriguez in a close game against right-handed batters. Darin Ruf as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded. Not giving Francisco Lindor or Pete Alonso a day off even after Lindor says he and the team is tired, and Alonso is actively showing his frustration on the field.
Showalter was supposed to be different than everyone who came before him. Instead, he’s doing the same exact thing we saw out of Randolph, Jerry Manuel, and Luis Rojas. Showalter was the one in charge when the Mets lost a 10.5 game lead, something that has only been done eight times in Major League history.
That’s not seven in 17 bad, but that’s really bad.
Right now, there are zero excuses for the Mets not winning the division. Failing to win the NL East would be completely and wholly unacceptable. This team is too good to be doing what they are doing right now. Supposedly, Showalter is such a good manager that this never could have even been contemplated.
However, the moment is here. Do the Mets collect themselves and right the ship? Or, are they going to collapse against terrible teams and cede the division to the Braves? With this pathetic schedule, the Mets are in the driver’s seat. It’s time they push the pedal to the floor and take off instead of going to go off path only to crash and burn.
It may be a bit unfair to Edwin Diaz, but back in 2019, the pressure could not have been higher. Keep in mind, he plays a position that is among the most pressure filled in all of pro sports.
There were high expectations based upon what he did with the Seattle Mariners. In some ways, it was on his shoulders to try to justify the dumb and ill-received trade to acquire him and Robinson Cano.
As we all know, Diaz faltered. It was easily the worst season of his career. The common refrain from that season from fans was Diaz could not handle New York. The corollary to this was never would’ve been able to do it here.
It’s been a crutch for New York fans. The common explanation as to why players thrive elsewhere is they can’t handle New York. It’s a convenient catch-all, which helps overlook the real reason why players failed.
Jason Bay wasn’t an outfielder dealing with absurd outfield walls and concussions. No, he couldn’t handle New York.
Travis d’Arnaud wasn’t an injury prone catcher at a time Jeff Wilpon was meddling with medical decisions. No, he just couldn’t handle New York (also apparently, 2015 never happened).
There are countless examples through Mets history. All of those examples and the narrative is being proven absurd this season.
The funny thing is Diaz admitted he struggled with New York. In many ways, he was the epitome of can’t handle New York. In reality, he needs to adjust.
Diaz is not unique in this respect. Players struggle coming to new teams sometimes. For some reason, that does seem to apply to the Mets more than others.
For that matter, Curtis Granderson struggled when he first came to the Mets. Keep on mind, Granderson played the previous four seasons with the New York Yankees.
That brings us back to Diaz. Yes, he struggled with New York. However, he mostly struggled with his mechanics. Back in 2019, the Mets just couldn’t get that right.
It’s at the point where Mets fans love him and await his entrance into games. Narco and the trumpets are a major feature at Mets games. It’s now at the point where the Mets have invited Timmy Trumpet to games.
That’s not bad for someone who can’t do it in New York. It’s almost as if that narrative was always a poor excuse, and Diaz proved it was nonsense all along.
For the first time this season, the New York Mets lost a series to an NL East opponent. With it being the second place Atlanta Braves, it may be cause for concern.
If we go back over the series, this was really a fluke and bad luck. This really had nothing to do with the Braves being better or the Mets being exposed.
Medina won’t be anywhere near a postseason roster, and Alvarez has already been designated for assignment. Walker isn’t on the IL, and as already noted, with David Peterson and Trevor Williams, the Mets are fine from a starting pitching perspective.
The finale, well, it was a frustrating loss reminiscent of the late 1990s. It was also a series of flukes.
The game was 2-2 when Jacob deGrom left the game with one on and two outs in the seventh. Yes, but the Braves made an inspired call with a hit-and-run, but boy, was that a fluke play.
It was a pitch off the plate that just got through the shift. Tip your cap, yes. Great execution, certainly. Still, a fluke play.
Lindor had to hold up. It could’ve been caught. Getting doubled off effectively ends the game. His view is blocked, and he erred on the side of caution.
It should’ve been Lindor at second with Alonso at the plate. It could’ve been first and third with no outs. Instead, it was runner at first with one out. It was the slower Alonso too.
Again, fluke play. Arguably, this was born of poor execution with Alonso being way too aggressive.
Fluke or not, these two plays defined a maddening loss. It was also what the Braves needed to finally beat the Mets in a series this year.
Again, it took two pitcher injuries and two fluke plays. That’s what it takes for the Braves to take down the Mets.
The Braves won. Good for them. It still doesn’t change the fact the Mets remain the much better team who only lost due to a series or events near impossible to repeat.
Mets are still vastly superior and will easily win the NL East.
The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies had their crack at the New York Mets. Coming to Queens, the Braves and Phillies could not have been hotter, and their pitching rotations were perfectly aligned.
The Braves and Phillies purportedly did better at the trade deadline. In fact, they grabbed a couple of the relievers the Mets were targeting.
The Mets were primed to be knocked down a peg. The Braves could repeat the horrors of last year and the late 90s. The Phillies wouldn’t have to wait until September like they did in 2007 – 2008.
The end result?
Even with Cora, the Mets expanded their division lead from 3.5 games to 5.5. They’re 39-15 against their division foes. That’s the most intra-division wins in the National League.
As an aside, the Mets are not a paper tiger demolishing NL East foes only. Outside the division, they’re 36-25 (.574). That’s a 93 win pace.
