Hansel Robles

Mets Start Six Shortstops And Come Up Well Short

Even with him being limited due to injuries, Steven Matz was still one of the better starting pitching options left for this team. However, with impending season ending surgery, he’s shut down, and the Mets went with recently activated off the disabled list Tommy Milone

Milone entered this game with a 7.91 ERA, 10.50 with the Mets, and he picked up where he left off with J.D. Martinez hitting a first inning three run homer. 

He allowed a Chris Ianetta one out double in the third. With Amed Rosario being unable to field an A.J. Pollock grounder, it was 4-0 Diamondbacks. 

The remaining two runs were on Milone. He allowed an Adam Rosales homer in the fourth and a Paul Goldschmidt RBI double in the fifth. 

At that point, it was 7-0 Diamondbacks. If you were still watching at that point, the question is why?

Michael Conforto missed the game with a thumb injury. Dominic Smith wasn’t in the lineup because the Diamondbacks started the left-handed Patrick Corbin, and Terry Collins apparently breaks out in hives and hyperventilates when he has to play a young left-handed hitter against a left-handed pitcher. Using the same logic, Collins played Matt Reynolds over Brandon Nimmo in right. 
Really, there were not many reasons to watch this game. Sure, things are bad right now with the Mets, but with the team they put on the field, this was downright unwatchable. Most 7-1 games are. 

The one run was a Rosario home run, his first at Citi Field. 

Other notable events was Gavin Cecchini going 1-2 at the plate and making a decent play in the field:

Of note, Cecchini has a base hit in every game he’s started this year. 

Kevin McGowan made his major league debut pitching 1.1 innings. He left the bases loaded in the seventh, and Hansel Robles walked in a run. 
Also of note, the Mets went with an all shortstop infield:

1B – Wilmer Flores 

2B – Gavin Cecchini

3B – Asdrubal Cabrera

SS – Amed Rosario

If you don’t think of Flores as a shortstop, then the all shortstop infield was accomplished with Reynolds moving from right to first in a double switch. 

If you do consider Flores a shortstop, then six of the Mets position players in the starting lineup were shortstops or former shortstops as Juan Lagares was originally signed as a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic. 

Admittedly, this is a rather long tangent, but these are the things you dwell on when your team is as listless and over-matched as the Mets were today. Trust me, this tangent was more interesting than anything that happened in the field tonight. 

There was a ninth inning rally against Matt Koch, one of the two relief prospects traded to obtain Addison Reed in 2015. where Smith hit a pinch hit RBI ground rule double making it 7-2. 

Andrew Chafin came on and allowed a Reynolds RBI groundout followed by a Rosario RBI triple to make it 7-4. 

This lead to the Diamondbacks bringing on Fernando Rodney to get the final out of the game. After he retired Cecchini, the tomfoolery was over. 

Game Notes: David Wright player a rehab game for St. Lucie. He was o-4 with two strikeouts as the DH. Jeurys Familia made a rehab appearance for Brooklyn throwing a scoreless inning. 

Montero Wins – Yes, Seriously, He Did

In his major league career, Rafael Montero had a staggering 2-13 record. You’d be hard-pressed to say that record was the result of his team failing to pick him up. To be fair, he’s usually been so poor, he never really gave his teammates a chance. That wasn’t the case tonight. 

Montero was great for five innings allowing the Marlins to just four hits and two walks. He then ran into some issues in the sixth beginning with the opposing pitcher, Vance Worley, getting a lead-off single. 

The Marlins then got a trade-off they take every day of the week with a Dee Gordon, who hit a fly ball Brandon Nimmo couldn’t get, but he was still able to get Worley at second. 

After a Giancarlo Stanton walk and a Christian Yelich strikeout, Montero was on the cusp of getting out of the inning unscathed. 

He seemed like he did when Marcel Ozuna hit a ball to left. Mets fans thought Yoenis Cespedes could get it. Keith Hernandez gave him a pass. In any event, it was 1-0, and the way Worley was going, it seemed like that was all the Marlins needed. 

That changed when Matt Reynolds pinch hit for Montero and earned a lead-off walk. That walk ignited the Mets offense. 

