Hansel Robles

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Is Callaway In Over His Head?

Initially, we planned to run a roundtable on our thoughts about the job Mickey Callaway is doing, but with Sandy Alderson announcing his cancer has returned and due to personal issues, it turns out that roundtable needed to be delayed.

Being a glass half full kind of person, the Mets performance did little to change the opinions set forth on the job Callaway has been doing with the Mets:

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

Well, Gary Apple called him ‘Mickey Collins’ the other day. That should say enough. Someone on Twitter correctly noted that if Aaron Boone was the manager of the Mets and Mickey helmed the Yankees, those teams’ current records would be exactly the same. *That *should say enough, except the sentences that “say enough” kind of talk over one another, don’t they? So I’ll say that I don’t think we should say “enough” to Mick, while acknowledging he is over-matched, since this fact is obvious yet forgivable. It’s his first time doing this, and none of his coaching staff can say they’ve managed a major league club before without lying. He’s also dealing with a much more crowded kitchen, full of men who think they are cooks because they bought chef costumes, than he could have possibly imagined.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

He might be overmatched for the city, not the job. When he said “New York is tough on players,” I think he may have been admitting he wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of media and fan pressure. Willie Randolph played here, and he couldn’t handle it either. I think he’s been forced to follow a script, which is why I think so many of his moves have backfired — much like Terry Collins — but I also thinkhe’s made a few of his own dopey decisions. He reminds me of former New York Giants defensive coordinator Rod Rust; whose read and react defense stifled his own team.

End of the day, if you’re going to struggle and you’re going to lose, lose young and lose playing aggressive. I can take losing, I watched the 1978 Mets. But this guy is boring me to death…

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Callaway increasingly comes across as the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s terrific before a season or a game, when nothing has yet gone wrong. In game and afterward, it’s a debacle.

There must be an immense disconnect between how he presented himself while getting the job and everything we’ve seen since the middle of April, as if he just never fully accounted for what managing in real time would be like.

I often listen and get the gist of what he’s saying as he attempts to explain away the latest loss (or losing streak) but am amazed at how he only makes it worse. It’s not the biggest part of his job, but it is an element. Eloquence isn’t everything, of course. We’d also take a tight-lipped winner.

Editor’s Note: Greg wrote a more extensive piece on his thoughts about Callaway on FAFIF.  It’s well worth a read.

Mets Daddy

Initially, I did not believe Callaway was over-matched for the job in the sense he was unable to do the job well from a personal standpoint.  However, I did believe him being over-matched in terms of the roster and talent at his disposal on a nightly basis.  When your end game options is watching Jose Reyes pop or ground out in a pinch hitting attempt and picking who from Chris Beck, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, etal you want to blow the lead, you’re going to look over-matched.

That said, Callaway made a decision yesterday which has given me pause.  After Reyes completely dogged it on a grounder Saturday night, Callaway double switched Reyes into the game.

If Reyes was hurt, give him the extra day.  If he wasn’t, he needs to be benched.  In either event, Reyes can not play a day after completely dogging it.

However, he did play, which now makes all questions about Callaway’s ability to control the game and the clubhouse fair game.

Once again, I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and these excellent writers for contributing to the roundtable.  Please make sure you take time to read their great sites, and there’s no excuse this week with a link being provided to FAFIF.

Robles DFA Latest Incompetent Mets Front Office Decision

Back in 2015, Hansel Robles was a revelation for a Mets bullpen needing an additional arm.

He made some further strides in 2016. After that, he was much worse. What made it so frustrating was his stretches of just absolute dominance.

As we all know, he’d follow that with a complete and utter inability to get an out. Inevitably, he’d be there pointing to the sky again and again and again.

It was the finger point that was the most frustrating. In his mind, that 500 foot blast was a pop up to second.

Part of the frustration really was how despite his talent, he just couldn’t get the results. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t trying.

In the offseason, he worked with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. Maybe his work with Pedro crossed him up with his old work with Dan Warthen and his current work with Mickey Callaway and Dave Eiland.

Maybe it was too many cooks in the kitchen. Maybe it was him ignoring all four and doing his own thing. Who knows with him?

