Hansel Robles

Cleaning Up the Roster to Make a Room for the Bull

Yesterday, the Mets acquired Addison ReedErik Goeddel is on the 60 day DL, and he’s in the middle of his rehab assignment. Finally, the Mets need to make room for Eric Young, Jr.  At a minimum, this means the Mets need to make three moves on the 40 man roster, and two of these changes must be made before September 1st. 

Previously, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece on the issue. I won’t regurgitate the analysis here. You can click the link and read it. Instead, I’ll list the players who may see themselves removed from the 40 man roster in the order of what I think is most likely:

  1. Johnny Monell
  2. Darrell Ceciliani
  3. Wilfredo Tovar
  4. Danny Muno

If I’m correct, three of these players will be gone. Now, there is the possibility, the Mets can designate Eric O’Flaherty for assignment, thereby clearing room for Reed on the 25 and 40 man rosters. O’Flaherty has been bad with the Mets, but he’s been put in tough spots by Terry Collins. 

Keep in mind that O’Flaherty is the only true LOOGY the Mets have right now. He’s only supposed to pitch to lefties. He hasn’t been treated that way by Collins. For his career, lefties hit .208/.271/.270. This season those numbers are .258/.333/.290. He’s been worse this year, but there is still evidence in the numbers that the Mets should stick with him. 

There are 33 games left in the season. With the expanded rosters, O’Flaherty should never see a righty except when there’s one beside him warming up in the bullpen.  If you can’t get O’Flaherty right in the final 33 games, you can leave him off the postseason roster. Once you DFA him, he’s forever gone. He’s no longer an asset. You can’t work with him to improve.  It’s better to keep him now rather than move him two days before you could’ve kept him with expanded rosters. 

The better choice is Logan Verrett. The Mets seemingly wanted to see if he could be a seventh inning option, but that plan went away with a spot start. Sure Verrett made two appearances since; one good, one terrible. With Steven Matz being a good bet to join the rotation soon, and the trade for Addison Reed, there appears to be no room for Verrett on the 25 man roster for the time being. 

The other realistic option with options left is Hansel Robles. He has trouble with the strike zone at times. However, he’s got good peripheral stats, and he’s shown he can give some length. Accordingly, I’d send down Verrett. He would then be available 10 days later or September 9th. This is enough time for another start or a few relief appearances. 

As for Goeddel and EY, I wouldn’t take any actions on the 25 man roster to accommodate them. Rather, I would wait the two days and call them up when rosters expand on September 1st. 

Therefore, while there are three 40 man decisions to be made, the Mets really only need to make one move with the 25 man roster. Here’s hoping they keep O’Flaherty Nd get him right for the playoffs. 

Mets Sweep Phillies & Collins Poor Managing Away

The hallmark of a good team is to beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The Mets have now taken that to the extreme with their 12-1 record so far this year against the Phillies. The Mets had to overcome a lot tonight, including their manager. 

It didn’t start well for the Mets. Jon Niese was getting squeezed and frustrated. Then in the third inning he imploded. He allowed five runs putting the Mets in an early hole. Before the All Star Break, you couldn’t have counted have counted on the Mets scoring five runs in a week, let alone one game. 

However, the Mets now have a more completed. It showed as they overcame the five run deficit. In a month where the Mets have hit more homeruns in any other month in their history, the Mets used the long ball to get back in the game. In the fourth, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two run homer. In the fifth, Yoenis Cespedes showed off his “Feats of Strength” with a two run homer. Finally, Kelly Johnson tied the game with a solo homerun in the fifth. It should be noted none of these three players were on the 25 man roster during the extreme offensive struggles in July. 

Both Niese and Aaron Harang would go six making it a battle of the bullpens. It was nice seeing Logan Verrett in the bullpen. However, I didn’t like how he was wasted. Terry Collins should’ve made a double switch with Verrett due up second. It made sense because Verrett can go multiple innings, especially with a short bullpen. 

Instead, Verrett only went one inning. This set up an inning where the Phillies got a chance to get a measure of revenge against Hansel Robles. They failed. Jeff Francoeur was robbed of an extra base hit on a diving stop by David Wright, who was good in the field today. Darin Ruf struck out again. Otherwise, Robles navigated around a one out double to get out of the inning.