After the walk, Nimmo singled to set up runners at the corners with no outs. Asdrubal Cabrera then tied the game with a deep fly ball to right. 

Don Mattingly tried to stem the tide by bringing in Drew Steckenrider. It didn’t work. 
Runners were at the corners again after a Cespedes single and a Steckenrider wild pitch. In a tough at-bat, Michael Conforto hit a hard grounder that ate up Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

That became a 5-1 lead when Wilmer Flores hit a three run homer. 

If you thought the three run homer by Flores off a right was a surprise, the ensuing two run homer by Kevin Plawecki was a downright shock. 

That Plawecki homer put the cap on a seven run inning where the Mets batted around. It also put Montero in line to win just his third game of his career. With him getting two wins this year, this is his first major league season with more than just one win. 

After that, we got to see why Dominic Smith is so well regarded by the Mets. 

In the eighth, he made a diving stop to rob Yelich of a potential extra base hit . . .

. . . and he followed that with his first homer at Citi Field. 

He absolutely clobbered that ball hitting it beyond what were the original fences. 

Between Hansel Robles and Chasen Bradford, the Mets locked down the 8-1 win. 

By the way, for all of the Mets refusal to have even a decent defense, the team turned five double plays. The defense did its part, and as you see, when you’re this good defensively, even Montero looks very good. 

Game Notes: Rene Rivera was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. With him a Cub, and Curtis Granderson a Dodger, the Mets were able to call up Plawecki and activate Tommy Milone from the DL.  

Montero Wins – Yes, Seriously, He Did

In his major league career, Rafael Montero had a staggering 2-13 record. You’d be hard-pressed to say that record was the result of his team failing to pick him up. To be fair, he’s usually been so poor, he never really gave his teammates a chance. That wasn’t the case tonight. 

Montero was great for five innings allowing the Marlins to just four hits and two walks. He then ran into some issues in the sixth beginning with the opposing pitcher, Vance Worley, getting a lead-off single. 

The Marlins then got a trade-off they take every day of the week with a Dee Gordon, who hit a fly ball Brandon Nimmo couldn’t get, but he was still able to get Worley at second. 

After a Giancarlo Stanton walk and a Christian Yelich strikeout, Montero was on the cusp of getting out of the inning unscathed. 

He seemed like he did when Marcel Ozuna hit a ball to left. Mets fans thought Yoenis Cespedes could get it. Keith Hernandez gave him a pass. In any event, it was 1-0, and the way Worley was going, it seemed like that was all the Marlins needed. 

That changed when Matt Reynolds pinch hit for Montero and earned a lead-off walk. That walk ignited the Mets offense. 

After the walk, Nimmo singled to set up runners at the corners with no outs. Asdrubal Cabrera then tied the game with a deep fly ball to right. 

Don Mattingly tried to stem the tide by bringing in Drew Steckenrider. It didn’t work. 
Runners were at the corners again after a Cespedes single and a Steckenrider wild pitch. In a tough at-bat, Michael Conforto hit a hard grounder that ate up Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. 

That became a 5-1 lead when Wilmer Flores hit a three run homer. 

If you thought the three run homer by Flores off a right was a surprise, the ensuing two run homer by Kevin Plawecki was a downright shock. 

That Plawecki homer put the cap on a seven run inning where the Mets batted around. It also put Montero in line to win just his third game of his career. With him getting two wins this year, this is his first major league season with more than just one win. 

After that, we got to see why Dominic Smith is so well regarded by the Mets. 

In the eighth, he made a diving stop to rob Yelich of a potential extra base hit . . .

. . . and he followed that with his first homer at Citi Field. 

He absolutely clobbered that ball hitting it beyond what were the original fences. 

Between Hansel Robles and Chasen Bradford, the Mets locked down the 7-1 win. 

By the way, for all of the Mets refusal to have even a decent defense, the team turned five double plays. The defense did its part, and as you see, when you’re this good defensively, even Montero looks very good. 

Game Notes: Rene Rivera was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. With him a Cub, and Curtis Granderson a Dodger, the Mets were able to call up Plawecki and activate Tommy Milone from the DL.  