As always with Robles, no one quite knew the answer.

Robles being designated for assignment makes the second time this season the famed pitching gurus failed to get through to a pitcher. The other time was Matt Harvey.

At the moment, the Mets decision to designate Harvey for assignment does not seem to have come back to haunt them even with Harvey showing flashes. It also helps Devin Mesoraco has been much better than the Mets could have ever imagined.

That doesn’t mean it was the right decision to designate Harvey for assignment. It wasn’t.

For proof of that, look no further than Jason Vargas, who is 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA and a 1.832 WHIP while averaging just over four innings per start. Really, when he takes the mound, the only people he’s fooling is the Mets front office and coaching staff.

This same coaching staff and front office are once again fooling themselves by replacing one of their guys with another AL Central pitcher.

Heading into this season, Chris Beck had a career 6.38 ERA, 1.760 WHIP, and a 5.2 BB/9. To that end, this year is his career year with him posting a 4.18 ERA, 1.479 WHIP, and a 4.2 BB/9.

Despite these being career bests, they’re poor numbers, which is why a very bad White Sox team released him. For some reason, despite trusting their internal talent, the Mets picked him up, and he’s been worse.

And yet, it’s Robles, a guy who has actually performed well in his career and had some glimpses this year, who would be designated for assignment.

It should also be noted Marcos Molina still keeps his spot on the 40 man roster despite his losing his velocity and pitching very poorly this year. In fact, his last start for Binghamton lasted just 3.1 innings. In that start, he allowed 13 runs (10 earned) on 11 hits.

How do you look at either Molina or Beck and decide Robles is the real problem?

Sure, you can be frustrated with Robles and believe he has done more than enough to be designated for assignment. What he hasn’t been is worse than Beck or Molina.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this at all as this front office constantly makes just plain decisions like this all the time. After all, Jose Reyes and Rafael Montero continue to be members of this organization while a score of more talented players have left this organization in their stead.

Mets Offense Can’t Keep Up

Much of the game was deja vu back to the previous game.

While Seth Lugo isn’t Jason Vargas, he really struggled in the thin air. Lugo just couldn’t figure out how to throw his curve, and as a result, he allowed six runs on six hits in three innings.

That really put the Mets behind the right ball despite their breaking out for three runs in the first.

Still, despite falling behind 6-4, the Mets would take the lead with a four run fifth.

The rally started with a Dominic Smith triple. After a Wilmer Flores sacrifice fly, the Mets would load the bases, and a run would be forced home on a Brandon Nimmo walk.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two RBI single to give the Mets a 8-6 lead.

The bases would reload with Michael Conforto drawing a walk. The Rockies then brought in Bryan Shaw, who got Todd Frazier to ground out to end the inning.

With the lead, Mickey Callaway brought in Robert Gsellman to not just hold the lead but to get multiple innings from him. He got neither.

In the bottom of the fifth, right after the Mets retook the lead, the Rockies took it back with Ryan McMahon hitting a three run homer to give the Rockies a 9-8 lead.

At this point in time, it appeared like this was going to be a classic back-and-forth Coors Field game. It certainly felt that way in the sixth as the Mets loaded the bases with one out and Rockies reliever Harrison Musgrave having lost the strike zone.

In a surprise decision, Callaway tabbed Kevin Plawecki to pinch hit instead of Amed Rosario. Perhaps it was the reliever having lost the strike zone and Callaway wanting a hitter who has a better read of the strike zone.

In any event, the choice was Plawecki, who worked a full count, swung at a borderline pitch which was probably ball four, and he hit into the inning ending double play.

That was it from the Mets. After that, there were no more rallies. With the Rockies scoring a run off Anthony Swarzak in the bottom of the sixth, the final score would be 10-8.

Suddenly, a Mets team who appeared poised to make a little run is now just hoping to earn a split.

Game Notes: Chris Flexen, who is on three days rest, was called up to give the Mets an extra arm in the bullpen. To make room for Flexen, Hansel Robles was sent down to Triple-A.