Then in the ninth, Terry Collins went with Sean Gilmartin over Jeurys Familia. If Collins felt it was the right move because he needed a reliever to throw multiple innings, then he should’ve double switched when Verrett was in the game. Forget that: he should’ve double switched when Gilmartin came in the game because he was due up third in the tenth. If he was waiting for the save situation, it’s no excuse. You don’t risk losing a game without bringing in your best reliever. 

I think the answer might’ve been Collins wanted multiple innings from Gilmartin because HE LET GILMARTIN HIT FOR HIMSELF!  That’s inexcusable. The double switch is National League Managing 101. 

Just when I thought Collins was done making bad decisions, he takes out Gilmartin, and he puts in Carlos Torres. We then saw the greatest 1-3-1 out you’ll ever see:

Torres was brilliant. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, and he got the game winning rally started in the 13th. After he reached, Curtis Granderson singled in a tough AB. With one out Daniel Murphy came up in the same situation he did in the 11th. This time instead of hitting into a rally killing double play, he would hit a two RBI double down the left field line. 

Murphy moved to third on the throw, and he scored when Wright reached on an error. Wright would score on a Michael Conforto RBI single. The rally was ended by Ruben Tejada, who, somehow, was the only Met not to get a hit in this series played in this bandbox. Familia came in to close out the game with the final score of 9-5. Its funny seeing Torres bat for himself in the 13th, but not pitch in the inning. It’s a good thing Collins saved him for the save situation that never arose. 

It was a good win even if it was poorly managed. Again, Collins is making me nervous. I’ll enjoy the win even if I didn’t enjoy Collins’ very suspect managing. 

Bowa is Crazy

As I said last night, what Hansel Robles did last night was bush league because he threw the ball with the batter’s head down. Travis d’Arnaud tried to slow him down. Robles went ahead. 

Technically, Robles wasn’t wrong. The batter was in the box. The home plate umpire never called time. Instead, he called time AFTER the pitch was thrown. The pitch should’ve been called a strike. The home plate umpire lost control of the AB and then the game. 

Jeff Francoeur came out of the dugout looking to defend his teammate. Larry Bowa also came out of the dugout to . . . challenge Daniel Murphy?  Yup, he had a problem with Murphy’s bat flip from the PRIOR game. Finally, the umpire threw Bowa out of the game. I’m glad because the man was unhinged. People who have followed the game since his playing days are not surprised. 

I get the unwritten rules of the game. They exist to prevent hot heads like Larry Bowa and the obnoxious Larry Anderson from having pitchers throw at players heads. However, the problem is people like Bowa and Anderson use it as an excuse to throw at people’s heads. 

There is a right way and wrong way to play the game. Part of playing the right way is to address problems from a particular game within that game. After the supposed egregious bat flip, Murphy batted one more time in the ninth inning in a 16-7 game. That’s the time to drill him. 

The Phillies didn’t do it. They issue then became moot. Next time Bowa has a problem, he should direct his players to address it during the game. When he doesn’t, or if he’s overruled by the manager, he needs to shut up about it. He needs to respect the game. 

You do that by handling in game beefs within that game. I’m pretty sure there’s something about that in the unwritten rule book. 

Thor Forgets His Hammer

Everyone can talk about the home-road splits with Noah Syndergaard. However, if you think of yourself as a future ace, you don’t have games like Thor had tonight. 

He was handed a 3-0 lead by another “Feat of Strength” by Yoenis Cespedes and Thor’s own RBI single. He gave it back and couldn’t make it past the fifth inning. This was important because the Mets have a really short bullpen. Normally, you’d ask your starter to get some extra innings with a short bullpen. The smarts couldn’t do that because of the phantom innings limit issue. 