Mets Blow Winnable Game To Yankees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day Game So Mets Lost

Today’s Mets game was scheduled at 12:10 because it was Camp Day at Citi Field.  Apparently, the Mets aren’t much interested in generating new baseball fans because the team played one of their typical dreary day games.  With today’s loss, the Mets are now an MLB worst 10-23 in day games.

This loss was one of the worst.  It wasn’t the worst because the Mets were blown out.  The 5-1 score dictate otherwise.  Rather, it was a dreary day when the Mets gave you very little reason to cheer.

Rangers starter Martin Perez allowed just three hits over eight innings to the Mets with Wilmer Flores fifth inning homer being the lone run scored.  Perez was so good on the mound that he was able to stick around long enough to earn a golden sombrero.

One pitcher who did not last very long was Rafael Montero.  His good stretch of pitching is now long forgotten, and he’s back to being the very bad pitcher that would drive Mets fans crazy.  Just to put it in perspective, the first run of the game scored on a Montero balk, and he followed that up by allowing a three run homer to Joey Gallo, who has just worn out the Mets in this short two game series.

The run in the second inning was maddening.  Elvis Andrus would steal consecutive bases off of the combination of Montero and Rene Rivera, and then he would score just ahead of Jose Reyes‘ throw home.  It was a bad job blocking the plate by Rivera.  The only thing worse than that was Collins failure to challenge the play at second on the first stolen base.  Replays would show Andrus was actually out.

Montero’s final line would be 3.0 innings, five hits, four runs, four earned, three walks, and five strikeouts.

From there, Terry Collins played his favorite stretch everyone out in the bullpen game.  Josh Smoker would pitch two innings, but he couldn’t get through that third.  He would load the bases with no outs.  Hansel Robles came on, walked a batter, got out of the jam, and he would pitch three innings.  This for a reliever that just said he couldn’t feel his fingers the other day.

Chasen Bradford pitched a scoreless ninth to at least give the Mets a chance to win the game in the ninth.  They didn’t.

Really, the one highlight other than Flores’ homer was Amed Rosario making a terrific diving play:

We are now at the point where Rosario and Michael Conforto are really the other two reasons to watch this team.  Hopefully, the Mets will call-up Dominic Smith to give us a third reason.

GAME NOTES: Neil Walker started the game at third base making him the 164th third baseman in Mets history.

Collins Numb To Pitcher Issues In Mets Loss To Rockies

With the way the Mets season has progressed, you would think when a pitcher says, “Hey!  I can’t feel my fingers!” they’d pull him from the game. 

Nope. 

The Mets decided to keep Hansel Robles in the game. Actually, his physical problems were much worse than that:

So, with all of that going on, Terry Collins kept Robles in a tie 4-4 game in the ninth. Here’s what transpired:

Game Over. 

The last pitch of the Arenado at-bat wasn’t even close. The 3-2 pitch was a solid foot over the strike zone. Travis d’Arnaud helplessly leaped because there was nothing much more for him to do, but not even he could have framed that pitch. 

The shame of Collins gambling with both the game and Robles’ health was the fact the Mets continuously fought back in this game. 

Rafael Montero struggled, but he kept the Mets in the game. Over 5.2 innings, he allowed 10 hits, four runs, four earned, and one walk with six strikeouts. 
More than anything, Montero just couldn’t hold a lead. 

The Mets rallied from a 2-0 third inning deficit by scoring runs in three consecutive innings. Yoenis Cespedes got things started with a homer off Rockies starter German Marquez:

The following inning, Amed Rosario got things started by become the first Met to hit two triples in his first three games. He did more than just set Mets records on the triple:

He then scored on a Montero RBI single. His first career RBI.  

After his single tied the game, he gave the Rockies the lead back by yielding a solo homer to Charlie Blackmon

Curtis Granderson, who was 1-2 with two walks, got the sixth inning off to a good start by earning a lead-off walk. After a pair of groundouts, it seemed as if he’d be stranded out at third, but Rene Rivera came through with the two out RBI single.
Sure enough, Montero allowed the Rockies to take the lead again. This time it was a Mark Reynolds home run. After that homer, the Rockies would put runners at first and second with two outs. Josh Smoker, who has pitched much better of late, came in and struck out Alexi Amarista to end the inning. 