Mets Lose Sad Home Run Derby To Diamondbacks

While any game where the Mets are trying to snap out of this horrendous June skid has its own level of interest, this game had some extra intrigue because the Mets were facing one of the two pitchers they traded in 2015 to obtain Addison Reed.

Well, on this night, it seemed as if the Diamondbacks got a much better return for Reed than the Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista, Stephen Nogosek triumvirate the Mets received from the Red Sox at last year’s trade deadline.

Things look good real early for the Mets as Brandon Nimmo hit a first inning homer off of Matt Koch.  After that, Koch allowed just a fifth inning single to Dominic Smith that went nowhere before he allowed a Michael Conforto solo shot in the sixth inning.

All told, Koch pitched six innings allowing the two homers while walking one and striking out five.  To be fair, with the way the Mets offense is going, we can’t tell if Koch is the one who got away or if a pitcher with a 4.20 ERA entering the game looked good because any semi-competent pitcher can shut down the Mets right now.

Now, the aforementioned Conforto homer pulled the Mets to within 3-2.  They were behind because Jason Vargas wasn’t great . . . again.

After getting a lead, he surrendered it almost immediately in the second on a rally started by his first issuing a leadoff walk to John Ryan Murphy and then hitting David Peralta.  Now, Peralta made no effort to get out of the way of the ball, a point Mickey Callaway seemed to be chirping about from the dugout, but there’s not point being bitter, right?

Anyway, Murphy came around and scored on an ensuing Ketel Marte single.

Vargas got out of that jam, but he allowed solo shots to Paul Goldschmidt and Peralta in consecutive innings to put the Mets down 3-1.

After his five innings, you could honestly say Vargas kept the Mets in the game.  That’s a real accomplishment from where he was to start the season.

By the seventh, the Mets were down a run, and they were still in this game.  After 1.2 fine innings from Hansel Robles, Callaway brought in Jerry Blevins to face a stretch of left-handed Diamondback batters starting with Daniel Descalso

With two outs and an inherited runner from Robles, Blevins first allowed Descalso to single, and then he hit the left-handed hitting Jon Jay to load the bases.This led to Callaway bringing in Sewald, who is struggling every bit as much as Vargas and Blevins.  He proceeded to walk Nick Ahmed to force home a run.

Think about that.  Robles was the Mets best reliever of the night, and he is the one charged with a run after Blevins’ and Sewald’s inept performances.

Speaking of poor performances, after Amed Rosario hit a solo shot in the eighth inning to pull the Mets within 4-3, Jacob Rhame came in and allowed solo homers to Peralta and Jake Lamb.  At that point, the Mets were down 6-3, and they were well past their quota for runs in a game.

Ultimately, this game amounted to the pitchers Sandy Alderson brought in to help this team completely failing, but sure, let’s all blame Callaway for this team’s performance.

Game Notes: Tim Peterson was sent down to make room for new Met Chris Beck on the roster.  Beck did not make an appearance.

Baumann Not Our Buddy In Mets 14 Inning Loss

Look, there’s just not much to say about a game the Mets lost 7-1 in 14 innings pushing them back to two games under .500.

Once again, Jacob deGrom was great. He twice got out of bases loaded jams unscathed. However, he didn’t get through the sixth unscathed as Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

With the Cubs starting LHP Mike Montgomery, it appeared that would be enough as the Mets are literally the worst offensive team against LHP.

That made Michael Conforto‘s sixth inning solo shot all the more miraculous. Really, more than anything, it took deGrom off the hook. With the Mets blowing games for him left and right, it was the least the team could do.

And the Mets offense would deliver the absolute least compiling seven hits and 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Speaking of strikeouts, the Mets set a new franchise record by striking out 24 Cubs in this game.

Of those 24, 13 came from deGrom in his seven innings of work.

After deGrom departed, Robert Gsellman, Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, Hansel Robles, and Tim Peterson (2.0) combined to pitch six scoreless.

The problem is while that quintet put up zeroes, the Cubs bullpen was doing the same highlighted by Luke Farrell, who entered the game with a 6.75 ERA, pitched five scoreless.

After running through the available and more competent arms, Mickey Callaway finally had to turn to Buddy Baumann. He was predictably terrible.