What we have instead was another day with a Mets reliever going multiple innings.  Today, it was Hansel Robles‘ turn (more on him later).  He pitched well only allowing one of the inherited runners from Eric O’Flaherty to score. I’m assuming the Mets will not have him and Sean Gilmartin available. Plus Logan Verrett will only be available for one inning. This is not the situation you want to be in with Bartolo Colon on the mound tomorrow, reagardless of his health

Thor was bailed out in the top of the sixth when Travis d’Arnaud, who was inexplicably batting eighth, received an RBI from a bases loaded walk to tie the game. Michael Cuddyer then pinch hit for Thor and hit a two run single to put the Mets up 6-4. This is the latest example showing Cuddyer may still have something to contribute

Tyler Clippard had a rough eighth inning. He left 1st and 2nd with two outs for Jeurys Familia, who came on for the four out save. He induced a groundballs to David Wright to get out of the jam unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 6-5 win. Now with Familia going four outs for a save, we now have to question his availability for tomorrow. 
Back to Robles. What he did was bush league. It was bush league not because he quick pitched. It was bush league because Cody Asche‘s head was down when he threw the ball. The Phillies dugout was rightfully upset. Normally, I’d argue that Jeff Francoeur should’ve been ejected, but he was protecting his teammate. The dugouts emptied, but neither team really crossed the lines. 

My overall issue is with the home plate umpire. You either instruct the batter to get in the box or have your hands up the whole time to let Robles know he can’t throw a pitch. The umpire needs to be aware Robles likes to quick pitch, and he needs to umpire the game accordingly. 

It should also be noted that Wright’s second game back wasn’t as successful as his first. He didn’t look as good at the plate. He swung at a lot of balls off the plate and out of the strike zone. Overall, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. On the bright side, he was better in the field. Regardless, like last night, this was just one game, and I still have faith in him

Ironically, despite the predicament Thor left the Mets in, he notched his first career road win. The Mets have problems to deal with tomorrow with an even shorter bullpen and no Wright tomorrow. At least they took care of business tonight and still lead the divisio by 5.5 games. Let’s enjoy tonight and worry about tomorrow. 

The Wright Stuff

It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the story lines from this game, and there were many. However, win, lose, or draw, this game was always going to be about David Wright‘s return. He started his return with a bang . . . or should I say a blast:

What a way to start!  He would finish the game going 2-5 with that homerun, a walk, three runs, and an RBI. He also made two errors in the field. Hey, he isn’t perfect. I’m willing to let him get up to game speed. We all know he’s going to work to get better and be better. Surrounding Wright’s return was quite an interesting game. 

While Wright was rising to the occasion, Jacob deGrom wasn’t ready for today. He had his worst outing in terms of innings pitched and runs allowed. His ugly line was 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned). He left the game down 7-2. Sean Gilmartin would come in and save not only deGrom, but also a depleted bullpen. He would go 3.1 innings striking out four and holding the Phillies to seven runs. That was important because the Mets offense was about to go off again in a bandbox. 

The team tied team records with eight homeruns and 15 extra base hits. Here’s the collection of homeruns:

  1. David Wright (solo, 2nd inning)
  2. Juan Lagares (solo, 3rd inning)
  3. Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] (2 run, 4th inning)
  4. Travis d’Arnaud (464′, solo, 4th inning)
  5. Wilmer Flores (3 run, 5th inning)
  6. Michael Cuddyer (solo, 5th inning)
  7. Daniel Murphy (2 run, 6th inning)
  8. Yoenis Cespedes (2 run, 9th inning)

It wasn’t until d’Arnaud’s two run double in the sixth that the Mets scored a run without hitting a homerun. It was the Murphy 9th inning double that broke the record, but it was the Cespedes’ “Feats of Strength” that put the cap on the evening. Overall, the Mets treated Citizens Bank Park so much like Coors Field that they scored 14+ runs for the third time in four games. They would win 16-7. 

In fact, things went so well from the Mets from the fourth inning on that Hansel Robles pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Even Eric O’Flaherty had a 1-2-3 inning getting one righty and two lefties out. Carlos Torres‘ ninth inning was even fairly uneventful. 

Also, even with the questionable lineup, Terry Collins had a good game. He got deGrom out in time. He rode Gilmartin as long as he could, especially with the short bullpen. I’m not going to disagree with him leaving Wright in fir the full game. You could make a reasonable argument to pull him in a laugher. I liked keeping him in there for a full game. It’s his first major league game since April. Let him get fully up to game speed. Although with the Mets not having two relievers who can give multiple innings, I do question using Torres in the ninth. 