They’re also 37-26 (,587) against teams over .500. That’s a 95 win pace. Put another way, the Mets are doing more than beating up on their division. They’re just beating everyone.
This is all just a long winded way of saying they’re better than almost everyone. As composed right now, they could be the best team in all of baseball. Certainly, with the starting pitching and Díaz, they should be considered World Series favorites.
For now, they are the best team in the NL East. and they took care of the Braves and Phillies to establish that (again). All that’s left for the Mets now is to ensure they get that pitching healthy and set-up for October.
In their 60 year history, the New York Mets have never had an MVP. Francisco Lindor is set to change that.
This is a record setting season for Lindor, and it’s the type that gets recognized. He’s really out there doing what Hall of Famers do. Being a future Hall of Famer, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
As noted above, Lindor is one of 12 players in MLB history to have 10+ game streaks with a run scored and an RBI. That list includes Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Joe Morgan.
Lindor is also setting Mets records. He’s the first Mets shortstop with consecutive 20 home run seasons. In fact, he’s the only Mets shortstop with a 20 home run season.
Lindor ranks sixth in the majors with 79 RBI. That puts him two behind Jose Reyes for the Mets single season record by a shortstop.
Overall, Lindor has played 110 games thus far. He’s hitting .268/.344/.462 with 17 doubles, three triples, 20 homers, and 79 RBI. He’s 11/14 in stolen base opportunities.
From an advanced stat perspective, Lindor has a 4.4 bWAR, 4.8 fWAR, 130 wRC+, 127 OPS+, and an 8 OAA. These are outstanding numbers.
The bWAR ranks Lindor sixth. One note here is Arenado and Goldschmidt may split the vote. With respect to Austin Riley, there may be emphasis on how much better the Mets were, and how good Lindor was in that division altering series.
Lindor is certainly in the Gold Glove mix and may find himself a finalist. Even if he’s not, he’s the one shortstop in the game who or year-in and year-out one of the best defenders and hitters at the position.
All told, the Mets are having a special season, and Lindor has been their best player. Historically, players like this do well in MVP voting.
With 51 games remaining in the season, we could well see Lindor establish himself as the best player in the NL. He could be the Mets first MVP.
So far, the New York Mets have dominated the Atlanta Braves over the first four games of this five game set. Like the prior matchups, the Mets are just proving they’re the better team.
The only game the Braves won was when Taijuan Walker had that odd step on the mound. He says he was alright, but his pitching was clearly impacted.
As Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, and Max Scherzer have shown, the Braves cannot handle the Mets starting pitching. Then again, who can? Oh, and by the way, the Mets have Jacob deGrom up for the finale.
After the dominant starting pitching comes Edwin Díaz. Like the rest of baseball, the Braves haven’t been able to do anything against him either.
Showalter also had the stones to have Tomás Nido lay down that suicide squeeze. With Naquin’s speed and Nido’s bunting ability, that’s knowing your roster and managing to their strengths.
Win or lose the finale, the Mets have taken the series. Win, and the Mets will have wrapped up the NL East in the beginning of August and can their sites on catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top overall record.
For those nervous at this statement, put 2007 aside. That year never happened, and really, this is a far different and deeper team.
This is the Mets team with the best chance of winning the World Series since 1986. It can and will happen. This Braves series is all the proof we need.
From a New York Mets perspective, the first installment of the 2022 Subway Series was a success. After all, they completed a sweep.
None of these moments were more important than Seth Lugo’s appearance.
In the previous game, both Díaz and Adam Ottavino pitched over an inning. In all likelihood, neither were available for this game. That goes double for Ottavino.
And yes, Lugo has been part of the problem. On-and-off the field has been mentally tasking for him. There’s the injuries, a sick child, a pregnant wife, and then the missed birth of his second born child.
In some ways, it’s no wonder we hadn’t seen the real Lugo yet. As a result, we see a pitcher with a career worst year out of the pen.
He has a 4.01 FIP and 2.83 K/BB with his strikeouts down to an 8.3 K/9. He has a 9.64 ERA on no rest. He hasn’t been nearly as effective in a second inning of work.
This played a part in Peterson over Lugo to start the inning. Now, if this was the Lugo of old, he’s out there for the six inning save. Well, after the Peterson blown save, we got to see the Lugo of old:
Lugo’s curve embarrassed and struck out Josh Donaldson. It was the first out of the five Lugo recorded en route to his second win of the season.
Lugo was excellent.
After getting two quick outs in the eighth, he would face Aaron Judge with the go-ahead run on first. He would get Judge to ground out to end the inning and the rally.
This is what Lugo once was not long ago. He was dominant for more than an inning golf work. He took control of the game. Lugo chalked it up to adrenaline.
If that’s all he needed, he needs to make sure he has it in his next outing and each of the ensuing ones. If a full house ramped up with energy brought out the best in Lugo, he’s ready and will be phenomenal for October.
It wasn’t just this outing. This is his second one after the All-Star Break. That’s 3 1/3 scoreless. Seeing Lugo out there, there’s a lot more to come.
If so, that’s one fewer reliever the Mets need at the deadline. If so, the Mets could have a lights out bullpen. That goes double with Trevor May returning from the IL.
For at least one moment, Lugo was Lugo, and the Mets won. We’ll see the if he is his next time on the mound. Odds are, Lugo will be great again, and if so, this Mets team is on a whole other level. Just ask the Yankees.