The big hit off Baumann was a one out two RBI Albert Almora, Jr. double. At that point, Baumann was lifted for Gerson Bautista.

Bautista was equally as bad. First, it was a Ben Zobrist two RBI double. Then, it was a Javier Baez two run homer.

It was an ugly inning in a game full of ugly Mets offense. They’re now two games under .500, and you’re left wondering where rick bottom is going to be because the Mets apparently have not yet found it.

Game Notes: P.J. Conlon is now an ex-Met as the Dodgers claimed him off waivers.

Mets Bullpen Predictably Implodes In Bullpen Game

With the Mets not really stretching out Seth Lugo, he was limited to just four innings in today’s start.

Well, the four innings he was able to give the Mets were terrific. He allowed just three hits while striking out three. However, as he hasn’t truly been stretched out, he was done after 60 pitches.

Enter Hansel Robles.

Robles is as maddening a pitcher as they get. Like in his last appearance, you get three great innings. The next, well, he’s pointing to the sky.

That’s actually something he’s done more than any Mets reliever despite his DL stint and his shuttling between Queens and Las Vegas.

Well, he issued a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber should’ve popped out in the at-bat, but with the shirt, no one was near the ball at first. Mesoraco made his way over, but he couldn’t corral it.

even after retiring the next two, he allowed a two run homer to Ben Zobrist giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Heading into tonight’s game Cubs starter Jose Quintana might’ve had a 4.78 ERA, but in half of his starts he allowed one run or fewer. Basically, he’s been either really good or really bad.

Considering how the Mets can’t score at home or hit left-handed pitching, you knew he’d have a really good night.

He did just that allowing no runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six in six innings.

With Jerry Blevins allowing the left-handed Schwarber plate Javier Baez, who hit a two out double, the Cubs extended their lead to 3-0.

That became a 4-0 lead in the seventh as once again Buddy Baumann has difficulty getting anyone out. With a run already home, he left the bases loaded with two outs for Scott Copeland, who struck out Baez to get out of the jam.

Despite Copeland getting out of the jam, and finally giving the Mets a chance to get back into the game.

Brandon Nimmo responded by hitting a solo homer in the eighth off Brian Duensing to close the gap to 4-1. Who else would deliver on National Smile Day?

That hit was the Mets first since the third inning.

The Mets bullpen would be at it again with Gerson Bautista giving that Nimmo run right back.

Of note with the Bautista appearance, Bautista there was a wild pitch and a “passed ball.” Both occurred with Devin Mesoraco behind the plate. It could’ve been due to Bautista having a wild and live arm Mesoraco being hit in the head with a long follow through earlier in the game, both, or neither. In any event, it’s something worth monitoring.

In the game, the Mets used five relievers and four of them allowed runs. That’s how you lose 5-1 and drop to .500 . . . again.

Game Notes: David Wright began baseball activities playing catch in the outfield before that game.

As Expected: Mets Split Doubleheader Losing deGrom’s Gem and Winning Conlon’s Mess

If we learned anything from the doubleheader yesterday, it was baseball makes no sense whatsoever.  How could it?  Somehow, someway, the New York Mets are 5-6 in Jacob deGrom starts and 2-0 in P.J. Conlon. starts.  Just to put how bizarre that is in perspective Conlon has pitched fewer innings in his brief MLB career than deGrom did yesterday.

And it was another virtuoso performance from deGrom yesterday.  The only mark against him was a Tyler Flowers seventh inning shot.  That had made the game 2-1 with the Mets scoring on a Devin Mesoraco bases loaded walk.  While Luis Guillorme would end that rally, he made up for it by hitting a double over the head over Preston Tucker, who had not played the field in about a month and looked like it.  On the double, Mesoraco would score from first.

After the Flowers homer, the Braves apparently smelled blood in the water because they went on the attack.  Tucker walked, and Johan Camargo singled on a ball any other second baseman not named Asdrubal Cabrera fields.  With runners at the corners, the Braves seemed poised to tie the game.  It never happened.