One another note, as I said before, these bandboxes produce some ugly and weird baseball. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Howard hit a hard line drive into the shift. Flores made a diving stop, but he couldn’t hold onto the line drive. As Howard was walking off the field, Flores got to a knee and threw it to first base. Howard then ran back to first, and because of the off the odd angle, he was heading towards second base when he ran through the bag. As Gary and Ron mused, it would’ve been interesting to see what happened if the throw didn’t beat Howard. 

Overall, it’s tough to figure out if Gilmartin or Flores gets the game ball. We do know the Mets expanded their lead to a season high 5.5 games. I’m going to celebrate with a cookie

Verrett Had a Humber-dinger of a Game

Eight years ago, the Mets were falling apart at the seams. We saw the team trying to restrict Pedro Martinez’s innings. They had no choice but to use Phillip Humber. Five years later, he would go on and throw a perfect game, but on that September night, he was terrible. The Mets lost the game. They would miss the playoffs that year too. 

Logan Verrett pitched under similar, but not the same, circumstances. The Mets ├╗determined there was an innings limit problem and they skipped Matt Harvey‘s start. Verrett was terrific. He went eight innings allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts. He gave a worn out bullpen a rest. Surprisingly, Hansel Robles shut the door in the ninth securing the 5-1 win. 

The Mets scored all five runs in the first three innings. Most notably, the Mets scored two runs in the second inning that set baseball back about a 100 years. Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] was hit by a pitch, and then Michael Conforto singled. With Flores going first to third, Carlos Gonzalez made a throwing error. The ball didn’t get far away enough for Flores to score, but it permitted Conforto to go to second. I still can’t believe what happened next. 

With every Mets fan hoping Anthony Recker would luck into an RBI, David Hale made sure Recker wouldn’t be a factor. On back-to-back pitches, he threw a wild pitch allowing Flores and Conforto to score. I was dumbfounded.  After the baseball we saw this weekend, so was Keith Hernandez. He was actively calling for no more expansion because the plays and players he saw this weekend was terrible. 

He wasn’t wrong. I’m glad the Mets are out of Colorado, and I’m glad they got the sweep. This weekend was like making sausage. You enjoyed the results, but you didn’t necessarily enjoy watching how it got done. 

There’s a lot more baseball left. I plan on enjoying the remaining games during a pennant race. 

Cespedes Backs Up a Damaged Colon

I’ve made it well known that I don’t think Bartolo Colon is a good pitcher anymore. Normally, I’d be apoplectic over his giving up seven earned in 3.2 innings. 

Actually, you know what?  I am apoplectic over it. Look at the photo. They had to ice and rub him just to get him out there. If you were watching it on TV, you saw that bump on his wrist get bigger and bigger. He should’ve been taken out when he was hit on the wrist in the second inning. 

I don’t care if you’re one of the stud muffins or a bad 42 year old pitcher, the team does not have the right to put a player out there and risk significant injury. I’m even more incredulous because the Mets have a short bullpen and want to skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. Also, if the Mets want a six man rotation, I’m certain that included Colon and not Logan Verrett

Also troubling for the Mets, Lucas Duda left the game in the seventh with the game very much in doubt. Hopefully, it has nothing to do with his back

Lucky for the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes unleashed his “Feats of Strength.”  He went 5-6 with a stolen base, double, three homeruns (one grand slam) and seven RBIs. Two homers were to CF and the other went to RF.  it would’ve been 6-6 if not for a terrific running catch by Carlos Gonzalez in the ninth.  Going into the ninth, Cespedes had a chance for the HR Cycle (solo, two run, three run, grand slam). The Murphy SF took care of that. He was also a triple short of the cycle. Car-Go’s catch took care of that. 

The rest you need to know?  the six inning, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto hit solo homeruns off former Met Gonzalez German.  Sean Gilmartin was marginally effective and got the win. Hansel Robles wasn’t good, but he only gave up one run. The Mets added an insurance run in the eighth with a Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] RBI double scoring Cespedes (who else?).  Daniel Murphy would knock in the last run with a ninth inning sacrifice fly. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia locked down the eighth and ninth to secure the 14-9 win. 