The Mets then beat up on Pat Neshek in the seventh inning. Consider for a moment that Neshek has allowed just seven earned runs all year, and the Mets have scored four of them. The fourth came in this game. 

Michael Conforto singled to lead-off the inning, and he scored from first on an Asdrubal Cabrera from center field. Despite there being no outs and the middle of the order coming up, the Mets couldn’t push across that last run. 
With the Mets sticking with a reliever who couldn’t feel himself grip the ball, they lost the game. It was the second time the Mets lost 5-4 on a Rockies walk-off against Robles. 

Game Notes: Jose Reyes started at second base for the first time with the Mets since 2004. At that time, Kaz Matsui was the Mets rookie shortstop. 

Rosario Flashes Talent And Inexperience In Debut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conforto Homers Twice In Comeback Win

This was a Mets game that went from promising to false hope, to utter surprise, to more often same, to sheer shock, and finally joy. 

The Mets were off to a quick lead thanks to homers from Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto:

The homer must’ve been extra special as he was back in his hometown in front of his friends and family.

The Mets lead grew to 4-0 when Wilmer Flores hit a third inning sacrifice fly scoring Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera found himself on third because while advancing to second on a Ariel Miranda wild pitch, catcher Mike Zunino hit him with the throw. With no one guarding third, Cabrera was able to get there without a play. 

For an ever so brief moment, this seemed like enough for Rafael Montero, who started the game terribly. Through the first four innings, Montero had allowed just one hit – a homer by Zunino. It all came crashing down for him in the fifth. 

There were some reasons why. Montero was facing the Mariners the third time through the order. He was getting squeezed a tad by the home plate umpire. As Keith Hernandez pointed out, Rene Rivera was not calling a good game. No matter what the reason, the biggest issue was Montero stopper executing. 

Montero loaded the bases with no outs, and he threw a wild pitch allowing a run to score. It was definitely a wild pitch, but it’s also true Rivera didn’t get down completely to block that pitch. 

Montero then walked Jean Segura to re-load the bases, and Robinson Cano hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Mariners within one. Montero then issued another walk, this one to Nelson Cruz, to re-load the bases. At this point, Terry Collins did what he had to do, and he pulled Montero. 

Unfortunately, Josh Edgin didn’t get the job done. He allowed a two run RBI single to Kyle Seager. With that, the Mets 4-1 lead became a 5-4 deficit. 

Through the work of Hansel Robles and Jerry Blevins, the Mets remained within a run. 

The Mets got that run back when Conforto hit not just his second homer of the game, but his second homer of the game against a lefty. This time it was Marc Rzepczynski

This led to the Mariners bringing in a friendly face – David Phelps.  Entering the game, Phelps had a career 6.09 ERA against the Mets. The ERA would go up. 

Cabrera and Bruce each singled, and Flores hit what could’ve been a double play ball due to his lack of speed. With Flores just barely beating the throw, the inning continued. 

Neil Walker would go the other way with the ball hitting an opposite field RBI single against the shift. Flores would then score on a Curtis Granderson RBI single off the glove of Mariners first baseman Danny Valencia. The single gave the Mets a 7-5 lead. 
Like we’ve seen with Paul Sewald on a few occasions this year, he got himself into some trouble. With the Mets having used both LOOGYs, Collins stuck with his young reliever in this spot. 

After a Jarrod Dyson sacrifice bunt, the Mariners had runners at second and third with one out. 

Sewald escaped the jam striking out Zunino and getting Segura to strike out.

This set the stage for what may very well be Addison Reed‘s last save opportunity as a Met. 

With a Ben Gamel grounder eating up Walker, it appeared as if this could be another tense outing. Reed settled down, and he erased Gamel inducing Robinson Cano to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. After a Nelson Cruz fly out, Reed had his 19th save of the year. 