First, deGrom struck out Dansby Swanson.  He then got Kurt Suzuki to pop out to swallow left with Amed Rosario getting to it and running it back to the infield to prevent any shenanigans.  Finally, deGrom got Ender Inciarte to ground out to end the inning.

After that, deGrom gave the Mets the seven innings they needed on a day where they were going to have a bullpen game in the second half of the doubleheader.  It was a 115 pitch virtuoso performance.  In total, he allowed the one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight.  He furthered this case to win the Cy Young.

It didn’t matter because instead of going to Jeurys Familia, Mickey Callaway went with Seth Lugo.

Admittedly, going to Familia for six outs may not have seemed like the obvious move, but when you’re looking to use your whole bullpen for the second game, why not use Lugo’s for 2-3 innings instead of either setting up or trying to get the six out save himself. For whatever reason, Callaway tabbed Lugo to go out there and get his first career save against the first place team in the division.

It didn’t happen. In the eighth, Ozzie Albies started the inning off with a bunt single, and he was on third after a Freddie Freeman single.  To his credit, Lugo did limit the Braves to just a Nick Markakis sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.

The Mets would take the lead in the ninth when Mesoraco, who was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI on the day the catching competition really started, hit a go-ahead homer.

Even with Familia warming, Callaway went to Lugo to pick up the win.  Seemingly just as Gary Cohen’s words left his mouth about the last time he homered, Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off two run homer to give the Braves a 4-3 win.

It was a brutal fourth loss in a row featuring a third bullpen meltdown and questionable Callaway decision making.  It was a bad omen for the night portion of the doubleheader.  Fortunately, it didn’t pan out that way.  Maybe, because in the five plus hour rain delay between games, the Mets finally figured something out.

Like most games recently, the game started off quite well with Adrian Gonzalez opening the scoring with an RBI single.  The rally would continue with Kevin Plawecki, fresh off the disabled list, reaching on an awful throw to second by Brandon McCarthy.  Instead, of an inning ending double play, it was 2-0 Mets.  That lead would grow to 3-1 Mets with a Brandon Nimmo homer to lead off the third.

That lead was not for long as the Braves went to work against Conlon in the third.  After a Freeman two RBI single, Markakis would double setting up runners at second and third with no outs and the game already tied 3-3.  Conlon was done for the day, and Callaway would tab Hansel Robles to come on to stifle the rally.

While it may not have been pretty, in an inning which included Camargo getting hit by a pitch, Robles got through the inning allowing just a Suzuki sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 4-3.  In total, Robles would actually give the Mets three scoreless innings, which not only kept them in the game, but it would allow the Mets to take the lead.

The big hit of the game would come from Rosario.  After Plawecki, Jose Reyes, and Guillorme hit consecutive one out singles to load the bases, Rosario hit a go-ahead two RBI single giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.

To the surprise of no one, the lead didn’t last.  Robert Gsellman came into the sixth, and he was greeted with a Ryan Flaherty single and an Inciarte double to set up runners at second and third with no outs.  Rather than tempt fate by bringing in Jerry Blevins again (who was not warming), after Albies struck out, the Mets intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases before Gsellman allowed an infield single to Markakis to tie the score.

Naturally, Reyes could not make the play.

After a mound visit, Gsellman got a groundball from Suzuki.  Gonzalez made the heads up play of getting the out a home to preserve the tie.  Culberson would not have a second act of heroics today as he flied out to center to end the inning.

In what should be a lot of credit to this Mets team, they responded in the seventh.  The rally started with a Michael Conforto leadoff single. He’d be erased on a Jay Bruce fielder’s choice, but the Mets would load the bases with ensuing singles from Gonzalez and Plawecki.  Reyes, once again, failed by striking out.

Guillorme would give the Mets the lead with a clutch two out two RBI single, and Rosario followed with an RBI single of his own giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

There would be no bullpen meltdown as Jacob Rhame pitched a perfect seventh before Callaway finally allowed Familia go out there and get his six out save.  With that, in a very odd way, the Mets earned a split of the doubleheader, and they ended a frustrating losing streak.  It will be very interesting to see how this team responds later today if they actually play the game.