It’s funny with everything going on tonight, the thing that threw me for a loop was seeing Jose Reyes bat second. The only other person not to put Reyes in the leading spot was Jerry Manuel. That’s not good company for Walt Weis. 

Overall, my favorite part of the night was in the top of the sixth. Despite burning a challenge earlier in the game, Walt Weiss came out to challenge a safe call on a Curtis Granderson stolen base attempt. It was a little ironic because the early failed challenge involved Granderson throwing out Nick Hundley at the plate to end the fifth inning. I think the umpires got the call wrong even if it was upheld on replay.

Anyway, Walt Weiss has no challenges left. It doesn’t stop him. The umpires went forward with the replay, which did confirm the call. Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez were livid and rightfully so. There were a few times I thought Keith was going to drop an expletive. In this mess of a game it gave me a chuckle. 

The win gave me a smile. I have a huge grin due to the Nationals loss, and the Mets expanding their lead to five games. 

Collins Managing Like It’s 1995

Tonight was yet another example that Terry Collins is not ready to manage in October. This is unacceptable. 

I’m angry and you should be angry. Logan Verrett was called up to help in the bullpen. He comes in and faces three batters in the sixth. He’s been starting in AAA, so after a quick inning, in an AL park, I presumed it was a no-brainer that he came on for a second inning. 

Nope, he was lifted. Why?  So he can start on Sunday to permit the Mets to skip Matt Harvey‘s start. Yup, the Mets are messing around with a team in a pennant race. As I’ve said before, if you want to skip starts, you do it in May when Harvey was struggling; not now, not in the thick of the pennant race. 

Sure enough Hansel Robles gives up the game tying HR in the seventh (which was supposed to be Verrett’s innings) to Adam Jones tying the game at four. There’s no shame in allowing a HR to Jones. There is shame in allowing your fourth or fifth best reliever to get beat in the last three innings of a game. 

Terry Collins continued his rough night by allowing Juan Uribe to face former Met Darren O’Day after Lucas Duda‘s one out double. O’Day holds righties to a triple slash of .192/.259/.277 for his career. This year Uribe hits righties .246/.300/.375. Predictably, Uribe grounded out with Kelly Johnson on the bench. Travis d’Arnaud would then make the final out of the inning. 

If you’re going to sit Michael Conforto against lefties, you pinch hit Johnson there. Sure enough to make sure I get an aneurysm, Collins PH Michael Cuddyer against the lefty Zach Britton. On what planet is it more important to look at lefty-righty match-ups in the beginning of an inning as opposed to during a rally in a tie game. 

Finally, to show Collins shouldn’t be managing a team in a pennant race, he puts in Carlos Torres over a warmed-up Jeurys Familia. Sure enough, Torres let up the walk-off homerun to the first batter he saw in the ninth giving the Orioles a 5-4 win. You always want to lose a game with one of your worst relievers when you’re best one is available and ready to go. 

I’m angry. Collins botched this game top to bottom. He cost the Mets the win. Some will blame the bullpen. I think it’s how it was deployed and how Collins handled his bench. 

Thank God Washington hasn’t fired Matt Williams. Otherwise, I would be positive the Mets would blow this lead. 

Mets Are Full of Bull

As we saw this past weekend, the main difference between the Pirates and the Mets is their bullpens. All three games went down to the bullpens, and the Mets lost all three games.   

Bobby Parnell had a rough weekend. It wasn’t his first implosion. It won’t be his last. His time for high leverage innings has passed for the time being. The Mets need some solutions because if they’re going to do things this year, they’ll need a better bullpen. At least we know Terry Collins is concerned

Unfortunately, I don’t think the front office is concerned.  For staters, they never made a move for Joba Chamberlain. Like Parnell, he hasn’t had a great year. However, what did the Mets have to lose by signing him and putting him in AAA and seeing if Frank Viola could get him straight. All it would’ve cost the Mets was the prorated Major League minimum. The Kansas City Royals, who have an amazing bullpen, had this foresight. 

Next, they have Logan Verrette in the AAA rotation in the hopes of possibly using him for a future spot start. Why?  I don’t know because there is no innings limit problem. Also, if he’s going to help this team, it’s in the bullpen. There is no chance he’s on the postseason roster as a starter. 