It was a good win. At a minimum, it shows even with the Mets selling this team is still playing hard. 

Game Notes:  Lucas Duda homered in his first game with the Rays. The Mets obtained AJ Ramos in a deal with the Marlins. Segura tried his best to get on base by pretending to get HBP (overturned by review):

Defense Matters, That’s Why The Mets Lost 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flores Walks Off An Game That Seemed Off The Wheeler

The problem with Zack Wheeler is we don’t know why he is struggling so mightily.  Is it because he hadn’t pitched in over two years due to his Tommy John surgery?  Is it because there is some injury he and/or the Mets are hiding?  Is this just him being the same pitcher he has always been in his career?

The right-hander has not won a game since May 20th losing his last five decisions.  He has not pitched past the sixth inning since June 7th.  No matter what you want to look at, he just hasn’t been good.

Tonight would be no exception.  On the second pitch of the game, Matthew Joyce would hit a homer to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead.  When Wheeler then walked Marcus Semien, you knew it was going to be a rough night for Wheeler.

In that poor first 36 pitch first inning, Wheeler allowed four runs on three hits and four walks.  He allowed the aforementioned homer and a double to Bruce Maxwell.  He put his team well behind the eight ball, and he put them further behind as he grooved a 92 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate to Matt Chapman, who hit a long home run.

Not to belabor the point, but if Wheeler is throwing 92 MPH fastballs, something is wrong here.  Something’s really wrong when you’re walking an American League pitcher.  With this diminished stuff and his continued control issues, he didn’t give the Mets much of a chance.  His final line was five innings, seven hits, five runs, five earned, four walks, and six strikeouts.  He needed 1oo pitches to just get through the fifth.

The Mets looked dead in the water, but fortunately for once their bullpen kept them in the game.  The Mets would get a scoreless inning from Josh Smoker and two scoreless from Josh Edgin.  It didn’t look like this work would matter much as A’s starter Sean Manaea was straight dealing.

That was until the sixth inning.  After a Wilmer Flores double, Jay Bruce would put the Mets on the board:

Unlike the old adage, the homer did not kill the rally.  Jose Reyes tripled, and Travis d’Arnaud brought him home with an RBI single.  Curtis Granderson then came into the game as a pinch hitter.  Granderson hit a grounder that would normally have been an inning ending double play.  Because the A’s had the shift on, it gave Granderson an opportunity to beat the throw to first.  That would allow d’Arnaud to score the third run of the inning, and it would give Michael Conforto an RBI opportunity.

Since Conforto was called-up to the majors, he was given little chance to prove he could hit left-handed pitching.  For some reason, he was benched against them until it almost became a self fulfilling prophecy.  However, with all the injuries, the Mets have not had the same ability to bench him against lefties. During this season, Conforto has proven those previous decisions to be just plain silly, and he did it again tonight.

On the night, Conforto would go 2-5 with a double and one RBI.  That double and RBI came in this sixth inning at-bat when he hit an opposite field double scoring Granderson from first pulling the Mets to within 5-4.

The Mets would then get a chance in the eighth.  After a T.J. Rivera lead-off single, it looked as if the Mets had things cooking with Reyes at the plate.  Reyes has been hitting well of late, and he was great in tonight’s game.  Overall, he was 2-4 with two triples and a run.  This at-bat was not one of those two triples as he hit into a double play.

d’Arnaud, who was having a great game of his own going 3-3 on the night, got the two out double over the head of A’s center fielder Rajai Davis.  The Mets then announced Lucas Duda as a pinch hitter, and the A’s countered with the left-hander Daniel Coulombe.  Duda stayed in on the pitch, and he hit a single up the middle easily scoring d’Arnaud and tying the game.

After a Hansel Robles scoreless ninth, it set the stage for another Flores tears of joy moment:

The last time Flores hit a walkoff homer, it helped propel the Mets into the National League East title.  This homer the Mets have a four game winning streak, but it may still be too little too late.  Still, that does not mean we should enjoy this 6-5 win any less.

Game Notes: With the trade rumors swirling, Asdrubal Cabrera started the game at third base.  This was Robles’ second win in as many days.