Game 1 Notes: In the fifth, Braves starter Max Fried picked-off both Conforto and Jose Bautista off first base.  Bruce played first base.  Technically, Bautsita’s goes down as a caught stealing as he broke for second.  There was a long rain delay when there was no rain on the field.

Game 2 Notes: During the broadcast, Keith Hernandez noted his belief Reyes is struggling at third because he is not comfortable there.  It should be noted Reyes has played more than 90 games at the position and was signed to be a utility player, a utility player who refuses to play the outfield.

Mismanagement, Vargas Has Mets Seeing Red in Blowout Loss

Well, if you were feeling good about the Mets after their win last night, those feelings were quickly dispatched.  Todd Frazier, arguably their second best position player all year, landed on the disabled list meaning Jose Reyes was in the starting lineup.  Worse than that, Jason Vargas was the starter.

Right away, Vargas loaded the bases, and he then allowed a Eugenio Suarez two RBI single to give the Reds an early 2-0 lead.  It was a minor miracle the Reds did not score more from that point.

However, they would score two more in the second with Suarez once again being the catalyst.  His RBI double scored Joey Votto from first, and he would come home on a Tucker Barnhart, the catcher the Reds kept, RBI single.

Overall, Vargas’ final line was 4.0 innings, six hits, four runs, four earned, two walks, and one strikeout.  As poor as that start was, it should be noted this was his best start this year.  With his pitching, you almost have to question why he’s guaranteed a starting spot while the team is keeping some pitchers in the minors and sending another one to Cincinnati.

That four run margin would prove to be enough for a number of reasons.

The first was Reds starter, Luis Castillo, no not that one, but then again it doesn’t really matter because nothing good happens to the Mets when there is a Luis Castillo on the field.  He would limit the Mets to just a single over the first five innings.

Finally, in the sixth, the Mets would break through on a Wilmer Flores one out homer.  Now, Flores did not start the game.  Rather, he was double switched in for Amed Rosario despite Rosario being the one Met with a hit, and Reyes being a terrible defensive shortstop.

The Mets would continue from there with a two out rally.  With consecutive walks to Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, and Adrian Gonzalez, the Reds forced home a run.  That’s when Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Brandon Nimmo instead of Juan Lagares or even the newly acquired Devin Mesoraco to face the left-hander Amir Garrett.

Nimmo struck out to end the rally, and things would only go downhill from there.

AJ Ramos was fighting it, but he kept the Reds off the board in the sixth, but he would allow a double to Scott Schebler, and with Votto coming up, Jerry Blevins would come into the game.  He got his man, but he would be pulled for Hansel Robles.

After a Suarez single, Scooter Gennett would have Robles pointing to the sky again with his three run homer giving the Reds a 7-2 lead.

Making this game worse was the fact the Mets had called up Corey Oswalt in place of P.J. Conlon to give them some length in the bullpen.  Of course, they called up Oswalt on three days rest instead of Chris Flexen on full rest.  The end result was Callaway ripping through his bullpen trying to save Oswalt’s arm . . . the very same Oswalt who was called up to supposedly help protect against that.

That’s embarrassing.  Almost as embarrassing as getting blown out by the now nine win Reds team.

Game Notes: On the eve of the game, Matt Harvey was traded to the Reds for Mesoraco.

Mets Swept by Rockies, For Homestand

This is the point where the Mets were in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  A Mets team with much promise has either regressed or been exposed, and you are left wondering how exactly things were going to get better for this team.

One of the more troubling things we saw both yesterday and throughout this season was how Noah Syndergaard hasn’t been Thor.  It’s not too dissimilar to how Matt Harvey had stopped being The Dark Knight, except with Syndergaard there really isn’t any reason to suspect any injury.

That’s not to say Thor was or has been bad.  Far from it.  His only allowing two runs over six innings is a testament to that.  However, it was the way he pitched that was the problem.

A pitcher with remarkable control walked four batters.  That included him issuing back-to-back walks in the third inning to Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra to force in a run.  Between that and the solo home run he allowed to Ian Desmond in the second, he gave away the Mets 2-0 lead.  Yes, it was a thin margin of error, but we have seen Thor thrive with even narrower margins.