Also, there is the Steven Matz issue. Similar to Verrette, the Mets want him for spot starts, rather than in the bullpen. Like Verrette, Matz can only help the postseason roster in the bullpen. 

Furthermore, Rafael Montero isn’t a real option. He’s been on the DL with a shoulder injury. Initially, it wasn’t thought to be serious. That turned into a stay in the 60 day DL. Team doctors still have not found the source of the injury complaints. He can only throw three innings at a time. He’s far away. He’s not an option. 

This means that right now the Mets are putting all of their eggs in the Erik Goeddel basket. Goeddel has been pretty good thus far, but the Mets need more than just him . . . especially given his injury history. I’m sure there are other options in the minor leagues. Here’s the problem: are any of them the 2002 K-Rod?  The answer is no. 

If that reliever exists than why is the team’s bullpen constructed the way it is?  Hansel Robles is nice, but he’s not a reason to keep a stud reliever in the minor leagues. That’s why the Mets need to get Verrette and Matz on track as bullpen options.

Regardless of the route the Mets decide to pursue, I’m alright with them waiting until September 1st. Matz and Goeddel are in the middle of rehab stints. Parnell may be going through a rough stint, but with two off days this week, he will get some rest.  Maybe that rest will let him set himself straight. 

Parnell has great stuff. He’s coming off of Tommy John surgery. He may still be their best option. If the Mets don’t get serious about the bullpen, he will be. Personally, I’d rather see Matz and Verrette. Unfortunately, the Mets seem to disagree. 

Collins Not in October Form

The beginning of this game recap has to start with the “Throwing Out of Baserunners” in the top of the ninth with the score tied 3-3. That Yoenis Cespedes throw was incredible. Against another player, Sean Rodriguez is standing on third as the winning run. Since there are no words to describe the play, here’s the play:

As for the rest of the game, it was a second straight extra inning game with both teams playing with intensity reminiscent of October baseball. This could prove to be a real good test for this Mets team. Tonight, we would see the person who needs the most improvement is Terry Collins. 

This includes Jon Niese. With his recent run, we forgot he was prone to mistakes after errors or bad calls. Balking Bob Davidson was doing Balking Bob Davidson things:

https://twitter.com/keithlaw/status/632696974890954753

So yeah, bad call on a 3-2 count. Sure enough, next AB, Gregory Polanco hits a two run homer. Mets start the game down 2-0. Add a third inning dinger and the Mets offense reverting to June form against Charlie Morton, who was really channeling Roy Halladay, and all hope seemed lost. 

Then Juan Uribe leads off the seventh with a homerun to CF. Later in the inning, Michael Conforto pulled a homerun to RF tying the score at three. Seriously, this is why I say send him down or play him everyday. He’s got the potential to be a special player. 

Last night, I noted the difference in the game was the bullpens. The Pirates bullpen was very good again.  Luckily, the Mets other bullpen pieces were up to the task. Carlos Torres pitched a scoreless seventh. Hansel Robles then had three scoreless frames (10th, 11th, and 12th).  Sean Gilmartin would finally crack in the 14th, taking the loss due to questionable managing and defense. 

Specifically, Lucas Duda made a PH appearance in the 12th. He drew a two out walk. Of course, he didn’t appear earlier in the game, and the Mets burned Juan Lagares as a pinch hitter in the sixth . . . because you want him for his bat and not his late inning defense. Keep in mind Duda can’t play in the field right now. When Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] didn’t deliver, the Mets were down to Anthony Recker, some good hitting pitcher, and no double switch options. 

This turned out to be the key decision in the game. If Lagares was available to go in the game in the late innings, Francisco Cervelli‘s double becomes a single because Lagares would’ve been in CF and Cespedes would’ve been in LF. That changed the inning; not Daniel Murphy‘s misplay. Cervelli, the go-ahead run, would’ve been safe at third. I know it helped lead to an insurance run. My argument is tbst throw isn’t made because Cervelli wouldn’t have been on second. 

Sure enough, the last man on the bench, Recker would make the last out. The Mets lost 5-3. Who knows how it turns out if Collins managed it properly?