The Mets two runs were scored in the first off of Kyle Freeland.  The first run was the result of three straight singles from Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, and Asdrubal Cabrera to start the game.  After that, Todd Frazier hit a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.  In that first inning, Cespedes once again injured his right quad:

He would be removed from the game for Brandon Nimmo, who we would find out can still draw a walk off a left-handed pitcher, but with two strikeouts, he sure does struggle hitting off of them.

Really, the Mets struggled to hit Freeland for the rest of the game.  After that three hit onslaught to begin the game, the Mets would get just one more hit off of him until he departed after seven strong innings.

With the Mets not hitting, Syndergaard settling back down, and Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos combining to pitch a scoreless seventh, Mickey Callaway went to Hansel Robles in the eighth.  No one can be quite sure if Robles pointed to the sky again, but we do know he surrendered another homer.  This time to Desmond, his second of the game.

With the Mets inability to hit right now, it might as well have been a walk-off home run for all intents and purposes.

The 3-2 loss ended a dreadful home stand which saw the Mets go 0-6.  They pitched poorly and hit even worse.  They dropped from first to third place in the NL East.  They don’t look like a team in a freefall inasmuch as they look like a bad baseball team without any answers.  Hopefully, the trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia will awaken their bats.  Although, we should shutter to thing what will happen to the pitching.

Game Notes: Wilmer Flores was 0-2 with a walk against Freeland.  He is now hitting .161/.235/.226 off of left-handed pitching this season.

Callaway May Be Overworking The Mets Bullpen

After an epic eighth inning bullpen meltdown against the Washington Nationals, the fans and media began the process of second guessing Mets manager Mickey Callaway. With that the central question was why Callaway went to Seth Lugo instead of allowing Jacob deGrom to face Howie Kendrick, who deGrom has completely dominated both that night and over the course of his career.

As we know, Lugo did the inexcuable and walked Kendrick on four pitches. This led to Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos, and Jeurys Familia not getting the job done. With the exception of Blevins, there were ensuing questions about how each reliever was used in that inning.

These questions are interesting for debate, but they are missing the larger issue here. In his brief managerial career, Callaway has ridden the bullpen too hard for this team to have sustained success over the course of a 162 game schedule.

There are a number of caveats many people will cite. There have been a number of off days. The Mets pitchers aren’t going deep enough into games thereby forcing Callaway’s hand. The bullpen can’t possibly be overworked because they have pitched just the 17th more innings in the majors.

Here are some other key stats to consider. There are 15 pitchers in baseball who have made double digit appearances this season. The Mets have three of those pitchers with Familia, Ramos, and Blevins. By the way, they were also the three pitchers who failed to get the job done that fateful eighth inning.

By the way, the Mets are the only team to have three relievers make double digit appearances, and that number will grow to four when Robert Gsellman, who has scuffled a bit of late, makes his next appearance.

We tend to over-focus just on the number of appearances, innings, and pitches relievers throw. Them getting up to warm up also counts. It is part of the fatigue which can set in for a reliever.

At this point, we can not be definitively sure any of the Mets relievers are gassed even with the recent drop-off. Really, that can be explained by regression to the mean or just a fluke small sample size.

Here’s what we do know. For most of this season, Callaway has had a bullpen with an extra arm in it. Despite that, the Mets have had to make roster moves on two separate occasions to get a fresh arm into the bullpen. First, it was Corey Oswalt for a day. Now, it’s Gerson Bautista for who knows how long?

The answer to that one may just be up until he gets gassed and the Mets need to go back to the minors to pull up Hansel Robles or Jacob Rhame again. Maybe this time, it’s Tyler Bashlor who comes up to the majors straight from Double-A.

Point is, the way Callaway is using this bullpen is having an effect, and it is causing the Mets to need to dip into their minor league depth to get fresh arms into this bullpen. Maybe this was the plan all along, and that plan is buttressed by Sandy Alderson’s moves at the trade deadline last year. Probably not.

Whatever the case, the Mets are going to have to figure something out because this cannot continue for 162 games.